Makeup Lessons: Acne Coverage


There are few things that can rock a woman’s confidence like waking up with bad skin or having a small unsightly scar. Luckily, with the advent of specialized makeup, that doesn’t have to happen. It’s relatively easy to cover acne and scars if you have the right products, a little time, and follow a few rules. A note before you start, these tips are for small acne scars. If you have a scar from a deep cut or operation, check with your doctor to see if applying makeup on it will stunt healing. Your first priority should be making your skin flawless on its own, so if your skin can’t handle makeup yet, don’t force it.


When trying to cover acne, the road to flawless skin always begins with skincare. The most common misconception that acne-sufferers have is that they assume all of their skin is bad. Even in the worst of cases, it is rare to have acne cover every area of your skin, so you want to focus on the areas that are clear. Drying and damaging products containing acid may help to reduce blemishes but will also dry out the rest of your face so be sure to nurture your skin with moisturizing formulations.

On a very clean face, apply a lightweight primer such as Cover FX’s Clearprep FX Matte Foundation Primer and Anti-Acne Treatment $39. This oil-free, skin healing product creates a smooth, matte finish on the skin that is the perfect canvas to apply other products. If you remember one thing from this lesson, let it be that foundation is not the answer. Most people, when cursed with a bout of bad acne, immediately reach for the foundation and slather their skin in it, covering up all of the clear skin in the process. Foundation is a great way to cover any redness or even out tone but it should not be used to cover any larger problems like blemishes. So with a stippling or foundation brush, apply a very thin layer of a foundation remembering to buff it into the skin. Clinique’s Acne Solutions Liquid Makeup $24.50 is a great product because you can mask most of the redness and small imperfections with a thin layer and it also comes in a great selection of colors. Blend the product towards the edges leaving it very thin around the outside of your face. If you can get away with it, don’t apply any foundation around the eye area. Your eyes are the first thing that a person focuses on when they look at your face so if the area around your eye is free of heavy makeup, it tricks the brain into thinking the whole face is clear.


Once you’ve applied your foundation, you’ll have a good idea of where your problem areas are and this is when the real coverage happens. The industry leader in readily available full coverage products is Vichy Dermablend, $26-$30. Dermablend has been a pioneer in the area of corrective cosmetics for 30 years and by pairing with Vichy, they’ve brought their tried and tested formulations to the public. The brand makes a concealer and a foundation, both of which work very well as a concealer, but I’ll mention that unless you have very bad skin, use a regular foundation and leave the Dermablend for the troublesome areas. Finish off your base with a setting powder such as Laura Mercier’s Invisible Loose Setting Powder $34 to seal in your makeup. Without a setting powder, your makeup will smudge and smear at the first hint of moisture or oil on the skin.

Photos: IMAXtreee