Apr 04, 2022 · 12 min read
When you live with skin conditions like acne or rosacea, it’s important to be discerning about what touches your skin. While wearing makeup generally doesn’t trigger rosacea flare-ups, certain ingredients in your cosmetic products can trigger a rosacea flare-up.
That’s why I write these makeup reviews—I squint at all the tiny lettering on the ingredient labels so you don’t have to. And, of course, the licensed dermatology providers at Curology always give me a hand to make sure all of the advice checks out.
If you’re trying to cover rosacea with makeup, I made you a list of my favorite foundations and concealers for rosacea-prone skin, from drugstore makeup products to high-end holy grails. But first, what even is this “rosacea” stuff?
Redness and flushing
An increase in skin thickness
Visible broken blood vessels (aka telangiectasias)
Papules or pustules (similar to pimples)
Rosacea is nothing to blush about—it’s super common. That doesn’t mean it’s fun to deal with! Rosacea requires careful management because any “trigger” could potentially cause a flare-up. Knowing your other rosacea triggers can really help, and so can ingredients with anti-inflammatory properties.
Now that we know the facts about rosacea, let's go over steps that can be used to cover symptoms of rosacea. Foundation and concealer are the star players of every rosacea makeup routine. To get the best results from your foundation and concealer, you should use a few other makeup products to cover your rosacea (see step 5).
Step 1: Prime. After cleansing and moisturizing, apply your primer—give it about 10 minutes to set before continuing to the next step.
Step 2: Foundation. Using a damp beauty blender, apply a thin layer of foundation all over your face. Check for creases and soak up extra product.
Step 3: Concealer. Apply your concealer directly to areas that are red. Blend out with a short, fluffy brush until there are no harsh edges.
Step 4: Blend your foundation and concealer with your damp beauty sponge, which should still have a little foundation on it.
Step 5: Set your makeup. You can use a pressed powder or loose powder, then top it off with a setting spray. This is the key to making your face stay locked in place.
You may also want to color correct with green-tinted makeup (more on color correcting later).
Most recommended methods for concealing skin redness will use a combination of foundation, concealer, and setting powder or spray. I also recommend using a primer for smooth, long-lasting wear, plus some extra skin hydration. With the help of Curology’s medical experts, I’ve analyzed the formulas of all of these products to verify they’re non-comedogenic and free of ingredients that commonly trigger skin inflammation like rosacea
Primer. A makeup primer forms a barrier around your skin, acting as a base for your makeup. Primers with silicones, like dimethicone, form an occlusive barrier that helps maintain skin hydration. For skin redness, use a primer with a green tint, like NYX Studio Perfect Primer in Green.
Setting powder. A setting powder helps keep your makeup in place (because once you’ve got your look down, you want it to last). Talc-free setting powders (like Clinique Redness Solutions Instant Relief Mineral Setting Powder) are best since talc can cause makeup to separate.
Setting spray. Like powders, setting sprays are designed to improve the lasting power of your makeup. Unfortunately, most of them contain alcohol, which is a known rosacea trigger. Look for one that’s alcohol-free, like e.l.f. Cosmetics Makeup Mist and Setting Spray.
Micellar water. Getting the makeup on is one thing—getting it off is another. So many makeup removers contain alcohol (which, as we said, is a no-no if you have rosacea). Micellar water is an alcohol-free choice, and Curology makes a unique Micellar Makeup Remover with a gel-water texture that’s designed to be gentle on skin.
Brush cleaner. Chances are, you’re using brushes, sponges, and other tools to apply your makeup. Cleaning your makeup tools is an important part of being a makeup aficionado. If you have rosacea, I recommend cleaning your makeup brushes with an alcohol-free cleansing soap, like EcoTools Makeup Brush Cleansing Shampoo.
Color-correcting palette. A color-correcting palette is a good addition to your arsenal, particularly if you’d also like to conceal under eye circles and dark spots. Unfortunately, a lot of them contain ingredients that aren’t as skin-friendly, which is why we recommend a rosacea-friendly option, like Kiki Milano Color Correct Concealer Palette.
Sometimes, no matter how much flesh-toned foundation and concealer you cake on, skin redness can still show through. This is where understanding color-correcting color theory can help.
Green helps cancel out redness from rosacea, acne, and other inflammation
Yellows and oranges help cancel out blues and purples from dark circles
Lavender and pink helps cancel out brown spots, melasma, and hyperpigmentation
Everyone’s skin is different. It can take some trial and error to pinpoint which specific colors are in your skin. That’s why a color-correcting palette is great—you can experiment with different color combinations to develop your own custom match.
When it comes to rosacea, green-tinted products are a great go-to for “canceling out” redness. That’s because green and red are opposing colors, so when you put one on top of the other, they neutralize. I like to use a green concealer around my nose, where I have some visible broken capillaries (a common symptom of rosacea) and a green primer on days when my skin flares are as red as a tomato.
That said, no matter how red your face is, you’ll want to layer your green products under ones that match your natural skin tone—unless you’re going for Wicked Witch of the West vibes, which is cool too.
This CC cream has three key redness-soothing qualities: sun protection, color correction, and coverage. It’s a multitasking cream foundation that conceals redness while also 1) helping to improve uneven skin tone with antioxidants like niacinamide, 2) reducing the appearance of fine lines with hydrating ingredients like hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid. It’s also a physical sunscreen with SPF 50, an ideal choice for sensitive skin.
(Psst—if dark circles are also a concern, IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Anti-Aging Under Eye Concealer is a great option, as it’s free of ingredients known to cause rosacea!)
This unique liquid-to-powder full-coverage foundation has an easily-blendable formula that dries to a long-wearing, velvet-matte finish that doesn’t get cakey. If you’re looking for the best makeup coverage, its highly-pigmented formula maximizes its concealing power. It’s also got a bit of kaolinite clay to help absorb excess oil, which helps support long-lasting wear.
If you’re looking for the best drugstore makeup for rosacea, this mineral powder foundation from L'oreal is hard to beat. It’s alcohol- and fragrance- free—plus, it has a mineral-based formula that’s gentle on skin (and great for oily skin types). This is a loose powder foundation with light, buildable coverage—apply it over a full-coverage concealer to maximize its ability to conceal redness.
Don’t rely on this product for sun protection, though—it only has SPF 19, and dermatologists typically recommend broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher to protect your skin.
One of the best foundations for rosacea, Dermablend designed this light coverage product with sensitive, red skin in mind. Its oil- and alcohol- free formula has a lightweight liquid consistency, so you can forget you’re wearing it. With its light coverage and natural finish, this is a great product for a no-makeup makeup look for all skin types.
While not part of Dermablend’s line of makeup for rosacea, this foundation is still a cult favorite for those who want to cover redness. That’s because its hydrating, buildable formula makes it a flexible product—use as much or as little as you need, depending on the day!
While this product has SPF, it may not be enough to adequately protect your skin from UV damage, so use it in combination with a face sunscreen.
If you’re looking for the best green concealer, this is the one to beat—this standby from Lancôme boasts a long-lasting, full-coverage formula that keeps blemishes incognito. It comes in 8 color-correcting shades, including a green shade that’s perfect for canceling out redness. (We’ll get into how you can use color theory to color-correct with makeup after the reviews!) If you have dry skin, opt for a liquid formula concealer over a powder one.
This long-wearing concealer from BareMinerals is highly pigmented, making it a go-to option for covering up redness and rosacea. Though trickier to work with than liquid concealers, stick concealers typically have the most dependable coverage. Its no-crease formula also makes it a great under-eye concealer!
This unique color-correcting concealer comes in powder form. It has a green tint to cancel out redness. It’s perfect for touching up your makeup look when a bit of redness starts to pop through. While you can use it like a regular concealer, I’d recommend using it with a powder foundation for the most even finish.
We said it before and we'll say it again: wearing makeup doesn’t cause rosacea. And you are definitely not required to wear makeup if you don’t want to. But let’s be real—there’s no cure for rosacea, so lots of us will opt to use foundations and concealers to cover up persistent redness from time to time. Plus, some of us are just makeup enthusiasts to begin with and will wear it no matter what!
The bad news is that not all makeup products are created equal. Your cosmetic products can contain ingredients that trigger rosacea flare-ups, such as:
When you live with skin conditions like acne or rosacea, it’s important to be discerning about what touches your skin. Wearing makeup generally doesn’t trigger rosacea flare-ups. However, certain ingredients in your cosmetic products can trigger a rosacea flare-up!
While wearing makeup does not necessarily trigger rosacea, your cosmetic products can contain ingredients that trigger rosacea flare-ups, such as:
Check the labels of your favorite makeup products to make sure none of the ingredients are known rosacea triggers.
Foundation and concealer are the star players of every rosacea makeup routine. To get the best results from your foundation and concealer, you should use a few other makeup products to cover your rosacea.
Step 1: Prime.
After cleansing and moisturizing, apply your primer—give it about 10 minutes to set before continuing to the next step.
Step 2: Foundation.
Using a damp beauty blender, apply a thin layer of foundation all over your face. Check for creases and soak up extra product.
Step 3: Concealer.
Apply your concealer directly to areas that are red. Blend out with a short, fluffy brush until there are no harsh edges.
Step 4: Blend
your foundation and concealer with your damp beauty sponge, which should still have a little foundation on it.
Step 5: Set your makeup.
You can use a pressed powder or loose powder, then top it off with a setting spray. This is the key to making your face stay locked in place.
You may also want to color correct with green-tinted makeup (more on color correcting later).
So now that we’ve got your makeup bag fully stocked, let’s talk rosacea skincare. Just like your makeup products, what’s in your skincare products matters. But with so many factors at play in your unique skin, it can be way too challenging to find a rosacea treatment that actually works.
That’s where Curology can help. Curology members can get a dermatologist-designed skincare routine sent straight to their door, featuring a Custom Formula with a mix of active ingredients for your specific skin concerns. If Curology is right for you, you’ll get matched with one of our in-house medical providers who can prescribe a formula with ingredients like ivermectin, metronidazole, and azelaic acid.
Our formulas are vegan, cruelty-free, and designed by dermatologists for all skin types—including people with rosacea! Get a month of Curology for just $4.95 (plus tax) to cover shipping and handling. Start your free* trial now.
Nicole Hangsterfer, PA-C