Beauty Experiment: Mixing Serum with Foundation

Mixing Serum with Foundation

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but there’s a growing number of serum foundations in the beauty market lately. We have Rimmel’s Lasting Finish Foundation With Comfort Serum, Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Gel Foundation, Bare Minerals BareSkin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation, Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Serum Foundation and many more. Some of them have the word “serum” in their names for the serum-like texture and some of them actually have serums with skincare ingredients in them. And then we also have Estee Lauder’s Perfectionist Youth Infusion foundation, which actually has their Perfectionist serum’s ingredients infused with the foundation.

With all these serum + foundation thingamabobs, I smelled an experiment coming on. So I gathered a few bottles from my foundation stash and a few serums that I have, and I wanted to know: does mixing serum with foundations work? Does mixing of serum with foundation actually make the foundation better? Does it help improve our skin?

Mixing Serum with Foundation

Now bear in mind that I’m no cosmetic chemist so I’m just playing around with what I have here on a physical level. This is simply an experiment I wanted to try out. I can’t tell you the science behind what it is that I did, but I can show you the results.


Foundations: Maybelline Superstay Better Skin, Rimmel Lasting Finish Foundation With Comfort Serum
Serums: Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair, Paula’s Choice’s Resist Hyaluronic Acid Booster, Kiehls’ Precision Lifting & Pore-Tightening Concentrate, and to throw in a face oil for good measure, Josie Maran’s Argan Oil

Let’s get started!

1. I mixed 2 pumps of the Maybelline foundation with one drop of the Estee Lauder ANR. Blending the serum and foundation made the foundation split. I blended it as much as possible, creating a bit of a gooey mess and applied it on my skin.
Results: Foundation split. The serum thinned the foundation reducing coverage on the skin. It didn’t make my skin feel any better.

Mixing Maybelline Superstay Better Skin Foundation With Estee Lauder's Advanced Night Repair

2. I mixed 2 pumps of the same Maybelline foundation with one drop of the Paula’s Choice Resist Hyaluronic Acid Booster.
Results: Same as #1. Split foundation; serum thinned the foundation out, doesn’t look good on the skin.

3. I mixed 2 pumps of the Maybelline foundation with one pump of the Kiehls’ serum.
Results: Foundation didn’t split, blended well with the serum. Again, the serum thinned the foundation out, reducing the amount of coverage.

4. I mixed 2 pumps of the Maybelline foundation with one tiny drop of the Josie Maran Argan Oil. I was expecting this to give me the worst results.
Results: Foundation didn’t split but it took a while for the product to blend. Foundation appears dewy on the skin. I didn’t notice any significant reduction in coverage compared to the rest.

Mixing Maybelline Superstay Better Skin Foundation With Paula's Choice Resist Hyaluronic Acid Booster

I tried all this with the Rimmel foundation and it gave me the same results as the Maybelline foundation. I didn’t just test this on the back of my hand; I applied this on my face as well. The one that looked and felt the best was surprisingly the ones mixed with the face oil. It made my skin look fresh and dewy and better yet, it didn’t even split nor fade, even after having it for a good number of hours.

Mixing Maybelline Superstay Better Skin Foundation With Josie Maran's Pure Argan Oil Light

My conclusion for the beauty experiment? Don’t bother mixing serum with foundation. The jelly-like serums like Estee Lauder’s ANR made the foundation worse. Even though I used very little of it (I added more for show in the pictures but in real life, I used even less), it thinned the foundation out and reduced the amount of coverage significantly. Even when I used a creamy serum, it gave me the same results. The ones mixed with the face oil rendered the best results but even so, I don’t think I’m going to continue with it.

By the way, just a bit of a side note here: y’know what they say about mixing a bit of moisturiser with a foundation that’s too dark for you to make the foundation lighter? That does not work, at least not with the foundations and moisturisers I’ve tried. All the moisturiser did was thin the foundation out, giving it much lower coverage. It doesn’t actually lighten the foundation.

Anyway, I’m much happier to stick to foundation that has already been formulated and manufactured with the added serum than adding it myself. The Estee Lauder Perfectionist Youth Infusing foundation is a firm favourite of mine. I much prefer to apply the serum on my skin in my skincare routine and have it separate from my makeup.

There you go, a little beauty experiment for you. Give it a go and let me know what you think. Doesn’t hurt to give it a go, and at least you’ll know that it doesn’t work and that it has satisfied your curiosity. Well, it certainly satisfied mine. 🙂

Have you tried mixing serum with foundation before? Did it work for you?

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23 comments… add one
  1. Hayley

    I haven’t tried mixing but I love these new foundations. I don’t really like the feel of cream on my skin especially jn summer but my skin is dry for powders so these are perfect. Bare minerals is my holy grail!

    1. Tine

      Have you tried this Bare Minerals liquid foundation or do you like the powder versions? Man, I used to be such a fan of mineral foundations. There was one time many years ago when mineral makeup started to be very popular and I tried many from different indie brands. Now I don’t even use them any more.

  2. Allison

    I wear serum all the time, but I don’t see any benefit in mixing it with my foundation or BB/CC. I just apply it first, let it dry and then put on my foundation. It doesn’t save that much time to mix them, and I don’t want to change the consistency of the foundation etc. Speaking of that, have you gotten your hands on the CoverFX Custom Cover Drops yet? I’ve been mixing those with different things and had differing results. I mixed the Drops with one of my daytime moisturizers that have SPF, and the resulting “tinted moisturizer” broke on my face after a couple of hours. But I have tried ’em with other foundations and BB/CC cream where the shade was slightly off and the Drops help the shade look better. Next, I’m going to try mixing them with serum, but I’m not sure why since I will still need moisturizer, but heck, why not.
    Allison recently posted..nspa Coconut Body Butter from UK’s #1 Day Spa, Nirvana SpaMy Profile

    1. Tine

      I haven’t! I still can’t decide what shade to choose from for the Cover FX Custom Cover Drops. Does it work well for you? Dammit now I really want to get one.

      1. Allison

        Can you live without it? Yes. But they are fun. I am a P20, but I’m probably pinker than you. I use the drops to “fix” foundation, concealer, BB/CC creams that are slightly off for me, and it does help. Also, I sometimes make tinted moisturizer with it, though with one of my moisturizers, it breaks after a couple of hours while it’s fine with others. Definitely fun to play with.
        Allison recently posted..Giveaway: StriVectin Repair & Protect Moisturizer SPF 30My Profile

        1. Tine

          I’m thinking I’m a G-something. Okay that’s it, I’m getting one this week. 😛

  3. Norlin

    Never tried to mix serum with foundation BUT I have tried mixing different tones of BB Creams to create the shade for myself. I think I’d rather NOT mix two different products together because I’m guessing the R & D departments of these brands have gone through rigorous testing to get the perfect mix. But, having said that it was interesting to see if that would’ve worked or not.
    Norlin recently posted..Health & Lifestyle: Putting Myself FirstMy Profile

    1. Tine

      I’m terrible; if the shade doesn’t work for me, then I stop using it. I know they say to mix foundations blah blah but I’m like, either you give me one that’s my shade or I move on. I don’t want to do extra work. 😛 😛 😛

  4. Robert C.

    Have actually tried mixing several different foundations with serums and oils before and I agree with your results haha, although I found that my Dior forever liquid actually does blend well with 1-2 drops of ANR/ Sunday Riley oil. I actually liked the lesser coverage that it gives since I always thin out my fuller coverage foundations for non-caked-up-face days. It’s also very interesting that the asian version of the EL Perfectionist foundation is “Futurist……” something. I wonder if they’re the same but different names haha. Anyways, what are thoughts on the PC hyaluronic booster? Is it an oil or more of a gel/liquid? Cause I have the renewal oil booster and wonder if I still need it ha.
    Robert C. recently posted..[review] Hourglass’ Veil Mineral Primer (Oil-free) spf15My Profile

    1. Tine

      Oooh there’s an Asian version of the EL Perfectionist foundation? Paris B mentioned that Malaysia’s EL isn’t bringing the Perfectionist foundation in. Perhaps it’s what you mentioned, they may have changed it to Futurist or something. I reckon they’re targeting a different market. Stuff like “tested for Asians, good for Asians, etc” sells better in Asia I suppose.

      The PC Hyaluronic Acid Booster is a gel, not an oil. It sort of reminds me of a very slightly thicker version of the Hada Labo lotion, y’know?

  5. Rosalind

    Nice to see some experiments in the beauty department 🙂 Oh, I watched quite a few YouTubers and I have heard them mention “Cover FX” which is supposed to be like a liquid pigment, and it can be added into foundations/concealers/tinted moisturisers to increase the coverage or even into serum/creams to make like a custom blend foundation. They seems to rave about it, maybe next time if you do come across it, you can experiment with it and might work better. ^-^ I generally just add moisturiser/cream to my foundation because I have super dry skin and the foundations accentuates the flakiness and dryness, I am not so concerned about coverage so I guess it still works if coverage is not the main concern. 🙂

    1. Tine

      Hahah not a very science-y experiment, just something done for fun. 😛
      I’m getting the Cover FX Custom Drops soon. That’s meant to actually be mixed with serum/moisturiser/foundation. This will be interesting.
      Ahh glad it works for you. Yeah like you said, if coverage is not a main concern for you, then mix away!

      1. Rosalind

        Definitely looking forward for the review on the Cover FX Custom Drops!! 🙂 And if you say its good too, my wallet might need to suffer a bit :p

  6. Beauty Box

    What a fun experiment! Good to know that serums really don’t blend well with foundations. I have found that my makeup looks great when I use an oil-based serum during winter. Though I must say I’m def a fan of the latest trend of serum foundations — totally up my alley and skin type.
    Beauty Box recently posted..Mega UpdateMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Creamy, lotion-y serums blend all right with foundations. The ones that are gel-like like Estee Lauder’s ANR will make the foundation split. I love serum foundations too, as long as I don’t have to DIY them. 😛

  7. Kat Ness

    That’s a very interesting experiment!! I’ve only mixed different foundations together to change the shade but haven’t mixed with skincare products.
    Kat Ness recently posted..Priceline Skincare Goodie Bag 2015My Profile

    1. Tine

      Hahah I was bored. 😛 Good to know that it doesn’t really work!

  8. Kate

    I actually mixed concealer with my moisturizer to get tinted moisturizer once when I didn’t have any powder or foundation with me and I had to go out last minute. There’s sufficient coverage to even out my skin color and dark eye rings and the lasting power is pretty good for a night out.
    Another thing I tried was to mix face oil with moisturizer to use in the day when I’m working in air conditioned room, it helps to protect my skin from getting dry from the air condition. And my skin feels velvet from the oil+moisturizer combination.

    1. Tine

      Ahhh concealer should work even better! Okay I’m going to experiment with that next!

      Oh yeah, mixing face oil with moisturiser definitely amps the moisturiser up with hydration. Great to combat the dry air from the AC. 🙂

  9. MEL

    This was really interesting to read! More “sciencey”/experiment blog posts would be much welcome! 😉

    I’ll be avoiding mixing the two for sure, those results weren’t too good.

    MEL recently posted..Why I Needed A Blogging BreakMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Hahahahahah you know that this is so UN-science-y, right? 😛 😛 😛

      1. Mel

        Hahaha, yeah I know, but I like the fact it’s experimenty! Something new! Trying to work out something new for yourself! I think it’s cool anyway 😛
        Mel recently posted..Why I Needed A Blogging BreakMy Profile

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