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This morning you took the time to put on a full face (curled eyelashes and all). Well, it’s now 4 p.m. and your foundation has all but melted away. Ugh, we know the drill. But we also know why it might be happening—and that life doesn’t have to be this way. Here are five foundation mistakes you might be making and exactly how to correct them (without caking it on in the office bathroom).


You’re Choosing the Wrong Formula

The only hard-and-fast rule when it comes to choosing foundation is to listen to your skin. If it’s oily, avoid labels that say “luminizing” and stick to products that are oil-free, like Clinique’s Even Better makeup. If it’s dry, use a moisturizing formula like Clinique’s Beyond Perfecting Foundation + Concealer. If minimal coverage is more your shtick, look to their new Superbalanced Silk Makeup with SPF. It evens out your skin tone with a sheer layer for a completely natural finish. And if you’re the type of gal who needs to test-drive before buying, Clinique’s consultants can always help you find the right makeup for your concerns. (Psst, a little birdy told us that you can try out their foundations free for the first ten days.)

primer clinique

You’re Not Priming

Your makeup will never live up to its potential if you don’t start with a smooth, even surface. Here’s what to do: First, cleanse and exfoliate with a facial brush or a warm washcloth to remove dead skin. Next, apply a dime-sized dollop of hydrating moisturizer to your face, followed by a pinch of foundation primer (don’t forget to let it dry) and—voilà—you’re ready for makeup. P.S. Even if your skin is oily, don’t skip the moisturizer. Hydrated skin actually produces less sebum, which is the stuff that turns your T-zone into a grease pit.


Your Tools Aren’t Right for the Job

When it comes down to it, your applicators are almost as critical as the foundation itself. Brushes provide greater coverage and buffing, while makeup sponges are perfect for a lightweight application or layering (think tinted moisturizer or a thin layer of liquid foundation). Never doubt that quality tools are worth the investment. After all, no one wants to be that girl who has a bristle stuck to her nose in public.

technique 2

You’re Not Using the Right Technique

OK, so you’re confident about your formula and tools, but for some reason, the foundation still isn’t working as you hoped. Poor application may be to blame. For liquid foundation, dab it on with a makeup sponge and then let it set. This will help the product absorb and prevent it from wiping off when you blend (remember to wet the sponge first and then tap, tap, tap). When it comes to powder, always use downward strokes and “go with the grain” to keep any little face hairs in check.

clinique routine

Your Makeup Routine is Out of Order

Been applying foundation, then eyeliner, then lipstick since the tender age of 14? Same. Yet it turns out there’s a more efficient process that lasts longer and minimizes catastrophes: Start with your eyes. Since they’re usually the most difficult part of the routine, begin there so that any corrections don’t smudge your carefully applied powder. Then apply your foundation, concealer, blush and lipstick, and finally, define your eyebrows. Save the brows for last so you’ll know how heavy or light to go based on the rest of your look.

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