How to cover spots, the right way

woman covers spots
Credit: Copyright (c) 2012 Rex Features. No use without permission./Juice/REX Shutterstock

Spots are easy to cover up. Said no-one - ever. It’s close to the top of my list of beauty gripes, along with spending 15 minutes trying to create beachy waves and realising that my hair just looks greasy. Anyway, back to spots. The thing is, as soon as you try to cover them up, there’s a high chance that you’ll bring more attention to The Offending Item and make them look more obvious. Herein I will refer to them as TOIs. But – listen up, dear readers – I think I’ve cracked it. No no, I have cracked it, so says an honest friend who commended me on my clear skin last night, and I actually have two whoppers on my right cheek. Winner. Here is my spot-hiding routine, and you’re welcome.


First things first: make sure the skin is completely clean and as smooth as it can be, even with the TOIs. Follow your cleanse with an lightly acidic exfoliating pad (such as these Bare Minerals ones below), or drench a cotton pad with an exfoliating solution and smooth all over the skin. They’ll make your skin look instantly brighter and will smooth away any dry patches on the skin. Because, sadly, if there’s a second more annoying scenario that covering up spots with make-up, it’s applying make-up over dry skin.


Once your skin feels dry, apply a light moisturiser over the face, wait a minute, and follow with some oil-free primer on and around TOIs. This will give the skin more ‘slip’ when applying concealer (so you don’t get build up of product) and also helps your base to stand the test of time. I love Laura Mercier’s Oil-Free Primer, because it just does exactly what you want it to do. 


It’s really tempting to go heavy on your foundation, but do resist: the foundation just needs to act like a veil over the skin, evening out the rest of your complexion. Also, I find whenever I layer on more foundation than I need, TOIs just end up looking more obviously ‘caked’. Not a good look. My favourite textures tend to be liquid and quite light: I really like Nars' All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation as you only need a drop. Apply with your fingers from your nose outwards, and blend: you never need as much as you think you do.


Oh hi there concealer, you’re the cornerstone of good make-up! Get it right and you have my permission to practice a very smug look. My advice is to have two. The first, a peach or yellow-toned concealer to take down all the redness. Apply with a clean ring finger on and around TOI, pressing gently into the skin. Then follow with the same method, but this time with a cream concealer shade matched exactly to your skintone. It shouldn’t have any shimmer or sparkle in, and should certainly not be one of those clicky concealer pens meant for the under-eyes. I’m talking about a good ol’ fashioned firm cream concealer. Mac, Bobbi Brown and Laura Mercier all have excellent concealer offerings in a massive range of shades. I love Mac’s Pro Conceal and Correct Palette, which looks really fancy but is excellent as it has both a peach and yellow corrector and four shades of concealer to match my skintone - whether it’s tanned in the summer or pasty in the winter, there’s a shade that works. 


I hate the word ‘set’ in make-up. A bit like ‘hair mascara’ and ‘frosted lipstick’, it just sounds a bit old fashioned. But it’s sort of necessary here – just a light dusting of a translucent pressed or loose powder will do the job, and you don’t have to worry about your base for the rest of the day. With a pop of blusher on your cheeks, your complexion is, er, set.