IF YOUR SKINCARE OR FOUNDATION IS FORMING INTO WEIRD BALLS AFTER YOU APPLY IT, HERE’S WHAT’S GOING ON AND HOW TO PREVENT THE DREADED PILLING.
It’s a strange phenomenon mainly associated with knitwear, but pilling can strike your skincare routine as well as your cashmere, causing the pricey skin serum or high end foundation you forked out for to quite literally roll off of your face.
INGREDIENTS IN YOUR SKINCARE OR MAKEUP ARE ‘REACTING’
There are several skincare and makeup culprits that make pilling more likely, the main player being silicone. Silicones essentially sit on the surface of your skin, helping to to prevent moisture loss while also creating a smooth, silky, long-lasting canvas, which is why you’ll see ingredients ending in ‘cone’ on the label of most primers and foundations. As silicone doesn’t absorb into the skin, if you apply a serum or moisturiser containing silicone and follow up with a silicone heavy foundation too, you’ve got a potential pilling issue on your hands (face) as the double whammy of silicone that you’ve applied has nowhere to go.
Other pill-prone ingredients in skincare and makeup include iron oxide, talc, mica and fluorphlogopite (a synthetic version of mica typically used to create shimmer or ‘glow’ in makeup). Max out on these or layer too many products containing them and pilling becomes all the more likely. Ditto when you combine oil-based and water-based products at the same time - as you’ll know from rudimentary chemistry lessons, the two don’t mix all that well and can ‘separate’ on the skin, essentially opposing each other and causing skincare or makeup to shed off, snake-style. If the thought of interrogating every ingredients label in your bathroom and assessing compatibility makes you want to throw the towel in on this skincare thing, we don’t blame you, but don’t sweat the small stuff…
The solution: Tone down the silicone based products if you’re experiencing a lot of pilling and check that other flake-prone ingredients are towards the bottom of ingredients lists rather than at the top. Ensure that you’re not sandwiching in too many silicone heavy serums, primers and foundations too, which brings us to the next point on pilling...
YOU’RE APPLYING SKINCARE IN THE WRONG ORDER
As a general rule of skincare layering, apply water based products before oil based skincare, as the thinner textured water based products will have a chance to absorb, while any oil based products applied on top will ‘seal the deal’ and keep actives and moisture in. Do it the other way round and you’ve not only got a ‘pants over your trousers’ skincare scenario, whereby the precious rejuvenating ingredients in your serum, essence or lotion can’t penetrate into your skin, but any product applied on top of a heavier oil based layer is far more likely to ball up and run for the hills.
YOUR SKINCARE OR FOUNDATION IS TOO HEAVY
You’ve nailed the skincare layering thing but still the teeny weeny white balls keep rolling. This could be down to the fact that you’re using skincare or makeup that’s too occlusive for your skin, so it’s sitting around on the surface rather than melting in nicely. If your skin is also getting greasy pre-midday, your makeup won’t stay put and you’re noticing dullness or breakouts after using a particular lotion or potion, this could also be a sign that your skincare is weighing you down.
YOU’RE APPLYING TOO MUCH PRODUCT
We’ve all gone too gung-ho on skincare application - when you’ve got a vial of something silky and comforting to hoe into it’s all too tempting, yet applying a surplus of product not only wastes your cash but it makes pilling more probable as loading on skincare and makeup decreases absorption and adherence to your skin.
The solution: You knew this was coming - apply less product to encourage penetration and nip pilling in the bud.
YOU’RE RUSHING YOUR REGIME
This is one of the most common factors in skincare and makeup pilling according to Dr Sam:
“Rushing your skincare application can mean wiping off one product when you apply the next – you lose some of the benefit and it can make a mess when you try to apply makeup as it won’t adhere well to skin.”
In short, pile it all on at once and you risk a ball pit rather than an even canvas.