Red face is the term used to describe having red cheeks. It’s not a medically recognized condition but most sufferers would rather that it was. And it just makes you feel self-conscious. You don’t want to go out in public or talk to anyone for that matter for fear of the consequences. This article is dedicated to those who suffer from red face and want to know how to cover up red face, conceal red face and want to learn what makeup colors work best for their skin tone if they do have red face.
- Use a primer: If your face isn’t red enough to cover, you can use a primer to make it look more flushed.
- Apply blush: You can use whatever shade of blush you like, but be sure to apply it in the middle of your cheeks, which is the most flattering spot for blush on red-faced people.
- Highlight your face: Highlighting will help draw attention away from any redness and make your skin look brighter overall. You can use a powder highlighter or bronzer for this step.
Makeup for red faces
Shauna Willetts, 24, was diagnosed with rosacea by a dermatologist two years ago. “My first winter living in New York City, I woke up one morning and my face was covered in red, irritated, puss-filled spots,” she tells SELF. “I’ve always had acne, but this was something I hadn’t experienced before, and it took quite the toll on my confidence.” Shauna’s experience is very common; according to the National Rosacea Society, about 16 million Americans deal with this skin condition. And while there are medications and creams you can use to treat rosacea, there is no cure.
Ask anyone who has rosacea, and they’ll tell you it’s a temperamental condition—you never know when you’re going to wake up with red patches, although people with rosacea often are able to manage the condition a little bit by learning their personal triggers and trying to avoid them. For example, Shauna says red wine, caffeine, and winter wind are all things that can cause her face to turn red and irritated. But for her, the primary culprit is emotional. “My main trigger is anxiety, which I’m told is normal. If I’m anxious or nervous and my face blushes, it gets really irritated and starts to feel hot to the touch and stays red,” she says.
Emotional triggers like anxiety are pretty tough to avoid. You never know when a tight deadline or a difficult commute is going to cause unexpected stress. In these cases, some people with rosacea turn to makeup, in addition to prescription creams, to cover and treat the visible signs of a flare-up.
Shauna’s regular makeup routine is pretty no-fuss. Occasionally, she’ll apply a light CC cream to conceal any bright red spots, but in general, she doesn’t wear makeup at all. But she told us she was willing to give something a little more involved a try, so we asked her to come in and learn color-correcting and concealing tricks from Make Up For Ever Executive Director of Education and Artistry Patrick Eichler.
Ahead, get a step-by-step tutorial on how to cover up redness and rosacea from a pro.
Step 1: Apply a color-correcting primer.
First, apply a soothing, redness-canceling primer like the Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer Redness Correcting Primer. According to Eichler, green is the best color primer to cancel out redness (since they are complementary colors). Don’t worry—the green tint will pretty much disappear on your skin once you rub it in.
Step 2: Use a color corrector for extra coverage.
Eichler notes that many of his clients have redness around the cheeks, right over the apples, which Shauna confirmed was where most of her flare-ups happen. If you need more redness coverage over those areas, use a pastel green color corrector, like the one found in the Make Up For Ever 5 Camouflage Cream Palette #5 . This will help mask any bright red spots.
Step 3: Cover with a concealer.
Obviously you don’t want your skin to appear green. So, apply a full-coverage concealer, like Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Concealer ($28), directly over the color corrector and any other spots that are slightly pink but not inflamed. For Shauna, Eichler added more concealer around the brows and the chin, two other areas that tend to get red.
Step 4: Set with a powder foundation.
Blend in the concealer and cover the entire face with a powder foundation to finish. Eichler prefers a powder formula when covering redness because it gives lighter coverage overall. “The combination of concealer and powder will give full coverage in the areas needed without having to use a full-coverage foundation on the entire face,” he says. “If someone prefers full coverage on the entire face, a cream foundation formula would also work well.”
After her tutorial, we asked Shauna if she would use these tips at home, especially since the four-step process is a lot different than her regular no-makeup look. And while she says that she appreciates makeup as an art form, she doesn’t see herself using this technique that often. “I like my skin—rosacea and all,” she says. “I’ve worked really hard on accepting my skin in the past.”
The lesson: Whether you want to cover redness or not is entirely a personal choice. Some may feel more confident with a little coverage, while others, like Shauna, are more comfortable bare-faced. Working to accept your skin—in all its different states—is the most important step of all.