The Ultimate Guide To Concealing Acne
The Ultimate Guide To Concealing Acne

The Ultimate Guide To Concealing Acne

5 minutes read

There is a misconception that when you have spots, you need to cover them by wearing loads of make-up. So, many people switch to a super high coverage foundation and then apply loads of it. But if you’ve tried this you already know that the result isn’t always the most flattering. If you choose to cover your spots or acne scars, the trick is to reach for concealer.

The best concealer for acne is one that packs a punch in terms of coverage and matches your skin tone so perfectly that it camouflages the spot and then disappears into the skin. To achieve this effect, you need to find the right concealer for you. You also need to ace your application technique. Below, we show you how to do it.

model with acne scars

How to use concealer to cover acne

Start with a natural base

Begin by first applying a light layer of foundation all over. Choose a formula that offers even but light coverage. This will ensure that some of your real skin shines through. So, your make-up will appear natural, even if you’re using high coverage concealer. 

Avoid direct contact with the blemish

No matter what type of concealer you choose to use, avoid dotting it directly on the blemish (even if the concealer comes with a doe foot applicator). Instead, dispense some product on the back of your hand and then apply it to the spot, with a brush or your finger.

Use the right shade

Especially if your spot is raised and swollen, you need to be extra careful about the shade of concealer you choose. Never apply a concealer that’s lighter than your skin tone. This will only highlight the spot. 

Instead, choose a shade that matches your skin tone perfectly.  

Warm the concealer

Warming the concealer against your finger will loosen it up and make it easier to blend. This is especially important if you’re using a concealer that isn’t a liquid formula.  

Apply strategically

“You want the most coverage only on the centre of the blemish,” says Charlotte McHale, Clarins Training Manager. “So, place most of the product there. Along the outside, you almost want it to blend away into nothing.” 

Play with light and shadow

You could also apply the laws of contouring here. If the raised spot is casting a dark shadow under it, you could dab a hint of concealer in a lighter shade there, just to lift the shadow. Use a minimal amount of product to do this, and make sure to blend well.

Don’t forget to powder

Powdering will mattify the spot, and therefore bring less attention to it. So, use a setting powder that’s completely matte (we don’t want any shimmer particles).

When you’re powdering, be careful not to be too rough. Use a gentle patting motion with a brush or powder puff (don’t forget to wash or sanitise the tool after use, to avoid spreading bacteria). 

Can you use concealer after you pop a pimple?

“You can try to cover a popped pimple, but know that you’re fighting a losing battle,” McHale warns. “It’s always easier to cover a spot before you pop it. Because once you do, you’re trying to cover something that’s redder, more inflamed, shiny and potentially even runny. You’re asking for trouble.”

If your spot is too large to conceal, and make-up just can’t cover it, why not stick a pimple patch on it? Hydrocolloid pimple patches don’t just disguise a breakout but also absorb fluid from the spot, leaving it flatter within hours.

There are so many options to choose from. K-beauty brand Cosrx have the Acne Pimple Master Patch, £5.95 that comes in various sizes, so you can choose one that suits your needs. You can also apply make-up over them.

Or try the Nip + Fab Salicylic Acid Fix Spot Patches, £6.89 that (as their name suggests) have salicylic acid in them that help heal the blemish quickly. If you don’t care about being discreet, try these adorable Flower Power Acne Patches, £13 by Squish. 

The best concealer for acne, spots and acne scars

The 2-in-1 hydrating concealer

Clarins concealer

The Instant Concealer, £22.50 offers high coverage but with a lightweight formula. So, it’s perfect to use under the eyes and on spots. It’s got hydrating aloe vera in the formula, which makes it super smooth and easy to blend. The formula is light-reflective (to really brighten up the under eyes), so make sure you set it with powder when you use it on blemishes.

The super high coverage concealer

Vichy concealer

If you have acne-prone skin and are looking for something that offers ultra-high coverage, try the Vichy Dermablend SOS Cover Concealer Stick, £15 – it’s what pro make-up artists swear by. It can cover everything from spots and blemishes to scars and even tattoos. 

The best concealer for acne (dry skin)

Kevin Aucoin concealer

Most high-coverage concealer can feel too drying, if your skin is already on the dry side. But we like Kevyn Aucoin’s The Sensual Skin Enhancer, £27 that’s loaded with ingredients like honey and jojoba oil. A little goes a long way with this one, so use a light hand. It gives a dewy finish and feels comfortable on the skin. If your skin is super dry, skip powder.

The best concealer for acne (oily skin)

NARS concealer

If you want a matte, soft-focus look, try the NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer, £24. Despite being matte, the formula is non-drying. It doesn’t settle into fine lines or pores so you can use it to cover active breakouts as well as acne scars. Plus, it comes in 16 diverse shades. 

Next read: Base 101: How to Make Foundation Look Natural on Acne

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