Much like skincare, the world of makeup can be overwhelming. There are hundreds if not thousands of products, brands and colors to choose from. And it’s hard to know what’s potentially damaging to skin. When skin conditions or sensitivities come into play it only makes things even more complicated.
In my twenties I was first diagnosed with rosacea, and since then I’ve spent a lot of money and time trying to manage it. After a while it does get easier and you come to learn what works for you and what doesn’t. Even then, flare-ups aren’t always avoidable. You learn what triggers you, I have covered the common rosacea triggers here. Foods, drinks, temperatures, exercises etc. But often it can be hormones, stress or the weather which can cause symptoms and you just can’t do anything about it.
I’m all for freeing your face and not feeling the need to wear makeup and cover the redness or bumps if you don’t want to. All power to you! The fact is though, that not everyone is comfortable without makeup. Or for example, might have an event they want to look and feel their best for. That’s when makeup can be a savior.
Will makeup trigger a rosacea flare up?
The thing about rosacea is you have to learn about your own triggers and ingredients which irritate you. Like skincare, there are certain makeup brands which cater for skin sensitivities and conditions more than others. We always advise reading the label and researching the ingredients yourself if you’re not sure. The rule of thumb: opt for minimal ingredients as the less ingredients, the better. Put some time into looking at rosacea forums and reading recommendations too.
How to apply makeup when you have rosacea
Start with a clean canvas
Before even looking at your make-up, make sure you get a head start with your skincare routine. The first step is to give your face a good clean with a suitable cleanser for rosacea or sensitive skin. After your face is clean and ready to go, your next step is to use your serums and then moisturise. This should always be with products that you know and trust already that don't irritate. And as always, treat the skin gently with clean brushes or hands.
Every good skincare routine should include an SPF as standard. This is a fact that any dermatologist will tell you. Regardless of the weather and season, UV rays can cause skin damage even if it’s not sunny or warm. When it comes to rosacea in particular, UV light can be hugely triggering. You’ll find there are a lot more chemical sunscreens on the market than physical ones. And they can have a lot of questionable ingredients. Physical sunscreens are the best option for rosacea as they sit on top of the skin barrier rather than infiltrating it. I found it hard to find a good one with minimal ingredients and a tint, that’s why I ended up developing one. If you’re interested you can take a look at our Tinted SPF 30.
Green tinted primer
Applying primer is pretty simple. Apply a small amount to areas where redness is an issue and blend out to cover the rest of the face. Leave to set for 1 minute if you’re applying a foundation on top. And that’s it - your redness should have a much calmer appearance. I have formulated a green tinted primer with minimal ingredients to suit sensitive skin including rosacea.
First of all, use an antibacterial brush or clean your regular concealer brush well. Lightly dot your concealer beneath the eyes from the inner corner working your way out and blend. From there, dab concealer over any area that you wish to hide (lumps, bumps, red patches) and then blend. This is done before putting on your foundation to give an all over even tone.
Again, clean your brush or opt for an antibacterial one here. A sponge can be too harsh and your fingers can spread bacteria and add unnecessary oils. If you’re using liquid foundation, apply a small amount to the back of your hand or onto a clean surface. Dab your brush in and smooth it over your face, working your way out from the center. If you’re using mineral powder, sweep the brush directly over the palette and use broad strokes.
7 things to remember when applying makeup when you have rosacea
1. Keep it simple
The more products you use, the more ingredients which you’re putting on your skin and the more chance there is for irritation to occur. Don’t overload your face with layers of different foundations, concealers, powders and blushes etc. If you find makeup that can be multi functional this can also be good. Think about using your bronzers also as eyeshadow for example. Or sticking with one palette instead of reaching for multiple.
Always patch test new products on your neck, wrist or elbow.
2. Make use of green tint
This can usually be found in the form of a concealer or primer. As mentioned on the NRS website, a green tinted primer serves as a good base. Green is the opposite of red on the colour chart and is known to correct redness and even out the tone of your skin.
3. Make sure your brushes or sponges are clean
Using old, uncleaned brushes or sponges is a recipe for disaster. This spreads bacteria and bacteria can contribute to flare-ups. Always disinfect your brushes after use or use special antibacterial brushes.
4. Go easy on the eyes
The skin around your eyes is the most delicate, so be extra careful if you have any symptoms of ocular rosacea. Choose products which are designed specifically for sensitive eyes and are properly tested. Don’t go for waterproof mascara as it’s harder to remove. Neutral coloured eyeshadows can work best as stronger pigment can cause irritation.
5. Don't go for oil-based base products
I’m talking about foundation, concealer and primer here. Whether you suffer with subtype 1 or subtype 2, you should be looking for keywords like hypo-allergenic, oil-free, non-comedogenic and fragrance free.
6. Don't go heavy on the blush
As your skin will already have some red tones, go easy on the blush if you do want to use it at all. You’ve likely spent some time on toning down the redness with your base, so going for a heavy blush can be counterproductive. If you do use blush, mineral powders can be your best bet and apply sparingly.
7. Don't totally avoid the colour red
Red can be a daunting colour for us with rosacea. It’s a colour that we can tend to avoid in the interest of drawing attention away from our own red complexion. Don’t shy away completely though. A red lip, red nails or a small amount of blush can still look fabulous when done well.
I hope this little overview has given you some tips and guidance on how to approach makeup when you have rosacea. If you’re newly diagnosed, it can be a struggle knowing what to do and where to start.
I am not a dermatologist or a medical doctor, just someone who has dedicated the last few decades of my life to researching rosacea and skin sensitivities and likes to share my personal experience.
All Finca Skin Organics products have one thing in common. They are all made using a minimal, plant-based ingredients list and formulated by me, a rosacea sufferer. The Finca Skin Organics range has undergone a Harley Street clinical study. After using our products, 87% felt the appearance of their skin significantly improved.
When in doubt, always refer to your doctor or dermatologist as the condition differs for everyone. It’s always best to talk to your dermatologist first and work out your treatment plan together.
If you have any queries regarding your rosacea or how to use our products get in contact with us, we'd love to hear from you.
With love from Ireland,
*Clinical evaluation by Harley St. dermatologists on 23 subjects after 8 weeks of use.