Home / Beauty / Skin care

Bad Skin Day? How To Wear Make-up When You Have Acne

by Lareese Craig ,
Bad Skin Day? How To Wear Make-up When You Have Acne© Getty Images

Pesky spots really can ruin a girl’s day. Do you squeeze them, let them breath or smother them in concealer? Or all three? Caking yourself in mineral powder and thick foundation might seem like the brightest idea you’ve ever had, but masking the problem can often do more harm than good. We got talking to celebrity MUA Sally Cairns to find out how to wear makeup when you have acne.

  1. · Prepare the skin
  2. · Applying makeup
  3. · Work on your 'good' skin
  4. · Mattify
  5. · Removing Makeup
  6. · Top Tips

Breakouts and makeup don't usually get well together, but if you know the cosmetic industry tips for troublesome skin, then everything will change. That's where we come in.

Sally Cairns has done up some of the hottest famous faces including Michelle Keegan (swoon). Here's how her pearls of wisdom can change your relationship with makeup (and blemishes) forever.

Prepare the skin

As with most makeup application, it's all in the prep and believe it or not creating your perfect canvas starts way before concealing. Before you put on your makeup make sure your skin is ready for the task ahead. Wash your face throughly and use a face wash to cleanse the skin of any dirt or impurities. Remember to follow with a non-greasy moisturiser as acne is caused by over-active sebum production.

As sally suggests prevention should always be the goal but spots and blemishes are sometimes unavoidable. She recommends using Lustre Pure Light blue light therapy as a gentle way to attack the bacteria that causes spots.

Applying makeup

Now onto coverage! Creating the illusion of clear skin is easier when you're working with an even base. Acne scars and raised pimples can create a bumpy surface texture which will only draw attention to problem areas when it catches the light.

Setting your skin with a silicone primer will help to smooth and fill in fine lines as well as ensuring your makeup stays put for longer. No one wants to be faced with a foundation meltdown after the lunch time dash.

Sally recommends going light with your application, "Avoid overloading skin with makeup to cover impurities as this will only block pores and encourage blemishes. Remember to find a good colour match concealer and blend it with your foundation.

"Just add a small dot of concealer and lightly tap it onto your blemish until it blends and looks natural. Use your ring finger it applies the perfect amount of pressure for applying concealer. Make sure your hands are clean first!"

Work on your 'good' skin

Another great tip for working on your base is to make the most of your 'good' skin rather than focusing on your blemishes. Although it may seem like 99% of your face is covered in craters, the reality is quite different.

Applying thick foundation all over your face is unnecessary, you need to save the high coverage foundation for the problem areas and thin out the rest of your base elsewhere. That way all the attention is on the areas with less makeup.

"You can also embellish your makeup with gorgeous blushers, highlighters and colours to detract attention away from your problems areas," says Sally.


The trick to concealing angry blemishes and scars is to mattify them as much as possible without going too cakey.

Sally recommends using Mac's Studio Finish SPF 35 as it helps to smooth away acne scars and manage pigmentation issues. Stila's Perfecting Concealer is a great cover up for warm complexions and it has a delicate semi-matte finish.

"Highlighters and illuminators are great for brightening the under eye area but if you use them on a blemish they'll just draw attention to it."

Removing Makeup

As much as we love making ourselves up, taking it all off is the most important thing in your defence against breakouts.

We've yet to find an MUA that swears by makeup wipes and with good reason. True, they might be great for girls on the go, but in terms of deep, effective cleansing, they're a no-go.

Lazy skincare regimes can play havoc with your skin so it's worth putting in as much time taking it off as you take to put it on. Get into a good cleanse, tone, moisturise routine and make sure your pillowcases and makeup brushes are regularly washed! Your pores will thank you for it.

Top Tips

  • Wait five minutes between makeup applications to allow the makeup layers time to dry and set.
  • ​​Always use oil-free cosmetics, blotting papers are great to remove oil in the skin even when you’re wearing makeup.
  • ​Make sure to dab or pat your concealer on – never swipe or wipe! If you swipe it, it will rub off the top of the blemish, making it even more noticeable!
  • Before and after the gym, remember to wash your face effectively to remove excess sweat and impurities.
  • Green cancels red – if you have a blemish that is very red, try applying a green concealer before your regular concealer. Green and red are complementary colours that cancel each other out when they are combined equally.

Bad Skin Day? How To Wear Makeup When You Have Acne © bareMinerals
Bad Skin Day? How To Wear Makeup When You Have Acne
See album

​What's your best makeup tip for covering acne? Tweet us @sofeminineUK

Liked that? Then Like us on Facebook!

This article was written by Lareese Craig. Follow her @LareeseCraig

You might also like:

Persistent Breakouts & Angry Spots? How To Deal With Every Type Of Pimple

10 Of The Best Acne Home Remedies For Clear Glowing Skin!

The Cringy Makeup Mistakes We've All Made

Lareese Craig
you might also like