Oxidized Foundation (Why Does Foundation Turn Orange?)

Oxidized Foundation (Why Does Foundation Turn Orange?)

Have you found what you thought was the perfect shade of foundation, only to realize it turned a deeper, orange color hours after applying it? What causes this to happen, and how you can avoid it, may surprise you.

Why Foundation Turns Orange

The primary culprit for a foundation changing color is the interaction between the oils on your skin and the pigments in your foundation. For example, a foundation with subtle peach undertones can intensify into an orange-ish hue as the oil your skin produces saturates the foundation—something that can happen within 1 to 3 hours after you apply foundation, although for some it won’t happen until the end of the day.

The same cause-and-effect scenario can occur with face powders whose subtle pigments seem to deepen as they combine with the oils on your face.

How to Prevent Foundation from Turning Orange

Before applying makeup, make sure you start with clean skin. If you have oily/combination skin, opt for an oil-reducing cleanser; if you have dry skin, a lightly hydrating cleanser will do the trick, without leaving your skin feeling tight or dry.

If you have oily skin, prime it with a mattifying primer  to create an absorbent barrier that inhibits the oil from interfering with your foundation.

Another thing to consider: It may be that the oils in your moisturizer are mixing with your foundation and intensifying the color and undertones. Switching your daytime moisturizer to a lightweight daytime moisturizer could possibly help.

What About Oxidized Foundation?

You may have heard someone use the term “oxidized foundation” to describe a foundation that changes color during wear, but true oxidation actually doesn’t occur that quickly.

However, oxidation can occur in the bottle over the long term (about 6 months to a year after opening). If you loved your foundation in the beginning, but eventually the color stopped looking natural, there’s a good chance oxidation may be to blame. (All the more reason to treat yourself to a new one!) As a general rule, any liquid or cream foundation should be used up or discarded within a year of opening.

How to Find a Foundation that Doesn’t Oxidize

Your best bet for avoiding oxidation is to select a foundation that is stabilized with antioxidants and comes in air- and light-restrictive packaging to protect the makeup’s stability. As an extra precaution, if the packaging is clear glass or plastic, store it in a dark place to protect the contents from hours of exposure to natural light.

If you need more help finding the best type of foundation for your skin, check out our article here. And see our article on when to toss out beauty products for more info on how often you should replace your skincare and makeup.

Learn more about makeup.

Reference for this information:
Dermatologic Clinics, October 2000, pages 617–620

About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books about skincare and makeup. She is known worldwide as The Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare. Paula’s expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international radio, print, and television including:

The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and providing expert advice that solves your skincare frustrations so you can have the best skin of your life!