How To Prevent Foundation From Looking White Or Unnatural


This is perhaps one of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to foundations or makeup in general. A lot of Indians suffer from uneven pigmentation and find that at least one area of their face is darker than the rest. It could be dark circles, acne scars, blemishes, darkness around the mouth, you name it! Because of this, wearing foundation gives a very unnatural look and skin looks either caked & made-up or dull & ashen in some areas. This is reason enough for some people to give up foundation altogether and shy away from using them.

foundation for face

I’ve had my fair share of foundation blunders and have disliked using anything on my face since my super oily skin makes any formula simply slide off or make me look unbearably greasy. But off late, I’ve discovered a few techniques that seem to be working well for me and by sharing them here I hope to help someone out there perfect their foundation routine or at least muster the courage to wear foundation occasionally.

Tips To Prevent Foundation From Looking White :-


You must have heard this a million times, but I’d like to reiterate the fact that skincare always precedes makeup. Makeup is art and an artist always starts on a clean canvas. So, make sure you begin by using a cleanser suited to your skin type. Follow up with a toner and then a “light” moisturizer since most foundations do have hydrating properties. You don’t want to be using a heavy, greasy cream since doing so will only make your foundation slide right off your skin and affect the staying power.


A primer is commonly a blend of silicones that helps to give a smooth base for foundation application. If you don’t have a primer, simply take an ice cube, wrap it in a hankey and gently apply all over your face. This helps to close pores and will ensure that your makeup stays fresh for longer.

Foundation Formula:

Foundations come in various forms like liquid, cream, mousse, pressed powder, loose powder and so on. Select a formula based on your needs. For example, liquid or cream foundations suit dry skin. But there are cream foundations that set to a powdery matte finish which will suit oily skin better. Also take into the account the coverage you desire. Most mineral powder foundations and a bulk of liquid foundations (especially gel-based ones) give sheer coverage. These are apt if you have fairly good skin and you want a sheer, glow-y, natural finish. If you have skin concerns like blemishes, spots etc. and are looking for better coverage, opt for cream foundations or thick liquid foundations that claim to give more coverage.


Foundation Shade Selection:-

Here’s where most of us go wrong since it’s hard to find that one, perfect shade. It’s surprising that most companies in India only stock light shades although we have a good share of dusky-complexioned beauties here. It’s unfair but we’ll rant more on that some other time. One trick that has been working wonderfully for me is to get a shade that’s slightly darker than my actual skin color although I know this is what experts ask you NOT to do. Most people would advise you to get a shade lighter than your actual skin color. But I find that doing so only makes me look pale as a ghost and it becomes glaringly obvious that I have foundation on. Yes, using a shade darker does make me look a wee bit tanned but it’s a risk I’m willing to take so that I can fake even-toned, flawless skin.

Another important factor is your undertones. If your skin is yellow-toned, try to avoid using a foundation that’s purely yellow-based. My skin has strong yellow undertones but I find that using a neutral or beige-toned foundation gives me a more natural, day-time look. Use one shade darker during the day and a lighter shade at night. If your skin has pink undertones, then again neutral tones work better to conceal the redness.

Foundation SPF:-

I simply HAVE to mention this point under a separate heading since this is the main culprit being faces looking ghostly white in photographs. While a little sun protection in your makeup is good for you, it may not be the most practical. Most foundations that have SPF will give you a white cast. So the solution is to get one that has no SPF and use a separate sunscreen underneath or to get one that has relatively low SPF and does not give an unnatural finish. Test it out by applying it and then take a photo with flash.

Foundation Mix and match:-

If you have uneven skin tone, you’ll find that using a single shade will leave some areas of your face looking white or grey. For most people, this is usually under the eyes or at the jawline. The solution is to first use a layer of foundation that matches your skin tone and then use a concealer that’s one shade darker/lighter (based on the discoloration) only on areas that need more coverage. Follow this tip if you have acne-prone skin and have lots of spots/blemishes to cover. Instead of wearing layers and layers of foundation (which will only clog your pores and lead to more acne) use a single base-layer of foundation and dot concealer onto the spots and blend the outer corners. If you’re looking for a shiny/dewy finish, mix some luminizer/liquid highlighter with your foundation and then apply.

best foundation

Foundation Applicator & Application:-

This, my ladies is what I believe is the most important step! I fought my foundation phobia only after I invested in brushes. There are many types of foundation brushes available such as the traditional flat brush, duo-fiber/stippling brush, flat-top buffer brush, kabuki brush etc. Pick one that you’re comfortable with. Using a brush that’s slightly damp helps to blend foundation easily without giving any streaks or stark lines. Don’t forget to apply foundation on your neck, ears and hairline.

Don’t be disheartened if you can’t afford high quality make-up brushes or simply can’t find any. Here’s a tip you can follow: Dot foundation all over your face and using your fingers, blend downwards (never use circular motions and rub foundation into the skin). Once you’re done, take a regular blush brush, spritz some rose water (or even plain water) onto the bristles, shake off the excess liquid and then proceed to blend the foundation with the brush. Hold the bristles together (so that they appear tightly packed) to achieve better results. This will give you a glow, even, non-streaky finish. I personally avoid using sponges since I feel they soak up a lot of product and lead to wastage. Plus, they give very heavy coverage and washing them is a pain. But if you’re comfortable using them, please do so and then blend with a brush as a final step to even-out the foundation.

natural skin care

Foundation Setting powder:

Set your makeup using translucent, loose powder. Instead of using a powder brush, try using a regular powder puff and press the powder gently into your skin. Don’t rub since this will sheer out your foundation and erase the coverage you achieved. After pressing the powder into your skin, dust off the excess using a brush. You can do the same using compact pressed powder as well. If you have dry skin, apply powder only to areas where you’re likely to see some shine.

Here’s a tip: If you still want more coverage that what your foundation alone gives you, set your makeup using powder foundation. Apply it using a flat-top buffer brush and buff the product well so that it does not look cakey. Use pressed powder foundation if you have oily skin and mineral powder foundation if you have dry skin. This gives you a teeny bit more coverage and will help to blur your flaws.

foundation brush



A hint of color on your cheeks can sometimes bring so much life to your overall look. When it comes to blush, you don’t HAVE to stick to pure pinks. Try earthy brown-based pinks or peach since they look more natural. If you have a round face, contour your cheekbones or use a bronzer. If you’re not too familiar with contouring (or just can’t seem to get it right), stick to highlighting. Take a slightly shimmery white shade and apply lightly on the high point of your cheeks, bridge on your nose, brow bone and cupid’s bow.

Cool Compress:-

What’s that, you ask? This is perhaps the best tip I can give you since it is not only the final step but also one that works well with ANY foundation, ANY application method, ANY skin type and makes a WORLD of difference. So… after you’re done with all the above mentioned steps, take a face towel that has been dampened with cool water (make sure it’s only “damp” and not “wet”) and gently press it against your face (do not rub). A better method is to place the towel in the freezer for some time and then press it against your face. This will gently lift off excess makeup, close your pores and give you a dewy, natural finish. It also helps to control oil and make you look fresh and awake. If you have very dry skin, use a moisture boosting spray (or even plain rose water that’s been refrigerated) and spritz directly onto your face. You can let it air-dry or dab a towel to remove excess liquid.

Mirror, Mirror:-

Now that you’re all done, take a mirror in your hand and survey the results under different lights. Go outside, stand near the window, switch on the tube light etc. and make sure you’re happy with your work. Don’t bother with yellow lights since even the wrong shades look flattering under yellow lighting and you’ll be in for a surprise when you step outside.

Phew! That’s all folks. I hope I have not missed out on anything. Please do bear in mind that I’m no expert and the above tips are based on my personal experience and tips that I’ve picked up on the way. What suits me may or may not suit you. The key is to experiment until you discover the technique that works best for you. Really hope this helped. :cute:

P.S : All images have been sourced from Google

Do you have any tips on foundation application that you’d like to share?

You might like reading these also:-

BeYu Velvet Mat Foundation Shade No.22 Review

Bourjois Flower Perfection Foundation 53 (Light Beige) Review & Swatches

Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation Shade Au Review


  1. i am someone who want to use foundation but always found it artificial …. but thanx this was realy helpful…m going to try it once again..with all tips 🙂

  2. Hi Nafisa,

    Foundation’s are a nightmare for some of us, esp when we see our photos and cringe at our blunders. I agree with the concealer and highlighter tip. It makes a world of difference!!!. Your tips on cold compress and removing excess with brushes are useful. Thanks for sharing

  3. Wow Nafisa, such a long and detailed article but I read till the end. All the tips seem helpful and I totally agree with the brush tip – using a brush always gives a more air-like finish to the foundation.

  4. Hey Thanx Naf for the post :kissblow: , I was so much waiting for such a write up which may help me come out of the not-to-use foundi zone, I use to get tempted seeing the foundies available and reviewed here by Ana, Zara and all others but I was like NO I dont know the correct method of using it and i cannot use it, but ur write up helped me out . Muuaahh!! :hug-makeup:

  5. superb article! loved reading it! no matter how many ever times i read such info articles, i still end up having so much more to learn from every new one! 🙂 glad you shared this Nafisa, thanks! 🙂

      • Its such an long article but not even one point of time i felt bored or i did any plain reading…very well written Nafisa..

        they r few tricks which has worked for me such as finding out what skin tone you have..once u get the hang of it u will always end up choosing the right shade.

        Also a nice foundation brush and covering every corner of the face and setting it with powder is really esssential..a good moisturiser with a primer is a must too.

        • Thank u sooo much ana! :hug-makeup: I’ve been meaning to do this post for so long n I’d go to bed with several tips running thru my mind. It did turn out kinda long n detaaailed but I dint have the heart to skip any point 😀

          • yup! i especially liked the last point where u have mentioned about keeping the towel in the fridge and then using it ..i was not aware of this point..i am going to try it out this summer and will look dewy and natural 🙂

  6. Very nice and detailed post.:)
    It surely is going to help a lot. Foundations can do wonders do get flawless perfect skin but choosing and using them properly can be quite a task… I have yellow undertones so finding a beige color will help me.

  7. Detailed Post Nafisa 🙂
    You mentioned to buy foundation slightly darker than your skin tone …..Got the point. I just want to know about the concealer…
    Few ppl say buy one shade lighter ….but that makes eyes look more ashy or gives cakey look :beauty: :beauty: :beauty:

  8. I agree on all ur points…especially the SPF many ppl don’t understand that it’s d SPF making them look white n then o buy a darker shade…

  9. Nafisa… Fantabulous Post! You have covered everything from foundation to contouring in ur post…i read each n every word thoroughly… i usually lbuy yellow toned foundie’s but these days I picked 1 or 2 beige shades and found it more natural and better lookin than my yellow ones.. like maybelline dream liquid airbrush foundie in pure beige suits me to the T.
    Also u r very right on the brushes part, i use a stippling brush for that airbrush look.. n Trust me! the way i apply it , you can not even detect i have open pores or even tiny pimples on my face. Stippling brush rocks for me. Love the last tip of fridge method.. m soooooooooooooooooooo gona try dat! :lipstick:

    Thank u for writing such a detailed post once agian dearie… :-* :hug-makeup:

  10. Aah very well compiled Naf…i do cool compress but with a cube of ice in a thick towel…maybe next time i’l place the towel itself 🙂 and another thing we can do is use foundation only at areas where you think you need some evening out and blend properly…like around the mouth and nose area…sets me most of the times.

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