Why Makeup Separates & Tips on How to Prevent It

Pulverized Powders and Assorted-colored Lispticks

You’ve spent precious minutes perfecting your makeup, meticulously applying foundation, concealer, and more products, only to find it separating and slipping off your face a few hours later. Frustrating, right?

Makeup separation is a common beauty woe, but fear not! In this article, we’ll uncover the secrets to keeping your makeup flawless all day long. 

Why Makeup Separates

Here’s why your makeup isn’t smooth:


Some makeup products, including liquid or emulsion-based ones like foundations and primers, may contain ingredients that separate and form visible layers. Their consistency may also change, causing uneven texture.


The ingredients can break down and separate as makeup products age. This happens when you store makeup for an extended period or expose them to extreme temperatures.

Temperature Fluctuations

Extreme temperatures, such as excessive heat or cold, can affect the stability of makeup products. High temperatures cause the oils and water-based components in a formulation to separate, while cold temperatures lead to solidification or changes in texture.

Improper Storage or Handling

Incorrect storage, such as exposure to direct sunlight, contributes to separation. Additionally, shaking or agitating certain products disturbs their formulation and causes separation.

Ingredient Incompatibility

Certain ingredients in makeup formulations may not be fully compatible. For example, if oil-based and water-based ingredients fail to mix, they separate over time.

Easy Tips to Prevent Your Makeup from Separating

To prevent or minimize separation in makeup products, it’s advisable to:

  • Store your makeup in a cool and dry place. Don’t expose them to direct sunlight.
  • Follow the recommended shelf life and expiration dates indicated on the product.
  • Avoid exposing them to extreme temperatures or frequent temperature changes.
  • Shake or stir the product gently before use to help redistribute the ingredients and ensure a consistent texture.

However, if a makeup product has already separated, it may be best to discard it, as the separation could indicate a breakdown in the formulation or a loss of effectiveness.

Popular Questions about Why Makeup Separates

Why does my makeup separate when I sweat?

It’s due to the interaction between the oils and moisture from your skin and the makeup products applied. Sweat is water and electrolytes, and when it mixes with the natural oils on your skin and the oils present in makeup products, it can break down the makeup’s formula. Hence, your foundation, concealer, or other products may appear patchy, cakey, or even slide off your skin.

Additionally, the heat from sweating can further exacerbate this issue. Consequently, start with a clean, moisturized face. Use a good primer to create a barrier between your skin and makeup, opt for long-wearing and waterproof products, and set your makeup with a setting spray to help it withstand moisture and heat.

In addition, regular touch-ups and blotting with oil-absorbing sheets can also help maintain your makeup’s integrity during sweaty situations.

How do I keep my makeup from separating on my nose?

Prep your skin well. Apply makeup on a smooth canvas by cleansing and moisturizing your face first. On top of that, use a primer specifically designed for your skin type, paying extra attention to your nose area. Next, choose a long-wearing, oil-free foundation formula that matches your skin tone.

Apply it sparingly, using a makeup sponge or brush, and blend it evenly over your nose. Avoid excessive product buildup, as it can lead to separation. In addition, consider setting your foundation with a lightweight, translucent setting powder to control excess oil. 

How do I prevent my foundation from looking cakey?

Use the tips and makeup process described in the two answers above to achieve a smooth and non-cakey foundation finish. In addition, exfoliate regularly.