What are your deal-breakers when it comes to foundation?

The obvious one is that they have to have a close-enough shade match or else it’s hard to wear, but I often mix two shades together, so I am not adverse to that. I’m not a huge fan of really flat, matte and full coverage foundations and tend to reach for more medium, buildable coverage with a natural-to-luminous finish. If it is heavily fragranced and I can smell it once dried down, it would be a no from me.

— Christine
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Nancy T Avatar

1.) No shade match for my skintone and shade level.
2.) Applies patchy or streaky despite using every method available.
3.) Wears off too easily, cannot stand up to our 110+ summer temperatures.
4.) Pools up in my pores and deep expression lines.
5.) Oxidation is the bane of my existence. Unfortunately, many medium shades of foundation are guilty of doing this.

kjh Avatar

Any chemical sunscreens (and that’s ~80%, or was when I was looking.). Shade matching: 80% of those left pull too yellow. Not too warm (red undertones really aren’t exactly cool…I was ‘cool’ 20 y.a. and earlier) but too yellow. It took the better part of 2 years; hanging on for dear life.

TheOtherHelen Avatar

I’m very demanding when it comes to foundation. My deal breakers are:
Having alcohol as one of the first 5 ingredients, although I’ve lately been avoiding foundations that have alcohol at all because I’m not into premature aging and I’m looking at the long game when it comes to my skin. Also, being heavily fragranced, emphasizing or creating skin texture, irritating or breaking out my skin in any way, Or causing my skin to dry out once I wash it off and lastly wearing off ugly. I need my foundation to wear off gracefully lol.

Ana Maria Avatar

For me the (almost) perfect shade match is a must; I don’t purchase more than one foundation, you won’t see me mixing cocktail of different foundations (formula or shades).

Another deal breaker for me it’s the formula. It has to be without fragrance, alcohol or other irritants; I’m not putting any of that stuff on my skin, even over a primer.

Off course, deal breakers also include application issues, like settling into fine lines and pores, emphasising dry patches (some foundations seem to emphasize even the ones I can’t notice otherwise, even if they aren’t matte or drying formulas), lack of blendability.
But I’m picky with my foundations, I have high standards. Deal breakers include foundation that transfers easily / doesn’t set even with powder

I care less about oxidization upon application, since all foundations oxidize on me (has to do with my skin chemistry). I don’t mind if it oxidizes to my correct shade, but I have foundations that continuously oxidize during the day, becoming darker and darker.

Seraphine Avatar

The main dealbreaker for me: When it’s not Estée Lauder Double Wear, the only perfect foundation on Earth (for me).

ELDW has none of these dealbreakers: oxidation, cakey-ness, streaky finish, weird scent, breaks down as the day goes by, poor coverage, causes breakouts, pump bottle (yes, you can buy the pump separately for ELDW, but I hate pumps so I’m glad I can opt out).

Denise Avatar

I need it to be without fragrance, light enough for my fair skin and also not heavy feeling. Most foundations flake off my dry skin so I have a really hard time finding anything that works. I’d say my favorite is still NARS sheer glow.

Rachel Avatar

– Mainly shade match. There is a reason I stick to the same three foundation shades.
– Oxidization on my skin. I have to test it outside the store for a few hours.
– makes my dry patches more obvious or flakes
– on the opposite end gets shiny or greasy by noon

Latika Avatar

Foundation is such a personal item. Probably why there are so many. I have ever been able to wear much as I hate looking like I’m wearing foundation.
Deal breakers are 1. Bad color match 2. To matte 3. Full coverage 4. Easily rubs off 5. Tacky 6. Does not play well with my other primer/ bronzer/ powder etc
If anyone remembers “prescriptives” they had a tinted moisturizer I could wear, then I was able to use powders preferably Mac mineralized skinfinish. My skin was very oily and somehow foundations would “break up” on my face and just look and feel gross.
The new foundations are so improved! The first foundation that I could wear in a very long time was Nars tinted moisturizer but it would rub off to easy and powder didn’t do very well over it. Then I found Armani Maestro! Water like consistency and pigment to even out my complexion and dry down invisibly . I only use that and Pat McGrath sublime skinfinish I love this foundation it’s like a serum and looks beautiful .

Vittoria Avatar

Aww Prescriptives was my 1st concealer & foundation that sort of worked when I was in my early teens until I went to Mac which I don’t do anymore. I feel like IT Cosmetics is a bit like what Prescriptives might be if they still existed. I still haven’t tried PMG’s foundation but I’m interested. I’m in a foundation & concealer for dry skin slump or depression lately!

Vittoria Avatar

Anything matte or semi-matte or with talc doesn’t work for my skin. Not even during hot humid weather or after I’ve exfoliated. I hate flat dry looking skin on myself. I want the option to have a skin-like finish or a matte one with setting powder. I wish ANY of the EL Double Wear products or Age Rewind worked for me but they were a nightmare and irritating as hell. If I can see foundation or concealer once it sets and warms up on my skin it’s a pass.

Eileen Avatar

I have extremely dry skin and even though I moisturize like crazy, I simply don’t have any issue with oil breaking through during the day. Consequently, I avoid long wear or matte foundations because they dry my skin out and end up looking flat, patchy, and mask like. At the other end of the spectrum, I also dislike the foundations that are too glowy. I don’t find an all-over artificial iridescence in the least bit attractive because it emphasizes every little fault. I also can’t tolerate many chemical sunscreens so any foundation that says SPF on it has to be scrutinized for the offending chemicals. A good skin tone match is a no brainer. If the makeup brand doesn’t offer a good color match, it doesn’t matter how wonderful it is, I’m not going to buy it. I don’t mind mixing a couple shades to customize my foundation, but the undertone has to be perfect. So, what do I like? I like a light to medium coverage in a lightweight but creamy satin finish. Non-chemical sunscreen and anti-aging ingredients are optional as I already have a good skin care regimen.

Wednesday Avatar

Foundation is an area where I am truly frustrated and struggling. I cannot seem to find (or create in my mad mixes) the perfect foundation in terms of texture and coverage. It’s this aging thing.. I love the look of dewy skin, but lately, I noticed that I’m too dewy and my foundation pools into my pores at the side of my nose and chin, or eventually draws into my lines. If I go for dewy, I do not get the longevity and what might start out as good coverage tends to somehow wear off of me as the day progresses. I have dry skin so maybe I’m overdoing it with moisturizer or setting spray or ??? If I go for longwear and better coverage, I feel like I look bobble head mask like and ridiculous. Foundations which used to work very well on me, I feel no longer do and I guess my skin must be changing (menopause)

So long story short, I don’t even know what I am looking for these days. I want coverage for my ‘mature gal’ discolourations and age spots, , but I also want my skin to look healthy, so no matte finishes.

I want perfect skin so I can wear light coverage foundation… argh.

Needed to vent. Didn’t stick to topic.

Rachel R. Avatar

1) Irritating to my sensitive skin. This includes heavy fragrances.
2) No shades light enough, or shades that run too peach or pink. I need neutral or very slightly yellow undertones in summer.
3) No dewy finishes. They just make my oily skin look more so, and don’t wear as well on it.
4) Oxidizes or melts off my oily skin, even with primer.
5) Having less than medium, buildable coverage. As in sheers and light coverage doesn’t work for me. I keep bareMinerals Complexion Rescue for the rare occasions I need something light coverage.
6) Doesn’t set. I need something that dries down, and I still need setting powder with it due my oily skin.
7) Full coverage foundations that are too heavy and mask-like, or look cakey, or settle in my forehead lines regardless of application method.

Shelly Avatar

I only have one deal breaker when it comes to foundations. Due to my extreme sensitivity I can’t use any foundation that contains Dimethicone. Unfortunately it is so prevalent today from ColourPop to Nars and everything in between.
***I will accept any suggestions anyone has for Dimethicone free formulas***

303Chrissy Avatar

Deal breakers for me in foundation are
1) texture too powdery or too watery, I prefer one that is more gel like in consistency or creamy
2) doesn’t cover enough–if I am bothering to wear foundation, I want some coverage, obvi
3) glitter of any kind–I am not a Twilight vampire, if I want glitter, I will add it, thank you
4) weird undertones, too orange, too pink, grey–yes, grey
5) lack of a pump–I hate the overpour and waste
6) drying or making my skin feel tight. Not many of these newer foundations do that anymore, I am thinking of the old school Covergirl which probably had a lot of alcohol in it
7) price point–if it costs too much, I will hoard it and not use it, which is a waste

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