After you’ve patted in your serums, massaged in your moisturiser, pressed in your SPF, buffed in your primer and blended in your foundation, there’s nothing more annoying than seeing all those products clumping and peeling from the surface of your skin. Once this happens, you have no choice but to take it all off and start again, which can be stressful when you’re rushing in the AM anyway. Sounds all too familiar? We asked two pros for the mistakes you could be making, and the ways you can prevent your beauty products from pilling.
1) Your skincare or makeup products have silicones and polymers
Silicones sit on the surface of your skin and often serve as a smoothening and moisturising agent in primers and moisturisers. But because of its chemical structure, it doesn’t get absorbed into the skin—it just stays on the top, says celebrity makeup artist Bhavya Arora. If you apply a water or oil-based foundation on top of that, you might have a pilling issue on your hands. Instead, stick to the same ingredient: Try using a silicone primer, foundation and concealer if you like the smooth and even effect.
Other ingredients that are prone to pilling are iron oxide, talc and mica, which are used to provide a glow or shimmer in makeup products. This means that your liquid illuminator, when applied over layers of silicone-rich products, could separate and clump on the surface.
2) You’re trying to mix oil and water
Water and oil don’t mix together and if you try to rub in two varied products one after the other, they will pill—If you’re using an oil-based primer and a water-based foundation, the latter might just peel off. “Start with the lighter formulas and finish with the heavier products. Water-based ingredients get absorbed quicker and better so start with them. Starting with a thick, oil-based cream will form an occlusive layer,” says Dr Aakriti Mehra of SkinGenious, Mumbai.
3) You’re using too much product
“When a product label says used a pea-sized amount, stick to it,” says Dr Mehra. Instead of going in with a lot of product, apply less and let it absorb before going to the next layer. This is important when you’re applying base, such as foundation—use light layers and build up coverage so it melts into the skin.
4) You’re rubbing the product in
Rubbing in your serums and moisturisers on the skin can cause the products to ball up, especially if they contain any silicones. The best solution is to pat and press the product in, as this will enhance absorption and penetration, and will prevent them from travelling all over your face. If you’re still working on your brush skills, you could be causing too much friction. Instead, your warm fingers or a beauty sponge can help you dab it in rather than cause streaks and pills.
5) You’re not exfoliating enough
“When your skin is flaky, it will not allow the makeup or skincare to properly absorb,” says Arora. She says that dry skin can feel like a powder on top of the skin, and liquid products can stick to it rather than get absorbed by the newer, fresher cells below. Adding a chemical exfoliator to your skincare routine can help, especially when you’re prone to flakes. When you’re actually applying makeup, hydration is important. Arora says that a damp base can help improve absorption when you apply your makeup on top.
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