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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Oompa Loompa Dilemma - On Foundations and Oxidation

You finally got the foundation you've been lemming for the longest time. You thought you have finally found your Holy Grail - your makeup looks flawless, foundation feels like second skin, it provides the coverage you desire, it looks natural and not too made up. After a couple of hours, oops! Wait, it has only been half an hour. You caught a glimpse of yourself on the mirror and to your horror, your foundation has oxidized and turned orange on you. And you realize that you look like a character from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Oompa Loompa! I have read a few articles earlier as to why some foundations oxidize and turn dark or orange on people and what can be done to prevent it. I decided to share what I learned on those articles and that is what you'll see on the rest of this post.

What does it mean when a foundation oxidizes?
- When your foundation looks like a perfect match, both skin tone and undertone-wise, upon application and it turns darker or worse, orange, after a few minutes or hours, it means that your foundation has oxidized. It happens when an oxidative agent interacts with another component or substance, thereby removing electrons from it which then leads to a change in color.

Does it happen to all foundations?
- It is hard to tell if oxidation happens to all foundations. Some people claim that a certain foundation oxidizes on them but there are some who do not experience that with the same exact product. But it does happen to any type - liquid, cream, powder, mineral/loose. Although it happens to liquid or cream foundations more often that it does on powder. And it also happens to BB creams.

How about for all brands?
- Each foundation is made up of different components regardless of the brand. Although some brands are notorious when it comes to this issue, the brand name does not guarantee that it won't happen, whether or not it is a high end or a drugstore brand.

Does my skin type have anything to do with my foundation oxidizing?
- While there are no scientific findings at the moment, there is a huge probability that one's skin type has something to do with foundations oxidizing. It commonly happens to those who have combination-oily and oily skin as oils are oxidative substance though there are rare occasions when those with normal-dry skin experience the same thing.

What causes foundations to oxidize:
- There is no single cause that can be considered as the culprit. It varies depending on the person wearing the foundation. But here are the most common reasons why people experience such:

     1. The skin's PH level or acidity - if you're acidic or if it is high, chances are you will experience such a reaction.
     2. How one's body chemistry + sebum reacts to components of the foundation. Same with perfumes - certain scent may smell heavenly on someone but smells pungent on you.
     3. If skin isn't properly moisturized or hydrated enough, the oil glands work double time to produce oils which can cause foundations to oxidize.
     4. Climate and temperature - some foundations are designed to withstand humidity no matter how insane it is and there are those that are suited for cooler climates. The oxygen in the air is another possible cause.
     5. Products applied on the skin before the foundation - sunblocks, toners, moisturizers, primers. Some components of your skin care products may react to a certain component of your foundation and vice versa.
     6. Using a shade that does not match your skin's undertone - using a pink-toned foundation when you have yellow undertones. Same goes with using a shade too yellow when you have pink undertones which make you look sick with hepatitis.
     7. Using makeup that is already on its death bed. The makeup composition changes when it's already expired so make sure that you are not using something that is way beyond its shelf life especially those in liquid/cream form. But I know that a lot of us do not follow the indicated or the "standard" shelf life and keep using them until they no longer look, smell, and feel right. When that happens, throw it in the bin right away. Not only will it oxidize, it might also harm your skin.
     8. A certain component of the foundation could also very well be the cause of such a reaction. Whatever that is, I have no idea.

How do I know if a foundation will oxidize on me?
- There is absolutely no other way to tell if a foundation will oxidize on you or not except when it already happens. If it does not oxidize on someone, that is no guarantee that it won't happen to you since each people have different skin types and PH level. The best that you can do is apply the foundation directly on your face and not anywhere else as the skin and "oiliness" and "acidity" on your face is different from those on your inner arm or back of your hand. Aside from learning if it will oxidize on you or not, it might also help you know if this product causes allergic reactions or not. Serves a double purpose. ;)

What can you do to keep your foundation from oxidizing?
- Before even buying, be absobloodylutely certain that the foundation matches your skin tone and undertone and that you have already tested it. But if you bought something on impulse without having tried it yet and later on find out that it makes you look like and Oompa Loompa (or perhaps The Annoying Orange), then you can only do so much to keep it from oxidizing. But here are a few of the things you can do to prevent this:

     1. Use a primer - it will serve as a barrier between the skin and the foundation, thus, preventing the sebum from interacting with the foundation. Most recommend using a silicone-based primer. But this trick does not work for everyone.
     2. Keep your skin hydrated and moisturized - if your skin is normal and balanced, only the right amount of oil will be produced and that means less oilies will say hello to your foundation.
     3. If you're using different skin care products, experiment. Try using a different moisturizer/sunblock/toner when you plan to use the foundation that oxidizes on you. You may find something that does not have that certain component that reacts with the foundation and it will thereby work for you.
     4. If you really love the foundation save for its oxidation, you can settle for a shade or two lighter. The moment it oxidizes, there is a big chance that it will finally match.
     5. If you want to use up the foundation that changes its color on you, you can use a lighter shade of powder foundation or pressed powder to set it.
     6. As shared by K - She is highly acidic and had her share of Oompa Loompa days so when she changed her diet and lifestyle, it helped. It could also work to those who are acidic - you'll never know until you try it.
     7. If you already have oily skin, you may want to steer clear of oil-based foundations as it could be a problem too.

That pretty much sums up everything I found out but I will update this entry when I read about something new. I hope this post helps.

Happy rainy Tuesday, everyone. :)

P.S. I know that this is the second time I have put off my Becca Boudoir Mineral Powder Foundation review but I will definitely be reviewing it on my next post.


  1. I have super dry skin so oxidation is not a problem. That said, I always prime!

  2. i have super super oily skin, and i find that it really depends on the brand whether i oxidize or not, and also how long it takes before it oxidizes.

  3. whew that was long! but really worth reading. awesome post sis!

  4. I'm doing a project on this.

    I'm listing down all foundations na reviewed as sobrang nag-ooxidize (like Palladio).

    I find it weird na even if I have super oily and super acidic skin (can't even wear fake jewelry) not all makeup oxidizes on me.

  5. @Jamilla Camel That's so lucky of you! I just find myself lucky when I encounter foundations that does not oxidize on me (I have combi skin + I am acidic).

  6. @Crystal Great, at least you already know which brands work for you. :)

  7. @Hollie Yeah, I tried to make it shorter but that's the shortest it can get. At least for me. Haha! I tend to "talk" a lot. :P

  8. @Rae I think what you're doing is important for present and future references. Really, Palladio oxidizes like there's no tomorrow? :D

    Me too, I have combi-oily + I am acidic but not all makeup oxidizes on me either.

  9. I have dry skin and I'm acidic, and unfortunately every foundation I have oxidizes on me. =.=

  10. great informative post :D! most foundations oxidizes on me too T__T. oily rin kasi yung mukha ko eh :/

  11. @Bubbly Mochi Thanks for sharing. So having dry skin gives no assurance that foundies won't oxidize as there are other factors. I learned something. :)

  12. @Donna Thank you. It sucks when that happens no? Especially if the foundation isn't really inexpensive at all. But overall sucks pa din. :-\ Have you tried using primers?

  13. Thanks for this sis. I have super oily skin that's i am having a hard time to look for a good foundation. hay...

  14. thanks for this wonderful post pammycakes! :) i have used foundations that oxidizes on me too although i have found some which don't hehehe. :D

  15. Wow, good to know as I rarely wear foundations! Thanks for sharing!

  16. such an in-depth post! Great job! I do agree, my base makeup oxidize a little when it's a little drier. Great pointers - thank you!!

  17. This is a great post pammy! I had my case of oompa loompa days :)
    Im highly acidic and what helped me a lot is a change in diet and lifestyle

  18. thank you for posting this Pammytweet! I experienced this most of the time and dang it's so annoying! Sometimes i hate to use foundations lighter than me especially when I'm in a hurry and just don't want a lighter face... but argh! I think I just need to rather than turns sooooooooo dark afterwards. :P

  19. Nice post Funny photo natawa ako sa super orange faced photo :)

    Agree on all you've written, it really boils down to "testing" the product talaga, sometimes its difficult just to "mark" the product as notorious in oxidizing as it works differently to different individuals :)

  20. Great post! :D sometimes I have problems with oxidation, especially cos I love wearing liquid foundations and bb creams. :) thanks for the super informative post ^^

  21. @Sweethestia I'm thinking maybe you can try using oil-free foundations? Or probably use a primer. One foundation I can recommend that is good for oily skin and does not oxidize (at least on me and a few others I know) is Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay in Place Makeup. Finding a shade match is quite tricky though.

  22. @sugar sugar Me too! Such a bummer when you invested on a foundation but turns out it oxidizes on you. But glad we've found those that doesn't do that. :)

  23. @G A B Y I think you already have great skin even without foundation. Lucky you. :)

  24. @Nic Nic I notice that too so a good moisturizer is definitely a must. Thank you. :)

  25. @K Thanks for sharing, K. I hope you don't mind that I added this on the what can be done to keep foundies from oxidizing part. I should try that too since I am also acidic. :)

  26. @ur_prettyprinces Me too but it only takes a few minutes for some foundies to oxidize on me so even though I'm in a hurry, I don't look like a ghost the moment I step out of the house. :P But I completely agree that it's better than use something that turns really dark on you after a while.

  27. @Askmewhats I was deciding between the Oompa Loompa or the Annoying Orange but I thought the former is better since it's a human's face. :D

    Yup, I agree. Nothing beats testing out a product first. But there are some that do not oxidize at the start but give it a few months and it will start doing that. Sucks.

  28. @Michelle Me too. Thank you and I hope this post helps. :)

  29. i've got issues with visible pores so i prime with bb creams then either use a mineral foundation or liquid foundation on top ;-)

  30. Hey, thanks for the comment ^^ hope you like it, I personally prefer the Signature M over the Vita Matte :)

  31. i'm not expert on foundie.. this post is definitely a big help for us!
    super absorbed!
    thanks for sharing pammycakes! muah!

  32. Thnks.. my make up artist for my wedding should have read this

  33. This will definitely be on my must-read articles sa sidebar ko. :D

  34. Helpful, helpful post! Will absobloodylutely bookmark this oompaloompah feature :D

  35. @Marge Doesn't it feel heavy? But if it does the job for your pores and is incredible at it, then yay! :P

  36. @Michelle I broke out with the Signature M though I thought that the coverage was nice and all. I hope to find a trial of the Vita Matte so I get to try it before deciding if I should purchase a tube or not. :)

  37. @Diane I'm glad that this post helps. I like super absorbed, hehe. Thank you, sweetie. :)

  38. @saltvinegar Uh oh. Sounds like something went wrong with your wedding makeup? I hope not. :(

  39. @Janinay Dear, thank you for adding this post on your sidebar. I really appreciate it. :)

  40. @herroyalbleakness Hehe. I giggled when I saw absobloodylutely! Been using that word for more than 5 years now. :P

    See you, Jem, Crystal, Gale, and Donna soon. Hopefully, we can make a schedule on September as Meann (Mere Makeup Maniac) will be here in Manila. :)

  41. thank goodness i've not met a foundation that makes my skin look orangey after a while, whew! hehe. but i've used some that does darken after a while and it is irritating when that happens. i know i should use a primer but haven't found any that doesn't make my already oily skin oilier. have any great recos? :)

    very thorough review sis, am just wowed by it! don't think i can do such comprehensive post lol. kudos!

  42. @MereMakeupManiac Thank you. :) Lucky you've never had an orange day.

    Re: primers - I don't use primers and rely on water-based moisturizers since they work as a make up base. But I have tried a few - Smashbox Photo Finish, Korres Vitamin E, Laura Mercier Foundation Primer but didn't like any of them so I'm sticking to moisturizers. :D


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