Foundation Curdling: What is it & How can you Prevent it?

A key to any makeup look is a flawless base. That means that the last thing you want is foundation flaking off as you’re trying to apply it. That pretty much sums up what foundation curdling is: when foundation balls up on the skin, moving and flaking as it is being applied. It makes applying your foundation smoothly almost impossible as you are left with small balls of product on your face.

Although it is not the end of the world – I’ve found that you can usually just wipe these flakes away – it is annoying and prevents a seamless application of your base makeup. However, I have found a few tips and tricks to keep foundation curdling at bay!


The reasons for foundation curdling could be one of the following:

1. Applying your foundation too soon after moisturiser – applying foundation straight after your skincare regime can cause foundation curdling as the moisturiser and foundation mix together and ball up on your skin

2. Applying too much primer – the use of too much primer can actually have a negative effect, causing your foundation to slip over the skin and ball up. I would recommend using a pea-sized amount of primer, unless otherwise specified by the specific product you are using

3. Silicone Primers – these tend to be the worst culprits for causing curdling. This doesn’t mean you should discount them from your makeup routine, just make sure that you don’t apply too much

4. Heat – hot weather can cause your foundation to move and become patchy on the skin even as you are applying it

How to prevent foundation curdling:

1. Wait at least a minute after applying your moisturiser before moving on to foundation or primer. The longer you can wait the better, as this will give your moisturiser time to sink in to the skin

2. Make sure not to use either too much moisturiser or primer. A light layer is all you need to prime your skin. Anything more will actually have a negative effect on your base, and hey, you’ll be saving a lot more product this way too!

3. Use powders, setting sprays and foundations specifically formulated to be long-lasting on the skin if you know it’s going to be a hot day. Makeup and heat definitely aren’t a good combination but these methods should help your foundation last a lot longer, and prevent it from going patchy.

I hope some of these tips help you out, or that I have at least answered any questions about “what the hell is that thing my foundation sometimes does!?” I know that I definitely did not know what was causing the curdling effect on my skin for aaaages. Now that I know and have taken these steps, I have not experienced it since. Let me know if you have any tips on preventing foundation curdling!