Why does my foundation change colour when I step outside?

Q. Why does my foundation change colour when I step outside? I don't think it's oxidising because it looks fine indoors. It doesn't matter which brand I try, my makeup always looks orange or pink. I have been colour matched at several counters, please help me to stop wasting my money. - Madison

Beauticate loves this image of Miranda Kerr by Alasdair McLellan 

Beauticate loves this image of Miranda Kerr by Alasdair McLellan 


A. A perfectly matched foundation is the beauty holy grail; highly sought after, impossibly difficult to find, but life changing when you do. If you’re struggling to find the right shade (in all light) here are a few ways to narrow down the search so you can meet the one.


Firstly, you’re right, it sounds as if oxidisation isn’t the issue, but just to be sure, check your foundation has no SPF (sunscreens mixing with oils are a huge culprit), use a mattifying primer to nix oil over-production and dust a translucent powder over the top.

Do Your Research:

It’s secret beauty knowledge that some brands contain more yellow/beige-based shades than others, eliminating any pinkish tones. A general rule is to try something European (a French brand, maybe?) where everyone has a year-round golden olive glow (damn them). From experience, we’ve found that L’Oreal, NARS, MAC, and Bourjois do some lovely yellow shades – without so much as a hint of pink or orange.

Sample Anything And Everything:

Okay, this is where it is so easy to go wrong. If there are a few brands you’ve picked out to try, head to the nearest counter and ask to be colour matched, and then have it applied all over your face (not just in an isolated spot on your face, or hand). Be sure to specify that you want a beige/yellow base (or express concerns over pick/orange tones). Wear it for the day and test in every light, especially natural. If it’s going to oxidise or appear pink/orange, you’ll know before the day is over. Try this at a few different beauty counters until you’re satisfied. If you’re still apprehensive, ask for a take-home sample you can use for a few days (most beauty counters offer this).

Revel In Your Perfectly Matched Foundation

By this stage, you’re sure to have found something that matches. When you’re applying at home, try and do so in natural light. Also have a play with the colour of your bronzer (this too can be a culprit of dreaded orange shades). Swatch a few on your wrist and go for what appears the most brown as opposed to orange or red. If you’re stuck, NARS Laguna Bronzer or Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar & Glow are safe places to start. 

Story by Emily Algar