How to tone down a ruddy complexion

Written by margaret kohut, msw
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If your facial skin tends to appear ruddy or blotchy, you probably came by it naturally since this skin type is often inherited. Other factors may cause a ruddy complexion such as overexposure to sun over several years (including a couple of bad sunburns), side effects of some medications, rosacea and broken facial capillaries due to excessive alcohol use. If you drink too much, stop and get help! For otherwise ruddy skin, this condition may not be reversible, but reddish skin colour can be wonderfully corrected with several moderately easy techniques.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Mineral-based powder foundation that is only one shade lightly darker than your natural skin tone
  • Anti-redness clinical cream
  • Color-correcting lotion or cream with a green tinge
  • Light bronzer

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  1. 1

    Gently wash your face with a mild soap. Don't scrub. This only increases facial redness. Then apply a mild toner with a cotton pad. Now look closely at your bare skin in a mirror; where does your complexion appear ruddy? Some women find concentrations of ruddy skin on their nose, cheeks or the "T-Zone" between their eyes. Other women may find a general, all-over ruddy appearance. Remember, you can't fix it until you're certain about where it's located.

  2. 2

    Before you apply your foundation, apply an anti-redness light moisturiser like Clinique's Redness Relief Cream sparingly. This type of cream works well to diminish the look of broken capillaries, persistent overall skin ruddiness and blotchy redness. Let the cream sink into your skin for about five minutes before proceeding in apply other make-up.

  3. 3

    Use your green correcting cream or lotion. Yes, it's really green! This is because on your skin, a green tint over ruddy skin neutralises a reddish look. This is technically an optical illusion; the ruddiness is still there, but instead of slathering on foundation to try to temporarily conceal it, the greenish tint merely changes the way you see it! Having identified were your face is ruddy, apply and thoroughly blend into spot areas with a green-tinted cream. If your entire complexion appears ruddy, use a thinner lotion green colour corrector.

  4. 4

    Apply the mineral foundation of your choice; these unique foundations made of natural mineral products are especially formulated to excel in correcting and disguising ruddiness and other imperfections without appearing too heavy as some liquid foundations do. Use a foundation powder brush to apply the mineral powder make-up evenly across your face, with a little extra on particularly red or ruddy areas like cheecks. Next, apply a mineral "setting powder" to perfect and add a lovely polish to your face.

  5. 5

    Apply a light bronzing mineral powder to your cheeks, chin and forehead, but not on your nose. This will give you a nice sun-kissed look and further disguise ruddiness. Although high-quality mineral make-up has great staying power, you can carry the setting powder and bronzing power in your purse's make-up compartment for check-ups during the day or evening. Unless you've been swimming or perspiring profusely, you won't need to reapply the green colour corrector.

Tips and warnings

  • To disguise spotty red areas, a thick green cream works best; for all-over ruddiness, a thinner, more lotion-like green tint is best. Choose the one that best suits your needs. Merle Norman's Green Concealer Cream has been reliable for several decades as a solution to spotty-red skin. For overall ruddiness, the new DHC Q10 Moisture Base Green Color Corrector is thinner for easier spreading upon the face.
  • After gently washing and toning your face when you take your make-up off, apply the redness relief cream before bedtime so it can work overnight to prevent blotchy red breakouts.
  • Don't use a foundation more than a shade darker than your natural skin tone; this will only look phoney and will give you the telltale make-up line between your jawline and your neck.
  • Remember that you get what you pay for! Drugstore brands of green colour correctors aren't expensive, but they often result in only minimal correction of ruddiness. Mineral make-up from RawMinerals and Bare Essentials are definitely more expensive, and available only online, but they work very well and each small jar can last up to a year. Don't waste your money on cheap store brands.

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