Ah, the Mean Reds. Holly Golightly wasn’t talking about rosacea, but she might as well have been. Women who suffer from this patchy, flaky, highly sensitive, and unflatteringly rosy condition are perpetually unhappy with the appearance of their skin and have frequently given up hope.
Rosacea is a dastardly villain, and once afflicted, a woman can no longer apply her makeup as whimsically as the rest of society might. Foundation will often seep into enlarged pores while refusing to lay smoothly on the surface skin; this can produce an odd effect: dozens of visible pinpoints of foundation interrupted by islands of scaly red skin. And heaven forbid you wear a blush on top! EEEEEEK!
What to do, WHAT TO DO?? If you suffer from rosacea yourself, you have undoubtedly sought the help of a dermatologist, and may already be doing something topically to treat the condition.
But what if you’re still red all over?
Close your eyes and say “Hocus Pocus”.
While you’re doing that, I’ll tell you a story. I had a client recently with a FABULOUS face; sparkling green eyes, cheekbones to die for, and a mouth so large that I could count all her perfect teeth when she spoke. (She’s a professional singer, so she’s lucky). Big lips, long lashes. Great brows. Fabulous face, yes. Fabulous skin….not so much.
The poor darling had a serious case of rosacea, bless her heart! Her usual routine is a smattering of powder across her face, lipgloss and masacara–she’s a 30 second makeup girl. Unfortunately, the powder she was using was orange–and while she was sure that it was counteracting the red on her face, I was pretty sure it was just orange. We had a tussle. Hair was pulled. Makeup was thrown. Suddenly, a green cloud of dust rose up from my kit and settled upon her face.
Hocus Pocus. It’s a mineral based powder by Larenim (mineral spelled backwards) that is ACTUALLY GREEN. Now have we all studied our color theory, girls? What’s the opposite of red? Is it orange? Blue? Purple? Very good. It’s green. A fine dusting of light green powder across red skin works miracles.
We experimented a bit, and found the best makeup scenario for her to be this one:
1. Apply a thin layer of aloe vera (or an aloe based makeup primer such as Mod’s) to the face. Pure aloe is soothing, won’t clog your pores, and dries down to provide a barrier between makeup and your skin. If you use liquid foundation and have rosacea and/or large pores, you must use a primer.
2. Using a soft brush, lightly dust Hocus Pocus over the red portions of the face only. You may use a concealer brush dipped in Hocus Pocus for red blemishes, as well. Hint: if your face is still damp from moisturizer or aloe, let it dry first! (Otherwise too much green is absorbed. Hello, Wicked Witch!)
Note: We were both satisfied with the eveness of the skin at this point; she could have skipped foundation and gone straight to gloss and mascara, but she was having photos taken, so we went for flawless skin.
3. Use your loose/pressed powder or pressed foundation (Larenim and ZuZu have nice ones) and pat over face gently, don’t “smear” the spell. And don’t forget undereye concealer!
4. Finally, a little bronzer will warm up the skin. You may think about blush. Wait first. Putter about the house for a bit. See how long it takes for your skin to begin acting like the lunatic it is. Seeing hints of pink after an hour? You should probably skip blush altogether.
Now, I’m not usually a powder, powder everywhere kind of girl. I like to hand mix mineral foundations with organic face creams or balm sticks to match my clients skin, and to leave a bit of a glow when possible. AND I don’t like the look of packed-on powder that results from using certain lines. That said, some skin prefers NOT to glow.
Some skin hates anything with oil (no matter how natural), and is quick to anger, so it’s best to be reasonable and do our best to keep it calm and soothed. Aloe vera is great for this combustable fiend. Consider using it everytime you use makeup. And Hocus Pocus is makeup witchery at its best. Other than that, ladies, watch the alcohol intake, which can set off a flushing of rosacea (I’m not saying ‘don’t drink’–I’m merely saying ‘observe the effects of your drinking’), the same goes for spicy foods and spicy men.
The Mean Reds may be with you for a while. Some experts claim rosacea is genetic (having to do with the “Celtic Curse”), some say it’s bacterial, some say it’s dietary, and some are simply clueless. We do know that it affects three times as many women as men, and that the years between 30-60 are fun times for the Mean Reds to develop. The ensuing flakiness is certainly annoying, but (contrary to popular thought) your skin can be GENTLY sloughed, depending on your sensitivity, which will make your skin feel better to the touch. Yes, you may be a tad red after a gentle scrub, but what’s new?
As for the color of the Mean Reds? Say a little spell, and watch them disappear! Hang in there, girls. We’re pulling for you!