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Those of us with redness-prone skin or perhaps permanently splotchy red cheeks (me) know that it presents a uniquely annoying situation to cover up, especially if you’re not a fan of heavier, full-coverage makeup.
Of course I want a “natural” makeup look. In fact, I would love nothing more than to have glowing, even-toned skin without any makeup at all. But my cheeks were cursed with a hint of the same keratosis pilaris I have on my arms. Plus, my whole face generally loves to flush at the smallest hint of cold or dry air, anxiety, embarrassment, or stress. I also break out regularly, and acne can cause skin redness, too.
That is a lot of redness to mask, and I’ve learned that even the most beloved tinted moisturizers or “light” foundations and concealers alone cannot keep it in check. So my interest was piqued when I first heard about literal green-colored makeup products that are designed to cover red skin specifically.
These can be particularly useful for people with rosacea, a common skin condition in which blood vessels enlarge and can cause symptoms like facial blushing, flushing, and redness in general.
How does green makeup work to cover redness?
“The best way to cover up redness is by using some kind of color correction, and that goes back to color theory,” celebrity makeup artist and beauty expert Nydia Figueroa said. “Red and green are opposite in the color wheel, so it just makes sense for green to neutralize redness on the skin.”
While people may think it’s easier to just use a lot of a single product to cover up discoloration, she said that’s actually the harder route. Using a green cream or makeup product prior to applying another type of coverage or foundation is going to give you a better result as far as covering redness.
Whether you need that extra help everywhere or only in targeted areas, it’ll make your makeup look and feel more natural to use a green primer, cream, or concealer first.
This green primer is the holy grail product when it comes to covering redness. We already know that Stassi Schroeder swears by it for concealing psoriasis outbreaks, and it’s also a staple in Figueroa’s makeup kit. It’s green, so it’s going to help neutralize redness, but Figueroa also loves that it hydrates the skin and extends makeup wear. It’s one of her favorite products to use for color-correcting and helping makeup last longer since it has that priming aspect to it.
Promising review: “My 1st color correcting green-tinted product and I am very pleased. I’ve worn it without makeup and was very happy with my skin tone. It didn’t irritate already inflamed skin and wasn’t greasy. Buying another tub for my sister.” —TamtamRaccoon via Sephora
You can buy Make Up For Ever Step 1 Primer Redness Corrector from Sephora for around $39.
The original Shape Tape is a Tarte concealer beloved by many of the TikTok makeup influencers, but I had no idea there was a color-correcting version. Figueroa just started using it in her kit and is already obsessed, particularly because having a green product with a wand applicator allows you to apply more targeted coverage. She uses it when needed in hot spots or redness-prone areas, like around the nose.
“It's something that's super quick and easy to carry in your purse or on the go, and it works really well underneath makeup,” she said. “It's also not cakey, which is great.”
You can buy the Tarte Shape Tape Corrector from Ulta for around $30.
Figueroa has been using this redness-reducing primer for years because it not only primes and color-corrects, but it also has skincare built into it to help treat the redness. It contains lactic acid for gentle exfoliation to smoothen skin and tighten up pores.
“It's very much like a moisturizer within an actual heavier product, but wears really well under your makeup,” she said.
Promising review: “I have moderate rosacea and this primer covers ALL my redness so all I have to do is place a light foundation over it and my skin looks amazing! You can't even tell I have redness! Love this primer!” —Gina via Ulta
You can buy the Pür 4-in-1 Correcting Primer Redness Reducer from Ulta for around $33.
When green makeup first came to my attention, this was THE product to get. The whole Cicapair line from Dr. Jart contains its Tiger Grass complex to help calm sensitive skin, reduce redness, and soothe irritation, and some (like this cream) are also green to help instantly neutralize the appearance of redness.
I’ve used this product on and off for years since I’m lazy and it kills two birds with one stone — evens skin tone and protects my skin from sun damage with SPF 30. It’s great to use as a base under makeup or alone on lighter-coverage days.
Promising review: “I put this product all over my rosacea and it’s perfect! I was blown away by the coverage and how it changed from green to my skin color. I’ve never found anything that works as well as cicapair! Highly recommend for anyone who has uneven skin tone and/or rosacea!” —Lindsay T. via Dr. Jart
You can buy Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment from Dr. Jart for around $52.
It feels like a lot of people on social media are ditching some of their luxury makeup for more affordable e.l.f. dupes, or at least considering it. It’s known to be one of the more reliable drugstore-priced makeup brands, so it’s no surprise that this tone-adjusting green primer has over 16,000 reviews on Amazon and a whopping 4.5 star rating.
Promising review: “I love this primer!! I’m always a little skeptical when buying more affordable products, but I have heard elf is one of the more reliable brands. I have extremely acne prone skin - hence me needing a green primer to combat redness - and am always wary of putting something new on my face. When applying it spread in my face smooth as butter and had a lightweight matte finish that still looked natural. Obviously it’s not going to cover everything, seeing as it is a primer. However, this product neutralized my redness enough to be able cover my acne and post acne marks with some concealer later on. I definitely used less product on my face.” —Kat
You can buy e.l.f. Tone Adjusting Face Primer from Amazon for around $6.
If you’re looking for a green concealer that’s more affordable than Tarte, I fully trust that this Neutrogena option will get the job done. I was obsessed with the Neutrogena SkinClearing blemish concealer for at least a decade of my life, and still use it from time to time when my fancy concealers aren’t fully covering a breakout. It’s magical, and it has proven to me that Neutrogena knows how to do a concealer/treatment combination product well.
This one has that green pigment to neutralize skin redness plus niacinamide to help treat some potential causes of redness like acne and eczema, is suitable for acne-prone skin, and provides oil-free, buildable, lightweight coverage. It’s also suitable for people with rosacea.
Promising review: “I have sensitive, acne prone skin, and a couple dark spots that need correcting and this concealer blended nicely with my makeup. It goes on so smooth and doesn't crease. Created a nice finish.” —Kikisangrykitty via Target
You can buy Neutrogena Clear Coverage CC Green Concealer from Target for around $14.
Another extremely well-reviewed drugstore product, this tinted moisturizer from L’Oréal is one of the most multifunctional redness-reducing options you can get. The formula contains ingredients that hydrate and help even skin tone, with green pigments that adjust to match your shade and instantly neutralize the look of redness. It’s great to have on hand for days when you don’t feel like doing a full face, but still want your skin to look even and hydrated.
Promising review: “This is a very nice light coverage anti-redness cream. It doesn't feel heavy and applies evenly. I have a very red nose (thanks, rosacea), and this tones it way down.” —Linda Fox
You can buy L'Oréal Paris Makeup Magic Skin Beautifier Anti-Redness BB Cream from Amazon for around $9.