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An Expert’s Guide to Concealing Acne Scars with Foundation


The path to self-confidence often begins with embracing our unique features. But let's face it, there are days when we all desire a little extra boost in confidence, a touch of makeup to conceal those pesky battles fought beneath the skin—acne scars. Acne scars can be a stubborn adversary, but fear not, for the makeup artist within you is about to shine.

Enter celebrity makeup artist Ernesto Casillas, whose artistry has graced the faces of some of the most legendary stars in the entertainment industry, including the likes of Doja Cat, Chloe Bailey, Ryan Destiny, and many more is here to offer expert advice on how to achieve a canvas so flawless that your scars will become a mere memory.

We will walk you through the steps of how to cover scars with foundation, from preparing your skin to concealing various types of scars, including indents, acne scars, pigmentation issues, and even keloids.

About the Expert:

Ernesto Casillas is an LA-based celebrity makeup artist.

Check out this video to learn how to achieve your best skin yet:

How to Prep Your Skin to Cover Acne Scars With Foundation

“Before diving into the art of covering scars, it's crucial to prepare your skin properly,” advises Casillas. A well-prepped canvas ensures better foundation application and longevity:

1. Cleanse Your Face: Start by washing your face with a gentle cleanser to remove dirt, oil, and any leftover makeup.

2. Exfoliate: Exfoliation is key to achieving a smooth surface. Use a mild exfoliant to slough off dead skin cells and promote cell turnover. Be gentle, especially if you have sensitive or acne-prone skin, to avoid further irritation.

3. Moisturize: “It’s important to always, always prep the skin with moisturizer to ensure smooth, well plumped skin for makeup,” says Casillas. Dry skin can make scars appear more prominent and can cause makeup to flake.

4. Primer: Consider using a makeup primer, especially if your scars have texture. A primer can create a smooth, even surface and help your foundation adhere better. “Silicone based primers are great for filling in indents in the skin, but avoid putting too much on; it can make the skin too slippery,” says Casillas.

5. Sunscreen: Don’t forget to apply sunscreen! UV rays can worsen the appearance of scars and hyperpigmentation. Choose a broad-spectrum SPF and apply it generously.

Now that your skin is prepped to perfection, let's move on to the steps for covering different types of scars.

How to Conceal Skin Indents

Achieving flawless skin, even with indented and ice pick scars from acne or injuries, is within your reach. Follow these concise steps:

Step 1: Select the Right Foundation: Begin with a buildable foundation like HAUS LABS Triclone Skin Tech Foundation for the best results. Be sure to opt for a foundation shade that matches your skin tone. Casillas warns against the result of incorrect color matching: “A foundation that’s too light will negatively contrast with the discoloration of the imperfections in the skin”.

Step 2: Spot Conceal with Precision: Armed with a makeup sponge or brush, gently pat a matching concealer shade such as HAUS LABS Triclone Skin Tech Hydrating + De-Puffing Concealer onto indented areas using a precision brush like the HAUS LABS Triclone Skin Tech Concealer Brush. "Pat, don't rub, to fill in indents effectively," advises Casillas.

Step 3: Layer Strategically: Apply a thin foundation layer, then build coverage gradually. "Thin layers blend seamlessly with your skin's texture," Casillas notes. Assess coverage as you go and stop when satisfied.

Step 4: Set with Translucent Powder: Choose a translucent setting powder like PAT MCGRATH Skin Fetish: Sublime Perfection Setting Powder. Press it onto the concealed area with a powder puff to fill in pores and indentations. "This ensures long-lasting coverage," Casillas emphasizes.

How to Cover Acne Scars and Pigmentation

Dealing with acne scars and hyperpigmentation? Here are the secrets to concealing them flawlessly:

Step 1: Color Correct Redness or Discoloration

Before applying foundation, it is important to neutralize the undertones of your scars. If your scars appear red or have distinct undertones, use a color corrector. Opt for a green corrector to counteract redness. For brown or dark spots, rely on an orange or peach corrector. Apply the corrector directly to the affected areas, then blend gently with your fingertips or a blending brush. “I also suggest using a more golden tone concealer on acne scars to balance out the red tones in the scar,” explains Casillas.

Step 2: Ensure an Even Foundation Application

Select a foundation or concealer that matches your skin tone perfectly. This will ensure a harmonious and natural look. Then use a makeup sponge or brush for precise and seamless application. Start by applying the foundation evenly over the affected area. Blend it outward to create a uniformed skin tone.

Step 3: Layering Is Key

Achieve optimal coverage through careful layering. Start with a thin layer of foundation. This initial layer acts as a base for further coverage. Then build as needed. If pigmentation remains visible, gradually layer additional foundation over the affected areas. Building coverage in thin layers will yield the most natural looking results.

Step 4: Try Spot Concealing

For those stubborn imperfections that still peek through, spot concealing could be a game-changer. If pigmentation is still noticeable after foundation application, go in with a concealer that matches your skin tone. Apply it directly to the remaining imperfections and blend gently.

Step 5: Blend the Edges

Achieve a seamless transition between concealed areas and the rest of your skin by blending strategically. Blend only the edges of your makeup thoroughly. This ensures that there are no harsh lines or noticeable transitions. The goal is a flawless, natural finish.

Step 6: Set Your Look

Finish your makeup routine with a light dusting of setting powder. This step helps your makeup stay in place throughout the day without compromising its appearance.

Tips for Covering Keloid Scars

Covering keloids with foundation can be a daunting task, given their raised and often dark appearance that extends beyond the original wound. However, with the right approach, you can effectively reduce their visibility and achieve a flawless look. The first and most crucial step in this process is to prime the area. “Applying a silicone-based primer directly to the keloid is crucial as it creates a smoother surface on the raised scar, making it easier for the foundation to adhere,” says Casillas.

When choosing a foundation, opt for a full-coverage cream or liquid foundation that closely matches your skin tone. “The goal here is to effectively conceal the keloid without altering the overall tone of your skin,” says Casillas. To achieve the best results, apply a thin layer of foundation to the keloid, being careful not to overdo it. Keloids have a three-dimensional texture that requires meticulous coverage. If the keloid remains visible after the initial application, gradually build up the coverage with additional foundation, ensuring you achieve the desired result without looking cakey.

The Dos and Don’ts When Covering Acne Scars With Foundation

• Do Consult a Professional: If you have severe scarring or are unsure how to approach scar coverage, consider consulting a makeup artist or dermatologist for personalized advice.

• Do Color Correct: Use color correctors before foundation to neutralize undertones in your scars. This step enhances the effectiveness of your foundation in concealing imperfections.

• Do Layer and Blend: Apply foundation in thin layers, building coverage gradually while blending thoroughly. This approach ensures a natural, seamless finish.

• Don't Rush Application: Resist the temptation to rush through the application process. Hasty makeup application can result in uneven coverage and a less polished look. Take your time to layer and blend for the best results.

• Don't Ignore Hydration: Don't overlook the importance of skin hydration. “Dehydrated skin can make scars appear more pronounced and cause makeup to settle into fine lines,” says Casillas. Maintain a well-hydrated skincare routine to keep your skin in optimal condition for makeup application

• Don't Overapply Foundation: Resist the urge to apply a thick layer of foundation. Overloading your skin with excessive product can make scars more noticeable and result in an unnatural appearance.

Covering scars with foundation is a valuable skill that can boost your confidence and help you achieve a flawless complexion. “With proper preparation and the right techniques, you can effectively conceal various types of scars, from indents to keloids,” says Casillas. Remember, practice and patience are key to mastering this technique, so don't be discouraged if it takes a little time to perfect your scar-covering routine.

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About the author
Chelsea Hall
Chelsea Hall
Chelsea is an NYC-based fashion and beauty writer with over 7 years experience. She has held roles at publications such as Harper's Bazaar, WWD, InStyle, and Marie Claire. Her writing has also appeared on ELLE.com and POPSUGAR.com.
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Article Last Updated October 26, 2023 12:00 AM