Today, we need to have a conversation about pilling.
In other words, that annoying thing that happens sometimes when you put your foundation on and it crumples up into little balls of gross skin/product.
Pilling is one of those weird beauty things that’s infinitely infuriating, but simple enough to fix when you know why it’s happening. It looks like your skin is actually rubbing off (don’t worry, it’s not) and it’s not fun.
Thankfully, Mamamia’s executive editor and beauty journalist of 15 years Leigh Campbell shares your pain. She also knows how to get rid of pilling, and shared everything you need to know in order to stop it from ruining your skincare and makeup on the You Beauty podcast (get it in your ears below, post continues after audio).
What is pilling?
If you’ve ever spent five minutes applying your mists and serums and moisturisers and primers, only for it to form little balls of fluff or dry bits when you put on your foundation – that’s pilling.
Much the same as when a cheap(ish) woollen jumper gets ball-y if you get caught in the rain, your skincare and makeup products can pill, and look and feel gritty when a compound/ingredient in one product doesn’t interact well with your other products.
“This happens quite a a lot, especially when you layer lots of products. It’s really hard to pinpoint why it happens, but it’s happening because of an ingredient in one of your products,” Leigh said.
“One of your products [in your routine] either contains silicone, or perhaps an oil. The product underneath creates a barrier, and you go to put the [silicone/oil] product on top and it goes into little bally things. It’s very annoying because you have to start again, it’s a waste of time and product.”
How to stop pilling from happening.
Think of this process like an elimination diet – to find the culprit, you need to try and isolate which product isn’t getting along with your other ones.
Leigh added, “Look at your primer first, that’s quite often a culprit because they often have silicon in them. One of your other products might also have an oil in it.”
Once you find the product that’s causing the pilling, remove it and it should stop happening. If your primer was responsible, look for one that doesn’t contain silicon (check the back of the bottle or ask staff for a hand). If a skincare product is the problem, think about which product you’d hate to lose more. This might mean trialling some other foundations until you find one that matches with your skincare.
Side note – want glowing skin? Here are Leigh’s top three tips for glowy, dewy skin. Post continues after video.
What to if your makeup goes bally.
You’re not going to like it, but Leigh says there’s really no way to fix pilling once it’s started.