Why You Shouldn’t Be Scared of Wearing Blush If You Have Rosacea
If you struggle with rosacea — the very common condition characterized by chronic facial redness — then you probably avoid blush like the plague. But, while it might seem like adding fuel to a fire, using blush on a naturally flushed complexion can actually turn out beautiful so long as it's applied strategically. This is where the professional makeup artists come in, as they're the ones who apply blush for a living and have worked with countless clients, many of which may have rosacea.
Take it from them: You have nothing to fear when it comes to blush. And to prove it, they've shared their best tips and tricks that will have you expertly applying color to your cheeks (and loving it) in no time.
Neutralize the skin first
When you have a generous amount of redness in your skin, the best thing you can do before applying blush is to perfect your base. Now, this does not mean you have to use a full-coverage foundation or pack on the makeup — by all means, do what you're comfortable with — but of the three makeup artists Allure spoke to, they all suggested taking a concealer, tinted moisturizer, or foundation first and using it to even out the complexion and tone down the areas with the most redness. A color-correcting product is another great option, and what makeup artist Fiona Stiles prefers. "Depending on their skin tone and how severe the rosacea is, I’ll do a tiny bit of color correcting using a pale green tint to cut the redness," she says, adding that she favors a thin formula that won't disrupt the makeup or give a cakey appearance. "Once the skin is neutralized, it’s easier to have a wider range of blushes to choose from," she explains. (This soothing green treatment from Dr. Jart+ is an editor go-to.)
Makeup artist Allan Avandaño agrees that beginning with a blank canvas is the way to go. "Even if you’re not using a foundation, I do think that just toning down the rosacea would be helpful with just a couple of swipes of concealer, as this way the blush can live on your skin without competing with the natural redness in your complexion," he says.
When in doubt, work with your natural flush
One technique worth trying is to actually skip blush altogether and simply use your skin's natural redness to your advantage by allowing it to peek through in the areas where you would naturally flush. This is a method makeup artist and author Joanna Schlip previously shared with Allure and one she still sticks by. "Your base should be sheer enough on the apples so you still see a beautiful glow,” she explains. Once you're finished applying foundation or concealer to your skin, use your fingers or a damp sponge to subtly diffuse the formula where you want your rosy glow to shine through. Now there's a perk to rosacea worth sharing with your friends.
Use a gentle hand
People with rosacea, and especially those with severe forms, have inherently sensitive skin that's easily triggered by factors such as food, temperature, stress, and more. It's for this reason that pros say it's important to be ultra-gentle during the application process itself, as not to further irritate the skin. "There can be a lot of heat and irritation, so being gentle with the application is helpful," says Stiles. "Invest in soft brushes and clean them often." For the record, washing your brushes isn't as simple as it might seem, so read up on how makeup artists do it first to ensure your method is effective.
Avoid high-voltage hues
While Allure doesn't believe in rules when it comes to makeup, there are still some guidelines that can be helpful to follow (for instance, steering clear of super-warm bronzers if you're very fair). In a similar vein, if you have rosacea, you may want to abstain from using bold red and pink blushes that could potentially enhance the natural red tones in your skin. "[These shades] will amplify the underlying redness, but I never like to say there are firm and hard fast rules with makeup," says Stiles matter-of-factly. Avandaño adds that using a color that's similar to the redness in your skin can draw more attention to it, which is why he recommends soft coral and peach shades as alternatives, as he says it somehow helps to diffuse the ruddy tones in the skin.
Use bronze tones to minimize redness
Like Avandaño, makeup artist Ingeborg prefers using colors with peach and bronze undertones, as she says it gives the most natural effect and helps to tie the skin's flush in with the blush. One specific product she loves? "I absolutely adore Glossier Cloudpaint in Dusk because it's so lightweight, blendable, and tones down the red in the skin." Ingeborg also recommends Jillian Dempsey's Cheek Tints in Sunny and Bloom, as both of them have brown undertones that she says flatter redder complexions.
Stick to powder formulations
In regards to formula, Avandaño and Stiles both prefer powder over cream blush options. "I like powder because when you have foundation and concealer on, a setting powder will usually be used to keep that in place before blush, so it makes more sense to do powder on top," explains Avandaño, who adds, "I’m not opposed to cream but it would have to be done on top of foundation and concealer directly as not to disrupt the makeup."
Stiles says she would choose powder above cream because it helps to absorb the oil and won't contribute to any shininess that could break down the makeup.
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