Foundation Tidemarks – Wedding Makeup Disasters and How to Avoid Them

Today, beauty lovers, we’re talking about all things bridal. You guys seem to *really* love weddings. I hear ya, I do too!


Natural Wedding Makeup


This post was originally about wedding makeup disasters and how to avoid them. Because I want you guys to look and feel like the princess that you are on your big day. However, it turns out I have a heck of a lot to say on the subject! And I don’t want to breeze over any detail, no matter how tiny. I want you to be your best self on your wedding day.


For that reason, I’ve decided to write one post on each bridal beauty disaster. This way you’ll know exactly how to avoid any makeup faux pas’s on your big day.


Don’t forget to click here to receive a reminder when each post goes live!


So first up – foundation tidemarks.


If you’ve found your way to this blog it’s more than likely that you already know your way around a makeup bag, so this might seem a bit basic.


But hear me out.


Obviously, nobody (or at least not many of us!) intentionally wander around with tidemarks in our makeup. However, much to my horror, on more than one occasion I have had someone point out that my face is a different colour to my neck. Or that I have a dark mark on my jawline.


And if it’s happened to me then I guess it’s probably happened to you too.


foundation tidemarks


So why do tidemarks happen?


There’s the obvious reason – you’ve just not blended your foundation in properly.


If this is you, don’t panic – I can totally relate. I’m not a morning person either! Some days I find myself slappin’ on whatever is to hand, in the dark, coffee in one hand, eyelash curler in the other. Inevitably something goes wrong. And a lot of the time it’s the face – neck blend that gets neglected. And once that foundation has set, boom! Tidemarks.


Don’t let this be you.


Hopefully, on your wedding day, you’ll be alert enough to remember to run a beauty blender over your jawline. But it never hurts to double check!


Another (obvious) reason that your foundation might leave a mark on your jawline is that your foundation doesn’t match your skin colour.


Well, duh!


You’d think the solution to this problem would be easy enough – just buy the correct colour foundation. In reality, it’s a little more complicated than you might think.


So listen up. You could be suffering from this problem without even realising.


First and foremost, you might actually just have the wrong shade in your foundation.


Our skin changes all the time, especially between seasons so make sure you get colour matched as close to the big day as possible. If you’re having a spray tan before the wedding, make sure to take this into consideration too.


Foundations to use with Primers


Now I don’t know about you, but I suffer from trust issues when it comes to the lovely ladies and gents that serve us at makeup counters. Too many times I’ve had a foundation “matched” only to get home and discover the foundation in the tube is 27 shades darker than I am.


Sound familar?


If so click here for my free guide to matching foundation flawlessly.


Another problem could be the undertone in your foundation.


For example, let’s say you have a  pink tone to your skin. Your foundation on the other hand, although the right shade, has more of a yellow tone. This might not be immediately apparent, especially on a day to day basis, when you’re wearing office attire and you don’t have much skin exposed.


But in a wedding dress, it’s a different story. You’re likely to have more skin on display. The difference in tone between your face and arms/decolletage/etc could become very apparent. Especially against the white of your dress.


Again, it’s not quite as simple as just buying a foundation with the right undertone.


One of my favourite foundations (especially for bridal makeup) is Nars sheer glow. The colour range for this foundation tends to lean closer to the olive side. Being an English rose (*read exceptionally pink toned*) none of their foundations are a perfect match for me. I can get a great shade match but the undertone is just ever so slightly too yellow.

To counteract this difference in tone you don’t have to give up on your favourite foundation. You’ve probably spent months trying to find the perfect formula for your wedding day foundation, I don’t want you to go straight back to square one.


All you need to do is make sure to apply a little bit of the foundation that you have used on your face to any exposed skin elsewhere on your body. This is super important if your dress is strapless. To avoid wasting expensive foundation you can mix in a little bit of it in with your moisturiser and apply that to your arms and chest.

After doing this your face, neck and chest should all be more uniform in their undertone. Then, thankfully you can say “bye, bish” to foundation tidemarks.

You can also use colour theory to your advantage when tackling differences in undertone.

Continuing with the example above, let’s say that you have a pink undertone to your skin. But your foundation leans a little closer to the yellow side. You don’t want to risk applying any foundation to your arms or chest in fear that it will transfer to your beautiful dress.

colour theory

A great way to avoid this is to apply a gentle layer of an olive coloured sunless tanner to your body. My favourite tan for this method is St Tropez because it is not pink at all. The reason we want to use an olive toned tan is because green is opposite to red on the colour wheel. Green will, therefore “neutralise” any pink or red tones in your skin.


Voila, your foundation matches. Goodbye tidemarks.


This will also work if you find you have the opposite problem, in that you have strong olive undertones and your foundation, therefore, appears too pink. You can go for a fake tan like this one by James Read which has a more ruddy, red undertone.


Colour theory will work for any undertone. If you’re slightly sallow, you can apply a shimmering moisturer to your chest, arms and legs with a lavender base to counteract any yellow in the skin. A great product for this is Makeup Revolutions Liquid Highlighter mixed with a body cream.


Colour theory can take a little practice, so if you’re having any difficulty with it please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I’d be happy to answer any questions and help with any foundation matching queries.


Ok, so you’ve matched your foundation shade and tone – what else could be causing foundation tidemarks?


Well, it could be that your foundation is oxidising.


Oxidation is a chemical reaction that makes your foundation gradually become darker over the course of a few hours. Kinda like the flesh of an apple. Some foundations are worse than others for doing this, but it is largely down to your own skin, rather than a specific foundation ingredient. Some skins will react with a foundation more than others so it really is trial and error.


Now I know that “trial and error” isn’t what you want to hear from me, especially in the run-up to your wedding. Who has the time (or money) to be trialing foundations during wedding preparation? Well, luckily I have a few pointers to help you avoid foundation oxidation.


  • Make sure your skincare is on point. Oxidation seems to affect us oily skinned gals most, so ensure you’re using a good oil controlling moisturiser such as the Dermilogica Oil Control Lotion.
  • Use a primer. What the what!? If you read my post on primers (click here if you haven’t!) then this one will come as a shock. I don’t really believe in primers. In this instance, though the primer will act as a barrier between your skin and the foundation and as such prevent the reaction between your natural oils and the foundation ingredients. Silicone based primers are best for this. The Smashbox photo finish primer is a great choice, and a cult classic.
  • Blot. Remove any excess oil immediately after applying the foundation. This will eliminate the possibility of that oil reacting with the foundation. (Fenty beauty do the cutest blotting sheets I’ve ever seen, click here to have a look.)
  • Go for a sheerer finish. Oxidation is more typical of heavier foundations, so if this is a problem you suffer from then explore more light weight options. My favourite tinted moisturiser is …
  • You could also just embrace the oxidation and buy your foundation a shade or two lighter!


Some of my favourite wedding day foundations are below. I’ve never had a problem with any of them oxidising so they could be worth sampling if you have yet to decide on a foundation for the big day.


Now I’ll bet you didn’t think anyone could have that much to say about foundation tidemarks, did you?

I know it’s a lot of information – I just wanted to give you as much detail as possible. I want you to be 100% confident when it comes to doing your own wedding makeup. 


If you have any other great tips for your fellow brides to be, then please leave them in the comment section below.


And don’t forget to click here to download your free foundation matching cheat sheet.


As ever, thanks for stopping by beauties!




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