The Best Drugstore Foundations For Rosacea

Written by Marissa DeSantis
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If you use foundation to help camouflage rosacea, it’s important to ensure that your makeup (and skin care!) choices aren’t contributing to flare-ups. So, if you’re currently on the hunt for a budget-friendly foundation that won’t exacerbate your skin condition, there are a few important things to consider. When shopping for the best drugstore foundations for rosacea, makeup artist Neil Scibelli, who spoke to Elite Daily for this article, says that you should steer clear of potential irritants like alcohol denat, benzyl alcohol, and isopropyl alcohol, as well ingredients that have a cooling effect (like menthol and eucalyptus). “I would also be mindful of the use of any heavy acne fighting ingredients,” Scibelli adds. Additionally, Scibelli recommends looking for calming ingredients like aloe vera, niacinamide, oatmeal, and chamomile. Keep in mind that these rules apply to any and all of your skin care and makeup products, not just your foundation.

The Expert

Neil Scibelli is a New York City-based makeup artist who specializes in editorial, television, music videos, and red carpet events. He is a frequent on-air expert and contributor to publications like PopSugar, InStyle, and Women’s Health.

More Makeup Artist Tips For Rosacea

Because sun exposure is a common trigger for rosacea, you’ll want to be sure that you’re applying a mineral sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher before your foundation (yes, even if you use a foundation with sunscreen in it). And while not a trigger for everyone, fragrance is another ingredient that you’ll want to be mindful of if you have a known sensitivity to it.

As for what type of foundation to use, in terms of the formula and texture — that’s totally up to you. “My only suggestion with liquids and creams is to be sure they are pigmented enough to cover your level of redness,” Scibelli suggests. You can also neutralize that redness by going in with a color-correcting product first. “Try a green color correcting primer or green concealer if you find that your rosacea continues to peek through your foundation,” says Scibelli. “Green concealer can be applied before using your foundation, right over any red areas. This will help camouflage redness, discoloration, or even any red post-acne marks before applying your foundation,” he explains.

Shop The Best Drugstore Foundations For Rosacea

In a hurry? Here are the best drugstore foundations for rosacea:

  1. Best Drugstore Serum Foundation For Rosacea: Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Serum Foundation
  2. Best Drugstore Foundation For Rosacea & Oily Skin: Catrice HD Liquid Coverage Foundation
  3. Best Drugstore Foundation For Rosacea & Dry Skin: Physicians Formula Organic Wear Silk Foundation Elixir
  4. Best Foundation/Concealer Hybrid For Rosacea: Milani Conceal + Perfect 2-In-1 Foundation And Concealer
  5. Best CC Cream For Rosacea: e.l.f. Camo CC Cream

1. Best Drugstore Serum Foundation For Rosacea

“One of my favorite foundations right now, especially for rosacea and sensitive skin, is Neutrogena’s Healthy Skin Serum Foundation,” says Scibelli. “It truly covers redness and imperfections while soothing sensitive skin and hydrating with vitamin B5,” he adds. The buildable-coverage foundation was designed to blur the look of pores and reduce redness, and it’s also fragrance-free, noncomedogenic, and safe for sensitive and acne-prone skin. Plus, it feels incredibly lightweight, thanks to its texture that feels more like a serum than a thick foundation.

Finish: Natural Available Shades: 15 Beneficial Ingredients: Glycerin, Panthenol Fragrance-Free: Yes

Relevant Review: “This is a beautiful sheer foundation for dry, sensitive skin. Wonderful if you have eczema or rosacea. [...] Leaves a dewy, glowy finish (although this can be toned down with powder). Maybe its the skin-soothing panthenol in this product, but it leaves my skin feeling very soothed, comforted, hydrated, and also looking very healthy toned and glass-like. The consistency of this foundation is very serum-like as claimed. Its a little liquidy, but its not watery or overly runny. This product layers very well over sunscreen”

2. Best Drugstore Foundation For Rosacea & Oily Skin

If you prefer something a bit more heavy duty, this Catrice HD Liquid Coverage Foundation provides you with a full-coverage finish. Ideal for oily skin types, the lightweight foundation is sweat-proof, waterproof, and transfer-proof, and it contains mattifying ingredients like talc and silica to absorb excess oil. While it’s not fragrance-free, the foundation is formulated with niacinamide, a multi-tasking hero ingredient for sensitive skin types and rosacea. In addition to strengthening the skin barrier, niacinamide is known for its nourishing, redness-reducing, and anti-inflammatory benefits.

Finish: Matte Available Shades: 25 Beneficial Ingredients: Niacinamide, Glycerin, Vitamin E Fragrance-Free: No

Relevant Review: “This foundation is everything. So lightweight, FULL coverage but not cakey looking. It morphs into your skin. Claims to have the second skin look, it 100% does. I get asked Constantly what foundation I am wearing. It covers up my rosacea like no other foundation. I’ve tried [other high-end foundations] but neither compares to the coverage longevity and feel of this. I would still purchase this if it was $50 or more. I really hope they NEVER discontinue this foundation”

3. Best Drugstore Foundation For Rosacea & Dry Skin

For dry skin types that need more moisture, Physicians Formula packs multiple skin-smoothing and hydrating ingredients into their Organic Wear Silk Foundation Elixir. Nourishing ingredients like sunflower seed oil, coconut oil, and jojoba seed oil work to restore moisture while aloe leaf extract soothes inflammation, and the foundation gives your skin a radiant, dewy finish. Those with especially sensitive skin will also love that this foundation is hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and paraben-free.

Finish: Dewy Available Shades: 12 Beneficial Ingredients: Sunflower Seed Oil, Coconut Oil, Jojoba Seed Oil, Squalene, Vitamin E, Glycerin, Aloe Leaf Extract Fragrance-Free: Yes

Relevant Review: “I love this stuff. Looked for it after experiencing rosacea because I then needed something more hypoallergenic. It covers surprisingly well for something that is sheer and lightweight. By lightweight, I mean almost watery. It’s so comfortable compared to foundations I’ve used before. I also like that it has a dropper because it’s more sanitary. I just squeeze 2-3 drops toward the palm of my hands.”

4. Best Foundation/Concealer Hybrid For Rosacea

Another full-coverage foundation, Milani’s Conceal + Perfect formula was designed to serve as both your foundation and your concealer. An Amazon favorite with more than 10,000 five-star ratings, the foundation was specifically designed to be able to camouflage discoloration like rosacea-induced redness. Even though it’s a pretty heavy-duty waterproof foundation, it contains allantoin to help reduce irritation, and it’s also oil-free and fragrance-free.

Finish: Natural-Matte Available Shades: 44 Beneficial Ingredients: Allantoin, Plum Fruit Extract Fragrance-Free: Yes

Relevant Review: “I love this foundation. I have rosacea and this foundation covers it up, and last[s] all day.”

5. Best CC Cream For Rosacea

If you prefer a foundation with maximum skin care benefits, a CC cream will help immediately color correct your complexion as it improves the tone and texture of your skin over time. E.l.f.’s Camo CC Cream includes moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, panthenol, and sunflower seed oil, as well as multi-tasking niacinamide and skin-plumping peptides. And as a major bonus, the buildable foundation also gives your morning sunscreen a boost courtesy of SPF 30.

Finish: Natural Available Shades: 20 Beneficial Ingredients: Hyaluronic Acid, Niacinamide, Panthenol, Glycerin, Vitamin E, Sunflower Seed Oil, Peptides Fragrance-Free: Yes

Relevant Review: “I have naturally red cheeks and eczema and this did the job of toning it down for my liking. Applied with a damp blender. Felt light all day on my face and never cakey!”


Neil Scibelli, New York City-based makeup artist.