12 Magical Makeup Tricks to Make Scars, Spots, and Dark Circles Disappear

Updated: Mar. 30, 2021

Self-conscious about imperfections on your face? We got makeup artists to reveal their full-coverage game plan.


Prep skin

The key to covering imperfections? A great canvas. No matter what ails your skin, the first few steps are always the same. First, clean skin with a soap-free cleanser. Second, use a serum targeted to your skin type and specific concerns. Next, apply a hydrating primer. This will create a smooth, even canvas for makeup—guaranteeing your makeup looks better and stays on longer. These iconic beauty products that have stood the rest of time.

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Choose the right color corrector

When it comes to covering up unsightly marks and discoloration, it’s all about “color correcting.” While it may sound counterintuitive (and a little like an art project) to apply green or purple concealer to your skin, it actually works! It’s all about picking the right shade to address your concerns. You want to select a color corrector that’s the opposite hue of what you’re trying to cover. To cancel out redness—scars, blemishes, broken capillaries—use a green-based color corrector. Yellow-based products neutralize purple and blue hues, like spider veins, under eye circles, and bruises. Stila makes a Correct & Perfect All-In-One Color Correcting Palette, with five cream color correctors and two pressed finishing powders. You can also buy individual color correctors, like the bareminerals Well-Rested CC Face Primer in lavender, to camouflage dark spots.

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When it comes to acne, you’ll want to start with a redness-canceling green concealer, like Physicians Formula 2-in-1 Correct & Cover Cream Concealer. Next, use a Beautyblender to apply a soothing oil-free fluid makeup. Clinique Redness Solutions Makeup Broad Spectrum SPF 15 with Probiotic Technology is formulated with calming ingredients to color correct flushing, probiotics helps strengthen skin’s barrier, while SPF and antioxidants protect against environmental aggressors. Here’s how to get rid of acne once and for all.

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Dark circles

Start with a corrective eye cream, such as Shiseido Bio-Performance Super Corrective Eye Cream. Pro tip: If your eyes are feeling puffy, try putting your eye cream in the fridge briefly for a frosty boost. Apply a color-correcting under-eye concealer over the dark areas (pinky-peach for fair skin and a yellowish hue for olive complexions). This will cancel out purple-blue circles. Use your ring finger to gently tap in the concealer. “Don’t overdo it. That will accentuate lines and cause creasing,” says Angel Barboza, makeup artist at Golden Door. Then apply foundation and powder. “One magic trick you can do at the end is to add a brightening highlighter, like Benefit Eye Bright Pencil, to the inner and outer corners of your eyes.” You’ll instantly look awake and your eyes are brightened! Also give these other remedies for treating dark circles under your eyes a go.

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Broken capillaries

The easiest and quickest way to reduce the appearance of broken capillaries? First apply foundation in the same hue as your skin. Next, stipple a green hued corrector on the affected area—pastel green (for lighter skin tones) or olive green (for deeper skin tones). Set the color corrector by tapping on a small amount of colorless powder, like Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish Powder. “Be sure to use a very small amount, as you will be applying another liquid or cream-based product on top,” says Patrick Eichler, executive director of education & artistry at Make Up For Ever. Next, apply a concealer in a shade that matches your skin tone; again using a stippling motion, so as not to move the first layer of product. Finish by setting with a light press of colorless powder. Don’t miss these makeup artists’ tricks to look younger.

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Facial bruises

“My favorite tip to heal facial bruises is to use SkinMedica HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator, which hydrates skin with hyaluronic acid, peptides, and vitamin E,” says Graceanne Svendsen, senior certified aesthetician & cosmetic laser specialist with Shafer Plastic Surgery in New York City. Using arnica gel or cream two to three times a day helps bruises heal faster. “Glominerals Corrective Camouflage Kit has four different colors to mask bruises in all stages of healing,” adds Svendsen. Use the included brush to apply a light coating of the lavender concealer. (As the bruise heals, progress to green, then yellow, and finally cream). Finish with a dusting of loose powder, using a foundation brush. Learn how to fake flawless skin with these easy makeup tricks.

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When it comes to scars, the trick is to dab—not rub—concealer. Start with NYX Concealer Stick in Green. Next apply your favorite foundation or BB cream. Use a concealer brush to apply several thin layers of a buildable, full coverage cream formula, in order to build to your desired level of coverage, Barboza’s pick: Dermablend Quick-Fix Concealer.

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“Rosacea can be a very challenging skin disorder, as it requires makeup to camouflage. Ironically, most makeup is formulated with ingredients that makes rosacea worse,” says Svendsen. She recommends starting with SkinMedica Redness Relief CalmPlex, which is formulated with vitamin B3 (niacinamide) and jojoba oil to calm redness and moisturize the skin. Next, simply use a disposable makeup sponge to apply a thin layer of foundation all over the face—Svendsen recommends Oxygenetix Oxygenating Foundation (it comes in 14 shades). “At our practice, we use Oxygenetix, which has pro-healing ingredients like Ceravitae yeast extract to calm redness and aloe vera to soothe inflammation,” she says. Next, use a gentle stippling method to pat on the second layer and cover the stubborn areas. These are the 13 makeup myths you should stop believing.

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Brown spots

Start with a brightening cream with SPF to reduce the appearance of brown spots and sun damage, and protect against new spots from harmful UV rays. Peach-toned correctors can help balance out brown spots. Apply color corrector directly on top of brown spots. Next, opt for a BB cream that matches your skin tone. “Once you’ve applied BB cream all over, apply a concealer with heavy pigmentation to the spots you’re looking to hide, like Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage,” says Barboza. Next, apply a concealer that is two shades lighter than your actual skin tone, then a hue that matches your foundation. Finish with translucent powder.

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Melasma causes brown patches on the face—typically the cheeks, nose, forehead, upper lip, and chin. To cover the affected area, Eichler recommends a peach to orange color corrector (depending on your skin tone), as these will help neutralize brown spots. “I like a lip pencil as it’s easy to control and long wearing,” Eichler says. For light skin, try a pink corrector, such as Bobbi Brown Retouching Face Pencil in Light 9; medium skin use a peach corrector, such as Urban Decay Naked Skin Color Correcting Fluid in Peach; dark skin, opt for an orange corrector, such as Smashbox Color Correcting Stick in Look Less Tired (Dark). Apply a full coverage foundation, concealer and finish with colorless powder.

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Spider veins

Spider veins can be caused by heredity, aging, hormones, and overexposure to the sun. No matter the cause, the way to cover them remains the same. Eichler recommends stippling a yellow color corrector, such as Urban Decay Naked Skin Color Correcting Fluid in Green, on the affected area. Set it by tapping on a small amount of colorless powder. Pro tip: Be sure to use a very small amount, as you will be applying another liquid or cream-based product on top. Next, apply a concealer in a shade that matches your skin tone (try Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer). Set again with a light press of the colorless powder.

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When it comes to covering moles, you’ll need to bring out the big guns! “Covering a mole is tricky, as you can correct the color, but it’s difficult to hide the shape and texture with makeup,” explains Eichler. Try using the same products as you would for covering melasma. “Depending on where the mole is, you can also just go with it by deepening it with a waterproof pencil in a matte brown, Like Make Up for Ever Aqua XL Eye Pencil Waterproof Eyeliner in M-60.”

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest