+ Makeup

How to Week: Covering a Blemish

When I was in high school, I learned how to style my hair and apply my makeup in new ways from my classmates as we redressed after gym class.  I also learned a lot of tips from my fellow beauty queens who were always happy to share a new style trick.  But now that I’m a grown up, my only outlet for this once abundant knowledge if a $6 fashion magazine.  

This week, CHS will be covering style and beauty how tos.  It’s like we’re recreating the girly gossip that used to be a staple of our style education.  Today’s topic: How to cover a blemish.  

The Tools

To get the best coverage, you need four things.

Visine (Amazon, $6)

Laura Mercier Oil-Free Primer ($30)

Benefit Boing Concealer (Sephora, $18)

Sonia Kashuk Concealer Brush (Target, $9)

The Technique

The first thing you want to do is cleanse, tone and moisturize the skin.  If the blemish that you are trying to cover is red and swollen, a drop or two of Visine, applied with a Q-tip, will help take some of the red out and make it easier to cover.  

The next thing that you want to do is prime the skin with an oil-free primer, I like Laura Mercier’s brand.  Priming the skin will help whatever makeup that you apply stay in place.  This is useful no matter where you live, but it is critical when you live in a place as humid as Washington, D.C.  After you apply your foundation, it’s time to start concealing.

The key to hiding your imperfections is the concealer brush.  When you buy your brush, make sure to buy one that has a smaller brush head.  Concealing is a precision operation because you only want to apply exactly as much concealer as you need.  If you glob on the concealer with a larger brush or with your fingers, it will only draw more attention to the area you are trying to conceal.

Boing concealer has a thick consistency that stays put and covers well without looking too heavy.  To apply, gingerly dip your brush into the concealer pot, picking up only as much concealer as you think you need.  Now dab (not brush, not wipe, DAB) the concealer on the blemish starting in the center and working your way outward.  

When you have covered the blemish, it’s time to blend.  For this part of the operation, the best tool you can use is your ring finger.  The reason for this is that your ring finger is the weakest of all your fingers, allowing you to blend without wiping away the concealer or breaking the delicate skin.  To blend in the concealer, dab gingerly around the outside of the blemish just enough to soften the edges.

Once you’ve covered the zit and blended in the concealer, it’s time to set your makeup with a dab of translucent powder.  I prefer to spot dab the powder onto the blemish using a soft eye-shadow brush and then apply powder to the rest of my face with a powder brush.  Because, like I said, this is a precision operation.

If after you apply the powder, you can still see the blemish.  Feel free to use the concealer brush to dab on a small amount of concealer over the powder.  

Like a lot of beauty tricks, this one is all about having the right tools.  You need a good, thick concealer with a velvety texture, a small concealer brush with a tapered head, and the right primer.  And you should finish it off with a translucent setting powder like Laura Mercier’s Translucent Setting Powder.

With a little bit of practice, you’ll figure out exactly how much makeup to apply and how to apply it.  Eventually, covering your blemishes will become second nature and you’ll breeze through the steps without even thinking about it.


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  1. Kristina says:

    I have a request! Would you be so kind as to write a post on how to say beautiful in the heat this summer in DC? Are there tricks to looking great? I’ve heard baby powder in shoes to prevent blisters? Should I wear a slip under my skirt to keep my dry cleaning bill down? Should I bring an extra top to put on mid day to stay looking and smelling fresh? Help us!!!

    May 17, 2010/Reply
  2. Emily says:

    I agree with Kristina! That would be very helpful!

    May 17, 2010/Reply
  3. Lou says:

    Visine? Get out. I will have to try that one.

    May 18, 2010/Reply