Concealing acne is tricky. You have to hide both uneven skin color and texture issues. You also need to be careful that pustule acne doesn’t pick up makeup. As a dermatologist, I know it’s best to use mineral powder on acne-prone skin. Avoid potentially comedogenic* ingredients in liquid foundations that can worsen acne. It takes art and skill to cover acne well.
You may need two colors of makeup: one to help neutralize color problems and the other should match your facial complexion.
Use The Color Wheel to Cover Acne Like A Pro
The color wheel shows you what colors neutralizes others. The wavelengths of some colors cancel others out. For example, green neutralizes red. They are opposites on the color wheel (complimentary colors) so applying green color lightly over a red spot will almost make the spot invisible to the human eye! It’s magic for makeup artistry. Here are some tips for expert concealer application to hide complexion flaws.
What color is the spot?
- red (like a freshly inflamed pimple or redness left after a pimple has healed)
- purple (like an older pimple going away or a really big one – ouch!)
- brown (hyper-pigmentation left behind when a pimple is healed)
- white like a scar
- dark mark from an indentation imparting a shadow.
Most acne color flaws are red and purple. Look at the color wheel and apply the opposite color. Red’s opposite is green, purple’s opposite is yellow. These wavelengths cancel out what retinas see.
Advanced Tip: To cover a spot with a combination of red and purple, you may need both green and yellow concealers.
Layer Makeup For the Best Coverage
Red and Purple
- Apply your complementary concealer color by patting the color on the spot until you can tell it has “neutralized” the unwanted color. Don’t apply it thickly; just pat. You don’t want to create a green or yellow spot by applying so much product.
- Once the color is neutralized, then layer your makeup on top.
Darker or Lighter Color
- Use lighter or darker makeup to adjust a tan/brown/peachy tone. To lessen the shadow in an indentation, apply a lighter makeup than your skin tone to “soften” the indentation’s shadow.
- Layer your matching skin tone makeup on top.
Is It Best to Apply Sunscreen Before Or After Your Concealer?
That depends on whether you are using a tinted sunscreen. If you are not using a tinted sunscreen, then apply sunscreen under your concealer and makeup.
If you are using a tinted sunscreen, then try applying your concealer first then your tinted sunscreen. This sunscreen can be used in place of foundation. Layer mineral powder matched to your skin tone on top. If you don’t get enough coverage for the acne, then apply more concealer.
Important: Prevent PIH (post inflammatory hyper-pigmentation) which are the brown marks that acne leaves behind. They can be permanent like a tattoo, so prevention is important. Wearing broad spectrum sunscreen will lower your risk of PIH when you have acne.
*comedogenic ingredients block pores by causing blackheads. They can also cause redness and inflammation in a pores.