A little over a decade ago, a woman named Jamie Kern Lima (that’s her pictured here) went on QVC and bared her unfiltered, real complexion for the world to see. As someone who dealt with redness on her face caused by rosacea, it was a bit of a shock for viewers to watch someone put themselves out there so boldly.
That woman was the founder of IT Cosmetics, and she was determined to show everyone how to cover redness on their face using her own line of gentle, game-changing skincare and makeup products. In real time, viewers watched her ruddy cheeks disappear. It was such an impactful moment that the product completely sold out.
Before that appearance, and ever since, IT Cosmetics has focused on developing cosmetics for all skin types, including those who have sensitive, red skin from rosacea, breakouts, and other skin concerns. Those eager to learn about our skincare products that help reduce redness on your face—and get a rundown of our best foundation for rosacea, breakouts, and other redness—are right where you need to be.
What Is Skin Redness?
Also referred to as flushing or erythema, skin redness can appear all over, show up in isolated areas, or look more splotchy in nature. The way your skin redness looks and feels—along with some other considerations—can often provide insight into the cause.
Why Is My Face Red?
Red skin has a variety of causes ranging from breakouts to irritation to skin conditions such as rosacea and psoriasis. If you’ve ever asked yourself, “Why are my cheeks always red?” then consider some of the most common reasons:
- Rosacea: Often starts with skin that flushes easily and can develop into lingering redness accompanied by visible veins, pustules, bumps, and sensitivity.
- Psoriasis: This is a skin condition that causes patches of flaky redness.
- Sunburn: If you’ve been exposed to the sun without SPF, your skin can burn and turn red as a result. Depending on the severity, sunburns can last for a few days or longer. You may also experience swelling, pain, blisters, and peeling.
- Allergic Reaction: Also known as contact dermatitis, an allergic reaction occurs when your skin's been exposed to an irritant. It'll usually go away after the irritant is removed.
- Product Reaction: Some skincare ingredients—such as alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), physical scrubs, and retinoids—can create a mild, temporary flushing.
- Exercise: Our bodies naturally flush during and after physical activity due to increased blood flow. Typically, you’ll get rid of redness within an hour or two.
- Breakouts: Active breakouts can create redness on/around the pimples themselves or lead to larger areas of redness on your face.
If you can’t pinpoint the cause of red skin, it’s always a good idea to speak with a general physician or board-certified dermatologist who can help you find answers.
How to Visibly Reduce Redness on Your Face With Skincare and Makeup
Sticking to a gentle and protective skincare routine, knowing how to use makeup to cover redness, and utilizing a handful of makeup pro-tips can help create a beautiful complexion.
#1 Stick to a Gentle Skincare Routine
Any dermatologist, makeup artist, or esthetician will agree: Skincare is priority numero uno when it comes to knowing how to reduce redness on your face.
Start with a cleanser formulated for sensitive skin, such as Confidence in a Cleanser, and then follow up with a lightweight, skin-calming face serum like Bye Bye Redness Serum. Safety-tested for rosacea-prone skin and formulated with soothing ingredients such as 1% colloidal oatmeal, centella, and peptide, it helps to instantly neutralize the look of redness. If acne is the source of your redness, you can layer Bye Bye Redness Serum with Bye Bye Breakout Salicylic Acid Acne Serum to help address redness while fading the look of acne and post-acne marks.
When applying makeup to reduce redness, it’s good practice to use primer first. This sets the stage for a smooth-looking complexion, and can also help your foundation stay put throughout the day. Your Skin But Better Makeup Primer+ Oil-Free is a makeup gripping base that can help refine the look of pores. Best of all, it’s suitable for all skin types—even the most sensitive.
#2 Wear SPF to Protect Skin From the Sun
Sun exposure can lead to sunburns, exacerbate irritation, and trigger rosacea. Plus, it can cause skin cancer and lead to early signs of aging. It’s crucial that you apply your favorite sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher before taking on the day. We recommend applying it after cleansing and moisturizing and before your makeup.
#3 Try a Redness Neutralizing Cream
Whether you’re dealing with rosacea or any other form of red-toned discoloration, a key step in knowing how to cover face redness is applying a neutralizing, color-correcting product, such as Bye Bye Redness Neutralizing Color-Correcting Cream. A true superstar when it comes to covering rosacea with makeup, this tinted cream visibly reduces facial redness the second it’s applied while simultaneously calming your skin. Some people find that they don’t want or need to apply foundation after this cream, but others prefer another layer of foundation.
#4 Apply Foundation
With your skin primed and prepped, you can move on to foundation. When selecting a product, make sure that you’re using the best makeup for rosacea, sensitive skin, breakouts, or other redness. We recommend a product formulated with soothing, skin-loving ingredients, like the #1 SPF Foundation in America*, CC+ Cream with SPF 50+.
In addition to collagen and peptides to support elasticity and visibly diminish fine lines, it contains niacinamide to help combat the appearance of hyperpigmentation. As a bonus, it contains SPF 50+ to protect your skin from the sun and prevent a sun-related trigger of your rosacea.
Another great option is CC+ Cream Natural Matte Foundation with SPF 40. This CC cream is a color-correcting full coverage foundation that will instantly camouflage imperfections including redness on skin, acne scarring, and large pores without creasing or cracking. It's clinically tested to reduce shine and control oil—all with a poreless, natural-looking matte finish that lasts!
Pro Tip: For flawless application, blend CC+ Cream onto your skin using your favorite IT Cosmetics makeup brush.
#5 Spot Conceal for Extra Coverage
For a more targeted coverage solution that addresses smaller areas of redness on your face, use Bye Bye Under Eye Anti-Aging Concealer. One dot of this highly pigmented concealer goes a long way—and it won’t crease or crack throughout the day. The addition of niacinamide helps with inflammation and calming.
The way this product is applied only makes it more unique! Start by warming a tiny amount with your fingers, then tap it onto your skin and blend using a makeup brush. In addition to concealing small areas, you can buff it on as a traditional foundation.
#6 Set Your Makeup in Place
One of the best makeup tips for red skin is to set your concealer and foundation in place with a powder or spray. This helps your makeup wear beautifully throughout the day so your redness stays covered and all you see is gorgeous skin!
Jamie’s personal pick is Celebration Foundation, a pigmented powder infused with collagen, silk, peptides, and antioxidants that delivers an instantly airbrushed look. For a non-pigmented powder, buff on Bye Bye Pores Poreless Finish Loose Setting Powder. You'll love the Optical Blurring Technology™ that smooths away the look of wrinkles while helping keep your makeup in place.
You could also try Your Skin But Better Setting Spray+, a hydrating, makeup-extending spray that’s infused with skin-calming ingredients like hyaluronic acid, coconut water, and aloe vera extract.
#7 Apply a Cool-Toned Blush
Here’s another quick tip on how to help ruddy cheeks, specifically: Reach for cool-toned versus warm-toned blush. Warm or yellow tones have a tendency to bring out redness, whereas a cooler hue can neutralize redness while still creating a beautiful flush of color.
There are lots of colors to choose from, including berry, mauve, purple, and pale pink. Try Bye Bye Pores Blush in Je Ne Sais Quoi or Naturally Pretty.
Pro Tip: When washing your makeup off at night, use a gentle cleanser that dissolves your makeup without requiring any scrubbing. Bye Bye Makeup Cleansing Balm melts away makeup while brightening and hydrating skin.
#8 Use a Cool Lip Color
In the same way a cool-toned blush can visually minimize skin redness, a neutral or cool lipstick or lip gloss can create a more balanced-looking tone. Think blue-toned red lipsticks (a classic all year round!), a splashy burst of fuchsia, rich plum, or a natural rose. Pillow Lips Solid Serum Lip Gloss in Like a Dream (Red Plum), Gaze (Magenta Plum), and 11:11 (Bright Fuchsia) are all winners. Also try Confidence in a Serum Lip Gloss in Self Determined (Soft Cool Mauve).
Now that you’ve learned how to cover redness on your face, check out our guide on concealing hyperpigmentation.
*Source: The NPD Group/US Prestige Beauty Total Measured Market, Makeup Product Sales, January- December 2022.