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Simple Ways to Cover ANY Kind of Acne

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Everyone gets zits sometimes. And blemishes come in all shapes and sizes, which means that you can’t treat each individual case exactly the same. We asked Atlanta-based makeup artist Candace Collier how she covers different types of pimples.

The Lone Whitehead
Collier recommends trying to reduce the inflammation of a whitehead before covering it up by applying a cold compress to the area for a few minutes. Then, use a green tinted mattifying primer like Make Up For Ever HD Microperfecting Primer in Green ($34, sephora.com) to neutralize that attention-drawing redness. For coverage, she recommends applying a full-coverage powder foundation like MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation ($27, maccosmetics.com). Press, don’t rub, to prevent aggravation. “When it comes to covering active blemishes, I try to stay away from creamy concealers and foundations, as they tend to wear off more easily from the heat of inflammation,” says Collier.

Full-On Acne Outbreak
If you’re waging a war against a patch of pimples, Collier says you have to start with a mattifying primer (this will make foundation stick and tone down any shininess). She recommends Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer ($42, sephora.com) because of its broad spectrum SPF 20, which can help protect your breakout from turning into a scar due to sun damage. Then, follow up with an oil-free matte-finish foundation with a buildable coverage. “This way, you can add more foundation only to the spots that require more coverage,” says Collier. “Matte finishes are best for acne coverage as they minimize the appearance of the skin’s texture.” Try her favorite, Mac Studio Fix Fluid ($27, maccosmetics.com).

MORE: 7 At-Home Fixes For Everyday Skin Problems

Blackheads
“Blackheads go hand-in-hand with enlarged pores, so I would recommend starting with a pore refining primer,” says Collier. She recommends applying a base of NARS Pro-Prime Pore Refining Primer ($34, sephora.com) to the offending area and following up with a medium-to-full coverage foundation. Boom—you’re blackhead-free as far as the human eye is concerned.

Cystic
Cystic blemishes are the heavyweights of pimples, known for their extremely painful nature and the sheer impossibility of picking at them. First of all, hands off (picking will only make it worse!), and go to your derm if it is just too painful; they can help treat it. In terms of coverage in the meantime, Collier says a yellow concealer pencil is your best friend. “Sometimes cystic acne can take on a purplish hue, so one way to neutralize these blemishes is to use a concealer pencil with strong yellow undertones,” she says. “I like Ben Nye Neutralizer Crème Crayon in Mellow Yellow ($10, camerareadycosmetics.com).” Then, follow up with a powder foundation to set the makeup.

Scabbed Over
All right, we don’t blame you—keeping your mitts away from your zits can be next to impossible. But since you’ve picked, you’ve got a scab that is taking over the focus of your face. What now? “A scab can be more difficult to cover because the color is going to be a lot darker than your natural skin tone, and the irregular texture is going to be much more pronounced,” says Collier. In this case, she recommends using a super-pigmented concealer that has a thicker consistency, like Judith August Cosmetic Solutions Killer Cover Serious Make-Up ($36, beauty.com), followed by a translucent powder.

MORE: 11 Skin-Care Habits to Start NOW to Get Gorgeous Skin for Years to Come

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