Why Does My Foundation Look Patchy?

Why Does My Foundation Look Patchy

Patchy foundation is a nightmare, and while you won’t see any horror films featuring it – experiencing patchy foundation is pretty awful.

It’s a pretty common beauty mistake, and it can be incredibly frustrating, especially when you have an event to go to.

After all, everyone wants their foundation to look flawless on their skin.

When the foundation looks patchy, and a little flaky, it can feel incredibly uncomfortable.

It’s not the look you were going for, and it can really impact and lower one’s confidence.

In this article, we’re going to discuss all the main reasons why your foundation looks patchy.

That way, you can work out what you’re doing wrong, and you can fix your mistake.

We all deserve to look the way we want – and having patchy foundation just isn’t it.

So, let’s discuss the reasons why your foundation is patchy!

Real Skin Has Texture

First, before we discuss all the great tips and tricks to fix your patchy foundation, we have a quick aside.

It’s important to remember that all skin has texture. No one looks airbrushed in real life, and everyone has texture on their skin.

It’s normal to have hair pores. It’s normal to have an uneven skin tone. It’s normal to have acne.

It’s normal to have blackheads. It’s normal to have blemishes.

It’s normal to have textured skin.

Not only is all of the above normal, but sometimes, it’s unavoidable.

Your skin will likely never look flawless, or as flawless as you would like, because skin – all types of skin, is textured.

Even skin that is healthy and hydrated, is also textured.

So, while patchy foundation is something that can be fixed, it’s normal to have textured, and imperfect, skin.

Related: Foundation vs Concealer

What Exactly Is Patchy Foundation?

If you’re unsure whether you have patchy foundation, read the below statement.

If you relate to it, then it’s likely that you suffer from patchy foundation.

Generally speaking, patchy foundation occurs when the foundation is uneven.

You will notice that in some parts of the face, the foundation is flaky, while in other parts the foundation looks cakey, and so forth.

Likewise, you might notice that the foundation gathers, or creases, around the dry areas of the skin, or in the pores.

This makes the foundation look patchy and uneven, and it can occur no matter how you apply the foundation.

If you relate to any of these problems, keep reading, and we’ll explain the reasons why.

So, Why Does My Foundation Look Patchy?

There are a range of reasons why your foundation may look patchy. We will discuss these reasons and explain why it makes the foundation patchy.

Following this, you can work out where you are going wrong, and change your routine – easy!

Related: Why does my foundation look cakey?

Are You Cleansing Your Face?

Using a makeup remover, especially makeup wipes, is not the same as cleansing your face.

Again – using a makeup remover, especially makeup wipes, is not the same as cleansing your face.

You would be surprised at the number of people in the world who do not use a cleanser.

Cleansers are vital in any skin-care routine, and even make-up routine, because they have such a big impact on the face.

Now, when it comes to skincare, a cleanser is going to remove all the build-up of products on your face.

It’ll help your skin get back to its natural and clean state. For applying make-up, this is crucial.

You need your skin to be properly cleaned before you apply make-up because you will otherwise have a build-up of product on your face, that is invisible to the eye.

This build-up of products is going to impact the texture of your skin and will prevent products from being evenly applied to the face.

Using a make-up remover is a great way of taking off the majority of your makeup, but it will not remove all the make-up.

That’s why you need to use a cleanser.

So, if you’re ignoring your skin routine, or if you just don’t use a cleanser – this is definitely something you’re going to want to change.

Not Using A Primer

Why Does My Foundation Look Patchy?
Not Using A Primer…

If you do not use a primer, this could be another reason why your foundation is patchy.

A primer will help your foundation look more even and hydrated on your skin. They work by forming a layer between your skin and your foundation.

This smooths out the texture and fills in any large pores.

The result leads to an easy application of foundation and your foundation looking smooth on the skin.

You can buy different types of primers. If you suffer from dry skin, you can buy primers that help to rehydrate the face, and so forth.

If a primer is not a part of your make-up routine, you should invest in a primer.

Foundation Pilling

If you notice that your foundation is patchy, it could be from foundation pilling.

Pilling occurs when you use two or more formulas that are incompatible.

For example, you might use a water-based primer, and then use an oil-based foundation.

This combination is incompatible and will cause the foundation to separate from the primer.

This will make your face look patchy, flaky, and in some situations, greasy, as the make-up is not gelling together.

To resolve this issue, you should be mindful of what products you apply to your face.

Generally speaking, if you use a brand and range of a certain foundation, it’s good to get a primer within the same brand and range.

This is not always necessary, however – just make sure that you have roughly the same formulates for each product.

So, if you have a water-based foundation, try opting for a water-based primer.

Likewise, if you have an oil-based foundation, try opting for an oil-based primer.

What Tools Are You Using?

Related: Five Excellent Foundations

The applicator that you use to apply your foundation can have a big impact on the outcome of the foundation.

If you use your fingers to apply foundation, you may want to change this method.

There are some beauty experts that are perfectly fine with this technique, providing your hands are clean.

However, it is not the best method for ensuring that you get even coverage.

So if you notice that your foundation is patchy, it could be due to your methods.

Alternatives you can use to apply foundation are makeup brushes that have synthetic bristles, or a tool called a beauty blender.

Both of these products are great for cream and liquid formulas and will help your foundation look more even on your skin, and hopefully – less patchy.


If your face looks patchy when you apply foundation, it could be due to the following reasons: you are not cleansing your face, you do not use a primer, your makeup products are incompatible, or you’re not using the right tools.

If you relate to any of these, then it’s likely that this could be the reason that your foundation is looking patchy.

When you know the root cause, you can solve the problem. So, change your routine, and hopefully, you’ll be much happier with your skin.