Reader question: How to conceal dark blemishes

Hi Miss Liz! I have a birthmark on the face and while I know that sometimes, confidence is the key, people looking all the time can get to you. And I want to try going birthmark free for the first time! How do I cover it? What do I buy? Heavy concealer? Heavy foundation? I'm pretty much willing to go until the MAC budget, but no high-ends such as Chanel, etc. Thank you! :) - Hannah

Hi Hannah! Thanks for your question. I know how debilitating it is to walk around with marks on the face. We want to tell ourselves that it shouldn't affect our self-esteem, but they still exist and people look at them. I've been struggling with blemishes most of my life. They're not quite the same thing as a birth mark, but the principle of concealing them should apply.

The trick is concealing only the problem spot/s instead of your whole face. The finished look would be more natural, showing more skin than makeup! You also have to be careful about the concealers you use. They should be able to stick for hours, even after a lot of oil and swear - maybe even water if you're out for a swim. 

In this tutorial, I used a light foundation (actually, it's just a cc cream) as a base, applied a thick, opaque concealer to completely cover the blemishes, and then applied a thinner concealer to blend in the thick concealer. Then, I set the whole thing with powder to seal the makeup in place.

Yeah it's four layers of makeup but remember, I only applied it where there are particularly dark blemishes. For lighter blemishes, one layer of concealer will do, if the foundation doesn't take care of them first. :) Let's begin!

Step 1: You can use any makeup base you prefer - tinted moisturizer/ BB/ CC cream or foundation, it's up to you. The base is really more for evening out the skin tone and possibly providing some SPF versus coverage. If you already have good skin, then you can just use your prefered moisturizer.

Step 2: Apply a heavy, opaque concealer on the spots using a small concealer brush. I'm using a Real Techniques here, but you can also use a pencil eyeliner brush if you want extra precision. I highly recommend the Artdeco Camouflage Cream Concealer. It's not very expensive, and it is super heavy coverage. You can also try the Cinema Secrets Foundation Palette, Makeup Forever Full Cover Concealer, and Amazing Cosmetics Amazing Concealer. These are the heaviest concealers I've tried to date.

Step 3: This is where traditional spot concealing slightly differs from my technique. It might sound kinda redundant, but this is extremely effective in boosting not only the coverage but also the lasting power of your concealer. :) Once you have your opaque concealer in place, apply another layer of concealer or liquid foundation on top of it. Don't blend the first layer of concealer. Just smother it.

I've made the mistake of trying to blend the heavy concealer with my fingers or brush, but the blending action just thins down the concealer and makes it look cakey. It's waaaay better to choose a thin, watery concealer / liquid foundation to blend the opaque concealer onto the skin - just make sure to use a shade that matches perfectly. I used a Real Techniques pointed foundation brush here, just the perfect size, but you can use any flat brush for this job.

Recommendations: Any liquid base that matches your skin, MAC Studiofinish, MAC Studio Sculpt, Benefit Boi-ing

Step 4: Pat, don't swipe, some powder to set everything in place. Any powder will do - translucent, sheer, foundation, that's fine. The goal is to cement the layers of makeup in place.

And that's it really! If you feel that the makeup looks too thick or heavy, just mist it with some water. MAC Fix+ or the Evian spray works well. :)

Is it obvious that I'm wearing a ton of makeup? ;) Well, it's technically not a lot since that layers were just on a few areas. The blemishes I have at the moment also aren't especially dark. I just did the tutorial for your reference. These days I prefer mid-coverage concealers like the MAC Studiofinish or Benefit Boi-ing, but hey, you never know when a nasty acne scar will pop up right?

Hope this helps, Hannah! Let me know if you have more questions. ;)


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