No matter how routinely we wash our face, cleanse, and exfoliate, every so often we’re going to end up with blemishes. And on the days you do wake up with a zit, don’t panic! And don’t pick at your skin or pop the pimple because it will only further inflame the irritated area. Especially do not pop a pimple that’s in the so-called “danger triangle, located in the center of your face, from the corners of your mouth to the bridge of your nose. Instead, remain calm and prepare to cover that sucker like an expert. Thanks to the miracles of makeup, it’ll look like your zit never appeared in the first place.
Before delving into her expert techniques, makeup artist Anni Bruno of NYC Faces reminds us that “makeup cannot cover swelling. So if the blemish is raised quite a few millimeters above the surface of the skin, there’s no way to cover the bump. We can, however,” she adds, “cover the redness, which is enough to hide the bump until it flattens out and eventually goes away.”
With that in mind, it’s time to begin the concealing process. First, choose a thick, preferably waterproof concealer. “I like MAC Pro Longwear, Kat Von D’s Lock-It Concealer, and Makeup Forever’s Full Cover Concealer,” says Bruno. Super-important point: “It should be the same color as your foundation. Sometimes we like to use a lighter concealer under the eyes to brighten them. Do not do this with a blemish,” she warns, “as it will highlight it!” Some concealers are designed to treat blemishes at the same time, so if the color works for you, consider oil- and talc-free Cover Fx Blemish Treatment Concealer or Clinique Acne Solutions Clearing Concealer, with zit-shrinking salicylic acid.
Next, apply a dab of concealer directly to the center of the blemish and, using your ring finger, gently pat to blend. “Think of the zit as the center of a flower. You will be blending around the blemish as if you were tapping the concealer away from the center of the flower to form the petals,” Bruno says. “Tap and blend away from the blemish, all the way around.”
Once you’ve applied a well-blended layer of concealer on top of your blemish, use a fluffy makeup brush to set the area with translucent powder. Bruno recommends a silica-based translucent powder (such as NYX Cosmetics Studio Finishing Powder Translucent Finish), not one that’s talc-based. This powder will seal the concealer to the skin and prevent it from caking throughout the day.
“If the blemish is still apparent, do a second coat of concealer. Just be careful adding concealer on top of powder, as things can become a cakey mess,” says Bruno. “As long as your translucent powder is sheer, doing a second coat of concealing is usually a good idea.”
Every time you get a blemish, use this step-by-step approach to further perfect your technique. “Just remember that practice makes perfect!” Bruno says. Read more about how to use makeup to fake a flawless complexion.