We all have been there at one point. The picture below shows one of my many, many, ashy-looks! However, the question is why does this happen, especially on darker skins?
There are several reasons;
- Wrong foundation shade: It’s either we don’t get out colour matched before buying a foundation or just using the lighter shade hoping that it would lighten the skin (I have been a culprit too!). In the case of the picture shown here, I was in Thailand at the time, and used the darkest foundation I could get hold of; but it was still too light for me as well the was the wrong tone (next point). So always, always get your shade matched before buying a foundation.
- Wrong undertone: A big reason for ashy looks. As you may know, shade and undertone are two different things when it comes to makeup. Your shade can be light, dark, brown, fair, porcelain, chocolate, espresso and endless other options; but your undertone is basically one of three – Pink, yellow or neutral (I know, I know, it’s not that simple. but for the sake of simplicity, let’s go with these three). A simple google search will teach you how to check your undertone. Once you know it, match your foundation with your shade as well as your undertone. As I mentioned above, the problem with my look in the picture is, not only the lighter shade but I wearing a foundation with a pink undertone. In reality, I am a neutral leaning towards yellow.
When your shade and undertones do not match with your foundation, they appear to be sitting on top of your skin as a filter. This also emphasises that you are not wearing foundation on your neck. In the end, you end up looking like a clown; A pretty one, though :D.
- Using foundations that contain Zinc Oxide: Zinc oxide is the main ingredient in physical sunscreens – which means, it’s actually good for you. ZnO tends to sit on top of the skin providing a protective barrier as soon as you apply it. This good for a sunscreen, but when you apply foundation with ZnO, it does the same thing – sits on top of the skin giving you a white cast and an ashy look. Unless you are planning on staying out in the sun for prolonged hours (in which case you should wear a physical sunblock), wear a foundation without it and use other ways to protect your skin from the sun such as wearing a chemical sunblock.
- Layering incompatible products: Which means, you layer oil based, water based, silicone based or gel based products together. Not that it cannot work. There are several articles (One here, and another here) that tell you exactly how to layer your products based on their chemical compounds. Again, if not done carefully, they tend to separate from your skin and sit on top like a filter rather than creating an integrated, put together look.
My final tip is, when buying a foundation, get it professionally colour matched and wear it for a few hours before purchasing. If possible, ask for a sample to try out a few times. Also, try to find reasonably priced foundations rather than going for the cheapest. Could be worth the ‘splurge’.
Hope this helped!