Makeup Problems and How To Solve Them

Once people realise I’m pretty clued up the beauty department, nine times out of ten the first thing they say is “what do I do when my makeup does this” and I hop into troubleshooting mode. With that in mind, I thought I’d round up some of my most frequently asked questions, and their answers, thinking that it might help one or two of you out there! In this post I’m going to concentrate on makeup related questions, but if you find this helpful, I can also do a skincare and haircare version too!

THE PROBLEM: ‘My skin is too dry for my foundation, I end up with dry flaky patches, and my makeup looks heavy.”

TRY: A hydrating primer. Primer is the answer to a lot of makeup problems, opt for a primer with a water base + hydrating formula, to help give your skin an extra boost of moisture before makeup.

I LIKE: Too Faced Hangover X Primer, First Aid Beauty Coconut Skin Smoothie Priming Moisturiser.


THE PROBLEM: ‘”I have oily skin, and by lunchtime my foundation has slipped off my face and my skin looks greasy.”

TRY: A mattifying primer. Like the previous problem, primer is key here. I good primer will not only create a barrier between the skin and makeup, but also a surface for your foundation to adhere to. Something silicone based is what you want here, a thicker texture that will even out pores and smooth things out, creating a barrier.

I LIKE: Erborian Pink Perfect Creme, Benefit Porefessional.

THE PROBLEM: “My foundation doesn’t cover my breakouts, and concealer looks cakey and draws attention to them.”

TRY: Applying less concealer. When we have a breakout, it’s natural instinct to want to pile on the product to cover it. Instead, try using a small brush to add a little of a long-wearing matte concealer to the area, and a warm finger or damp makeup sponge to press the product into your skin. Use thin layers and build product up, dabbing and pressing, dabbing and pressing, rather than caking it on to start.

I LIKE: NARS Soft Matte Concealer, MAC Studio Finish Concealer, Sephora Pro Precision Concealer Brush, Beauty Blender.

THE PROBLEM: “My skin tone is super uneven, but I like a natural looking makeup look.”

TRY: A perfecting foundation! When it comes to redness, sallow skin, dark circles, there’s not many quick fixes beyond a good high coverage foundation. But high coverage doesn’t have to mean thick and obvious, so look for a foundation that boasts a high coverage with a gel formula, and use a Beauty Blender to press it into the skin.

I LIKE: Giorgio Armani Power Fabric Foundation, Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Foundation, Rimmel Match Perfection Foundation, Beauty Blender.

THE PROBLEM: “My skin looks dull and flat, and foundation makes it worse.” 

TRY: Liquid highlighter under your foundation, or mixed into your foundation. People always seem to be afraid to use a product for something other than the description, or to mix products! If your skin is lacking a little lustre, massage a few drops of liquid highlight onto the skin before applying your foundation, or mix in a few drops to the base before you apply it. It’s a natural way to add a little glow to your base! Follow up with a blush with some shimmer to it, to add more dimension.

I LIKE: Maybelline Master Strobing Liquid Illuminator, Benefit That Gal, NARS Orgasm Blush, MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Stereo Rose, Max Factor Creme Puff Blush.

THE PROBLEM: “No matter what foundation I use, my skin always looks shiny.”

TRY: A powder with coverage. Powder foundations don’t have to be used alone! Try dusting a thin layer of a powder foundation over your regular base product, to help seal the foundation in, and keep things looking matte. Use a light hand and build up product slowly, so it doesn’t look thick or cakey!

I LIKE: MAC Studio Fix Powder.

THE PROBLEM: “My eyeshadow creases throughout the day.”

TRY: An eyeshadow primer. Apply it a few minutes before you go in with shadow, use your fingers to press it into the skin and give it sixty seconds or so to dry before you apply your eyeshadow.

I LIKE: Urban Decay Primer Potion, MAC Paint Pot in Painterly, NARS Pro Prime Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base

THE PROBLEM: “When I wear bold lipstick, the colour bleeds around the edges of my lips.”

TRY: A clear lip liner! Line your lips and fill them in using a colourless, gel based lipliner, and give it a few minutes to set before applying your lip colour. This will give the colour something to adhere to, and create a barrier around the edge of your lips to prevent feathering.

I LIKE: Urban Decay 24/7 Glide on Lip Liner in Ozone

THE PROBLEM: “When I touch up my makeup throughout the day, it makes my skin look cakey.”

TRY: A face mist. When building product up on your skin throughout the day, it’s easy for things to start to look a little cakey. Misting your face with a setting spray, or a skin mist helps take the edge off the matte finish, and melt the product into your skin a little more, creating a more natural, less cakey finish.

I LIKE: Kiehl’s Cactus Flower and Tibetan Ginseng Hydrating Mist, Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist, Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray, Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Marine Mist

THE PROBLEM: “My glasses rub the foundation off the bridge of my nose, leaving red marks.”

TRY: Pressing your makeup in with a makeup sponge on the bridge of your nose + setting with powder. By using a dampened sponge to really press the product into the skin, it won’t shift as easy under the glasses, and then using the same sponge to press a little setting powder on top will help lock it in place.

I LIKE: Makeup Forever HD Finishing Powder, Beauty Blender. 


I hope that helps some of you out! Let me know if you have any more makeup dilemmas you need help with, or if you would like to see a skincare or haircare version of this post!


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  • So many of these products are staples in my everyday routine, I can’t leave the house without setting all my makeup with UD All Nighter spray, and then adding a touch of MAC Fix+ to stop my skin looking cakey by midday.
    Alicia x

    • They’re such good products aren’t they! Glad to know I’m not the only fan! x

  • So many great tips/product recommendations, I struggle with really dry patches around my nose but an oily t-zone, I think I need to pick up both a mattifying primer and a hydrating one for my different problem areas haha!

    Lucy | Forever September

    • Have you tried using a gentle scrub in the show and a really light cream cleanser in the day? I found that really helped balance my skin out!

      • I haven’t tried that actually, ooo I’ll give it a go and see how it works!