Setting Powders, SPF & the Horrifying Phenomenon That is Flashback

Photo by  Hazel Olayres  on  Unsplash

Ok. I’m doing it. I’m biting the bullet and bringing it up. But I promise it’s only because I love you and want the best for you. I want to talk about setting powders, SPF & the horrifying phenomenon that is flashback.

How many of you have spent time perfecting the perfect makeup look for a special event only to look back at photos and realize your face appears shades lighter than your body? Did you look that way in person? Surely you didn’t, you stared at yourself in the mirror for a long time before leaving the house to ensure your look was perfect for this event. so what the hell happened?!

Flashback can be caused by foundations, concealers and tinted moisturizers containing SPF as well as setting powders containing silica.

Let’s talk about SPF first. Chemical SPF’s likely won’t cause it, but minerals like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are often the the culprits behind behind the ghostly appearance (chemical free or mineral).

SPFs are designed to reflect the sun’s rays;

unfortunately, that means they also reflect the camera’s flash.

Now for silica: the most common cause of flashback. This ingredient is found in most HD powders and some translucent powders. These powders look awesome on film because they reflect light and make the skin look smoother all while absorbing excess oil. Unfortunately, much like mineral SPF, these powders will also reflect the cameras flash in photos. Silica is more often used in HD powders, but to be safe, check any type of setting powder before using it on a night you know you’ll be photographed a lot with flash.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to leave you hanging or make you get rid of your favorite foundation; I’m here to help!

If your foundation contains an SPF that is not zinc oxide or titanium oxide, you’re good to go! If it does contain one or both of these, either use a different foundation at night or apply a lightly tinted loose powder on top of your foundation (silica free obviously) to eliminate flashback.

If the problem is your powder, keep it for day time! Powders with silica make your skin look smooth and flawless in natural light and on camera without flash! Just grab another powder without silica for nights out and big events where you know you’ll be photographed with flash.


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