25% off sitewide (sets excluded)Shop now Two free samples with every orderShop now Free standard shipping on all US ordersShop all Free international shipping on orders over $50Shop all


  • Education
    A primer on essential beauty topics, from talc contamination to biodegradability.
  • Profile
    Everybody has a story about beauty. Some of the world’s most intriguing people share theirs.
  • Tutorials
    Expert beauty advice to inform and inspire.
  • RHW Shortlist
    A glimpse inside Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's world.
3 Pros Explain How to Prep Acne-Prone Skin for Makeup

Acne is among the most discouraging skin battles to face. Its unpredictability can be frustrating and, at its worst, can even take a jab at our confidence. According to Lily Njoroge, New York–based aesthetician and founder of Brooklyn acne clinic Skin Wins, “Acne-prone skin is often sensitized.” This can be exacerbated by product application, so prepping the skin correctly beforehand is pivotal if you chose to wear makeup. 

“Any excessive friction, such as brushes or sponges, rubbing on the skin can further irritate already inflamed skin and also spread bacteria, causing new inflammation elsewhere,” Njoroge says. “The biggest key to preparing acne-prone skin for makeup is ensuring that the barrier is healthy and hydrated so that the friction caused by makeup application doesn't result in significant irritation, as well as ensuring that the skin and all tools being used are properly disinfected.”

To help you establish a more protected barrier ahead of makeup application, we asked the pros to share their best advice. Keep scrolling for eight can’t-skip tips for prepping acne-prone skin for makeup application.

Moisturizer Is Your Friend

“Makeup applies best on well-moisturized skin,” says Njoroge, who likes to apply a thin layer of a soothing and hydrating cream during breakouts. “I like using products with anti-inflammatory ingredients.” 

When preparing acne-prone skin, celebrity makeup artist Marcelo Gutierrez (known for his work with stars like Tracee Ellis Ross, Rosalia and more) prioritizes skincare even above actual makeup application itself. “I really focus on relaxing the skin and adding a lot of moisture so that when we apply the makeup or powder, we don't get any dry patches that can tend to happen with picked skin.” He usually starts with a super hydrating serum, followed by a calming oil. He seals the skin with a rich moisturizer.

Heavy hydrators can be intimidating, but not moisturizing, according to our pros, simply isn’t an option if you’re after healthy-looking skin. Kizovski recommends seeking out a moisturizer that is non-comedogenic to avoid further clogging pores, which can result in congestion and breakouts. Need a refresher on this complex term? This non-comedogenic beauty explainer will help.

"I really focus on relaxing the skin and adding a lot of moisture so that when we apply the makeup or powder, we don't get any dry patches..."

“...cleanse and spot treat with a mild salicylic or lactic treatment before applying a mineral-based sunscreen.”

Strategically Apply Highlighter

Gutierrez points out that while highlighter is a key product in creating a fresh, glowy face, it needs to be placed with care — especially if you’re experiencing breakouts. “Don’t put any kind of glow or highlight where you have a breakout or texture,” he explains. Doing so can draw unnecessary attention to the blemishes.


Finally, Kizovski adds that using your fingers for makeup application on acne-prone skin should also be kept to a minimum and wash brushes often to avoid introducing bacteria onto the skin.

Your Bag 0

Your cart is empty Shop all
Rose Inc GiftBox

Add a Signature Gift Box for $4

Choose Samples

Select 2 free samples
Add Free

Sample: Blush Divine Radiant Lip & Cheek Shade Card

Add Free

Sample: Softlight Luminous Hydrating Concealer

Experience a does-it-all, creaseless concealer that brightens, blurs and...

Add Free

Sample: Radiant Reveal Brightening Serum Sachet


513 reviews

LX 200

Very Deep Skin Tone, Neutral Undertone


Softlight Luminous Hydrating Concealer

A does-it-all concealer that brightens, blurs and contours while nourishing...

301 reviews


Warm terracotta


Blush Divine Radiant Lip & Cheek Color

A hydrating cream that brightens and blurs with a radiant...

178 reviews


Very Deep Skin Tone/Red Undertone


Skin Enhance Luminous Tinted Serum

A hydrating skin tint that delivers powerful skincare and sheer,...

405 reviews


Cool blush


Satin Lip Color Rich Refillable Lipstick

Creamy lipstick that plumps the lips while drenching delicate skin...

25 reviews


Number 1 Concealer Brush

A customized concealer brush with a unique curve engineered for...

201 reviews


Eye Revival Brightening Eye Cream

A pearlescent cream that diminishes the appearance of dark circles...

230 reviews


Radiant Reveal Brightening Serum

A powerful hydrating serum that instantly brightens the complexion with...


Number 6 Highlighter Brush

A petite dual-fiber brush that delivers seamless cream highlighter...