There’s no rule that says you have to use makeup to cover scars. Facial scarring is commonplace, often as the result of acne or perhaps a skin condition or injury, and nobody should ever feel like they have to hide or disguise their scars unless they actually want to.
With that said, if you have scars or marks on your face that do bother you, makeup can absolutely help. “Patients with scarring can experience low confidence and self-esteem,” agrees Genevieve Knodel, aesthetic practitioner at Stratum Dermatology Clinic. “The good news is there are ways to improve the appearance of scars.” You’re probably already au fait with the best foundation for a full-coverage finish, and how to apply concealer to mask an uneven tone, but as with most things in beauty, it pays to listen to the experts.
Handy, then, we’ve secured some of the best tips and tricks from top makeup artists on using makeup to cover scars. These pros know exactly how to enhance your skin’s best assets and make anything you don’t like as much disappear. Plus our beauty team has the product recommendations you need for lasting skin confidence.
Makeup to cover scars—your complete guide
How to cover scars with makeup
There are two elements to learning how to use makeup to cover scars—texture and color. Begin by tackling uneven texture with one of the best primers for smoothness. “Work in layers”, advises Rachel Hardie, NARS Lead Artist. “I would always layer the product to cover scars and texture. Start by applying a primer to the skin to smooth the surface and prepare it for foundation or concealer.”
Next comes color-correcting, and bear in mind that not all scars are the same. “Scars can be flat or raised, and you can conceal any discoloration with makeup,” says Chanel make-up artist Kay Montano. “If the scar is red, you’ll need a yellow or olive-toned concealer; if the scar is grey-black, you’ll need richer apricot or terracotta,” This is also true as a temporary hyperpigmentation treatment for black skin.
“Indent scars tend to be lighter than the rest of your skin, so opt for a slightly darker concealer when covering them. This will help to balance out the tones in your skin. Acne scars are the opposite and tend to be darker, so blend over these with a slightly lighter shade,” continues Montano.
“Always use good light to apply your make-up and paint directly onto the scar with a small concealer (or lip) brush.” The skin on scars is often shiny, so once you’ve finished layering color, “set the make-up in place with a translucent powder.” The best setting powders for this are loose, rather than compact, advises Montano, “I find that pressed powders can be too heavy.”
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What products are best for covering scars?
Before you select your makeup to cover scars, think about the ingredients. “Look for specific treatment foundations,” advises Knodel. “Opting for mineral-based versions with antioxidant-rich ingredients such as polyhydroxy acids. These will help smooth the appearance of the skin and address inflammation to help encourage the healing process. Avoid comedogenic ingredients that cause skin congestion and look for the best facial sunscreen that will help protect your skin from further damage.”
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woman&home thanks Genevieve Knodel of Stratum Dermatology Clinic, Rachel Hardie and Kay Montano for their time and expertise