Many of us have fallen victims to this.  Especially in the summer time when we’re told to slather on the SPF products for protection from the sun.  Little did you know, that once a photograph is taken (especially at night), the flash would reflect off of the SPF, and poof! you’re casper the friendly ghost!  This has happened to me before, and a few friends of mine (no names mentioned).  I figured it out after my cousin told me it was the SPF, and after that I did research.

You just KNEW the foundation was a clear match to your skintone when you looked in the mirror, so what happened?

Alpha Mom explains this in her blog post Ghost Face Killer: Your Guide to Photofriendly Cosmetics (click link for full article).  “The majority of point-and-shoot cameras have the flash mounted on the front of the camera. When the picture is taken, the light essentially punches the subject directly in the face. If you think about it, we are usually lit from above by sunlight or ceiling lights, or from the side by a window or lamp light. A bright, pre-set camera flash is an unnatural light source hitting you at an unnatural angle, so naturally you’re going to look, um, unnatural in the photograph.” 

Also, if you tend to look pale or washed out in a photo, using the wrong shade of foundation, or using too much powder is the cause of it.  Make sure you purchase the correct shade for your skintone.  Check this post here to see how. If you’re still unsure, bring a friend with you when you go to the makeup counter. A second or third “eye” (person) can always see what you don’t.

How do I avoid this?

When I know I am going somewhere where a lot of photos will be taken, I straight up avoid SPF, especially if the event is at night (there’s no sun at night so there’s no need to use SPF). If you love your SPF, here are some other options.

Use Mattes – Opt for matte, rather than shimmery finishes for eye and cheek makeup. Shimmery eyeshadows and powders can give skin a greasy look under flash.

Apply makeup in natural light – Apply your makeup next to the window with the brightest natural light. I’ve applied makeup in both bathroom and natural lighting, and I think I look my best in pictures when I apply makeup in the latter.

Choose a powder with a yellow tint – Don’t use translucent powder, to set your makeup. Transparent powders tend to leave a white cast when the flash goes off.  I use Ben Nye’s Banana Powder or MAC Select Sheer Pressed Powder in NC45.

Practice your look and takes pics with a digital camera before your event–  This allows you to evaluate your work beforehand. You’ll be able to see and correct your mistakes.

Blend, Blend, Blend! –  Remove any harsh lines. Even if you feel like you’ve blended out all the edges, blend some more; otherwise, you risk your makeup (concealer) looking too obvious.

For more tips, you can checkout Wedding Style Suite. They have an article on Wedding Makeup Tips

9 comments on “SPF Makeup – Avoid Looking Like Casper in Photos”

  1. I'm picking up some Banana powder. You're like the 5th person this week to mention it LOL.
    I read somewhere too (Model Mayhem I think) that if you use spf products UNDER your makeup like prep products that helps too since spf in makeup basically serves no purpose anyway.

  2. Thanks for sharing. I always look forward to your posts. They're soo helpful!

    Where can I purchase the Ben Nye Banana Powder? I went to the actual website and I don't like their layout..so I had a hard time looking for the prices and such.

  3. Great post! I was considering picking up some of the BN banana powder purely because translucent sometimes looks odd on my incredibly yellow skin. Now I definitely need to pick some up 😀

  4. Great post. So informative. I've seen it but I didn't know what caused it. I'm following you on Twitter. You're awesome. @MissPrincessDom

  5. calling someone with light skin casper is just as offensive as calling dark skin people tar/darkies.

    and the makeup makes you look ashy,not light

    • I think you misread. I never called someone with pale skin casper. The white cast SPF makeup gives off can sometimes make someone, especially someone with darker skin look ashy, and in a since ghostly. Hence the casper reference. I apologize if you're offended. Now, including the racially tinged words "tar" and "darkies" is offensive, especially since I am of darker skin. Was it necessary? No. You didn't even have to comment. If the post offended you, you could have easily closed out and never come back.

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