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  • Apply nightly for happy, healthy skin

6 rosacea-friendly makeup products for sensitive skin

How to use makeup to cover rosacea without triggering a flare-up.

Curology Team Avatar

Curology Team
May 31, 2023 · 6 min read

Woman applying makeup to cover rosacea - rosacea tips from the experts
We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.
  1. blog
  2. > Skin Treatments
  3. > 6 rosacea-friendly makeup products for sensitive skin

When living with skin conditions like acne or rosacea, you have to be choosy about what touches your skin. While makeup doesn’t generally trigger rosacea flare-ups, certain ingredients in cosmetic products can.  

Our makeup reviews help take the guesswork out of the buying process. Here we’ve compiled a list of licensed dermatology provider-approved foundations and concealers for rosacea-prone skin, from drugstore makeup products to high-end cosmetics. But first, what even is this “rosacea” stuff?

What is rosacea? 

Just like acne, rosacea is a chronic inflammatory skin condition. People with rosacea might experience these symptoms:¹

Redness and flushing

If you have rosacea, you may experience frequent flushing or persistent redness across your nose, cheeks, forehead, and chin. This symptom is often the first sign of rosacea.²

An increase in skin thickness

Skin thickness is another common symptom of this chronic skin condition. Thickening may happen if your sebaceous (oil) glands enlarge (aka hyperplasia)³, which may occur alongside the dilation of hair follicles.⁴ 

Visible broken blood vessels (aka telangiectasias)

Broken blood vessels, commonly known as spider veins, can occur with rosacea.⁵ This may happen due to exposure to extreme temperatures, spices, and alcohol, all of which may trigger rosacea flare-ups.⁶

Papules or pustules (similar to pimples)

If you have the papulopustular form of rosacea, you may be experiencing papules and pustules on the affected area of your face. This subtype of rosacea is sometimes called adult acne, but acne from rosacea doesn’t have comedones.⁷ Research suggests aloe vera may help treat papules and pustules caused by rosacea.⁸

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 cause a flare-up. Knowing your other rosacea triggers can really help, as can ingredients with anti-inflammatory properties.

Does makeup cause rosacea?

Makeup doesn’t cause rosacea, so feel free to wear it if it helps you feel more confident! That said, it is important to find makeup without potentially irritating or pore-clogging ingredients. Since there’s no cure for rosacea, many people use foundations and concealers to cover up persistent redness from time to time.

How to cover rosacea with makeup

Now that we know the facts about rosacea, let’s go over steps you can take to cover the symptoms. Foundation and concealer are the star players of every rosacea makeup routine. For the best results, we recommend adding a few additional makeup products to cover your rosacea:

  • Step 1: Prime. After using a cleanser and moisturizer, apply 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. 

  • Step 3: Concealer. Apply concealer directly to red areas. Blend out with a short, fluffy brush until you’ve eliminated any harsh edges. 

  • Step 4: Blend your foundation and concealer with the damp beauty sponge, which should still have a little foundation on it. 

  • Step 5: Set your makeup using a pressed or loose powder, then top it off with a setting spray. This is the key to making your face stay locked in place.

Ingredients that may trigger rosacea 

The bad news is that not all makeup products are created equal. Some cosmetic products contain ingredients that can trigger rosacea flare-ups, such as:  

  • Alcohol

  • Menthol

  • Added fragrance

Makeup products for reducing skin redness

Most recommended methods for concealing skin redness use a combination of foundation, concealer, and setting powder or spray. We also recommend using a primer for smooth, long-lasting wear, plus some extra skin hydration. With the help of Curology’s medical experts, we’ve analyzed the formulas of each product to verify they’re non-comedogenic and free of ingredients that commonly trigger skin inflammation, like rosacea.


A makeup primer forms a barrier around the skin, acting as a base for makeup. Primers with silicones, like dimethicone, form an occlusive barrier that helps maintain skin hydration. Use a primer with a green tint for skin redness, like NYX Studio Perfect Primer in Green

Setting powder

Once you’ve got your look down, you want it to last! That’s where setting powders come in. Talc-free setting powders like Clinique Redness Solutions Instant Relief Mineral Setting Powder are generally best since talc can cause makeup to separate.

Setting spray

Like powders, setting sprays are designed to improve makeup’s staying power. Unfortunately, most of them contain alcohol, which is a known rosacea trigger. Look for alcohol-free options like e.l.f. Cosmetics Makeup Mist and Setting Spray.

Micellar water

Getting the makeup on is one thing—getting it off is another. Many makeup removers contain alcohol, which is a no-no if you have rosacea. Micellar water is an alcohol-free, oil-free choice, and Curology makes a unique Micellar Makeup Remover with a gel-water texture designed to be gentle on the skin. 

Brush cleaner

You probably use brushes, sponges, and other tools to apply makeup. Cleaning these tools is an integral part of being a makeup aficionado. If you have rosacea, we 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 an excellent addition to a makeup arsenal, particularly if you’re also looking 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.

Foundations for skin with rosacea 

Everyone’s skin is different, and figuring out what works for you can take some trial and error. Whether you prefer higher-end products or more affordable drugstore finds, there’s a foundation out there that works for you—especially if you layer it on top of a color corrector for maximum impact. These blendable, multi-tasking products are great for soothing your skin, covering redness, and providing buildable coverage: 

IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream with SPF 50+

  • Full coverage

  • Radiant finish

  • Cream formula

Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation

  • Full coverage 

  • Matte finish

  • Liquid-to-powder formula 

L’Oreal True Match Mineral Foundation

  • Light coverage

  • Natural finish 

  • Powder formula

Concealers for skin with rosacea 

What’s a great foundation without a great concealer? The right concealer for rosacea offers full redness coverage without irritating sensitive skin and layers well underneath or over top of your base. From liquid to stick to powder, these formulas are super long-wearing and adaptable.  

Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Wear Camouflage Color Corrector 

  • Full coverage

  • Matte finish

  • Liquid formula  

BareMinerals BarePro 16-Hour Full Coverage Concealer

  • Full coverage

  • Matte finish

  • Stick formula 

Lily Lolo Loose Powder Corrector in Blush Away Cover Up

  • Light coverage

  • Natural finish

  • Powder formula

Color-correcting makeup, explained 

Sometimes, no matter how much flesh-toned foundation and concealer you cake on, skin redness can still show through. This is where understandingcolor-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 help cancel out brown spots, melasma, and hyperpigmentation. 

No matter how red your face is, you’ll want to layer your green products under foundations and concealers that match your natural skin tone.

How to get a custom prescription rosacea treatment 

Now that we’ve got your makeup bag fully stocked, let’s talk about your rosacea skincare routine. Just like makeup products, what’s in your skincare products matters. But with so many factors at play, finding a rosacea treatment that actually works can be tricky.  

Get your personalized skincare routine with Curology

curology bottle
curology bottle

That’s where Curology can help. Curology members get a dermatologist-designed skincare routine sent straight to their door, featuring a personalized prescription formula with a mix of active ingredients for your specific skin concerns. If Curology is suitable for you, you’ll be paired with one of our in-house licensed medical providers who can create a formula with ingredients like ivermectin, metronidazole, and azelaic acid. Our formulas are vegan, cruelty-free, fragrance-free, and designed by dermatologists for all skin types, including those with rosacea. Get started today!


Does makeup trigger rosacea?

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!

What makeup and skincare ingredients are bad for rosacea?

While wearing makeup does not necessarily trigger rosacea, your cosmetic products can contain ingredients that trigger rosacea flare-ups, such as: 

  • Alcohol

  • Menthol

  • Added fragrance

Check the labels of your favorite makeup products to make sure none of the ingredients are known rosacea triggers.

How do you wear makeup if you have 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.

  • 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).

• • •

P.S. We did the homework so you don’t have to:

  1. Gallo R.L., et al. Standard classification and pathophysiology of rosacea: The 2017 update by the National Rosacea Society Expert Committee. J Am Acad Dermatol. (January 2018).

  2. Farshchian, M., Daveluy, S. Rosacea. StatPearls. (2022).

  3. Culp, B., Scheinfeld, N. Rosacea: a review. Pharmacy and Therapeutics. (January 2009).

  4. Farshchian, M., Daveluy, S. Rosacea. StatPearls. Ibid.

  5. Oge, L.K., et al. Rosacea: Diagnosis and Treatment. Am Fam Physician. (2015).

  6. Farshchian, M., Daveluy, S. Rosacea. StatPearls. Ibid.

  7. Farshchian, M., Daveluy, S. Rosacea. StatPearls. Ibid.

  8. Zhong, H., et al. Efficacy of a New Non-drug Acne Therapy: Aloe Vera Gel Combined With Ultrasound and Soft Mask for the Treatment of Mild to Severe Facial Acne. Front Med (Lausanne). (2021).

Donna McIntyre is a board-certified nurse practitioner at Curology. She obtained her Master of Science in Nursing at MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston, MA.

* Subject to consultation. Subscription is required. Results may vary.

• • •
Our medical review process:We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.
Our policy on product links:Empowering you with knowledge is our top priority. Our reviews of other brands’ products in this post are not paid endorsements—but they do meet our medically fact-checked standards for ingredients (at the time of publication).
Curology Team Avatar

Curology Team

Donna McIntyre, NP-BC

Donna McIntyre, NP-BC

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