How to Wear Makeup While Using Retinol?

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Even if you don’t normally wear makeup, you may be tempted to do so while using retinol. This is because, despite the importance of skin care at this stage, makeup appears to be the simplest way to conceal the flaky skin caused by retinol. However, it is the peeling skin that makes it difficult to wear makeup. And you begin to wonder, “How do I wear makeup while using retinol?”

When retinol causes your skin to peel, here’s how to apply makeup, how to choose products, what to look for, and what to avoid. Continue reading to learn how to apply makeup while using retinol.

How to Wear Makeup While Using Retinol

1. Use Oil-free Makeup

This is a general rule about using makeup and retinol. We will get into the details in a moment. However, it is best to make sure you are using oil-free makeup. Whether it’s a foundation or a BB cream, choose a foundation that is non-comedogenic and non-acnegenic.

This is important because some people use retinol to treat acne and constipation. And the use of acnegenic makeup is counterintuitive, as it could interfere with the effect of retinol.

2. Apply Gently

Your skin can be sensitive, and you may not even be aware of it. And brushes with stiff bristles can easily irritate your skin if it is already sensitive from retinol.

Instead, use your fingers to apply your foundation or concealer. Fingers also give you control, so it’s almost impossible to irritate your skin.

If you need brushes, you should know that natural makeup brushes are much softer and gentler on the skin than synthetic ones. However, they are not free from cruelty.

You can also try using a damp sponge. But you should pay more attention to hygiene. Sponges pick up dirt and bacteria. And if you don’t wash them properly, you might spread bacteria on your sensitive skin.

3. Skip Foundation During the Application of Retinol

You might find it difficult to use regular foundation on dry, sensitive, flaky skin. And no matter what you put on your skin, even the most opaque foundation doesn’t work anymore.

Also, heavy, matte foundations sometimes exacerbate peeling skin. This is because the foundation starts to peel off and looks uneven, making the underlying peeling look worse than it is.

Therefore, consider switching to foundation alternatives such as tinted moisturizers as these types of products are easier to work with.

As for the texture, they are creamier. Therefore, they are easier to work with. They do not cover completely, but their moisturizing and softening base better conceals the underlying skin imperfections.

They can provide an even skin tone and help cover redness. And because they are creamier, spots and flakes are less likely.

4. Establish a Good Skincare Routine

Our retinol makeup tips will only work if you take proper care of your skin. If you are using this ingredient for the first time, you should first learn how to use retinol. 

This includes using the right moisturizer for your skin and keeping it regularly hydrated. This is very important because dryness is a very common side effect of retinol.

And dryness makes it really difficult to use makeup on normal skin, and even more so on skin that is trying to come to terms with retinol.

And of course, make sure you use a gentle sunscreen. So everything that follows assumes that you are doing everything you can to moisturize and protect your skin.

5. Conceal Impurities

Purging, acne, skin blemishes – these phenomena are more common with prescription retinoids. However, some people also suffer from laxative reactions when using retinol. And if you are not satisfied with the removal of makeup and want to hide acne, it is better to use a concealer than a foundation.

If you apply foundation all over your face to cover acne, your complexion may look streaky and blotchy overall. If you use concealer instead to cover blemishes ad hoc, you can cover acne without exacerbating other skin blemishes.

So after you’ve done your skincare routine, apply a hypoallergenic, oil-free concealer to the acne you want to hide. Use a dot concealer. And press it on gently without spreading it too much.

From here, you can use a tinted moisturizer to warm up your face. If your current concealer has a matte finish and dries out your skin, you should mix it with a moisturizer.

This smooths the texture of the concealer, makes it easier to apply and reduces flaking of the skin around acne.

6. Hypoallergenic Make-Up

Use hypoallergenic makeup. And that even goes for your mascara. You may be wondering what your mascara has to do with retinol, but like I said, you need to change your perspective.

First, dry eyes are a problem for people who use prescription retinoids. So eye makeup that irritates the eyes only makes things worse.

Even if you use a mild, over-the-counter retinol, an irritating eyeliner or mascara will make the eye area itchy. And that can lead to watery eyes, rendering your sunscreen useless around the eyes and leaving that area vulnerable.

It also causes unnecessary rubbing, which is not the best feeling for sensitive skin. Whatever makeup product you use, make sure it is safe and opt for hypoallergenic, fragrance-free makeup when using retinol.

7. Eye Makeup

Red, flaky skin tempts you to apply anything to cover it up. But as we’ve discovered, it doesn’t work that way. As a solution, you can focus on eye makeup and skip foundation.

A beautiful eye makeup with long, curved eyelashes is a nice change. Draw attention to this area by using different eyeliner wings or even eyeliners in different colors.

You can also try cream eyeshadows that are softening and moisturizing for the eyelids. However, you have to be very picky about the products you use, which brings me to my next point.

8. Cream Makeup

When it comes to bronzer and blush, you have to pick one. First of all, creamy blushes and bronzers are usually more skin-friendly. They are usually moisturizing for the skin and you can apply them with your fingers.

On the other hand, like foundation, they can peel off and look blotchy. Powder blush and bronzer, on the other hand, can look blotchy even when applied.

This is because powder formulas, by nature, have a mattifying effect on the skin. And that’s not the best thing for already dry skin. So you have these two options.

9. Less Makeup

When using retinol, you should use only a few makeup products. The reason for this is twofold. First, more products mean more potential for irritation.

More importantly, you can remove more products with the same amount of effort. For example, you may need to use two cleansers to ensure that you remove all traces of makeup.

Even if you only use one cleanser, heavy makeup may require you to scrub your skin thoroughly, making sensitive skin even more sensitive. Therefore, it is best to use as few makeup products as possible when using retinol.

10. Lip Balm

If you have dry, chapped lips due to retinoids, don’t waste your time with lipsticks. Your lips need constant care and multiple applications of lip balm throughout the day.

Lipstick won’t last long and will likely look blotchy. Instead, use hypoallergenic lipstick to define your lips. Most importantly, use tinted lip balms. They add color to your lips and moisturize them at the same time.


There you have it! Our top tips on how to wear makeup when using retinol. You’re better off skipping foundation altogether. This may be an issue, and it’s not worth getting frustrated over. Your skin will look much better once it gets used to the retinol.