SOS! My Makeup Is Pilling — How Can I Fix It?

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?


DIY SUNDAY: The Best DIY Face Oil For Dry Skin

Face oils are one of the most effective ways to hydrate and nourish your skin. The right blend can pump your skin with skin-enhancing vitamins and protective antioxidants and give deep hydration while smoothing fine lines. But face oils can be expensive, which is why I’ve become absolute pros at making my own blend of face oils to target different skin types.

Face oils are especially great for dry skin as they’re lipophilic, which means they have a smaller molecular structure that can penetrate further into your skin, allowing your skin to retain hydration at a deeper level. Plus, oils are one of the richest formulas, so unlike other skincare products, like moisturizers, they’re pure goodness from nature.

Understanding Dry Skin

Dry skin is often dull, especially around the eyes, accentuating fine lines and wrinkles. If your skin is dry, your pores will most likely be small and barely visible (yay for you!). Your skin might feel tight and rough; it may even chap. Although, if your skin is extremely flakey, your skin may be prone to skin conditions like eczema or dermatitis.

DIY Face Oil Rules

Face oils are made of two different types of oil: a carrier oil and an essential oil. A carrier oil will act as the base, while the essential oil is much more potent and will have more healing and nourishing power.

Best carrier oils for dry skin: Avocado oil, Sweet Almond oil, Apricot oil, Camellia Oil.
Best essential oils for dry skin: Lavender oil, Geranium oil, Jasmine oil, Rosehip oil, Cedarwood Seed Oil.

Depending on what oils you have or can find, you can mix up your own. The general rule is for every 30ml of a carrier oil, you can use 1-2 drops of essential oil. You can also mix different carrier oils as long as you keep the carrier oil to essential oil ratio the same. Try to get cold-pressed, organic oils, as these will be the purest and most potent.

DIY Face Oil for Dry Skin

60 ml of Camellia seed oi
2 drops of Sea Buckthorn Berry oil
2 drops of Rose oil

Directions: Add all ingredients into a glass bottle and roll between the palms of your hands to combine.

The benefits: This oil is super nourishing, making it the ultimate cure for dry or sensitive skin. A Japanese favorite, Camellia Seed oil is crazy hydrating because its molecular weight is almost identical to our skin, allowing it to be absorbed quickly. It’s also full of skin-boosting omegas, just like Sea Buckthorn Berry oil, which is a rich source of omega 7, a rare fatty acid that’ll nourish, heal, reduce scarring, and strengthen the skin. Finally, the Rose oil will not only instantly brighten, but also contains a powerful antiseptic that can help calm breakouts.

Have you guys tried making your own DIY face oil before? Let me know if you’re going to try this in the comments below.


IGNORE Everything You Ever Heard About Pores – This Is How You’ll Make Them Smaller

It’s an unfortunate fact of life that we’ve all been cursed with pores – they’re the bain of our lives, here to ruin our makeup! I spend waaay too much time thinking about cunning skincare regimes to get rid of them once and for all, and carefully trying to disguise them with pore-minimizing primers and HD powders. You’ve probably bought products that claim they will shrink your pores and erase all trace of them, well we’re here to get your facts straight with the ultimate tea on pores from skincare expert Dr. Kelly. Here’s how you can minimize your pores in the only way possible, but curb your expectations too – sorry to be the bearer of bad news!

What exactly are pores?
Each pore is actually the opening of a hair follicle. On the face, the follicles are tiny or sometimes even invisible, but there are oil glands that live at the base of the follicle and these can over-grow making your pores bigger and more noticeable. This often starts at puberty, and feels like it never stops!

Why are some people’s pores so much more visible than others?
The size of your pores is mostly due to genetics and hormones. You have no control over your genetics, but there is a lot you can do to help manage your pores to make them look as invisible as possible.

How can we get rid of pores?
No product can permanently shrink pores, but there are some very effective products that do a great job of making them look smaller. The best topical agent for making pores look better is the nightly use of topical retinoids or retinol, which are forms of vitamin A (a natural ingredient). Retinoids do two things: it increases skin cell turnover, which helps improve the overall thickness of the skin, and they increase the purging of oily plugs from the pores – the less packed the pores are, the smaller they look. Salicylic acid is also an excellent ingredient as it exfoliates deep into the pores, which gets rid of dead skin cells that can make the pores appear larger.

If you have large pores, do you just need to accept it and blame genetics? 
Partly, but there are still many measures you can take to help them appear smaller and to prevent them from getting bigger. The most important thing you can do is use sun protection every day. Sun dehydrates your skin and makes the oil glands over-grow, making the pores look bigger. Some people get a tan because they feel it masks the pores and makes them look smaller, but this is a temporary effect, and in the not-so-long-run, it will make the pores bigger, as well as making blackheads and whiteheads worse from the excess oil that plugs the skin.

Will controlling oil with a good skincare regime improve your pores? If so, what do you recommend? 
Ingredients like salicylic acid, niacinamide, caffeine, and retinol can have an excellent impact on the size of your pores. Taking antioxidant supplements like niacinamide, zinc, copper, and folic acid by mouth can also be very helpful as they have powerful antioxidant and wound healing effects. They’re also anti-aging – who doesn’t want that benefit?!

Do natural DIYs actually have any effect?
DIY masks can have a temporary effect, but not a lasting one. Using egg white masks and yogurt masks, combined with honey can be beneficial for tightening pores. Honey has antibacterial and antioxidant properties, and it doesn’t clog pores.

Try: A gentle steam can hydrate the skin and make the pores more receptive to products you apply. Once your skin is soft and hydrated, you can apply a mask of yogurt and honey or egg white and honey for 5 minutes, rinse off, and then apply 1-2% salicylic acid lotion to help exfoliate deep into the pores. Top it off with a hyaluronic acid moisturizer as this will offer maximum hydration without clogging your pores. The result will be radiant, smooth skin.

I also get a lot of questions about the use of alcohol wipes for the treatment of acne and pores, but this does nothing to kill the bacteria that causes acne, it does nothing for the pores, and it only serves to dry out and irritate the skin.

There’s one other alternative for reducing pores: 
The Clear and Brilliant laser is also an excellent and gentle option for an in-office treatment to help reduce the appearance of pores and improve skin texture. I also find it to be safer than other lasers for my patients with skin of color.

Now that you know the truth about pores – aka you might just be prone to having bigger pores – we hope you feel better about your options. Basically, there are ingredients you can use to minimize the appearance of pores, and by using a thorough cleansing routine and non-comedogenic products (that don’t block pores), you can help to make your pores look as small as possible. You also need to realize that your pores look bigger to you than anyone else. Why? Because you spend all day focusing on yours and not staring at other people’s! And yes, most of the images you see online and in magazines have all been airbrushed, but I can promise you, celebs and influencers have pores too!


I Doubled My Water Intake For 7 Days And You Won’t Believe What It Did To My Pores

We all know models drink a lot of water and that’s their trick for flawless skin. I’ve heard it from every supermodel or beauty icon I’ve ever chatted with, but you know, you always think, how realistic is that?! As if I’m going to carry around a gallon of water and actually drink it all. But honestly, I see a lot of similarities in people who drink a lot of water; literally no pores, their skin heals better, and it looks more youthful. It’s everything I want my skin to be.

I could see the reverse on people I knew didn’t drink a lot of water; the lack of hydration showed in their skin. Their skin was like mine, a little porous, thicker, a little wrinklier, and it didn’t have that same healthy-looking, even complexion water guzzlers had. I did a little research, and there’s a reason drinking a ton of water can work wonders for your skin, not to mention it’s crucial for replenishing new skin cells, so I was convinced to at least try drinking more water.

The Challenge:

I’ll be honest, I’ve never been a huge water drinker, so I set out to double what I usually would, and drink anywhere between 2.5 liters and 3 liters of water a day. Truly, I didn’t expect miracles, but I really couldn’t believe what happened to my skin.

Day 1: At the end of the day I tried to examine everything about my face to see a result, but I didn’t notice anything, my skin was the same. My pores didn’t look smaller, and makeup application was the same, I just peed more!

Day 2: Again, I didn’t notice a difference. I wanted my pores to look smaller, but I couldn’t tell if they did. I was determined to persist!

Day 3: This is when I really started to see a difference in my skin. My pores were the first thing I noticed, they just looked smooth, not gone, but smoother, and that even showed in my makeup as well.

Day 4: Okay, so this is the day I realized water is my thing, water is going to become my habit – this is the new me! My skin looked SO much smoother. My pores were definitely tighter, and my makeup looked better.

Day 5/6: As the days went on, my skin continued to look smoother and more youthful. My skin was looking less dull and less tired.

Day 7: By day 7, my skin looked flawless with foundation. Obviously, I wear the right moisturizers, primers, and foundation specifically for my skin but the pore problem had definitely diminished by 60-70%, which for me was pretty shocking.

Now, it’s been more than two weeks, and although I still don’t have that glass-like skin I would love, I’m officially hooked on drinking water. I actually believe models now when they tell me the secret is lots of water and it’s no surprise their skin looks ahhhhmazing! I mean, think about it, our bodies are made up of 60% water (I know, pretty crazy), so when you’re dehydrated or don’t drink as much as you should (less than 1.5 liters a day) your body doesn’t function the same way. I now realize that I never drank anywhere near the amount that we all should, and just by increasing my water intake to 2.5 liters has made a huge difference to my skin, so imagine if I drank more!

The Bonus:

It’s not just your skin that will thank you for the extra moisture, drinking lots of water is a natural detox for your body. Not only does extra water help the kidneys to flush out toxins in your body, but it’s massively beneficial for weight loss – not just because it’s a natural appetite suppressor. Water helps your body to metabolize fat (turn it into energy) but when you don’t get enough, it can’t. That’s because your liver turns fat into energy for your body (yaaaas liver!), but when the kidney doesn’t get enough water, it can’t function properly, so the liver helps the kidney flush out toxins instead of doing its usual job. The lesson? Lots of water = happy kidney = working liver = fat burning.

The Result:

I really couldn’t believe what a difference drinking so much more water would have. Not only does my skin look better, but I’ve started to sweat more too, which is a good thing! Sweating helps your body remove dirt and pollutants from your skin and unclog your pores; it’s your skin’s natural way of detoxing – hence the reason for steam rooms and saunas at the spa! I also started to drink warm lemon water in the morning, which is also a brilliant way to cleanse your body and flush through your digestive system. Even having mint leaves with my water helped encourage me to drink more water, to the extent I’m now completely obsessed with drinking water. It’s what everyone talks about, but nobody ever does – a bit like sunscreen – but it’s made a huge impact, and I promise if you try it, you’ll see a big difference, both before and after your makeup.