Why Does Makeup Oxidize? How To Stop It

Why Does Makeup Oxidize? How To Stop It! [2022 Guide]

It’s no secret that makeup can be a pain when you’re wearing it all day because it tends to get dirty and dull over time. This isn’t a new problem — we’ve been dealing with this issue since ancient times! In fact, makeup has always had an expiration date. So what exactly happens during the aging process? Is there anything we can do about it? Read on to find out more…

What Does Oxidation in Make-Up Mean?

Oxidation is one of those things most people don’t think much about until they notice their favorite lip liner or eye shadow looks faded. The truth is makeup has a limited shelf life, and if not properly cared for, it may start showing signs of wear after only a few months. It doesn’t have to happen overnight either — oxidation occurs gradually as makeup ages, so even just leaving your cosmetics sitting around too long could cause them to turn dingy looking.

As for makeup ages, its composition changes — including the oils within the products used to keep everything together. When these oil molecules break down, they leave behind smaller particles called free radicals which react with other substances like vitamins A, B2, C, and E making them ineffective at performing their functions, such as keeping our skin healthy. These reactions also lead to unsightly discoloration. If you want to avoid this happening, try using mineral-based foundations instead of oil ones. Mineral powders help prevent oxidation better than oily liquids by having fewer free radical producing elements. They won’t clog pores or encourage bacteria growth.

If you use powder foundation, apply it immediately before putting on any other makeup, otherwise, it might rub off on other areas. You should never store your foundation upside down (since gravity makes sure the product stays where it belongs) and definitely don’t allow it to sit on top of another item that contains preservatives, dyes, or fragrances. Keep away from plastic containers as well — they’ll emit fumes that speed up oxidation.

What Causes Oxidation in Makeup?

There are several reasons why makeup goes bad faster than expected. Here are some common culprits:


UV rays from sunburns, tanning beds, and fluorescent lighting can damage certain types of pigments in makeup leading to fading. To reduce exposure, cover up under your eyes with a dark-colored concealer to lessen how much sunlight gets through. Also, stay away from high SPF sunscreen lotions while outdoors — many contain DHA and EPA chemicals that affect the way makeup wears off. Use a moisturizer with zinc, vitamin E, and soybean oil to protect lips against ultraviolet light and dryness.

Lack of proper storage

Keeping your foundation, mascara, eyeliner, lipstick, and blush separate prevents contact between different colors. Even though your makeup will last longer, mixing them together allows for interaction among the ingredients making them go rancid quicker. Store each type of cosmetic separately and rotate them every month. Avoid using multiple applicators for liquid and cream cosmetics — bacteria grows easily in moist environments.

Washing hands thoroughly

Hand washing your face daily helps prevent spreading germs onto your cosmetics. Once you touch your nose, forehead, and chin, bacteria transfer directly into your skin which leads to redness and irritation. Wash your hands first, then put on clean cotton gloves to handle your cosmetics. Don’t mix makeup remover wipes with hand sanitizer — both materials release alcohol which speeds up deterioration. Finally, wash brushes often to remove dead skin cells and dirt residue.

Over application

Using too much of any single color on your face will cause oxidation faster. Apply less so you don’t end up wasting expensive items. Always read labels carefully, follow directions, and know exactly how much you need. Some brands require peeling back layers of primer and base coats before applying for full coverage — doing so gives you a smoother finish but takes extra work.

How do I stop my makeup from oxidizing?

There are a few ways to stop your makeup from oxidizing. You can use quality products, look for brands that test their formulas, use a brush to apply the right amount, and reapply throughout the day. You can also buy loose powder rather than pressed powder. Finally, you can store your makeup in a cool, dry place.

Once you understand how makeup degrades, now you know what causes it. As mentioned earlier, oxidation begins slowly and increases once you begin regular usage.

By following simple tips, you can slow the effects of aging and maintain a fresh look year-round:

  1. Choose quality products made specifically for your needs.
  2. Pay attention to brand names — some companies test their formulas by letting samples age in sealed jars first.
  3. Use a good brush to apply the right amount.
  4. Don’t forget to reapply throughout the day.
  5. Consider buying loose powder rather than pressed powder — they generally cost less and offer better distribution.

How long does it take for makeup to oxidize?

Generally, it takes about three months for makeup to start to oxidize. This is due to the fact that different types of pigments are used, and these are damaged by UV rays and other light. Over time, this can lead to a faded appearance and a need to replace the makeup.

Last thoughts

What does oxidize mean in makeup? Well, put simply, it means that the foundation ingredients are reacting to the oxygen in the air. But there’s more to it than that.

Why does this happen, and what can you do about it? In this article, we have discussed these three things in detail:

  • The foundation ingredient iron oxide is reacting to the oxygen in the air.
  • Foundation ingredients are being exposed to the acid mantle of your skin.
  • Foundation ingredients are being exposed to oils on your face.

We’ll also cover how to address them with avoidance, experimentation, a skincare change-up, and oil control. So read on, and learn everything you need to know about makeup oxidization!

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