Rose Gallagher is a London-based makeup artist, podcast host and one of the loveliest people in the beauty industry. Rose also happens to have been diagnosed with rosacea—two types, in fact—and uses her social platform as a place to share images of her real skin and product recommendations to others who are dealing with the same diagnosis. Below, hear from Rose directly on how she’s learning to embrace living with redness as well as her favourite rosacea products.
A couple of years back, I was diagnosed with two different types of rosacea. What does that mean? Even when I’m completely sensible with my diet, skincare, sleep—you name it—I’m always going to have a red face. Since making this discovery, I’ve made a conscious effort to share before-and-after makeup photos on my Instagram page as much as possible. I think we’ve become so desensitised to the airbrushed, filtered photos we see on a daily basis that it can be easy to think there’s something wrong if we see a little redness in the mirror. The reality, however, is that rosacea is a relatively common skin condition and you aren’t a martian from outer space if you have it.
I’m not going to lie: Having redness in my skin is distracting and makes me feel self-conscious. And when you put yourself out there online? It’s amazing how many opinions people enjoy sharing with you. I had a message from a well-meaning lady the other day who told me it “pained” her to see my “lovely face” looking so red. Seriously. Being on this journey has inspired me to change the conversation around rosacea and make it a normal talking point. It also got me thinking about other people in the beauty industry who are inspiring positive changes. The result was my podcast, Beauty From the Heart—a series where I share the stories of some of the most inspiring people in the beauty industry.
If you have rosacea, then let’s be honest: Your redness is likely to always be there. But the good news is that there are things we can do to calm it or cover it, should you wish. I always tell myself and others to try your best to accept it and think of it as just another thing that makes you, well, you! Whether you wish to go totally makeup-free or like me, you feel more confident with coverage, here are some of the products that I swear by since being diagnosed with rosacea.
Full disclosure, I’m the UK and Ireland brand Aambassador for It Cosmetics, but the reason they approached me for the role is that I’ve been waxing lyrical about this CC Cream for years. This offers completely full coverage and was founded by a woman who has rosacea, so it is the ultimate redness remedy. What’s more is that the finish is dewy so you barely look like you’re wearing anything (even though you’ve achieved a flawless base).
If you prefer to look like you haven’t got any makeup on or you like going makeup-free, you’ll love Bye Bye Redness. This full-coverage powder has a satin, high-cover finish, so you can buff it into the areas you wish to cover and leave the rest bare. It melts seamlessly into the complexion with no tell-tale signs of being there.
Though there is a specific redness range at La Roche Posay, my dermatologist (Stefanie Williams at Eudelo) recommended the Toleraine range for me, and I’ve seen remarkable results since using it. The texture in my skin is smoother and I have significantly less redness flare-ups now.
We should all be using an SPF every single day, but in particular, those with rosy complexions need to do so because the sun will be all the more irritating. Anthelios is my SPF of choice because it's so thin in texture that you barely feel it on the skin and sits quietly under makeup. This is so tiny you can easily slip it into your bag to top up, too.
If you can stretch to it, this peel by Dr. Dennis Gross will provide instant visible relief to textured red skin. I go to this before a special occasion or when I want an instant skin pick-me-up. A two-step system, this is the closest thing to a treatment with the doctor himself. It’s an exfoliant but doesn’t have any beads in it, so you get the same smooth, plump results that you would get from a scrub (only better).
For everyday glow and maintenance, these Dr. Dennis Gross pads are the hero product in my cupboard. Use step one to gently exfoliate, and step two to neutralise the skin and balance it post-treatment. This step significantly reduces the amount of texture in the skin both immediately and over time. It makes your skin look like a balloon—plump and smooth in texture.
If your skin is textured, I’d recommend switching to cream textures in your makeup where you can. Pressing your products into the skin helps to create a buttery skin texture, as opposed to layering powders with brushes which may lift as you build your base. These Givenchy drops can be used alone as a highlighter or mixed into your foundation to add some glow.
A facial massage is one of the most powerful tools to instantly brighten the complexion, but if you’re prone to redness, you don’t want to use too much pressure. Using something rich and slippery like the Decleor Rose D’Orient night balm will allow you to massage the skin without pulling it. If you find that essential oils aren’t an ideal combination with your redness; then rinse this off post-massage. Otherwise, leave it on overnight to unveil plump, deeply hydrated skin come morning.
Cream blush will add a healthy flush to the skin, and if you’ve applied a full-coverage product all over, it will help to add some depth and definition. The peachy Lancôme Cream Blush Stick will glide gently over any texture and help to detract from the redness in your complexion.
When it comes to a rich, creamy formula that doesn’t irritate the skin, this cleanser is great. With its thick texture, you’ll like this if you don’t want your skin to feel tight after removing makeup. This has been formulated especially with sensitive skin in mind.
For me, the simplest and quickest make-up to give a glowing complexion is a full-coverage CC Cream, a slick of mascara and bright lipstick. I love the entire Nars lip collection, in particular, the shade Get Up, Stand Up, a red that makes teeth look whiter and eyes more sparkly. Best of all, it has serious staying power.
Some of my most prominent redness sits at the top of my cheeks and around my hairline, so I have to make sure that even the eye area is dealt with sensitively. Pestle & Mortar’s offering across the board is great if you have redness in the skin, and its eye cream is creamy and gentle all-in-one.
When in doubt, I always think that simple French pharmacy solutions are great for treating redness. This mask from Uriage has made its way to the UK and offers an instantly cooling, soothing remedy if you’ve experienced a flare-up. Use this after a day in the sun or a hot shower or bath to take the edge off warm skin.