Oompa Loompa Face—Why Your Foundation Looks Orange

Oompa loompa doompety…NO! Have you ever applied your foundation in the morning and it looks flawless, but just a few hours later it looks orange and muddy? Don’t worry, you’re not turning into a mythical character from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! There are a few reasons why this may be happening—we’re here to give you the 411 on what to look out for when shopping for foundation, so your face never turns orange on you again.


If you notice that your foundation becomes darker after just a few hours of wear, that friends, is oxidation. Oxidation happens when our skin’s facial oils & natural pH react with the ingredients in our foundation. Three common minerals that cause an unsightly reaction are titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, and iron oxide. Titanium dioxide is one of the most common ingredients found in foundation, especially in lighter shades, because it’s used to add white. So, if you are someone with porcelain, fair, or otherwise light skin, look out for this chemical in your foundation’s formula.

Solution #1

Use a primer before applying foundation. Primer will act as a barrier between your skin and your makeup to prevent oxidation. Also, look for foundations that have a smaller amount of the named oxides. Remember, the further down the oxide is on the ingredient list, the less there is in that foundation. Less (oxide) is more when it comes to choosing the perfect foundation!


Let’s face it, color matching is one of the trickiest parts about being a Makeup Geek. Go too light and you can look ghostly or even sickly; go too dark and you can look like yep, you guessed it, an oompa loompa! A common mistake many people make is matching foundation to the back of the hand. This is a huge no-no because typically, the back of your hand is a lot darker than the skin on your face. Instead, always color match your foundation to your neck or your jawline. This trick will ensure a closer color match and give you a much better, more natural result.

Solution #2

Play it safe and choose a foundation that is one shade lighter than your skin tone—you can always add depth with bronzer. If that still doesn’t work, try custom mixing two shades together to make your perfect foundation. This is the #1 trick used by MUAs to color match clients, because it gives the makeup artist more control to create the perfect shade, texture, and finish.

Pro Tip: Use a lighter concealer to highlight under the eyes, on the middle of the forehead, and on the chin for a quick fix when your foundation is too dark.


Not only is it tricky choosing the correct foundation color, but you also have to worry about selecting the right undertone. There are three possible skin undertones — warm, cool, or a mixture of the two, neutral. A foundation with too much warmth for your skin can cause your face makeup to appear orange. You may be using a foundation with a warm undertone when you actually have a cool or neutral undertone to your skin.

Solution #3

Look for foundations labeled either cool or neutral—they are labeled with “C” or “N”. Also, keep in mind that foundation colors that are cool toned tend to be called things like “Bisque”, “Beige”, “Buff”, and “Ivory”.

Give these three top tips a try next time you are shopping for a new foundation. As always, thanks so much for reading and get ready to say goodbye to the oompa loompa face forever!  
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Posted in Articles on (last modified: August 8, 2016)