how to cover blemishes

As a professional makeup artist who has struggled with hormonal acne for the past fifteen years, I have become somewhat of an expert at concealing it.

Through trial and error on myself and my clients, I’ve figured out what techniques and products work best. Pimples have done a number on my self-esteem and having the tools to make them less noticeable has helped me face the world with a lot more confidence. My goal is for all of us to feel good about ourselves, whether we choose to use cosmetics or not.

Below are the steps I take to conceal my blemishes and acne scars without looking like I am wearing a mask of makeup:

Step One


Prepare your skin with the daily moisturizer that suits your needs. I prefer a simple formula with SPF protection.

Andalou Naturals Ultra Sheer Daily Defense Facial Lotion SPF 18
Olay Complete All Day Moisturizer with Broad Spectrum SPF 30

Step Two

tinted moisturizer

Determine how much overall coverage you would like. If you’re someone who has large areas of unevenness, redness or acne, then you might like to use a thin layer of foundation or tinted moisturizer. If you’re simply looking to cover a pimple or two and prefer not use makeup all over, then skip ahead to Step Three.

My favorite way to apply tinted moisturizer is with my fingers. When using foundations with more coverage, nothing beats using a Beauty Blender. No matter what formula you use, simply dot a small amount onto your cheeks, nose, chin and forehead and blend in with fingers or use a Beauty Blender. Wet the Beauty Blender thoroughly under running water and then squeeze out the excess. You’ll get a wonderful, seamless application by “bouncing” it over your face.

beauty blender

Concentrate on the areas where you would like more coverage. Make sure to blend down past your jawline and onto your neck. Remember, it’s not the job of your tinted moisturizer and foundation to completely cover. These products simply work to unify your overall complexion. In the next step we’ll take care of any areas that need a bit more attention.

Beauty Blender
14e Aloe Nourish Sheer Tint SPF 10
Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Foundation

Step Three

brush concealer

This is the heart of the technique! My favorite pimple-covering concealer is Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage. I was introduced to this product in 2004 and I’ve never since been without it. It’s oil free and highly pigmented, which is imperative for realistic-looking full coverage. The goal is to use as little product as possible to get the greatest result.

Using a small synthetic brush, pick up a bit of the concealer. You may need to “warm” it up a bit on the back of your hand. Now stipple onto the areas that still require more coverage. Gently press and tap in with your finger. You can add a bit more concealer with the brush as needed and follow with this pressing and tapping into your skin. This helps keep the concealer right where you want it and prevents an overly makeup-y look.

Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage
Bdellium 934 Precision Concealer Brush

Step Four

puff powder puff

Now it’s time to set your makeup. The best and most natural looking way to do this is with translucent powder and a puff. Translucent powder has no color and will not change the color of your foundation and concealer. It also will not add more coverage. It simply holds your makeup in place and takes away shine.

Tap a bit of loose powder into the lid and work it into the puff. Pat the powder into your complexion using a pressing and rolling motion. Avoid wiping movements or using a brush as this will only remove the foundation and concealer. By pressing it into place, you’re ensuring a transfer-resistant and long-lasting application.

Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder & Puff

clean makeup

What other beauty how-tos would you like to see? Share in the comments.

Images via Francesca Giaimo


  1. This was really helpful! Do you have any recommendations for super flaky skin? Anytime I use a tinted moisturizer or foundation the skin around my nose, nostrils, and sometimes forehead gets flaky. I use a moisturizer daily and an oil cleaning regimen at night, but have not been able to find a good solution, especially in the winter! Thanks!

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