Top Tips for Covering Blemishes and Acne Skin

A topic I get asked frequently about from clients and online followers is what products I use to cover and disguise blemishes and what are my techniques as a makeup artist to achieving a flawless skin look.

Thankfully I have almost always had good skin, but there have been periods of my life when I did suffer from breakouts due to personal stress, food intolerances, and of course the monthly hormonal surprise spots. I also meet a lot of clients that come to me for professional makeup saying that they can never achieve at home the natural but full coverage finish I give them. With all this in mind, in this blog post I will cover the approach I take and the products I use as a makeup artist to cover spots, as well as my advice for acne-prone skin.

Single Spots & Spot Clusters

Personally speaking, I will most likely every month have one or a few pesky blemishes that appear on various parts of my face. Also when I’ve been very naughty (sorry Jen) and don’t remove my makeup at night, I can 99% be guaranteed a “karma” spot. So how do I disguise these types of blemishes?

Step 1: You don’t need to mask the entire skin with a full-coverage foundation. Stick with your regular foundation and apply an even layer across the skin.

Step 2: Take a full coverage concealer/foundation such as the Vichy Dermablend Liquid/Stick Foundation or MAC Studio Finish Concealer and match as close to the colour of your foundation (don’t use a lighter shade as it will only attract more attention to the blemish), and using either a flat brush such as the F38 from Blank Canvas Cosmetics or your finger, draw an X over the spot, then pat around the spot not touching the spot itself.

Tip: Using a more yellow-toned concealer will colour correct any redness

Step 3: Apply setting powder all over such as a translucent powder, using a flat brush such as the E36 from Blank Canvas Cosmetics in a patting motion.

Usually we get frustrated because at this point, as the blemish shows a little again, and it’s tempting to go back in with more concealer – this is how we end up with cakey spots, because we are layering so much creams and powder over each other. RESIST THE URGE AND READ ON!

Step 4: Using a small pointed brush such as the F23 from Blank Canvas Cosmetics, pick up just a little full-coverage powder on the tip. My favourite is MAC Studio Fix Powder or Youngblood Mineral Cosmetics Powder Foundation and very gently stipple and roll the tip of the brush around any dark mark that is still showing at this point, and you should be able to “air-brush” it away.

Because you are applying powder on powder, instead of more cream (concealer), it shouldn’t cake. Your makeup will also last quite a bit better.

Tip: Through the day, if you want to touch up a bit because your makeup has faded slightly, touch up using Step 4 instead of applying more and more concealer.

Tips for covering a scab from a popped pimple/blemish: Try not to pick at blemishes as it is much easier to hide and cover a bump than a scab, as a scab has more texture. But if the urge was too much to resist and you’ve gone too far (aaghh), when applying product on the scab, always with a clean brush/sponge pat on the area with the scab. You won’t fully remove the texture but if you move the brush around on top of the scabbed area rather than patting, you’ll only emphasise it more.

Acne-Prone Skin

When you have acne-prone skin, trying to find makeup products that won’t make you break out can be tricky. Before I delve into this topic it’s incredibly important to know that using the right skincare routine for acne is critical, but I will leave the skincare knowledge to Jen. For now, I am giving my top tips on covering acne-prone skin using makeup.

Step 1: Cleanse the skin with a prescribed cleanser and apply a mattifying moisturiser and /or primer. One of my favourite primers for acne-prone skin are the primers from Smashbox such as the Blemish Control Primer, the Original Primer and also the Colour Correcting green primer to reduce redness.

When using makeup to help conceal present or past breakouts, resist the urge to cover your entire face in a blanket of full-coverage foundation. I find that a combination of a medium coverage foundation and strategically applied full-coverage concealer adds the extra help where you need it most while giving you a much more natural-looking result.

Some of my favourite foundations for acne prone skin are

  • Bare Minerals Foundation
  • Rimmel London Stay Matte Foundation
  • Clinique Redness Solution Foundation

On the areas that need extra coverage, my favourites below work especially well for building medium-to-full coverage that camouflages breakouts and red areas.

  • Smashbox 24 Hour CC Spot Concealer
  • Vichy Dermablend Foundation (this can be worn on its own but it also can look cakey and thick so I like to only apply on areas that need fuller coverage)
  • Paese Cosmetics Cover Cream Camouflague Concealer
  • Kat Von D Lock-it Tattoo Concealer

Using a flat dense foundation brush such as the F20 buffer brush from Blank Canvas Cosmetics, bounce or stipple the brush on areas that require fuller coverage then set the entire face with a powder. My favourite powders are:

  • Vichy Dermablend Powder
  • MAC Studio Fix Powder Foundation

If you over powder and want to remove the cakey powdery look, I like to use the Urban Decay De-Slick Setting Spray.

Remember that although blemishes can make us more self-conscious, they are only temporary, so try not to let them get you down. Seek the advice from a skin therapist, and invest in good products and nutrition. Small steps over time will gain positive results. Remember that beauty is only skin deep, it’s not about what’s on the outside. Always remember that you’re not alone, we all have our hang-ups and down days/weeks; you are so beautiful and never ever forget that!