We’ve all been there. You’re happily applying your layers of skincare, and something goes wrong. Product turns into little balls on your face, everything is ruined, you have to take it off and start again. Even worse if it’s in the morning and it happens to your makeup. So, what’s going on?
What is pilling and why does it happen?
"Pilling occurs when skincare products or make up have not absorbed into the skin," says Dr Gunatheesan. "This can be due to using products with a high concentration of silicones, mixing oil rich products with water-based creams, [or] using too much product and applying it all too rapidly."
Watch: The products and ingredients you need to know about. Post continues below.
If something isn’t absorbing as well as it could, it sits on top of your skin instead. "Sometimes I see people using whole pipettes of serums or face oils and that is not necessary," warns Branca. She adds that issues can arise "when we layer products from different brands that [were] obviously not designed to be layered together."
So, are there any ingredients notorious for pilling?
"Silicone is a key player, found in most foundations and primers," suggests Dr Gunatheesan. "If your serum also contains silicone, chances are the products may start pilling."
But that's not all. "Look out for iron oxide, talc and mica - things often fall apart at the sunscreen stage, as they tend to contain these ingredients," adds Dr Gunatheesan. "Mixing oil-based products with water-based creams can lead to piling, as we all know oil and water tend to separate."