Step One: Prep and Prime
Always make sure your skin is clean and moisturized before applying makeup. It’s beneficial to start with a primer, like Hourglass’s Primer Serum ($22), to smooth the bumps and lines of the skin, fill holes, and create an even surface for makeup. Plus, primer will help makeup last throughout the day.
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Step Two: Conceal
Conceal acne and scarring after you’ve applied foundation. The foundation application will show you which areas need extra coverage. Apply just enough concealer to cover the areas with a light layer. You don’t want to add any more texture than you already have (using a small amount of a highly concentrated concealer is best—I like Kevyn Aucoin’s The Sensual Skin Enhancer, $48).
Step Three: Finesse Your Technique
For pockmarks or receding scars, choose a shade of concealer lighter than your skin tone. Use an angle brush or fine-tipped brush to lightly tap the concealer in the receding area. Be careful not to go over the edges of the mark. This technique uses the same concept as highlighting: the lighter color creates the illusion of raised skin.
For raised scars and cystic acne, choose a shade of concealer that matches your skin tone and apply it with a tapping motion of your fingertips. NEVER use a darker shade to conceal scarring. If your scars have a red or pinkish hue, choose a concealer with an olive (or green) undertone. Green cancels red!
Pictured: Amazing Cosmetics Concealer Brush ($15)
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Finally, set your concealer with a powder like Smashbox’s Halo Hydrating Perfecting Powder,($22). Apply the powder by pressing or tapping it onto the skin with a puff or brush. This is the most important step—the powder will keep your concealer from sliding around on your face. It will also keep your hard work from sweeping away while you add contour and blush.
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Step Five: Heal
Cystic acne (the kind that scars) can be painful and unsightly. It is so, so important to know that this kind of acne cannot be extracted—squeezing or prodding will only cause scarring. The best way to get rid of cystic acne is with a hot compress. Before bed, dunk a cotton ball or towel in hot water (as hot as you can handle) and apply slight pressure to the area. Do this until the cotton ball gets cold, then repeat until you’re bored or fall asleep.
In the meantime, consider a product exists that will help conceal while healing your acne during the day: Mario Badescu’s Drying Cream ($17) has saved my life (and my skin) those times I thought I had no hope. The miracle cream is tinted so it helps conceal those painful red bumps, while it works to heal under the surface.
How do you deal with acne scars? What’s your go-to concealer? Sound off below!