Why Does Your Foundation Look Pink

If you have ever put on a foundation only to find that it looks completely pink, then this post is for you.  It can be frustrating when your favorite foundation formula doesn’t work correctly with your skin tone. 

Foundations can look grey, pink, or orange on any skin tone. Luckily, there are some simple tips and tricks that will help you achieve a natural look!  If you want to know why is your foundation turning pink then keep reading! 

If your skin looks pink with foundation, it might be because you are using a foundation with the incorrect undertone. Your foundation might not have enough yellow to correct the red tones in your skin. Many brands have shades labeled as ‘beige’ but they can be pinky.

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What To Do If Your Foundation Is Turning Pink?

Know Your Undertone

Before we explain how to figure out your undertone, let’s begin by explaining what an undertone is.

An undertone is the shade within the color of your skin. It is the underlying color of your skin and it has a lot to do with how you look.

There are three different undertones: warm, cool, and neutral.

Warm undertones include gold, yellow or peach undertones.

Cold undertones include red, pink, or blue undertones.

Neutral undertones include a mixture of both cool and warm undertones.

It’s important to know your undertone so you can match your foundation shade correctly. Otherwise, it makes finding your exact shade match a guessing game.

Knowing whether your skin is warm, cool, or neutral will help you find the perfect foundation for your complexion and avoid looking pink, grey, or dull.

There are many different tests you can make to know your undertone.

  • The first thing you can do is to look at your veins. Check if they are blue, purple, or green.

If they tend to look blue or purple, that means you may have a cool undertone.

If they look green, you may have a warm undertone.

If they look in-between the two colors, you might have a neutral undertone.

  • Another test to do is to check which jewelry suits you the best. If you look good in a silver necklace, you might have a cool undertone.

If gold jewelry suits you the best, then you might be warm-toned.

  • You can also check whether you look good in white or off-white clothes.

If a white dress or shirt looks good on you, that might indicate you have a warm undertone. If you look better in an off-white dress, you might have a cool undertone.

If both white and off-white look good, you might be neutral.

  • And lastly, think about how your skin reacts to the sun. If your skin burns easily, you’re a cool undertone. If your skin tans easily, you’re a warm undertone.

Pick The Right Foundation Undertone

If your foundation looks too pink on your skin, it may be because your foundation shade is not yellow enough. You just need to find a yellow-toned warm foundation.

When shopping for a new foundation, try matching the shade with your undertone (not skintone). Your undertone is what specifies whether warm, cool, or neutral shades suit you the best.  

Many foundation shades labeled as ‘beige’, ‘light beige’ or ‘medium beige’ might have a pink undertone. This is something you need to know before deciding to buy any foundation shade. 

Also, a lot of brands make their fair shades only cool because the majority of fair people have cool undertones. 

While many people with fair skin can have a warm undertone, these particular cool shades might look pink on them.

Keep in mind that dark skin tones can still be cool-toned too. if you have a dark skin tone, wearing a cool toned foundation might give you a pinkish look.  

Unfortunately, most makeup brands offer only a few options for each undertone. Try to look for a brand that offers more variety when it comes to undertones.

MAC cosmetics for example has a shade range that is divided into NC and NW. Neutral warm (NW) is for cool undertones, while Neutral Cools (NC) is for warm undertones. 

This shade range can be a good start if you are a makeup beginner. It can help you find your exact shade match. 

MAC studio fix foundation

Another example is Fenty beauty. They have a defined shade range where they also specify the matching undertones.

To be more specific, let’s look at the FENTY BEAUTY by Rihanna Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Liquid Foundation.

The color 100 works for very fair skin with neutral undertones. The color 105 works for very fair skin with warm yellow undertones and the color 110 works for very fair skin with cool pink undertones. 

Related: What causes foundation to oxidize?

Color Correct Your Redness

If you have redness on your skin, wearing a light foundation on top can make your skin look pink. There is a way to hide redness before applying makeup. It’s called color correcting and it helps to even out any skin tone before makeup. 

You can reduce redness by using a green primer under makeup. Green neutralizes red and will cover up any acne, rosacea, or broken capillaries. It helps your foundation look more even and not patchy with red spots. 

Apply one all over your skin if you have a lot of redness. You can also dab it just where necessary to help your foundation look better.

When picking a green primer, keep in mind that there are two different types of primers. You can choose a light coverage or a full coverage primer. 

A light coverage primer reduces redness and rosacea while a full-coverage one covers it completely. It all depends on the kind of redness you have. 

The market is full of great green primers, and you can pick from the drugstore or high-end. 

This Master Prime primer is one of the best green primers. It has a lightweight formula that works well for oily skin. It blends easily and it evens out the skin tone. 

Another great green one is this color-correcting primer. It wears well under foundation and it doesn’t make your makeup look dry.

This Redness Corrector is also a great choice. It has a lightweight formula that works well for mature skin too. It blends beautifully on the skin and it’s long-lasting.

keep in mind that matching your primer and foundation is an essential step. They should both have the same base ingredients. If you use a silicone based primer with an oil based foundation, the primer might make your foundation look worse.

maybelline master primer base in green

If you need to cover a super red pimple, try using a high coverage green concealer. It provides more coverage than a regular green primer.

Apply this concealer on red spots and dab it gently.

Check this long-lasting green concealer which is one of the best that available on the market. It has a lightweight formula that blends easily into the skin. A little bit goes a long way with this concealer so you only need a tiny amount.

Another great option is this HD Photogenic Concealer. It has a thicker formula than the previous green concealer but it works great at covering redness.

Read More: Color Corrector Vs Concealer

For high-end, check this Ultra Wear Camouflage Color Corrector. It’s very pigmented and it provides full coverage without looking heavy on the skin.

LA green concealer

Use Pigment Drops To Correct A Pink Undertone Foundation

The wrong foundation shade can make your skin look pink, grey, or even worse – orange.

The best solution to correct a pink undertone foundation is to use a mixing pigment. These drops can shift undertones to give you a greater match. They’re like magic in a bottle!

Pigment drops can change the color of any foundation. The key is to know how to choose the pigment color for the best results.

There are many shades of pigment drops:

White: it lightens any dark foundation which makes it work for winter months too.

Orange: it makes the foundation warmer.

Yellow: it gives the foundation a golden undertone.

Blue: it neutralizes very warm foundations.

To correct a pink undertone foundation, mix it with a green pigment shade adjuster. According to the color wheel, the opposite of pink is green so we need a pigment drop with a green hue to neutralize the pink undertones in the foundation. 

This lightweight color drop formula can be used alone or added to makeup. It neutralizes the appearance of pink and it’s also long-lasting.

These shade adjusters are also a great option. They work to neutralize any pink or yellow foundation. Simply add the green to make the foundation more neutral and then put in it yellow to make it warmer. 

temptu shade adjuster
LA girl mixing pigment

Avoid Powders With Pink Undertones

If your yellow foundation is still looking pink, it might be the setting powder.

Setting powders are an essential part of any makeup look because they prolong the longevity of your foundation. The purpose of a setting powder is not about adding more coverage but rather locking all the makeup into place. 

You need to find a powder shade that doesn’t make you look pink or ashy.

Pink powder undertones can make the skin look more red so it’s better to use them as blushes instead. To set your makeup, opt for a translucent powder. You can also use a powder with yellow undertones to neutralize your look.

There are many powders available on the market. This Long Lasting Pressed Powder is a great option. It has a lightweight formula that sets makeup without looking cakey. This complexion powder is also one of the best. It looks natural on the skin and it doesn’t emphasize fine lines. 

 Check this guide on the best face powder for mature skin.

Try To Go Neutral

If your foundation looks too pink, avoid makeup with pink or yellow undertones and go neutral. 

Some pink or yellow-based foundations don’t work well with people having neutral undertones. They can leave a pink or ashy look. 

Neutral undertone foundations are the best way to go if you want to get a natural look. They can make you look more vibrant and healthy. 

To start, look at brands that offer more variety when it comes to undertones. Fenty Beauty, MACEstée Lauder, Too faced add the undertone label to their shade names. This makes it easy to start looking for a shade match. 

For more foundation suggestions, check our foundation guides:

Best high coverage foundation from the drugstore

Best silicone makeup foundation for oily skin

Best foundations for large pores

Final Thoughts

If you’ve been noticing a pink hue in your foundation, it may be time to switch up your makeup routine. There are many reasons why this might happen and the best way to avoid this is by following these simple tips.

First, identify your undertone and choose the best foundation shade match according to this undertone.

Avoid setting your foundation with a pink powder and opt for a translucent powder instead. This loose powder is a huge favorite. It’s lightweight and it doesn’t look dry on the skin.

To neutralize a pink foundation, mix it with these green pigment drops as green is the opposite color of pink. You can then add a yellow shade adjuster to make the foundation warmer.

If you have neutral undertones, go for a neutral foundation as some pink foundations might not work well for your skin tone.

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Claire is a beauty enthusiast and lover of all things makeup. Her blog is a resource for makeup tips and tricks, product reviews and beauty tutorials.

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