What Does Oxidize Mean in Makeup?

Published Categorized as Makeup Tips

Have you noticed that your foundation seems to darken after you’ve been wearing it for a while? Have you heard the term oxidize but aren’t quite sure what it means and whether it is the reason behind your foundation darkening or looking orangey in color? “What does oxidize mean in makeup” is a question we get asked a lot. Today, we’re going to take a look at what oxidation is and what you can do to make sure it doesn’t ruin your look.

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Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Liquid Foundation Makeup, Classic Ivory, 1 fl. oz. Oil-Free Foundation

What Does Foundation Oxidize Mean?

If you’ve ever cut into an apple and left it out on the counter, you probably already have an idea of the definition of oxidation.  Oxidation is a chemical reaction in which a molecule combines with oxygen and loses an electron.  With the example of the apple, this causes the apple’s flesh to turn brown.

Oxidation with foundation can cause your foundation to look darker or turn orangey in color a while after you’ve applied it.  Individuals with oily skin are more likely to deal with the foundation oxidizing than those with other skin types.  This is because the pigments found in the foundation react to the oils in the skin, which cause them to darken.

How Do I Stop My Foundation From Oxidizing?

There are a few different things you can try to reduce oxidation in your foundation.  They include:

How Do You Know if Your Foundation Is Oxidized?

If your foundation appears darker or orange in color after you’ve been wearing it for a while, it probably means that it has oxidized.  This can be more common for those with oily skin, too.

Which Foundations Do Not Oxidize?

If you have oily or combination skin, you’re most likely to deal with your foundation oxidizing.  Choosing an oil-free foundation can make oxidation less likely.  Ultimately, finding the right foundation for your skin may require a bit of trial and error.  Here are a few foundations you may want to try:

How to Fix Oxidized Foundation

Once your foundation has oxidized on your face, you won’t be able to undo it.  However, to prevent it from oxidizing the next time you apply it, be sure to apply primer first.  Primer can form a barrier between your skin and the foundation, which can limit the ability of the oils from your skin to mix with the pigments in the foundation to cause it to oxidize.  If you’re using an oily moisturizer, consider trying an oil-free version to help as well.

How to Prevent Oxidation of Foundation

Here is a summary of the tips we shared above that may help prevent oxidation of your foundation:

  • Use primer
  • Try a pH balancing toner
  • Use an oil-free moisturizer
  • Try a powdered foundation that is slightly lighter than your skin tone so that it will match better once it darkens from oxidation

Also, keep in mind that in some cases foundation may oxidize in the bottle after being opened for six months to a year.  This is one of the many reasons to store your makeup properly and replace cream or liquid foundations after they’ve been opened for a year.


Is it good for foundation to oxidize?

While you may not like the way oxidation darkens your foundation, it is a harmless chemical reaction.  Your foundation is still safe to wear.

Does powder foundation oxidize?

Yes, powder foundation can oxidize too.  Try choosing a powdered foundation that is a bit lighter than you want it to be so when oxidation darkens the color it is a better match for your skin.

Does concealer oxidize?

No, based on available information, it does not look like concealer oxidizes.

What Does Oxidize Mean in Makeup: Conclusion

If you’ve ever dealt with your foundation oxidizing, you know it isn’t any fun.  Hopefully now you know a little more about why foundation may oxidize and what you can do to prevent your foundation from oxidizing and ruining your look.

For more foundation tips, check out these related posts on our blog:

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