The Cover Up: Hiding Scars And Tattoos With Makeup

Janell M. Hickman
Image from The Haute Pursuit

Image credit: The Haute Pursuit

Scars can sometimes be a source of self-consciousness, alongside an array of hasty or spontaneous tattoos. Unfortunately, laser treatment removal can cost a pretty penny, not to mention are just as if not more painful than inking the tattoo itself. So what’s a girl to do? Put her transformative makeup skills to the test for impressive results. If you have a photo-heavy event coming up (hello, bridal party) and want to keep your ink under cover, just grab your cover-up and makeup brushes and read the tips below to learn how to cover up tattoos and more.

Allow Yourself Time To Heal
“It takes months for scars to fully settle down,” shares Joshua Zeichner, MD, Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research at Mount Sinai Hospital. “You want to make sure to prevent infection and support healthy skin cell growth and collagen production.”

Stop Scars In Their Tracks
‘[For newly emerged] scars, keep the area very clean to prevent infection,” explains CoverFx International Director of Artistry and Education, Derek Selby. “Next, protect with a light moisturizer ideally with Vitamin E and Vitamin C to help the repairing process.”

MORE: 6 Natural Remedies For Healing Scars

Go for Full Coverage
“When looking for a cover match it should always be the same color match but it should be a full coverage formula,” explains Rebecca Restrepo, Global Makeup Artist for Elizabeth Arden. “If the area that needs covering is darker, you will need a color corrector in a peach tone to counter balance the difference. Going lighter will only cause a greying effect.”

Shelve Your Primer
“In this case, skip primer as it spreads the foundation or concealer,” explains Selby. “You want it to ‘grab’ or ‘stick’. A scar area can be very smooth as there is no hair or pores, primer isn’t needed.”

Don’t Skip SPF
“UV light from the sun can promote pigment production in the skin—which can make new skin in scars appear darker,” shares Dr. Zeichner. “For optimal healing, protect the your skin from the sun.”

Blend Baby, Blend
“The best way to make sure your foundation is blending correctly is to work small areas at a time,” advises Restrepo. “This works much better to dab all around the face than blending in as you work. The method will cause texture difference, since product dries as it sits on the face.”

Don’t Forget About The Color Wheel
“Color correctors are used to neutralize unwanted undertones when a foundation or concealer won’t cover imperfections,” explains Selby. “Cover FX Total Cover Cream will cover redness by itself without a green color corrector due to its high pigment load. For a very dark tattoo on a very light skin, I some use our lightest shade to “White Out” the tattoo. Then cover with the foundation shade that matches the skin around the tattoo.”

MORE: All About Covering Tattoos With Makeup

Opt for Oils
“Scars do not have the same oil or sweat glands seen in normal skin,” explains Dr. Zeichner. “Make sure to use an oil for optimal hydration. I like to recommend Bio-Oil to my patients because it penetrates deep beneath the skin’s surface to instantly nourish skin and protect against dryness and moisture loss.”

Treat Raised Scars Differently
“The best way to cover a raised scar is to use a foundation and set with a matte powder,” advises Restrepo.“Anything with a hint of sheen will actually accentuate the raised scar.”