How to Avoid the Dreaded Flashback

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Foundation has the ability to even out your skin tone, mask flaws, and make your skin look smooth and glow-y. When the right makeup products are used, they can brighten, eliminate dullness and add glow.

However, a lot of people also know that the wrong foundation can give you the most unflattering ghostly-white skin in flash photography. The good news is, that avoiding certain products when you know that you will be photographed can eliminate that dreaded flashback completely! I myself am no stranger to the dreaded phenomena, as you can see in the picture below *cringe*

Here are some things to take into account:

Sun protection is essential in the afternoons, but the Titanium Dioxide contained within almost all sunscreens is the major cause of flashback in film photography. There are also claims floating about the interwebs that Titanum Dioxide combined with Zinc Oxide can cause more severe flashbacks - though I am not personally able to comment, not having tried a product like this.
Please note that a small amount of SPF in foundations is not detrimental (which is why you will find that most foundations do contain a small amount of SPF, and can be used without issue), however you should try to avoid anything with an SPF of 30 and above.
Please also note that this applies purely to film photography! Digital photography is largely unaffected by SPF with regards to flashback on camera.

Setting powders that contain silica (the Make Up For Ever HD Setting Powder is a cult favourite) are preferred over regular setting powders, because these powders mattify the skin, and give you a tiny bit of flashback on camera, which contributes to a perfected, airbrushed effect. Using silica based powders is perfectly fine, as long as you don't use too much.
Another thing to take into account is that silica powders have a mattifying effect, and should not be used on a dry skin type! Silica powders were made to sink into normal to oily skin, and to absorb the excess oil. Applying the powder to a skin without any moisture would basically just cause the product to 'sit' on top of your skin, therefore causing a white flashback.
The best way to apply these powders is with a soft, sparsely packed brush. Tap a tiny bit of the powder onto its container's lid, then swirl your brush into it, and tap off the excess before you apply it to your skin.

Some mineral foundations contain a high amount of mica in them, and should be avoided in flash photography, as they can cause quite severe flashbacks.
When you are going to be photographed, opt instead for a liquid foundation or cream foundation, which have the best finishes, both in photography and in real life.

Shimmer is the cause of a multitude of things gone wrong in flash photography, but shimmer used and placed correctly can also look beautiful on camera. 
As a general rule, brightening products should be avoided, especially underneath the eyes and in the contours of the face. I highly recommend purchasing your products matte, and then adding shimmer only where you need it.
One thing that you should take into account when buying a shimmer-based product is the type of shimmer contained within the product. For the most natural finish, choose a cream-based shimmer that is multi-coloured - with flecks of gold, pink and purple. These reflect the light in the most natural way, and give your skin a beautiful, natural glow. Avoid shimmer that is only one colour, and that looks too 'bright' or 'neon'.

To sum this piece up, I offer one last piece of advice. Always, always check your face before you leave the house! The best way to do this is to take a 'test shot' of yourself with a camera, with flash.

I hope this post helped you! x

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