Despite your best skincare efforts, sometimes you’ll look into the mirror and find a dreaded zit staring back at you. Whether it’s a single blemish or a full-on breakout, pimples can be serious confidence-killers. Luckily, makeup can be a miracle-worker in these situations. When you have the right concealer on hand and you’ve nailed your technique, there’s no blemish you can’t handle.
To discover the perfect step-by-step zit-coverage process, we spoke to cosmetologist Shay Sausser of The Detox Market. Read on to find all of Sausser’s top concealer tips and tricks, from the best products to use to the mistakes you should never make.

Choosing The Right Concealer To Cover A Zit

Before you can start concealing your pimples, you’ll need to choose the perfect product for the job. While the right kind of makeup for you will ultimately come down to your skin type, needs, and personal preference, Sausser says that “concealers that are creamy and buildable” are typically the best choice for covering zits. She recommends Kosas Revealer Concealer or RMS UnCoverup, noting that they “deliver amazing coverage.”
Of course, you’ll also want to ensure you’re choosing the concealer that best matches your skin tone. Pay attention to your undertones! If your veins are more blue or purple, you likely have a cool undertone; if they’re green, stick to warm tones. A mix of both means you’re in luck: you have a neutral skin tone, so you can go either way.

How To Apply Concealer To A Zit

First thing’s first: Sausser says before you apply your makeup, you should always start with a clean face. Once you’ve assured your skin has been properly cleansed and you’ve gone through your skincare routine, it’s time to get concealing! You may want to start with a green color corrector. While this step isn’t necessary, Sausser notes that it “counteracts redness.” Good to know! “After that, you can apply concealer to the pimple, and let it sit for a few minutes,” she says.
“Once the concealer has dried a bit, blend around the pimple—just along the edge,” Sausser instructs, explaining that this “will give maximum coverage to the breakout but looks natural rather than cake around the pimple.” Sounds perfect!
After applying and blending your concealer, you can go ahead with the rest of your makeup routine, starting with your foundation or tinted moisturizer.
Sausser warns of a few pitfalls to avoid when you’re concealing blemishes. First of all, she says you should never apply makeup to an unwashed face or on an open breakout. This will cause more skin trouble for you the long run. “If makeup gets into the open breakout, it will take longer to heal and could leave a scar,” she explains. Additionally, it will make coverage more difficult: “Whatever makeup you put on top of it won’t go on as easily.” Noted!
Finally, if you want clearer skin, you should avoid picking at your breakouts as much as possible. Remember, the better you allow your pimples to heal, the less you’ll have to worry about concealing them! Sausser suggests using Mighty Patches from Hero Cosmetics for faster healing. “They are super easy to use and help heal any breakouts as well,” she says. “I like to apply mine at night, then by the next day the pimple is significantly smaller and it will make it a lot easier to apply your makeup.” Love that!
Of course, the ultimate goal is a great, clear complexion that you don’t have to cover up, and the best way to achieve that is to take care of your skin with a killer skin care routine. But zits happen—and when they do, using Sausser’s advice will make concealing them a breeze.
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Faith Geiger is a New York-based writer and editor. When she’s not covering the latest in health and wellness for SheFinds, she spends her time watching reality TV with her roommates, browsing used bookstores, and enjoying live music. You can reach Faith at [email protected]