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5 Reasons to Ditch Your Foundation

5 Reasons to Ditch Your Foundation

by Elyse V

Along with clean, moisturized skin, a good foundation is critical to a flawless makeup look. Foundation generally offers more coverage than BB and CC creams (read about our favourite CC and BB creams here). I usually go with foundation, over my BB or CC cream, when I want a more finished look or when I want to make sure any “problem areas” are well-covered (problem areas like texture issues, blemishes, blackheads, fine lines, discolouration, etc). Having said that, not all foundations work well for everyone. It has to be a good match in many ways and to help you quickly identify when it’s not, we are sharing 5 reasons to ditch your foundation.

In the past, we have featured 5 reasons to ditch your mascara, 4 signs you are sensitive to your eye cream, 8 reasons to ditch your eyeshadow, 5 reasons to ditch your lipstick, and even 5 tips to assessing new beauty products. It’s important to assess the products you use so you don’t continue wasting money on products that are not making you look or feel your best.

FYI: my current favourite foundation is Laura Mercier Silk Crème Oil Free Photo Edition Foundation and it was also one of my 5 favourite beauty products in the January 2022 edition. This foundation ticks so many boxes for me so if you’re in the market for a new foundation you may want to check my review out. Hopefully, it won’t give you any reason to ditch your foundation 😃

5 Reasons to Ditch Your Foundation

1) The Colour Is Wrong:

We’ve all been there – you had the best intentions but you ended up with the wrong colour foundation. This can be because you were buying makeup online, a salesperson talked you into something new, you changed your hair colour, or you got a tan. Regardless of the reason, the right colour foundation matters.

If your foundation is too light, too dark, too yellow, or too pink- don’t use it, or at least don’t use that foundation as is. You can try to fix the colour (if the formula is otherwise good) by mixing in another foundation, CC/BB cream, or even some concealer. If you don’t like the formula or can’t fix the colour with mixing- just let it go.

You could just put it aside and perhaps when you aren’t as tan, or change your hair colour again, you can see if the colour works for you then. I once saved a foundation I had that was way too light to use for the base of a Halloween zombie makeup look.

2) Bad Coverage/Too Thick:

Good coverage is defined differently for everyone. We all have different coverage expectations for the products we use and, ideally, they live up to those expectations. For example, I have a different expectation of my CC cream versus my foundation. I expect more flawless coverage from my foundation as foundation tends to be thicker. Having said that, just because it’s thicker, you still never want it to look caked on. Nor do you want it to settle into your fine lines or wrinkles. No matter your age, a thick foundation can settle and crack and give the appearance of fine lines or wrinkles even if none are there. Or they can exacerbate the ones that are there.

One way to thin out an otherwise good foundation that is too thick, is to mix in moisturizer. Sometimes, I also like to add a drop of my favourite CC cream into my foundation so the thickness of a foundation can be fixable. If adding moisturizer or your favourite CC cream doesn’t make it better, get rid of your foundation. Not blending in well means it provides bad coverage. If you apply the foundation with either a foundation brush, your favourite sponge, or a wet beauty blender and the product still does not blend well… you need to ditch that foundation.

Another way to try to overcome blending and coverage issues is to try a good primer under the foundation. If the coverage isn’t there and it won’t blend well even with a primer, then you have to ditch your foundation.

3) It Causes Skin Irritation:

Much like any other beauty product, a foundation could cause you to break out, have redness, irritation, itchy watery eyes, or even hives. If a product causes any skin irritation or allergic reaction, discontinue using it immediately. Do not give the product a second chance. If a reaction persists see your doctor.

4) It Has Expired

a) Expired and Separated:

Yes, makeup has an expiration date. The expiration date is usually on the bottom of the package, and it will list the number of months usually beside a sketch of a cosmetic container. This number is the number of months the product is good for after it has been opened. I know we all, unfortunately, do not stand by these guidelines nearly as stringently as we should. However, if you see that a foundation has separated in the bottle (if it is in a glass bottle or when you pump/squeeze it out the colour is separated from the oil/ liquid ) do not put this on your skin. Simply clean the makeup out of the container as best you can and recycle the packaging. If it’s a MAC product, you can return it to them through their BACK 2 M·A·C take back program. Putting an expired product on your skin will only cause irritation and other problems (see #3).

b) Expired and the Smell is Off:

Let’s say the the expiration date has worn off and you can’t remember when the foundation was opened, but when you squeeze/pump it out, it looks fine. You probably think it is good to use, right? Not so fast. It must first pass the smell test before being applied to your skin. If it doesn’t smell how you remember or smells off (like has a plastic or magic marker or other odd smell), that is not a good sign. Any change in colour, texture, or smell, is a sign that you should not be using this product. The product could seriously irritate your skin. Do not pass this product on to anyone else, do not try to use it differently, simply dispose of it in the most eco-friendly way you can.

5) It Is The Wrong Formulation

Foundations are formulated to match the skin type of its customers. For example, if you have oily skin, you’ll want to use a foundation that is oil-free. You’ll want a formulation that absorbs oil and leaves a smooth, matte finish. If you have dry skin, you’ll prefer a hydrating foundation with a creamier consistency that moisturizers and offers great dewy, coverage. If you have dry skin and your foundation is for oily skin OR if you have oily skin and your foundation is for dry skin, you’ll want to ditch your foundation. If the foundation is not formulated for the your skin type, it’s time to move on from it.


I hope these 5 reasons to ditch your foundation help you quickly assess which foundations are worth your time and save you from foundation disasters. Remember when it comes to beauty products, we can get into a rut because we like a product; however, that doesn’t mean that product will work for you forever. Our skin is always changing. So make sure the foundation you use is good for you and don’t be afraid to try a new foundation when it’s time.

Ideally you can try before you buy. You can pick a foundation sample (if one is offered with order), you can trade-in Sephora Beauty Insider points for a premium sample, or try a gift with purchase.

Do you agree with our 5 reasons to ditch your foundation? Do you have any other reasons to add to the list? Leave us a comment below and let us know.

Remember to take time to pamper yourself and do what brings you joy.

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