Quite possibly one of the most frequently asked questions in the acne community! There are many ways makeup can make your skin worse but if you are removing it properly each day and following my tips below; you should be able to wear it guilt free! Before you go scrolling off, I want you to grab your makeup bag…

Get everything out and organise your cosmetics into three groups:

  1. Makeup you wear everyday
  2. Makeup you wear for special occasions
  3. Makeup you haven’t worn for over a year

When was the last time you washed your cosmetic bag? Makeup bags can harbor a lot of bacteria; especially if you take it everywhere. Once it is washed and dried, pop everything from group one back inside. For groups two and three, I want you to read the rest of this blog and then decide whether they deserve a place back in the bag!

Read the labels

Over the years I’ve invested a lot of money in makeup. I use the word invested because it was an investment. An investment in myself. Makeup gave me the confidence to socialise, to go to work and feel normal. I can’t put a price on that. It was a life-line at one point. So you should never be shamed into thinking that makeup is the problem and acne will disappear when you stop using it. What is important is that you take responsibility for what you are putting on your face. And that means understanding what’s inside the products!

First up, you need to check whether the products are non-comedogenic or non-acnegenic. This means they do not contain pore clogging ingredients.

Another ingredient that can aggravate acne is synthetic fragrance. If you see the word ‘fragrance’ in your list of ingredients, it’s worth knowing that legally this is a deemed as a ‘trade secret’ which means companies can hide thousands of chemicals under that one listed ingredient. A scary thought!

So when I said earlier about taking responsibility over what you put on your face, this is what I mean… we naturally assume that if a product is available to buy it’s because it’s been tested and deemed safe. But worryingly that isn’t always the case.

If you need help understanding what’s inside your cosmetics, check out websites like Think Dirty or EWG’s Skin Deep. If you want to learn more about harmful fragrances there is an interesting documentary on Netflix called ‘Stink‘. And if podcasts are more your thing I loved listening to this episode featuring Tara Follain.

Check the expiry dates

Over the years of trialling various brands, we tend to get an accumulation of products that we don’t use anymore. This means there will inevitably be some liquid foundations or tinted moisturisers that are out of date and need throwing away.

By having a makeup detox, you will be ridding yourself of makeup that could be harbouring years of bacteria. Is it possible that your makeup is contaminated? Did you use a blusher or bronzer with a dirty makeup brush. Have your powders developed a hard oil like residue on the top? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this product could be making your breakouts worse.

Try before you buy

Some makeup brands provide small samples of their products, this is a great way for you to assess it’s durability, coverage and whether it has caused you any further breakouts or sensitivity.

Not all brands offer samples but if you go into their store, it is likely they will have a makeup artist on hand to apply it for you. I always prefer this option because I learn more about the product and discover helpful ways to enhance the application.

It took me years to work up the courage to have my makeup done in-store! So I know this might not feel like a viable option to you right now…


When concealing your acne, I would always recommend using makeup brushes. No matter how clean we think we are, our fingertips with their bacteria infested fingernails can sometimes spread infection around our face. So keep your fingers out of your cosmetics and away from your skin!

If you like to keep your makeup looking fresh, you may want to touch up your makeup during/after work. This means your lovely clean brushes come into contact with a days worth of sweat and bacteria. To avoid this, clean your brushes after use or cleanse, tone and moisturise your face first and then re-apply.

It’s important to keep your makeup brushes clean by washing them in warm/hot soapy water, leaving them to dry flat. To begin with you might want to try doing this after every application to see how much your skin improves.


After you’ve followed everything I’ve mentioned above, you should be in pretty good shape. But none of it matters if you’re not removing your makeup properly at the end of each day. Two cleanses followed by a tone should be sufficient. But if you’re cleanser isn’t working for you, this could be another reason why makeup is making your acne worse.

I’ve recently been experiencing more breakouts because the konjac sponge I was using wasn’t quite removing my makeup properly. I discovered this after I dried my face on a towel and left loads of makeup behind. I was horrified. But it did explain why I was experiencing a flare-up of those pesky little whiteheads!

Published by Beautiful by Breakfast



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