foundation is separating on my face! what to use?

Hello everyone,

I am new to this thread and was just wondering if any of you could help me out. I have sensitive, combo oily skin and no matter what primer or foundation I seem to use (tried several liquids and bare minerals powder), it breaks apart on me a few hours later. It separates on my face and it looks splotchy mid day. I have also tried primers but none so far have helped with this. I try touching up with a powder once im noticing oiliness to see if that would prevent or conceal the splotchiness but it just makes it look worse. what could be causing this? and what do you recommend to prevent this? Thanks for any tips!

Re: foundation is separating on my face! what to use?

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Hi there, I was wondering if you ever found a solution to this problem? I have been having the exact same problem for months (sensitive oily combo skin, foundation breaks apart throughout the day, powder makes it look worse/like I have dry and flakey spots). This problem is the worst on my chin, but is really all over my face. I never had problems with foundation until a few months ago. I have tried about every combination of primer (hydrating and matte), foundation (dewy, matte, airbrush), powder (pigmented, translucent, or no powder) and setting spray (dewy or matte) and nothing seems to work. Right now I am exfoliating every morning, moisturizing, then applying Kat Von D hydrating primer and lock-it foundation, a touch of Wet n Wild translucent matte powder, and Nyx Matte setting spray, but the problem still persists. I am desperate to find a combination that doesn't a) cling to dry spots on chin, b) separate/look cakey by midday, and c) make me looking shiny/oily. Any advice is appreciated! 

Re: foundation is separating on my face! what to use?

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Hey girl,


I have a very similar problem with my make-up seperating by mid-evening as I work nights. However my makeup seems to only go splotchy/blotchy around the nose area though. I've been using Laura Mercier Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer and Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer underneath.

Re: foundation is separating on my face! what to use?

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The cover fx is the oil free natural finish foundation btw . Forgot to mention Smiley Happy

Stilas primer works best which may be due to its moisturizing properties but I really don't know cause there is still some separating going in even with this one. And once I go over the foundation with some powder it emphasizes the splotchy parts  and even could look flaky particularly on my nose, jaw, and sides of my nose slightly under my eyes. 


Ill look into my routine to see if there is a mixing of oil and water Smiley Happy thanks for the tip! 

I thought that maybe the flaky looking parts could be due to dry skin, but as mentioned earlier I exfoliate with the clarisonic each night and have pretty oily skin so it's odd ? 


I did like nars primer but the foundation breaks me out pretty bad Smiley Sad

Re: foundation is separating on my face! what to use?

Thanks for your replies and tips ! Smiley Happy 

Im currently using clarisonic at night with purity 4-5 days a week and murad acne cleanser 2-3! Day and night.Sometimes I use mario badescu cucumber lotiontoner then I moisturize with Josie marN argan oil. I recently started using boscia moisturizer SPF 15 ( white one ) during the day as it keeps me more matte. I switch my foundation up quite often but my current rotation is cover fx, mufe mat velvet +, bare minerals  original powder foundation . For primer i was using Mac prep n praid but I noticed it was one of the culpritsof the Flaky splotchy mess. So I'm currently with stila one step correct primer, and clarins  instant smooth

Re: foundation is separating on my face! what to use?

[ Edited ]

Are you following the basic rules of chemistry? Yes, the subject you study in school! Smiley Happy


Make-up is pretty simple in that it's either predominantly water-based or oil-based.


Everything that goes on your face from cleanser, serum, moisturizer, primer...your products should match your foundation chemistry...predominantly water or oil based.


If your foundation is 'breaking up/separates/splotchy' then I'm pretty certain it's a chemistry issue of the products ..sometimes it's your own oils & pH of your skin.


I can't give you tips until I know more. 


These days we layer our faces with so much product I'm surprised make-up will stay on our faces.


Do you really need a primer? If so, why?

Even if something states NO SILICONE, it has a silicone in it!

Disguised as "Dimethicone or Methicone;" anything with the ending in "cone" in chemist talk is a SILICONE! 



PLEASE list your skin care routine.

Product/Brand list as well in the order you apply.

What you share may help others with similar issues.


I have over 30 years experience as a freelance make-up artist.

While in the Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing program, I minored in chemistry for medical school chemistry prerequisites.






Re: foundation is separating on my face! what to use?

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I am curious about your thoughts. My problem is dry patches and my make up does separate; cheeks, nose and under eyes.

 I have tried different foundations and powders. 

My routine

-wash face ( liquid neutrogena face wash)

-serum (bobbie brown intensive skin)

- eyes (bobbie brown intensive eye cream)

- lotion ( olay sensitive skin moisturizer)

- foundation, applied either beauty blender or fingers (mayballine lumi=just trying this one;but all do the same such as mac or over the counter ones and i need good coverage due to old acne scars and occasional blotchy/irritated skin)

- eye concealer  ( mayballine insta eye concealer)

- setting powder ( clinique loose face powder)

Re: foundation is separating on my face! what to use?

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I have the same problem due to a med I take. My face gets very wet during the day, even if I'm not actively sweating. So let's start with skin care. I have found Perricone's Nutritive Cleanser is gentle yet cleans well. It works great with the Clarisonic. Don't forget a weekly scrub like Tatcha Polished, Diptyque Exfoliating Clay or Kate Somerville's ExfoliKate. Next I use products from Cosmetic Skin Solutions: a Vit C serum in the am and Phloretin Serum in pm, Rx acne cream, the Hydra B5 gel as a summer moisturizer. If I need a heavier moisturizer, I use it last. try Fresh Rose Gel Cream Or a Perricone Treatment such as Cold Plasma or Blue Plasma. This last moisturizer is really a trail and error thing, just pay attention to ingredients such as silicones. After thus regain mine you won't need base daily.

Onto foundation- no silicones! Go to your store and try a light base, not a tinted moisturizer or BB/CC cream. Try Urban  Decay Naked. Nars makes a great system for more formal occasions.  Use the Oil-Free ProPrime on the trouble areas then Sheer Matte foundation. On the nose dab the Pro-Prime Skin Smoothing Face a Prep Base. then press in the Matte Powder Foundation. if you need a touch up, use blotting papers before a dab of the Prep Base or Powder Foundation. Thus is what I did for a family wedding and it worked!

This is my system and it works for me. It comes from trial and error with education of ingredients. Keep a Beauty Diary of what works and doesn't, with ratings and comments so you can go back as the seasons change and fine-tune your regimen.

Remember it starts with good skin care and a belief that your skin is gorgeous without any foundation! You are beautiful without added artifice, maybe just a little bit on those larger pimples for photos.

Re: foundation is separating on my face! what to use?

Your primer and foundation may be made of different bases...?  Water and oil do not mix and will separate from one anotber and this is probably why you're getting this 'patchy' result. 

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