When prepping skin with eczema, Tommy Napoli, a New York City-based makeup artist, reaches for a primer, another barrier option, before applying makeup. “I prime with non-mattifying silicone primers to help cocoon skin and buffer between skin and makeup,” says Tommy.
He finds Nyx Professional Makeup High Glass Face Primer to be protective and nourishing on compromised skin in need of covering. “Most cosmetic silicones evaporate off the skin, but while they’re there, they can help to alleviate the stress of makeup and offer a more smooth surface where cracks and dryness are mitigated,” he shares.
Skip the powder products.
Cream-based products are the way to go for eczema-prone skin, advises both Tommy and New York City-based makeup artist Nam Vo. “Powders add texture upon texture,” says Vo.
Tommy finds that cream blush and bronzer can be gentler on the skin, though. “Liquid foundations or anything with a dry-down tends to dry out, cling, and exacerbate eczema’s texture,” he says. “Sticks and creams do not compromise the skin underneath them.”
For base makeup, he recommends Kevyn Aucoin Foundation Balm for its buildable coverage and softening formula, which lays smooth while covering. The formula has vitamin E for added skin support.
Gohara suggests looking into skin-friendly brands such as Dermablend and Colorescience for non-irritating base makeup. The Dermablend Flawless Creator foundation is an Allure favorite — it won a Best of Beauty Award in 2018. For on-the-go, Colorescience Loose Mineral Foundation Brush SPF 20 is great for touch-ups.
Use your fingers.
When it comes to application, minimizing friction is key. Firm brushstrokes and too much blending can increase eczema symptoms, such as flaking. “Pat on skin care and makeup,” says Tommy. “[Use] gentle brushes or sponges with as little rubbing as possible.” This, he says, will also help prevent caking.
For lighter coverage, he suggests using a color-correcting product, like L.A. Girl High-Definition Concealer. “The more product on dry skin, the flakier and cakier the result,” he says. If you have a golden undertone use yellow or green for redness. For darker tones, try peach or orange, and use blue for fairer skin.
If you do have to set, use a fine powder.
Nam reaches for hydrating formulas like La Mer The Powder and Givenchy Prisme Libre No. 3 Voile Rosé. They both contain oils and silicones that help provide emolliency. “If you have to use a powder, you don’t want the client to look like a pancake on top of something that’s already dry and textured,” she says.
You can always distract.
It’s OK to leave your skin alone and forgo makeup altogether. In fact, sometimes covering up may be doing more harm than good. “When having an eczema flare, trying to cover it with makeup may exacerbate it,” says Marchbein. “I would generally recommend against it while acutely inflamed and itchy.
For example, if you have eyelid eczema that’s flaring up, you should stop all makeup and focus on moisture to repair the skin barrier. “The most important step is trying to calm the inflammation and repair the skin barrier,” she says. “This is done with topical steroid prescriptions and gentle skin care.”