Ah breakouts. No matter how big or small, there’s nothing pretty about dealing with a constellation of blemishes scattered on your face. While pimples can be covered up instead of left to run their course, the technique is slightly more complex than simply swiping on concealer. “Pimples are a little different than concealing other imperfections (like veins or discoloration) because they are raised from the skin,” explains Jerry Johnson, Global Makeup Artist for Laura Mercier. “You need to be a bit more savvy to cover these.” Since no two pimples are exactly alike, Johnson walked us though how to conceal every type of pimple, without making it worse. Read on for his genius tips.
1. New Breakouts
On blemishes that have just reared their red, ugly heads, Johnson recommends using a yellow-based concealer to cancel out the redness. In addition to color-correcting, Giorgio Armani’s formula blends seamlessly into skin thanks to its light-reflecting pearls that give skin a luminous finish.
Giorgio Armani Master Corrector in Yellow, $39; sephora.com.
If you regularly deal with blackheads, you know the struggle is all too real. Since blackheads are primarily caused by clogged pores, the first step in getting rid of current blackheads and preventing future ones is by exfoliating using a gentle, non-irritating scrub such as Simple’s Smoothing Facial Scrub.
Once you’ve sloughed away any dead skin cells and build-up, Johnson suggests using a primer before following up with your regular go-to concealer. “The primer acts as a barrier for your skin, so the foundation won’t seep into your skin. After the primer, you can use your face concealer,” Johnson says. A primer such as Bobbi Brown’s Face Base will feel lightweight under your makeup and keep it in place throughout the day.
No matter how wicked a whitehead may be, there are a couple ways you can minimize its appearance. If possible, Johnson recommends extracting the whitehead in order to make concealing it easier. To do this, first apply a warm compress over the area, and use clean fingers to gently squeeze the blemish in a downwards motion, or use a sterilized extractor. Next, apply a primer to the area to act as a shield between the blemish and your makeup to prevent it from seeping it to the pimple and leaving a cakey finish. Once the primer has dried, finish by smoothing on your concealer.
4. Cystic Acne
Cystic acne can be concealed, but Johnson recommends a using a product cocktail that will not only cover up these painful blemishes that are deep below the skin, but also heal them. First, apply a foundation primer such as Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Blemish-Less that contains a low dose of salicylic acid that treat the pimple as you go on about your day. Once the primer has set, Johnson says you can go on with business as usual by applying your go-to concealer over-top.
Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Blemish-Less, $36; lauramercier.com.
5. Pimples On Their Way Out
Your blemish may be making its way towards the exit, but the skin around the actual spot is now dry and flaky as the pimple finishes healing. When a pimple is at this stage, Johnson recommends not applying concealer directly on it. Not only will this draw attention to the blemish because the makeup will stick to any flakes, the pimple won’t be able to breathe, which is essential if it’s going to properly heal.
Instead, Johnson says to apply the concealer on the area surrounding the pimple to bring down redness. A concealer with a creamy texture such as NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer will glide onto skin smoothly and won’t tack onto any dryness.
NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, $29; narscosmetics.com.
6. Acne Scars
Although your blemish may be completely healed, it hasn’t left without leaving its mark. To cover up scars from past breakouts, Johnson suggests using a concealer palette that contains both a concealer and correcting shade such as Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage. This duo can fix the tint of the scar, which helps mask it more effectively.
Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage, $35; lauramercier.com.