So, you all saw the photos of Angie and Nicole looking like they’d been in a fight with a powder puff, but I’m telling you now, without that evil flash they looked 100% flawless in person. This ghostly horror story can happen to anyone (even I’ve noticed it), and unless you decode your makeup you’ll need to avoid a flashlight for the rest of your life – it’s up to you! Fortunately, we’ve deciphered the mystical white patches, which appear like a unicorn out of nowhere, to catch you off guard when you’re using a flash.
What is Flashback?
Ever seen a picture after a night out and noticed your body is gorgeously tanned, but your face is white AF, even though you swore you applied bronzer and some pretty fresh contour. Well, that’s flashback. The white glow is caused by specific SPF ingredients found in foundations, concealer, and tinted moisturizers, and by silica, which is the main ingredient in HD powders.
Is It Your Foundation? Chemical SPFs found in foundation and concealers won’t cause flashback, but if they use the minerals Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide, then the probability of getting a bright white face is much more likely. This is because their white pigments are designed to reflect the sun’s harmful UV rays, and unfortunately, they reflect a camera flash too, giving you a white appearance.
Or Is It Your Powder? By far your worst flashback enemy is silica – the culprit behind the celeb mishaps above. Silica is used mainly in HD powders (some translucent powders have it too), and its light-reflecting particles make it perfect for soaking up oil and blurring imperfections; giving you that flawless matte look that was created for film cameras. Alas, when the flash comes out it can result in harsh white patches that look far from fleeky. HD powders are different to setting powders, so it’s less likely the latter will be a problem, but still check for silica to be on the safe-side before a night out.
How to Avoid Flashback:
Foundation Fix: One option is to avoid using foundations with SPF at nighttime. But if your FAV foundation has SPF, then apply a lightly colored loose powder on top of it to counteract and eliminate flashback. You can also check the ingredients on your foundation; if it has SPF but no Titanium Dioxide or Zinc Oxide, you won’t need to worry about ghost face.
Steer Clear of Silica: If a powder lists silica in the ingredients there’s a very strong chance you’ll get flashback – especially if you bake with it! HD powders use silica because it’s silky smooth and makes your skin look poreless and beautiful, so, by all means, use HD powders, but not if there’s an impending photoshoot! If you use the slightest amount, you could get away with it, but be sure to do a quick flash test before you leave the house.