Is Your Foundation Separating? Here's What You Need To Know

Kanak Devnani , 05 Feb 2021

I remember the first time I was introduced to makeup and starting using foundation, it had me fascinated. It’s now a makeup staple that’s a lifeline for some people. Almost everybody has at least one bottle of foundation or tinted moisturiser for BB cream in their drawer. But people often forget that like all makeup products foundation too has a shelf life and only lasts so long… Raise your hand if you’ve ever pulled out that bottle or pumped it out on your hand and have it look funny. Your foundation has separated with some pigments collecting at the bottom or an oily-looking liquid floating on top. I was supremely confused the first time that happened to me. Moreover, it’s especially distressing if it’s a new bottle.  

Your first instinct might be to toss it out but hold up you might not have to. While it’s normal for those passed the one or two-year mark to separate, especially if its expired there are a few things you can do to care for a newer bottle.

Here’s how to deal with foundation separating:

1. How and why the foundation is separating

Essentially foundations are emulsions of two liquids like water and oil. They are stabilized to work together but sometimes certain conditions tend to speed up the separation. At times it could be because the product could be expired or gone bad. Moreover, if left out due to high temperatures the oil could separate and alter the chemical balance of the product. If you see a layer of ingredients or pigments at the top or bottom of the product it means that the separation is advancing quite quickly. Don’t worry yet! Depending on the formula even newer foundations tend to separate from time to time if the bottles been sitting unused for a short bit. That’s why it’s so important to read the labels and any instructions that could help you use and store the product better.

2. What to do in this situation

The solution here is pretty simple. More often than not, all you have to do is you shake the bottle vigorously before use to ensure the emulsion is reformed again. Don’t worry its completely safe to use! However, if the product is unable to mix back together and you tried your best you should get rid of it. Also if you notice any weird changes like bubbles that weren’t there before or the colours’ gone off, don’t use it. 

Of course, the most important aspect is to keep track of the expiry date. Foundations generally last for about one or one and a half years once opened. So toss out any old foundations! You can keep track of them by just looking at the symbol on the label. Lastly, always store your makeup products in a cool dry place to avoid any drastic temperature changes that can affect or alter the makeup.

3. If the foundation is separating on the skin

Sometimes even though you’ve been careful the foundation could be separating on your face. In this case, it could be due to certain factors like your skin texture and any skincare or base products you might be using. Here’s what you need to keep in mind:

Dehydrated skin

Super dehydrated skin can cause the foundation to find its way into any lines or crevices and spilt. Flakey skin can be one of the worst culprits here. Prevent this from happening by following an effective hydrating skincare regime including exfoliating so you have the best canvas before painting your face.

Oily skin

Unfortunately, if you have oily skin, separation can be a common occurrence. The best option here is to avoid water-based foundation formulas. Remember what happens when you mix oil and water? That’s what’s happening on your face. You might even encounter a similar issue if you’re heavily sweating or in humid weather. Luckily there’s plenty of wonderful matte foundations on the market that are oil-free and not water-based. 

Base products

All your products need to have a good relationship and complement each other like a team so you look your best. This includes your skincare process like cleansing, toning, moisturizing and priming. Sometimes just any toner or primer product won’t do. If you’re having this separation issue for the first time think of any new products you’ve added to your routine and its ingredients. Some pairing might not be working out with the particular foundation you are using. 

In conclusion, it bears repeating that you should throw away any expired makeup from your drawers. This could be the sign you needed for a little spring cleaning. However, the reality is that your foundation separating isn’t only because of a single reason each time. In fact, it can be due to a combination of these reasons. Being aware of all these aspects will have you be more conscious of what products using from A to Z and how to correctly pair them together for the best results.

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