How to Cover Up Acne With Makeup: A Step-by-Step Guide

BY Gracee Tolentino · June 22, 2017

Woman with makeup brush and powder on pink background 2 | Dermstore Blog

Despite the impression we were given by all those infomercials we saw as kids, acne in real life isn’t too easily discouraged. They persist, long after our teenage years. And even when they do eventually leave, they don’t do so silently: they leave a discernible mark that haunts us every time we stand in front of the bathroom mirror—the ghost of pimple past, so to speak. While most dermatologists recommend going easy on makeup when you’re battling breakouts, there are times when covering them up is inevitable. The trick, according to April M. Chaney, Hollywood makeup artist, licensed esthetician and spokesperson for Dermaflage, is to do so properly.

Whether you are going to a wedding or have a big date coming up, here’s a quick tutorial on how to make your blemishes disappear, at least for a few hours.

STEP 1: Start With a Good Skin Care Routine

According to Chaney, the best way to make sure your makeup glides smoothly on your skin is to start with a clean, even surface. “As an artist, I like to work with a clean canvas,” she says. “Exfoliating is key, but don’t overdo it. You want to have a smooth surface to work with, and over-exfoliating or over-drying can cause peeling.”

Try: SkinCeuticals Micro-Exfoliating Scrub

Another step most people with acne-prone skin skip? Moisturizers—which is a no-no, according to her. “Even if you have oily skin, it is important to use a moisturizer,” she says. “The trick is to pick a moisturizer that’s right for you. If you have oily or acne-prone skin, always go with oil-free and non-comedogenic. I prefer lighter creams and gels.”

STEP 2: Prime

According to Chaney, this is the most important step to covering acne. Primers have many uses: they even out your skin’s surface, prep your skin for makeup, control excess oil, hold makeup in place and some even fill in acne scars. “If you have indented scarring like acne pock marks or icepick or boxcar scars, I love using Dermaflage Topical Filler,” says Chaney. “It fills in the indented area to eliminate the shadowing caused by uneven skin. Dermaflage creates a thin covering that is completely smudge-proof and friendly to sensitive skin.”

STEP 3: Color Correct

To correct redness and uneven skin tone, Chaney suggests using a color corrector instead of your typical single-tone concealer. “If you have discoloration from your acne marks, it is a good idea to do some color correction to neutralize the scar. Green neutralizes redness while yellow corrects purple scars,” she says. Some concealers also feature other colors: Purple neutralizes sallow complexions while pink corrects bluish hues like dark circles and bruises.

Try: glominerals Corrective Camouflage Kit 

STEP 4: Apply Foundation

Here’s the greatest irony we all face: The more blemishes we have, the more inclined we feel to add layer upon layer of foundation. But here’s why Chaney thinks this is counterproductive. “After you have done your color correction you will find that you will need less foundation. Sometimes less is more. If you have uneven skin and you really cake on a heavy wax-based foundation, it can often highlight the imperfections. Try using a lighter hand with a medium-coverage foundation or a mineral powder foundation,” she suggests.

Try: Dermaflage Made in the Shade SPF 26 Mineral Powder

STEP 5: Set

Finally, set your makeup. Oilier complexions tend to have issues keeping makeup in place. Setting sprays or powders combat shine while ensuring your makeup stays on throughout the day.

Try: Supergoop Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50

Final Tip: Always Keep Your Makeup Brushes Clean

Another thing to keep in mind? Keeping your makeup brushes clean. “Since I am working on multiple clients with my brushes, I am a bit fanatical about keeping them clean,” shares Chaney. “Most brush cleansers are alcohol-based but many have additives that can be irritating so read the ingredients and be careful with the fragrances. Under normal conditions, you don’t have to wash a brush every time you use it, but it is a good idea to wash anything that touches your skin at least once a week.”

Try: Sigma Beauty’s SigMagic Brushampoo

Gracee Tolentino

Gracee Tolentino is the managing editor of the Dermstore Blog. After spending 10 years of her writing and editing career working in the travel and food industries, she finally found her true calling: beauty, health and wellness. In her spare time ... Read More >

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