Do you ever find that your foundation balls up on your skin after you apply your favorite sunscreen or face cream? Similar to when your knitwear has seen better days and small balls of fabric sit on the material, this is called pilling — and it’s the fastest way to ruin your skin-care and makeup in one fell swoop.
Pilling is one of the most frustrating things that can happen when applying your skincare and makeup, due to the fact it takes extra time to blend, correct, and can waste more of your expensive beauty products.
Makeup pilling is no fun, especially after you just applied a full face of makeup and your foundation starts sliding off in tiny pieces. Pilling occurs when two makeup or skin-care ingredients don’t mesh well together on your skin, and although there are ways to avoid this (more on that below), we wanted to know if there’s any way to salvage your full beat in this scenario. Ahead, we spoke with NYC-based makeup artist Mary Irwin to find out how.
What Causes Pilling
When your skincare or makeup pills, it looks like flakes or globs of product on your skin.
Pilling happens when products haven’t absorbed into the skin, whether due to:
🤍 the type of ingredient
🤍 the amount applied
🤍 the other products you’re using
🤍 the condition of your skin
🤍 The tools you are using to apply your skincare and makeup
With so many of us experimenting with multi-step skincare routines, the pilling struggle is all too real!
Here are some best tips if you’re dealing with this issue.
Can You Fix Makeup Pilling?
Irwin gets straight to the point: “Unfortunately, aside from taking a damp makeup sponge and trying to blend it in, there’s not much you can do besides take it off.” If your foundation begins to pill, wet a sponge (the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Blend Artist Foundation Blender is our fave) and tap it over the areas where it pilled off. Once you’ve blended it out, set it with a loose powder like the Maybelline New York Lasting Fix Banana Setting Powder and don’t touch it. “Don’t add anything cream or liquid over it after the fact.”
WE know and understand that you don’t want to remove the makeup that you spent hours perfecting so for that to not happen, the first thing you want to make sure you’re doing is exfoliate on a regular basis.
To be clear, the little balls that form are composed of product, not dead skin. But it’s still important to maintain a good exfoliation routine, because it will help your products to absorb more effectively, rather than remaining on top of a surface layer of dead skin.
How to Avoid Pilling
Irwin recommends paying attention to the ingredients you’re placing on your skin to avoid pilling all together. “Use products that have a similar formula — silicone with silicone, water with water, etc.” When applying cream makeup products (which have the most tendency to pill), she recommends starting with thin layers and building them up slowly. “Also avoid layering cream over powder, because this can result in pilling too.”
The more you touch your skin, the more you disturb the products and encourage them to pill. It goes without saying that rubbing your face is a a big no-no, as this will only cause surface residue to bunch and roll up. Use light, patting motions to apply your products, and resist the urge to touch your face any more than absolutely necessary.
Just give yourself plenty of time in between layers and after the final layer. That will ensure you’ve absorbed most of the beneficial ingredients.
Here are 3 more videos that can be helpful when it comes to pilling:
Have you experienced product pilling?
What has helped you to prevent it?