Makeup Magic: Looking Better with Psoriasis

Makeup works best when it looks like you’re not wearing it at all, and when using makeup on skin with psoriasis, the goal is to apply it in a way that makes you look like your best self. “The first step is to talk to your doctor and make sure that any cosmetics you’re considering are safe for your skin,” says Collier Strong, a well-known celebrity makeup artist and consulting makeup artist for L’Oreal Paris. Once you’ve gotten the go-ahead from your dermatologist, Strong offers these tips for using makeup to look your prettiest, even when your psoriasis is flaring.

1. To help your skin look beautiful without looking “made up,” start with a foundation alone. If that doesn’t give you enough coverage, apply a concealer on top of the foundation. Opt for liquid foundation and avoid products with a powdery finish—they can magnify the appearance of scaling or flaking skin. Creams may also work, but they require more rubbing to blend into the skin, which can potentially irritate your face.

2. Choose a foundation and concealer with a yellow undertone rather than a pink undertone. “Yellow can neutralize redness in the skin,” says Strong. “Another option is to use a green primer or concealer on the area before you apply the foundation. Green also neutralizes red.” You can usually pick out yellow undertones in foundation just by looking at it, or check the label for the words “warm” or “neutral” as opposed to “cool,” or for phrases such as “fights redness.” “Looking for a yellow undertone is advice that applies whether your skin is very fair or very dark,” says Strong. “Some products look really yellow in the container, but are transparent and blend in well when they’re on your skin. As long as they’re in your skin color range, they should look good.”

3. Use a brush to apply foundation to skin areas affected with psoriasis. (You can use your fingertips or a cosmetic sponge to apply it to the rest of your face.) “Synthetic brushes are best because they’re easy to keep clean between uses,” says Strong, “and they’re much gentler for applying foundation to areas of sensitive skin than a sponge or fingertips.”

4. Buy two foundations—one that matches your natural skin color, and one that matches your skin’s darker color after you’ve been in the sun or getting light treatments for your psoriasis. Test your foundation in good light both on your face and neck to make sure the color blends in well and that there isn’t a line where the makeup ends and your neck begins.

5. Play up your other features. “If your eyes aren’t affected by psoriasis, enhance them with mascara, liner and shadows in earth tones such as brown, gold and green,” suggests Strong. “Stay away from pink, purple, gray and blue, which might magnify those colors in the affected areas of your skin. Wearing a bright lipstick or a very reflective lip gloss can draw attention away from your skin condition and to your lips.”

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