How to Conceal Every Type of Breakout, Including Big Stress Pimples

March 18, 2020
Alanna Martine Kilkeary
By: Alanna Martine Kilkeary | by L'Oréal

Acne comes in all shapes, sizes, textures and tones, and depending on what kind of acne you have, it can be difficult to conceal with makeup if that’s what you want to do. What’s the difference between concealing blackheads, cystic bumps or even pus-filled whiteheads? Turns out, there’s more method to the acne-covering madness than you may think. Ahead, we spoke with NYC-based makeup artist Kasey Spickard about how to conceal different types of acne — and when not to conceal them at all.

How to Conceal Most Types of Acne

According to Spickard, concealing any type of acne starts with a good skin-care routine before applying makeup even begins. “Make sure you’re prepping the skin properly before application,” he says. “Start by gently exfoliating any excess dry and dead skin cells from the area.” He recommends the Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant, or for a more thorough cleanse, try the SkinCeuticals Glycolic Acid Renewal Cleanser Gel

“Once you’ve exfoliated, you want to moisturize the skin,” Spickard continues. “I love the Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentrate. It’s great for all skin types and is very hydrating.” You should also go for a hydrating long-wear primer that will help keep your skin looking smooth and your makeup shine-free. We recommend the Urban Decay All Nighter Face Primer

How to Conceal Red or Scarred Acne

“To effectively cover acne (especially very red acne), you will need to do some color correction,” says Spickard. For fresh blemishes that are bright red, you will want to use a green color corrector to neutralize those red tones. We recommend the NYX Professional Makeup HD Photo Concealer Wand in Green or the Urban Decay Stay Naked Skin Color Correcting Fluid in Green

“For acne scarring or older blemishes, which typically tend to be more brown, you want a corrector on the red/orange end of the spectrum to neutralize them,” Spickard notes. He recommends the LiveTinted Huestick in Rise, a terracotta shade. 

How to Conceal Whiteheads, Blackheads and More

To hide small raised bumps, blackheads and whiteheads, choose a full-coverage concealer like the Dermablend Cover Care Full Coverage Concealer or the Jouer Cosmetics High Coverage Concealer Pen

“After applying your color correctors, stipple or dab your concealer over the acne,” advises Spickard. “It’s important to use a sponge, beauty blender or stippling brush to do this. Do not swipe the concealer on, or you will end up removing the corrector you just placed.” 

Once you’ve concealed, apply your foundation. “Dab or stipple the foundation over the corrected areas,” Spickard adds. Try the Urban Decay Stay Naked Foundation or the NYX Professional Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Foundation.  

If your acne is filled with pus or other liquid or if it’s bleeding, apply a pimple patch over your blemish for healing before applying foundation or concealer. We like the Peace Out Acne Healing Dots. After you put on your patch, you can apply on makeup as you please.

How to Conceal Cystic, Bumpy Acne

“Makeup can help correct any discoloration but won’t be able to cover any rough or raised skin texture,” says Spickard. What you can do, however, is be diligent about setting your foundation and concealer with a loose powder, which can help smooth out the appearance of the skin’s surface. We love the Dermablend Professional Setting Powder or the Huda Beauty Easy Bake Loose Baking & Setting Powder. “Apply powder with a damp beauty sponge and press that onto the blemish to set your work.”
Photographer: Chaunte Vaughn, Art Director: Melissa San Vicente-Landestoy, Makeup Artist: Jonet Williamson, Hair Stylist: Kiyo Igarashi, Visual Designer: Hannah Packer, Producer: Jessica Thiel, Digital Tech: Paul Yem, Model: Shaderska Valdez

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