Weekly Q&A: How To Prevent Your Foundation From Oxidizing

Question: My foundation tends to turn orange by mid-day. Why does this happen and what can I do to prevent it?

Answer: The “orange-face” phenomenon you are referring to is known as oxidization. It happens when the oils in your skin or foundation is interfering with the pigments, causing the color to intensify and turn orange, or in some cases, a shade or two darker.

I too have fallen victim to oxidization before, especially with MAC foundations. So what can you to prevent this? Read on!

* Use a primer. Primers can act as a barrier between your skin and the makeup, making it less likely for the oils to interfere with your makeup.

* Always moisturize, even if you have oily skin. When your skin is dehydrated, it tends to secrete more oils. Just make sure you use an oil-free moisturizer.

  • When choosing foundations, stick with oil-free formulas.

    * Try out the foundation before buying to minimize any unpleasant surprises.

    Have you ever experienced oxidization? Tell us your experience and your tips on how to prevent it!

  • Phyllis Li is the Founder and Editor-in-chief of Makeup For Life, one of the top 50 beauty blogs that focuses on celebrity makeup breakdowns, product reviews, makeup tutorials and all things beauty. Having lived and traveled in North America, Europe and Asia, she was exposed to different techniques and products at an early age and hopes to put a global perspective towards beauty. Phyllis won the Best Content Award by Total Beauty in 2008 and has been featured in various publications and websites including ELLE, Glamour.com, Yahoo Shine!, AOL Stylelist, Nylon Korea, VOGUE China, Ming Pao Daily (Canada) and Shanghai Weekly. In 2010, she was appointed one of the nine Real Women Ambassadors in the United States to take part in the Latisse® Wishes Challenge, working with Hollywood celebrity Kathy Ireland and raised over $400,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation to grant wishes for approximately 54 children. In 2012, she teamed up with luxury skincare brand TATCHA and released a limited-edition 3-Piece Set of her favorite beauty products. Phyllis currently lives in Chicago, US. She is the beauty editor for Shanghai Daily's StyleHai Magazine and a member of the Glam Beauty Network.

    19 COMMENTS

    1. Oxidation is probably my makeup pet peeve. I had this problem with MUFE’s mat+velvet as well as some other brands. =( I’ve found that Japanese primers worked the best on my skin to prevent the orange effect.

      Thanks for the tip. I should really try out samples first before diving in.

    2. ooh, thanks for this post! MAC foundations/concealers tend to oxidize a little bit on me (thankfully, not an awful amount) but I didn’t think to use a primer. Will try this out next time :)

    3. I have experienced this with a MAC foundation too!

      I have a questions as well: Are there any cool-toned brownish eyeshadows from MAC? I find so many to be way too warm for me and that makes me look tired! Everrytime I go to MAC the makeup artists give me “All that Glitters” which turns orange/red on my lids and makes me look so tired. Any alternatives for a 2-3 shadows combination?

      • Try naked lunch [replace all that glitters], cork, grain, quarry, haux, make sure you are priming your eye first… try paint pots in painterly. your eye shadows shouldnt really be changing like that.

    4. I only wear powder foundations and they turn a little darker so I always buy foundations one shade up the one that matches me.

    5. Are there any products that create this effect? I’ve noticed that using different products with my mac foundation have turned me into an oompa loompa!

      • It’s hard to say what product would cause this since everyone react differently to different products (it’s a chemical thing). If you noticed certain products tend to make your MAC foundation oxidize, you should just stop using them together.

    6. hej
      i need help : after using the MAC liquid foundation i experience some iching on my face … what can i do to prevent that

    7. Most foundations oxidise badly on me which is a super pain as I am very fair and need the color to stay light and not orang! The worst I found were Mac foundations and blushers, Maybelline foundations, and Everyday Minerals Foundations and Blushers (their pale shimmer powders were good though).

      Here is a website by a blog called “The Imaginarium of Makeup” that helped me avoid foundations that oxidise for fair skin. The girl has gone to alot of trouble to swatch heaps of foundations side by side on her arm and leave them to oxidise or not: http://theimaginariumofmakeup.blogspot.co.nz/2009/09/foundation-swatchesundertonesoxidation.html

      • Ashleigh, Thank you for including the link in your comment. It has given me some new foundations to go look for and try. I get very orange around my chin when trying most makeup on and one of the worst was Clinque and she listed that as moderate to high oxidation. So at least I feel like I am not the only one with this problem. Thanks again.

    8. ThankYou 4 the answer i will try those methods i heard mac was fab so i will defo get some and the last question i asked about the tan with foundation i asked as i have tried fake tan (st moriz) and it was actually quite good for my pale skin but when i tried it on my face it looked like mud :/ i think it was to dry to glide evenly on my face its really frustrating as my face looks really pale yet my body looked darker i tried 2 darker foundations to create a darker face but it looks terrible and i got the way to dark ones im very self concious with my pale skin i dont wear summer clothes in summer because of this issue and im 22 years old and covering up :( i i used to use sunbeds but they are way to dangerous also wanted to ask another quetion what is the best primer for face and eye as my foundation does come of after a while not nice when your out and it starts looking like poo lol my face is also oily im trying to sort this out as it brings me out in spots and my pores look very large i try not to where make-up all the time as im not sure if it ruins your skin or if theres anything to protect my face while wearing make-up thanks for replying please email me back :)

    9. i googled a long time ago and found a mineral makeup that doesn’t contain the stuff that reacts with my skin to turn it orange. i don’t remember which ingredient it was, but i still use the mineral powder from bisous.

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