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Why does foundation make my face photograph white?

Karina’s question… Could you please tell me what the ingredient is in foundation that makes your face look much whiter in photos?!?! Is it just one ingredient, or a combination? Could you recommend any brands which don’t do this? Thanks.

The Right Brain’s response:

Karina, we’ve never heard of this problem before but we can make an educated guess about what’s happening.

Flashback from sunblock

One common ingredient in foundations is titanium dioxide. It’s very opaque and so it’s good at concealing skin flaws. But it’s also good at scattering light rays. In fact, it’s used as a sunblock for this very reason. (For example, Neutrogena Healthy Skin Liquid Make up contains 2% titanium dioxide.)

So, our guess is that the brand you’re using has more titanium dioxide that’s reflecting a lot of white light which shows up in your photographs. Of course, it’s also possible that talc or one of the other white powders in the formula could be causing the problem too. There’s no way to be sure without testing.

The Beauty Brain’s bottom line:

If our guess is right you could try looking for foundations that do NOT have titanium dioxide on the ingredient list. We can’t recommend any specific brands, but you can check the ingredients on Drugstore.com.

Has your foundation ever made your face look too white? Leave a comment and share your experience with the rest of the Beauty Brains community.

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{ 1 comment… add one }

  • Julia March 13, 2014, 12:07 pm

    I have ALWAYS had this problem…and I ALWAYS use moisturizer or foundation with SPF! I have a headshot shoot coming up, so will try something without the Titanium Dioxide and see if that works better. Thanks for this post.

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