How to Minimize Redness With Foundation

A 2010 Clinique demonstration in Los Angeles focuses on evening out skin tone.

Photo: John Shearer/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

If your skin has red undertones or you're prone to breakouts, evening out your complexion requires using a tinted product. The problem is how to get coverage without creating a thick, tinted mask that looks more like plastic than facial skin. In most cases, mixing up a cocktail of cosmetics makes the most sense, using more opaque formulations where and when necessary, and balancing it with lighter products to make your skin tone appear more natural and glowing.

Fight Red with Green

Take a page from the books of master painters -- and minimize redness by emphasizing green. A foundation with a subtle green undertone makes light red patches disappear. Women with fairer skin may find a green undertone overpowering. In this case, use a foundation cream or powder with yellow undertones. You can also apply a thin layer of tinted moisturizer or primer to decrease redness, and then use foundation to even out your skin tone and give you a finished look.

Keeping a Natural Look

Avoid the mask-like look of very thick foundation by using a concealer combined with foundation. Apply a tinted concealer to the affected areas of your face. If you have severe redness from broken capillaries, you may require a special foundation formulated for covering scars. For the rest of your facial skin, use a lighter tinted foundation. Use a clean cosmetic sponge, a brush or your fingers to blend your foundation and smooth out your skin tone.

Staying Power

The foundation that perfectly covers your redness in the morning may start to lag by afternoon, particularly in adverse conditions such as humidity, strong sunlight, wind or extreme cold. Keep your foundation looking pristine and increase its staying power by setting it with a loose powder. If you use a mineral powder, it will give your skin color a more glowing, dynamic look rather than the matte finish of tinted facial powder.


Study the ingredients of the products you choose for your face. In the best case scenario, choose facial cosmetics that include a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun-protection factor of at least 30. A tinted moisturizer with sunscreen may provide enough coverage for light outbreaks of facial redness; if it doesn't, apply sunscreen in addition to a thicker foundation. Other ingredients you might need to avoid are fragrances and unnecessary additives. These can irritate your skin, causing inflammation, rashes and increased redness.

Lifestyle Factors

Foundation is a short-term way to minimize redness, but lifestyle factors have a longer-lasting effect on how your skin appears. Keep your skin protected from the sun with sunblock, but add a hat and sun-protective clothing for good measure. Avoid abrasive cleansers that can cause outbreaks of redness and inflammation. If you use medication to treat your skin, let it dry completely before applying foundation. Stick to noncomedogenic foundations, as these are less likely to clog your sweat glands and pores.

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