Skincare is king when it comes to dealing with zits, but even the greatest spot treatments won’t completely neutralize a nasty breakout overnight. When you’re faced with a blemish that just won’t quit, you need a great concealer technique. Ahead, we consulted makeup pros to learn the best ways to cover a breakout.
1. USE PIMPLE PATCH INSTEAD OF A DRYING SPOT TREATMENT
It might feel instinctive – and rather irresistible – to pick your budding blemishes, but hear us out: less is more. Acne patches prevent picking and speed up the healing process allowing for seamless concealer application. Makeup artist Caroline Levin loves the Hero Cosmetics Mighty Patch Original ($18). “This K-beauty innovation is amazing! I’ve tried numerous brands but these are my favourite,” she says. “They absorb fluids and oils from your blemishes to flatten out the zit and dull redness. Unlike a spot treatment, these patches don’t leave your skin dry and flaky. This makes spots so easy to cover up!”
2. START WITH A COLOUR CORRECTOR
Before going in with concealer, prep the offending area with a colour corrector to create a neutral base. “I love to use the Lise Watier Porfolio Professional Correctors ($36) to conceal a blemish,” says on-air beauty expert and makeup artist Tracy P. To cancel out redness, go for a green hue. Purple balances yellow undertones, while peachy shades offset dark spots. “A dab of orange lipstick underneath is great to colour correct any dark blemish marks,” says YouTube influencer and makeup artist Sonjdra Deluxe. Livetinted’s multi-purpose Huestick in Origin ($33) has a buildable semi-matte formula and doubles up as a cream lipstick or blush, in addition to correcting dark spots and under eye circles.
3. USE LESS CONCEALER THAN YOU THINK YOU NEED
When concealing blemishes, it’s best to start off with minimal product and apply with precision. The last thing you want it a cakey pile of concealer that draws attention to the spot instead of minimizing it. Levin recommends the Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer ($39) – a cult favourite among makeup artists. “This is my go to concealer for absolutely everything! It provides a medium-to-full buildable coverage that doesn’t cake no matter how much you apply,” she says. “It’s also equipped with a light-diffusing technology that helps to correct and blur. Perfect for your zit coverups.”
4. TRY A MULTITASKING CONCEALER
Opt for concealers that boast skincare benefits to lessen irritation. “A concealer like It Cosmetics Bye Bye Breakout ($38) can be applied to individual spots or blended out to cover larger breakouts,” says makeup artist Sabrina Rinaldi. “This is especially helpful during this time when a lot of us are experiencing maskne.” Levin is also a fan: “This product is a two-in-one gem! Not only is it full-coverage, but it’s also a spot treatment to help heal your breakout. It’s an ideal match for oil and acne-prone skin types.”
5. STIPPLE THE CONCEALER
Sure, using high quality products are important, but mastering an effective technique is key to achieving flawless coverage. “The best method to cover a blemish is to stipple, which means to dab your makeup on,” says Tracy. “Avoid a sweeping motion, because all that does is remove the makeup you’re applying, giving yourself more work.” Once you’ve nailed the application, set the product with a dusting of translucent powder to keep it from travelling. “If you’re oily, Covergirl Trublend Loose Powder ($14) is great to set concealer, blur pores, and keep the flawless finish lasting all day,” says Sonjdra.
6. CLEAN YOUR TOOLS
We’ve become well acquainted with proper hand sanitization practices this year, but are your makeup tools getting the same treatment? If you answered no, you’re not alone (and if you answered yes, we sincerely applaud you). “Make sure you are regularly cleaning your brushes and sponges,” says Rinaldi. Grubby tools are breeding grounds for bacteria. “If your tools are dirty, you are just exacerbating the problem,” she says. Aim to clean your brushes with a gentle solution once a week or every three months at the very minimum, depending on how regularly you use them.
For the latest in fashion, beauty and culture, sign up to receive ELLE's daily newsletter.