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 ambassador 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).
As a brand, CeraVe is reliable on all counts when you have redness or rosacea. Everything is competitively priced, fragrance-free and simple—just what the doctor ordered. This particular cleanser is gentle and removes all complexion makeup without being abrasive. A tiny bit goes a long way and the bottle is really large.
Though there is a specific redness range at La Roche-Posay, my dermatologist (Emma Wedgeworth at the Sam Bunting clinic) recommended the Toleraine range for me, and I’ve seen remarkable results since using it. The texture of my skin is smoother and I have significantly fewer redness flare-ups now. My particular favourites are the Sensitive Rich Moisturising Cream for twice a day and the Toleriane Dermocleanse, which is super gentle but removes all of my eye and base makeup.
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.
This treatment from The Inkey List will visibly smooth textured, red skin. Azelaic acid is the best ingredient for reducing the texture that can come with rosacea, and without a prescription for it, the highest percentage you can obtain is 10%. I’ve tried many high-street variations of this, but this one layers beautifully under makeup without pilling and is affordable. It also has a slight green hue to it which helps to neutralise the redness.
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 MAC Cream Colour Bases can be used alone as a highlighter or used underneath your foundation to add some glow.
A TikTok-viral sensation that I am glad I was converted to, Cicapair from Dr. Jart+ is a fantastic redness multi-tasker. This green colour corrector is part skincare treatment and part redness neutraliser. You can use this alone, on the areas of redness, or underneath your favourite foundation to give more coverage. This is a fantastic option for anyone who doesn’t wear a lot of makeup but wants to reduce redness.
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 uniquely textured Cheek Fluff Soft Blur blushers from Half Magic Beauty are super flattering on textured skin. They will glide gently over any bumps, they’re radiant without being glowy or shiny, and a peachy shade like Pink Mushroom will 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 and forms part of a three-step routine that I really recommend in its entirety.
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, so I have to make sure that even the eye area is dealt with sensitively. A simple, hydrating hyaluronic serum is great to lock in moisture around the eye area for me, and then I tend to take my same face cream right the way around the eye area.
When in doubt, I always think that simple French pharmacy solutions are great for treating redness. This mask from Avene has been recommended to me by so many different dermatologists and is something I repurchase time and time again. Use this after a day in the sun or before a hot shower or bath to reduce the feeling of heat in my skin.
For an intensive treatment once a week or so, this two-step mask from Medik8 is fantastic. Designed to deeply hydrate the skin, this regime includes a hydrating gel and a rich cream. Red skin can be so prone to intense dryness, and I find that an overnight treatment with this mask leaves my skin feeling much more comfortable by morning, resulting in better lasting power from my makeup too.
Abrasion of any kind is a real struggle when you have rosacea, but when you like to wear a lot of makeup you do want to feel like you’ve thoroughly removed it! These reusable pads from Garnier are so incredibly soft. They allow you to ensure that all of your makeup is thoroughly removed without causing any unnecessary irritation to already hot and bothered skin.