Flashback Face Free

If I had a penny for each time a photo of me was taken on a VK-fuelled night out at Uni sporting a ghostly white face I’d be a very rich lady indeed. Back in the days when I was surrounded by textbooks, highlighters and copious amounts of stickers to make the whole get-up a bit more interesting, I had no idea what a no-no the combination of SPF containing foundations and flash photography was, and yes I have the pictures to prove it. To cut a long story short, any foundation with an SPF of about 8 or higher, can contain large amounts of titanium dioxide, a UV protectant that helps to reflect away light causing that dreaded ‘flashback face’ – there are other ingredients which can cause this, but TD is the main culprit. So by the time winter rolls around and Christmas party season begins, it’s time to ditch the SPF products (in the evenings anyway); here are my three SPF-free favourites to slap on when flash comes out to play…

If I fancy a low-coverage look for the evening – this is pretty rare unless I’m having a ridiculously good skin day which happens about one day per year, then a quick buff of the  This Works Perfect Look Skin Miracle into the skin with a foundation brush, with a dusting of concealer and powder over the top will do. A great all-rounder, and probably the most popular SPF-free pick of them all is the medium coverage, and extremely buildable MAC Face + Body Foundation. I tend to apply one layer, wait for it to dry and sink into the skin a little then reapply another layer (or two) over the top. It’s water based so doesn’t feel heavy on the skin and works well mixed into other foundation to make your perfect colour concoction. I’m shade N2 FYI. My final pick is a full coverage bad boy – Giorgio Armani’s Luminous Silk Foundation in the shade 6. But don’t start getting delusions of cakey, crusty coverage – this stuff blends in beautifully and covers practically everything without looking too overly matte or powdery. A great pick for oily skinned gals who need something that’s going to stick around till 5am – naughty.

So wave goodbye to those moomin-esque pictures and next times there’s no need to shrink away when a camera wielding mate comes shrieking past. Say cheese!


  • The Beauty Director

    Same applies for all strong flash photography, as I learned when I started to research wedding make-up! Lots of MUA don’t use foundation with SPF for weddings.

  • Unfortunately most of my foundations contains spf higher than 8… Great post and a very good reminder πŸ™‚

  • Moomin-esque.. brilliant haha. Great post xx

  • Andrea

    Illamasqua Skin Base doesn’t contain SPF so I have it inmy kit for bridal makeup when I need a higher coverage than Face & Body.

  • Luminous Silk is now on my ‘to check out’ list, thanks Anna! x

  • joysteib

    So interesting and such a great post! Thanks for sharing!!!!

  • Emilie Garnes

    you’ve opened my eyes for the Armani foundation, so I may pick that up the next time I’m out shopping! The way you talk about it – it HAS to be great πŸ™‚ xx

  • Genuis! No more ghost face that’ll scare small children x

  • Great post as always, I’ve heard so many good things about MAC F&B

  • Amy

    Illamasqua Skin Base is by far my favourite non-SPF foundation. Have you tried it…? x

  • Belle

    Great post, I need to get acquainted with Mac F&B since none of the other stuff is available where I live…

  • Hearts&Crosses

    I really want to try the MAC face and body, Ive heard some amazing things


  • Hollie Galvin

    I really want to try mac face and body. Your skin always has good days by the looks of your youtubing! Can anyone tell me what an NW20 would be in mac face and body? x

  • Kassie lee

    I’ve been wanting to try Giorgio ArmaniÒ€ℒs Luminous Silk Foundation for such a long time, I heard it’s one of the best foundations

  • katherine.parkes

    really want to try the Armani foundation, sounds perfect for oily skin and would be such a luxury! x

  • Amelia

    This post was packed full of helpful tips, I’m off to pick up some Face and Body soon anyway, and you just solidified my decision. I just had a check and literally ALL of my foundations have SPF in them. Definitely time to pick one up that doesn’t. x

  • thisgirlloveschic

    Love this works products! x

  • Anna Belle

    I used a MAC foundation over the weekend and ended up with flash backs in all my photos!! So annoying! Thank you Anna for the helpful tips! Love reading your blog. x

  • Beth Bradley

    Definitely need to get Face & Body!

    Beth @

  • Alicia Jade

    Face and body is definitely my next purchase!

    Alicia @

  • Millie

    Hi Anna, do you know if Giorgio Armani beauty counters are happy to give out samples? I’ve been wanting to give the luminous silk a try but it’s definitely a pricey one and I’d want to get it just right!

  • lucymay

    I always get flashback with dream matte mousse by maybelline but it doesnt contain any spf. Why does it flashback?

  • Zoe Barradell

    Loving this post. Always have problems with flashback myself especially with EL Double Wear.

  • Abbie Tanner

    I suffer so bad with this, a new foundation needs to be urgently purchased now! ha! xx