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Post-spin class, a cringe-worthy moment, one too many martinis—all of the above can leave you a little bit red in the face. But there’s a significant difference between the occasional blush and perma-flushing. If your cheeks and nose are chronically red, you may have rosacea.
It’s an incredibly common condition; according to the National Rosacea Society, 415 million people worldwide deal with it. “Rosacea is triggered by episodes of blushing and flushing caused by over circulation of the blood,” celebrity esthetician Renée Rouleau says. “It presents as sensitive, red, or inflamed skin that shows telangiectasia (small, visible blood vessels) near the skin’s surface, which can become pustular, often causing it to be mistaken for adult acne.” Like many other conditions, the exact cause is unknown, though genetics, as well as sensitivity to mites and bacteria that live on our skin (file under gross but true), can play a role.
The good news is that, while the root of the issue is undetermined, we do know what types of triggers can exacerbate the flushing. Common ones include sun exposure, alcohol, spicy foods, hot temps, and more. The other piece of good news? There is plenty of OTC skincare that can help; we’re talking calming, cooling products packed with anti-inflammatory ingredients that effectively help quell redness. Make those the first part of your routine, followed by makeup that’s specially made to help knock out redness. There are more options out there than ever before, all of which can help camo and conceal flushing. The goal is to abide by many of the same rules as you would when choosing skincare; avoid irritating ingredients, such as fragrance and alcohol, and stick with simple products that contain minimal ingredients, though ideally with some skin-calming ingredients built-in, suggests celebrity makeup artist Bryan Cantor.
Ahead, the best rosacea-approved makeup products.
Best Overall: IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Redness Neutralizing Color-Correcting Cream
This color corrector is repeatedly recommended by derms and makeup artists alike, thanks to its top-notch ability to camo redness. (It’s no surprise, given that the formula was developed by dermatologists and plastic surgeons.) And while it’s technically not a foundation, the full coverage pigments cover redness—be it from rosacea, pimples, irritation, you name it—so well that you very well may be able to get away without wearing any other makeup.
What Our Testers Say
"After I applied it, there was no trace of redness or any kind of blemish in sight—not to mention it did a fabulous job covering up my under-eye dark circles." — Ashley Rebecca, Product Tester
Best Full-Coverage: Dermablend Smooth Liquid Camo Foundation
“Full coverage” and “lightweight texture” are often an oxymoronic pairing in the makeup world, but this formula somehow manages to achieve both. Super pigmented, it’s choice for those looking to completely and totally even out their skin tone. Still, it’s nice and hydrating, won’t clog pores, and offers a dose of important sun protection to boot.
Best Sheer Coverage: Chantecaille Future Skin
“This is one of the most natural-looking foundations I have ever tried, and its sheer, buildable, oil-free formula is perfect for rosacea-prone skin,” Cantor says, who adds that the brand is well-known for creating sensitive-skin friendly products. (In fact, there are lots of skin-soother already in this foundation, including aloe, chamomile, and arnica.) The unique, gel-based texture is made with 60% water, contributing to the featherweight feel and sheer pigment.
Best Primer: Peter Thomas Roth Skin to Die For Redness-Reducing Treatment Primer
Prepping skin with a green-tinted primer pre-skincare, post-makeup is one of the most effective ways to knock out rosacea-induced redness. The principle goes back to basic color theory. Because green is the opposite of red on the color wheel (remember that from your elementary art school class?), it neutralizes the redness, making skin appear more even instantly. This particular primer touts both a green tint and a litany of soothing ingredients—think niacinamide, Centella Asiatica, and chamomile, to name a few.
Runner-Up, Best Primer: Make Up For Ever Step 1 Primer Redness Corrector
Cantor is a fan of this formula: “The green tone makes it perfect for erasing all-over redness,” he says. Keyword being ‘all-over.’ He points out that applying green-tinted products on areas that aren’t red or flushed can end up making you look sick, so reserve these types of formulas for more diffuse and widespread redness.
Best with SPF: IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream with SPF 50+
Wearing sunscreen daily is a non-negotiable for everyone and their mother, but diligent sun protection becomes even more imperative when you’re dealing with rosacea. Not only can sun exposure trigger a flushing flare, but sun damage also exacerbates the redness (it weakens and can even break down blood vessels). That’s why we appreciate that this overachiever, a go-to for Byrdie Email Editor Karli Bendlin, packs an impressive punch of broad-spectrum SPF 50+.
And the benefits don’t stop there. It’s also highly hydrating, contains youth-boosting collagen and peptides, and offers coverage that works equally well on its own, under foundation, or dabbed on as a spot treatment.
Best Tinted Moisturizer: Macrene Actives High Performance Tinted Moisturizer
Cantor says this is choice for those who prefer lighter, tinted moisturizers over classic foundations. He lauds the derm-developed formula for containing ingredients that not only help tamp down redness, but also shrink pores, protect against environmental damage, and minimize the look of fine lines and wrinkles. It’s pricey but considering all those benefits, well worth it.
Best Concealer: Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage Concealer Duo Stick
If your rosacea appears in smaller patches, Cantor says a good concealer is a must. This dual-ended, a new take on the OG creamy variant, is his pick. “Formulated with calming ingredients, this two-in-one has a blurring concealer on one end to hide redness and imperfections, and a brightening concealer that you can use for the under-eye area on the other.” Bonus points for the lightweight texture that never looks or feels cakey.
Best Powder: BareMinerals Original Loose Powder Foundation SPF 15
“With foundations, it’s a trial-and-error thing,” Rouleau warns. “But mineral powders like Bare Minerals generally work better than liquids, as they’re far less irritating.” And less irritating is a very good thing if you have rosacea; after all, the last thing you want is more redness to deal with. Credit a minimal ingredient list of only five minerals, which also somehow never look chalky. Bonus points for the fact that there’s an impressive array of 30 shades to choose from.
Best Color-Correcting: Algenist Reveal Concentrated Color Correcting Drops
Customization is the name of the game here. You can either use these green-tinted, redness-neutralizing drops solo or add a few to either your foundation or moisturizer to instantly transform it into a rosacea-hiding superstar. (Decide on how many to add based on how much redness you have.) We’re here for it.
Runner-Up, Best Color-Correcting: Clinique Redness Solutions Daily Protective Base
Bendlin also likes this color correcting primer, another green-tinted pick that has the distinction of being both oil-free and having SPF 15 built-in. Given Clinique’s heritage when it comes to making products tailored for the sensitive crowd, you better believe this formula is allergy-tested and touts soothing and anti-inflammatory ingredients, too.
Best for Cheeks: Ilia Multi-Stick Cheek & Lip Tint in Dreamer
Blush may be the last thing you want to put on already-flushed cheeks, but you can still add some color to your face—so long as it’s the right color. “Red-toned blushes and lip colors can make you look even redder, but this peachy hue is perfect for adding a pop of color on cheeks or lips if you have rosacea-prone skin,” says Cantor. As an added benefit, it’s filled with hydrating and nourishing ingredients, think avocado oil and shea butter.
Cantor says that it’s a good idea to test any new product on a small area before applying it to your full face and to wait 72 hours to see if it irritates your skin or causes increased redness.
So long as you choose wisely, the right makeup can work wonders when it comes to improving the look of rosacea-prone skin. The It Cosmetics Bye Bye Redness Neutralizing Color-Correcting Cream is our ultimate fave (and a fave of derms and makeup artists alike), for both camouflaging redness and helping to soothe the skin. If you prefer a mineral powder or foundation, you can’t go wrong with the beloved Bare Minerals Original Loose Powder Mineral Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 15.
What to Look For in Makeup For Rosacea
Generally speaking, the simpler and shorter the ingredient list, the better, as there’s less likely to be something in the mix that will irritate your already stressed-out skin.
Alcohol and Fragrance-Free
Just as you would when choosing skincare, steer clear of these two, some of the most common irritants out there, says Cantor.
More and more makeup formulas today include the addition of skincare ingredients that can help calm and soothe the skin, think aloe, chamomile, and allantoin, just to name a few.
Why Trust Byrdie?
Byrdie contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. While she doesn’t have rosacea, she does have extremely sensitive skin and chooses her makeup accordingly.
Meet the Expert
- Reneé Rouleau is a celebrity esthetician and founder of Renée Rouleau Skin Care, known for catering her products especially towards those with sensitive skin.
- Bryan Cantor is a global celebrity makeup artist based in New York City. He brings his impressive knowledge of skincare, makeup products, application techniques, and professional tips and secrets to clients and companies in New York City and across the globe.
According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find any makeup for rosacea from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will evaluate the product ASAP.