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  • Does your foundation not blend? Here is why…
  • Annie Fox

Does your foundation not blend? Here is why…

Does your foundation not blend? Here is why…

Ever mixed foundations and ended up with gluggy foundation or unmixed product all over your face and neck? I know I have been there. It is especially terrible when this happens to me during the day :(

Mixing different foundations sometimes doesn't work because they do not have the same base products. These products being water, silicone and oil. Today we will walk you through why they are not mixing and how you can tell if you are mixing the right products.

In general, you want water-based primers with water-based foundations (or tinted moisturizers, BB creams, CC creams, concealer, or any other base products;), and silicone-based primers with silicone-based foundations. When you mix the different bases it when you end up with uneven foundations. 

The two different bases (water and silicone) can cause your foundation to pill when layered on top of each other. In particular, using a silicone-based primer with a water-based foundation on top of it often causes the foundation to pill because the primer creates a silicone barrier. When you try to apply a water-based foundation on top of that, the silicone repels the water in the foundation, and the water in the foundation does not absorb properly into your skin, resulting in unevenness.

How to tell if you make up is silicone water or oil based?

In order to determine whether a product is water-based or silicone-based, you have to look at the ingredients:

  • Cone/-methicone,
  • Siloxane

How do you know if it’s a silicone based product?

These ingredients can be found near the top of the list.

An example: Microperfecting Primer Ingredients (from Sephora's website): Aqua (Water), Dimethicone, Trisiloxane, PEG-12 Dimethicone, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Methylpropanediol, Butylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Squalane, Glyceryl Caprylate, Lauryl PEG/PPG-18/18 Methicone, Phenoxyethanol, Ceteth-10, Laureth-4, Ethylglycerin, Panthenol, Potassium Sorbate, Polysorbate 60, Parfum (Fragrance), etc.

See the bold words? Definitely silicone-based! Again, the water keeps it a more liquid-y consistency so it's easily spreadable. It doesn't mean that the product is water-based. Particularly with primers, I can always tell because it has that "silicone" feeling. Now let's look at a water-based primer:

How do you know if it’s a water based product?

An example - Oil Free Ingredients (from Sephora's website): Water (Aqua), Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Stearic Acid, Isodecyl Isononanoate, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, C20-22 Alkyl Phosphate, C22-20 Alcohols, Squalane, Butylene Glycol, Cetyl Esters, Phenoxyethanol, Boron Nitride, Silica, Cetearyl Alcohol, Sodium Hydroxide, Allantoin Tocopherol Acetate, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Hamaelis Viginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Cucumis sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, etc.

See how there are no -cone/-methicone or -siloxane words near the top of the list? That means that it's water-based. This primer does contain dimethicone, which is a silicone, but it's relatively low on the list, which means that it contains a very small amount of silicone (ingredients are typically listed in order, beginning with what is in there most and ending with what is in there the least). Thus, because this primer contains much more water (and other ingredients) than silicone, it is water-based.

How do you know if it’s a oil based product?

Oil-based foundations are actually quite rare. But here is an example of how you can tell if the product is oil based.

Water (aqua), Decyl Oleate, Lanolin Oil, Propylene Glycol, Talc, Isotearic Acid, Stearic Acid, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Cetyl Acetate, Triethanolamine, Fragrance (parfum), Emulsifying Wax NF, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Acetylated Lanolin Alcohol, PPG-12-PEG-65 Lanolin Oil, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Propylparaben. May contain Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI77492, CI 77499, Ultramarines (CI77007)

Yes, water is listed as the first ingredient, but that is to keep the product more blendable. The second and third ingredients (in bold) are definitely oils.

Next time you purchase foundations if you like to mix them, take a look at the ingredients so you can avoid nasty foundation mistakes!


  • Annie Fox