Why Does My Foundation Turn Orange On Me?

foundation oxidises

The search for a foundation that matches our skin tone can be a real challenge. And sometimes, when we think we have found the perfect match, suddenly, it turns orange on us! Why does that happen?

Why does foundation oxidizes?

When a foundation oxidizes, it turns orange, or one or two shades darker, on your skin. The oils on your skin or those present in the product can affect the pigments of the foundation, intensifying their color. This is why people with oilier skin are more prone to experience a change in the color of their foundation.

How to prevent foundation from oxidizing?

The only way to know if a foundation won’t oxidise on you is to try it before buying. Ask for samples or test it at the counter and then go for a walk. Wait one or two hours and if the foundation hasn’t changed color, go back to the store and buy it. If, instead, the foundation has turned darker, try testing a lighter shade and see if once oxidised, it matches your skintone.
I also read on some forums that using a primer may help. That makes sense because primers create a barrier on the skin so that your sebum won’t react with the foundation. But from what I heard, this method doesn’t work for everyone. Still, it’s worth a shot.

Has this ever happened to you? And have you got any tips to prevent your foundation from oxidizing?

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  1. says

    Oh god, Gio, I was drinking Pepsi while your site loaded and that picture made me laugh so much I splurted it down my nose. Damn you, that’s so uncomfortable.

    This is why I always tell people to never, ever buy foundation the first time they try it. Try it on your jawline (near the ear), and leave the store. Go home, walk around, whatever, leave it a couple of hours. See how it looks outside, in store windows, in your bathroom, etc.

    Every single time someone colour matches me, I go “you might as well just go for the lightest shade” and they squint and hum and say “Oh, no, I think you’re a—” and then they try something, and frown, and huff, and concede and say “Oh, wow, yes that’s far too dark”.

    Can’t trust anyone’s opinion but your own!
    .-= Anastasia´s last blog ..Lime Crime: So Ordinary It Should Be Illegal. =-.

  2. beautifulwithbrains says

    Nikki: thanks. Oh, that’s too bad! I’m sorry you had to redo everything. :( Unfortunately foundations are tricky, you never know how they will react on the skin.

    Dao: I think trying it on before buying and see if the color changes is the best option. But if you already have a foundation that oxidizes, using a primer with it is worth a shot.

    prettybeautiful: that’s a shame! But at least if you try them before you buy, you’re sure to pick a foundation that works for you and won’t be wasting any money.

    Anastasia: oops, sorry Ana! lol. You’re so right! Always try the foundation on for a few hours before buying it, you never know how it’s gonna react once it is on your skin. A shade may be the perfect match as soon as you try it on and make you look like an orange half an hour later!
    That’s happens to me too, it’s so annoying! We know better than them what suits us!

    Fabulessbeauty: I agree and it’s very annoying!

  3. says

    I use a foundation primer before applying foundation and that helps heaps! I’ve also come to notice that water based foundations tend to oxidize faster compared to oil-based. When foundation oxidizes on me it turns grey and ashy >.<
    .-= Connie´s last blog ..It Feels Like Christmas! =-.

  4. emily says

    I am a makeup artist and have noticed foundations turning gray on certain clients. Especially African Americans or women who hit the tanning beds WAY TOO MUCH. How do I fix this????

  5. beautifulwithbrains says

    Emily, do you mean grey in pictures or in real life? Because certain foundations contain pigments that reflect light a lot and they can make you look grey/white in pictures or if you go out at night with all those artifical lights, especially if your skin is very dark. If that’s the problem, then I’m afraid your only option is to use a foundation that doesn’t reflect light so much. Hope this helps.

  6. johhny says

    hmmm i spend way too much on makeup… and my my foundation always turn orange on me no matter what primer i use grrrr . i hate my freaking skin its disgusting 2 look at! i have very oily acne prone scar skin ; ( FML !!! … i might try using a lighter foundation and see when it oxidize it might macth my skin tone … but im not looking fowward 2 forking out more money again. Gosh i hate my skin so much right now !!!!

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Johhny, that’s too bad that you always have this problem even with primer. I think a lighter foundation is definitely the way to go as it would match you when oxidized. But maybe you can try asking for samples first so you can try it at home and see if it matches yuo without wasting more money on something that may not work.

  7. glitter says

    I agree most counter makeup assistants do not know what their talking about when they try and match up your foundation colour, they just assume every one is dark! I tried jane iredale mineral pressed powder in warm sienna and it was way too dark for my skin tone.

    But the most strangest thing was that after washing it offafter a dew hours it left a hue of colour of my skin. I tried washing it off several times but it is llike my skin has literally absorbed the colour and now it wont shift. My bare face colour looks as if i have i have a fake tan on which looks un natural. This may sound unusual but this mineral makeup has left a stain of colour on my skin.
    Does anyone know if mineral makeup oxidizes and react to skin making it look darker even after you’ve washed it off ?

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Glitter, SA always try to make me buy shades that are too dark for me too. The last time I went to my local beauty store, I asked the SA for help to find a foundation that matches my very pale skin and she wanted to make me try some from L’Oreal or Revlon which, at least here in Italy, don’t sell shades pale enough for me. She insisted on trying them on my anyway and the palest color was 3 or 4 shades darker than me! What was she thinking?!

      I’m sorry you had such a bad experience with that foundation. I know mineral makeup can oxidize and turn darker but I never heard that can happen after it is removed. Have you tried exfoliating your face? That would get rid of the dead cells on the surface and make the color fade, at least a little.

  8. Glitter says

    Its been day 7 now and my face colour has cleared up. I have been using gentle micro dermabrasion everyday since that strange incident with the dark foundation. Its much better now thanks.

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Glitter, I’m glad to hear that your face color is back to normal now. That must have been a weird, horrible experience.

  9. alexa says

    I am Asian and have a brown skin (you know some asians are white kkk) … I wanna try maybelline mineralize products. what shade is good for me? thank you.

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Alexa, unfortunately I’m afraid I can’t help you there. We all have different skintones with different undertones and the same foundation may not oxidize on anyone so the best thing to do is try a tester and see which shade suits you best. Remember to see how the color looks under natural lighting and if you think the shade is a good match, wait a couple of hours to see if it has oxidizes (turned durker) before buying the full size. Hope this helps.

  10. Macbarbie03 says

    Hi, i have this problem all the time too! No matter what i do, it doesnt work. Ive tried going lighter but then i just look super pale! But i did find a way to make it work! I just use a concealer stick to cover up any blemishes( essence cover stick) and then use a loose powder( cover girl) and i havent had problems with it yet! Ive use this for about 3 days now. This might not work for everyone, and my personal advice is that some times if you turn orange, its because its not blended well enough! Also, the brand might not be good. Alot of drugstore ones dont work. Haha. But yeah
    Xoxo beth

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Macbarbie03, I’m glad you’ve found something that works well for you and thank you for sharing it. I’m sure other people will find it useful too.

  11. Liz says

    Hi! please help me, my foundation turns grey and pale on me, in the natural light and when I take photografies whit flash. It´s revlon colorstay whipped, I have latina skin, like natural tan.

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Liz, it sounds like your foundation contains a high amount of Titanium Dioxide, a sunscreen ingredient that reflects light, thus causing the white/pale cast. Unfortunately there’s nothing you can do except change foundation.

  12. Alex says

    I have a fairly pale skin tone 110 cover girl. I have recently begun to change to maybeline dream matte because I can’t get cover girl In my area. My advanced radiance 110 cover girl liquid mousse foundation and compact powder never turns orange but the new maybeline mousse nude light 4 makes me look like a orange about 10 minutes later which is usually when I’m at school. What can I do??? I only have chemists in my area and I can’t afford to spend heaps of money. Another thing is even garnier bb cream light sometimes turns orange. Help?

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Alex, I’m sorry to hear about your problem. Have you tried using a face primer? They create a base on the skin that prevents the makeup from coming in contact with the oils on its surface, and there are good ones at all price points. An alternative would be to try a shade lighter of your foundation and see if, when it becomes darker, it matches your skintone well. Hope this helps.

  13. Somasam says

    Hello, i have a t zone problem my skin gets very oily specially on the nose and forehead i hve tried many foundation now i use avon liquid and thn apply mac studio fix powder but it still gets oily. I hve used sephora primer but once i apply the primer the face is so dry forthe time being that its hard to put the foundation it clots at one place. Also i hve tried lighter shades but than it makes myface lookssoo caky. I don’tknow whatto do please help me i can find a good foundation thatglows my skin, isnt too dark. I like to look lighter but nottht much tht it looks caky.

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Somason, have you tried Clarins Truly Matte Foundation SPF 15? It’s a great option for those with oily skin. I’d also recommend you use a primer, such as Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer, underneath. It’s expensive, but it contains oil absorbing ingredients.

      I’m not sure if you already are, but if not, I’d recommend you also use a leave-in product with either salicylic acid or retinoids, which will help reduce oil production.

      • Somasam says

        Thank you so much for all your help, I am definitely going to try and see how it works on my skin and what do you mean by leave in product??? Can you tell me some and what are they??

        • beautifulwithbrains says

          I mean a product that stays on the skin for hours, like a moisturizer or serum. These ingredients won’t be able to do much when used in a cleanser as you’ll be removing them within minutes.

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