How to Hide Pimples With Cover-Up or Concealer

Over-the-Counter Products to Consider for All Skin Types

When you're in the midst of a really bad breakout, the next-best thing to healing pimples is concealing them. However reluctant you may be to the idea, there are cosmetics today designed solely for this purpose that anyone can use. Gone are the days when concealers were regarded as "makeup" for women only.

Whatever your sex or however you identify, there are concealing products that can tone down the redness and camouflage breakouts without making you feel "made-up" or unnatural. If applied correctly, no one will know you're wearing it but you.


Concealers are products that do what they say: conceal irregularities that you'd rather people not see. There are some all-purpose concealers that function similarly to makeup foundation by smoothing out skin discoloration. Others are used solely to conceal under-eye circles, while others still are intended for acne-prone skin (some of which are medicated or fortified with antioxidants ).

While most concealers are skin-toned, there are green concealers used specifically to counteract redness. Because the color green is complementary to red, it can effectively diminish inflamed skin tones as you blend it in.

Concealers come in a variety of forms, including sticks, pots, tubes, and wands. Cream and liquid versions can be dabbed onto individual pimples. Stick concealers are applied to pimples like a lip balm and smoothed over with the tip of the finger.

Because you have to apply concealer to each pimple individually, products like these are best suited for those who have isolated breakouts with few blemishes.

Tinted Moisturizers and Creams

If your pimples and redness are more widespread, applying concealer to each and every one isn't an efficient way to camouflage them. It wouldn't look natural either. In this case, better options include products called tinted moisturizers, BB cream, or CC creams.

Tinted moisturizers are hydrating lotions that have a bit of skin-toned color added to them. If your acne treatment causes dryness, a moisturizer is a must anyway. By using a tinted moisturizer, you'll blend away the redness and conceal pimples with a quick application. Tinted moisturizers are light, natural-looking, and easy to apply.

BB creams are the nicknames for blemish balms. BB creams are all-inclusive products that function as a moisturizer, primer (to even out skin tones), and concealer with a sun protection factor (SPF). BB creams generally give more coverage than a tinted moisturizer and often have skin-conditioning properties like anti-aging or skin brightening ingredients.

CC creams are also known as color correctors. They give the same benefits of a BB cream but are more heavily tinted to give more coverage. CC creams tend to be the better choice if you have acne scarring, widespread breakouts, and greater skin tone irregularities.

You can buy all of these products either online, in drugstores, or at department store cosmetic counters.

How to Choose the Right Product

No matter which product you choose, you will want it to look natural. So, start off by choosing the right color. The cosmetic should ultimately match your skin tone as closely as possible. This is especially important if you are trying to conceal pimples. The wrong tone can actually enhance their appearance rather than hide them.

Pay no mind to the color name on the product. Colors like beige, cappuccino, or bisque are simply names conceived by the marketing department. Pay more mind to matching the color of the concealer to the skin tone on your face.

Sure, it's fine to use the tester on your hand since it will more or less match the tone on your face. But it is far better to go somewhere where there is a mirror so that you can double-check that the color matches your facial skin perfectly. (This is especially true if you regularly use sunscreen on your face but not your hands; there will almost always be variations in skin tone.)

Rub a little onto your skin. If it looks like it has virtually disappeared, that's the right color for you. If you can see where you applied the cosmetic, it is not a good match.

If possible, step outdoors and check the color in full daylight. Sunlight can give you an accurate depiction of what you are buying. Fluorescent lighting can cast a blue-greenish hue and alter how a concealer really looks.

Application Tips

The correct application technique is key to getting the best results. Luckily, these are fairly easy techniques to master. You may need some practice to get natural-looking results, but, by following these easy tips, you'll soon be able to apply them like a pro.

How to Apply Concealer

Using either your finger, concealer stick, or wand applicator, place a very small amount on the area you'd like to conceal. Do not rub. Instead, tap it lightly with your finger until it blends in naturally. If you need more coverage, repeat the process until you're happy with the results.

With green concealers, apply just one light layer and use a flesh-toned concealer over the top if you need more coverage.

Do not fool yourself into thinking you can use concealer over large areas of skin. More often than not, the product will cake and you'll end up highlighting the blemishes rather than hiding them.

How to Apply Tinted Moisturizers and Creams

When using a tinted moisturizer, a BB cream, or a CC cream, place a small dab—about half the size of a dime—into your palm. Dot the product over your face, then use your fingers to lightly massage into the skin. Try not to rub too hard or you may irritate the skin and make redness worse.

Pay special attention when approaching the eyebrows, hairline, and beard area. Tinted products like to collect in hair, so apply them sparingly. When finished, take a step back and take a final look in the mirror to ensure the product is blended evenly.

Also, be careful when applying a tinted product to the jawline or neck. The product can easily rub onto your collar and leave a flesh-toned smudge.

With all tinted products, the most common mistake is applying too much. Remember that less is more; apply just enough to tone down the redness. Over-application will invariably give you that dreaded "made-up" look.

Products to Consider

Concealers were once considered the realm of women, but those days have long since passed. Today, coverups and concealers are marketed to women and men with an increasing awareness toward gender-neutral products that remove the stigma from "makeup."

Cosmetics manufacturers have also started to create products designed for darker skin tones rather than limiting the options to peach, beige, and tan.

Medicated Products

Instead of using the same cover-ups and concealers as everyone else, consider buying a medicated brand that contains products like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, both of which are effective in treating mild to moderate acne.

A number of popular options include:

Be careful about using medicated concealers and cover-ups if you are already using topical medications with the same ingredients. Doubling up can cause irritation, redness, and dryness, making your condition worse rather than better.

Green Concealers

In the past, green concealers were considered a functional cosmetic for hardcore skin problems. Today, luxury cosmetics manufacturers have jumped on the bandwagon to create their own green product (with appropriately hefty price tags). Options include:

Products for Darker Skin

While cosmetics manufacturers have started to roll out products for black skin, they are still pretty skimpy when it comes to offering a variety of skin shades. Among some of the better options for people with dark skin:

Men's and Gender-Neutral Products

The men's cosmetic industry is booming, with products designed to address the specific skin needs of men. Whether concealers and cover-ups designed for men are really any different than those designed for women is doubtful. Oftentimes, you are just paying more so that you can buy your concealer in the men's aisle rather than the regular cosmetics aisle.

Among some of the more popular option for men are:

Other manufacturers are specifically marketing their products as "gender-neutral" to appeal to younger millennials. These include the JECCA Correct and Conceal Palette, manufactured by the unisex make-up brand JECCA.

In the end, there is no reason why a man can't used a "woman's" concealer or vice versa. When it comes to their aims and uses, all concealers and cover-ups can ostensibly be considered gender-neutral.

A Word From Verywell

Concealing pimples is a good temporary solution, but, ideally, you'd like your skin to stay clear over the long term. As such, concealers and cover-up should be considered secondary to the proper treatment of acne in all of its forms.

In some cases, an over-the-counter acne treatment will do the trick. At other times, you will need to see a dermatologist about prescription medications and other therapies that can help bring your acne under control. (In severe cases, you may find that applying cosmetics to the skin will inflame an already problematic situation. )

If you have mild to moderate acne, concealers and cover-ups may be just what you need to make you feel more confident and less self-conscious. Forget the word "makeup." Consider these products just another part of your skincare regimen.

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