Even after recovering from an acne flareup or putting a pesky pimple to rest, the signs of it can still linger long after. Acne scars can be just as upsetting to deal with as the pustules that put them there. Masking acne is one thing, but camouflaging discoloration and uneven texture from acne scars is another. We asked expert makeup artists to share their best tips on how to cover up acne scars to help you feel more confident and carefree when heading out the door.
Start with a primer
Celebrity makeup artist D’Andre Michael suggests starting with a primer. This will help “smooth out skin texture and prepare your canvas for makeup application.” It also “helps your makeup last for hours and creates a flawless finish.”
Grab a color corrector
“With post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, you want to first address the stark color contrast by neutralizing the spots,” explains professional makeup artist Ehlie Luna. Luna suggests starting with a color corrector “in a light peach, salmon, or light or deep orange, depending on your skin tone.” She notes the deeper the skin tone, the deeper the corrector shade should be. If your acne scars are red, go for a green corrector, says Luna. “Stipple your corrector on and be as specific as possible while you build up the coverage.”
Use a hydrating concealer
Celebrity makeup artist Ermahn Ospina says one of his favorite tips for camouflaging acne scars is using a hydrating concealer on the affected areas. His favorite is NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer. “Its creamy, hydrating formula blends in easily with the rest of the skin, leaving it with a more even skin tone and texture.”
Find the right foundation
When selecting a foundation, it’s important to check out the formula, especially if you have acne-prone skin. Look for terms like “noncomedogenic” and ingredients you trust. Michael recommends the medical-grade brand DMK. “The foundation is silicone-based and was created originally for burn victims because of its camouflaging capabilities,” says Michael. He adds that research shows that silicone-based products can be effective in preventing and treating hypertrophic acne scars and keloids.
Apply product gently
When apply any products on acne scars, like color corrector or concealer, be sure to do so gently. “You want to be sure not to use sweeping or rubbing motions,” warns Luna. “Tap or buff using a beautyblender or dense synthetic brush.”
Very lightly apply translucent powder
To set your hydrating concealer Ospina recommends applying translucent powder very lightly. He recommends using Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder ($40) “for a long-lasting flawless effect.”
Use a finishing spray
Michael says he loves sealing the look with “a spritz of finishing spray all over to give a slight dewiness. This infuses setting powder into the foundation and gives you that look of flawless skin, even to the naked eye.” He recommends Beautyblender RE-DEW Set and Refresh Spray ($30) and Caudalie Grape Water Moisturizing Face Mist ($20).
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