The Ultimate Guide to Covering Up Your Zits (2024)

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By Brooke LaMantia and Chinea Rodriguez

The Ultimate Guide to Covering Up Your Zits (1)

Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photos: Retailers

There are thousands of acne concealers on the market, but too many of them lack pigment or staying power. Lucky for you, we’ve been testing acne concealers since the days of our first pimples in middle school. Plus, after speaking with a few experts, we have their favorites, too.


Our top picks
More tried-and-true favorites
Our experts


Our top picks

Best Concealer for Hiding Tattoos

A husband-wife duo — one a dermatologist, the other a makeup artist — teamed up to create the company Dermablend. Since then, it’s become a favorite on movie sets, where makeup artists use it to conceal actors’ tattoos. The coverage is so strong that it can cover an entire body — so don’t worry, it can handle a pimple as well. It’s one of the highest rated concealers on Ulta.

The TikTok-Approved One

Another viral concealer known for its hydrating qualities and affordable price, this one offers great coverage that makes concealing acne pretty easy, but pro tip: Use a brush instead of fingers to blend it in and avoid creasing.

The Cult-Classic

The Shape Tape concealer has gone through phases of being in everyone’s makeup bag to being on the back burner, but there’s no denying that it’s full coverage is good for concealing acne. With 35 shades, its a perfect concealer for everyone and is made to be creaseproof for long wear. Plus it comes in a travel size, so you can test it out before spending the $31.

The Best Color-Correcting Concealer

While not technically a concealer, this color-correcting cream works wonders on the skin and creates a base that you could wear without any concealer. After going viral on TikTok, it seemed as if everyone had their hands on the light-green cream and quickly learned a little goes a long way with this product.

The Best Affordable Concealer

Coming in at just under $10, this concealer recommend by Gray is an everythingproof full-coverage concealer. Gray notes that it’s long-lasting, lightweight, and full-coverage, which is ideal for when you really need to conceal.


More tried-and-true options

The Best for a Natural Finish

The brand’s foundation has quickly become a fan favorite, but the concealer is just as good, and even better for acne. The non-comedogenic concealer won’t clog pores. Plus, the buildable formula has a natural finish so it will easily conceal blemishes and textured skin without highlighting the area.

The One with Niacinamide

Saie’s formulas are ideal to achieve a radiant, glowing finish. So, the brand’s latest concealer? It’s no different. With niacinamide, the lightweight and non-comedogenic formula conceals and helps smooth skin over time.

The Best Concealer for Sensitive Skin

One of the perks of Tower 28’s formulas is that they’re safe for sensitive skin, and the brand’s newest launch is no exception. The buildable Swipe All-Over concealer is hydrating and soothing with a natural finish. It also won’t clog pores, so you can conceal before, during, and after the healing process.

The One That’s Good for Your Skin

This full-coverage makeup from Image Skincare is Graf’s favorite product for covering up acne, especially since it includes plant stem cells, antioxidants, and conditioning botanicals that she explains are “great for those with sensitive and inflamed skin, while it keeps you looking radiant throughout the day.”

The Best Drugstore Concealer

This drugstore concealer is one of Avendaño’s favorites and is creamy, waterproof, and fade resistant for all-day coverage. It comes in 25 shades and features an extra-large applicator tip for easy use.

The Best Multipurpose Concealer

Reddit agrees: Use an eye-shadow primer — not a concealer — as the first step to covering your pimple. Urban Decay’s Primer Potion is so popular on the Reddit beauty boards that it even has an acronym: UDPP. Dot a tiny bit on the blemish and let it set to hide inflammation and redness and make concealer stick better.

The Best Spot Treatment

Once former deauty director Kathleen Hou got a little older and could afford something more expensive than tinted Clearasil, she found this, and it served her well for nearly all of high school. There are 22 shades (though they don’t offer as many darker shades as we would like), and the thin-but-tacky texture is really effective at covering up everything from mosquito bites to extra-bratty zits. Tip: If you’re going to wear it all day, set it with a bit of powder so that it doesn’t become oily.

The Cruelty-Free Vegan Option

This comes in 21 shades, ranging from deep to very fair. Like all Kat Von D products, it’s vegan and cruelty-free. The formula is thick and pigmented, but easy to blend. Kat tested it herself to make sure it covers tattoos. One warning: It can look a little thick, so use it sparingly.

The Dual-Shaded One

Makeup artists know that to really cover a zit, you need more than one color. That’s why this two-shade compact, which contains a color corrector and concealer, is so useful. We’ve watched professional makeup artists masterly blend the two sides with a brush until they create a custom shade so perfect that it can disguise even the largest cystic pimples. It has a dry texture that molds to the skin, making it particularly great for oily skin types. Learning how to create the best shade for your own skin requires some trial and error, but once you master it, your cover-up will stay put.

If You’re Feeling Fancy

How do you cover a zit that, as Mindy Kaling once said, “ha[s] roots that seemed to extend into [your] brain”? You need a truly sticky concealer like this one, a heavy paste that feels like spackle — in a good way. Use only the tiniest, tiniest pinprick, even if you’re trying to hide acne scars or a massive pimple. It comes in 15 colors, and you can even get a shade custom-made for you. To me, this is perfect.

The Best Waterproof Concealer

The texture of this is somewhere between a paste and a liquid, so a few pats with a finger or a brush make it disappear into the skin. It’s highly pigmented, so it can work to cover smaller blemishes, dark eye-circles, and — with the help of a color corrector — bigger zits.

The Workhorse

Another concealer that promises to stay in place and really does. A multi-purpose concealer, you can use this for under-eye circles, redness, and lighter blemishes. It comes in nine shades and purportedly lasts for 15 hours.

The One Everyone Loves

One of Avendaño’s favorite concealers, and one that is applauded all over TikTok as being “that concealer,” comes in 30 luxurious shades for the ultimate coverage. It’s oil free and gives the skin a soft-matte finish.

The One That Does it All

If you’re someone who prefers makeup that can do it all, this complexion stick from Merit will be your best friend. Both a foundation and a concealer, the creamy stick is medium coverage for a natural look but buildable for full-coverage, especially since it contains daffodil extractto diminish the look of dark spots and pigmentation.



How do you cover a pimple properly?

For makeup artist Allan Avendaño, the first step is prepping the skin. “I usually like to bring down redness with an ice roller or face-cooling globes,” he says. If your face is still too red, Avendaño recommends a color corrector. Then, depending on the type of blemish, he uses two types of concealers: “If it’s flat, you can cover with a more emollient concealer that feels and looks like skin but covers any blemishes without feeling cakey. If it’s raised, use a more dense and drier concealer because it tends to stay put and has a matte finish, so it doesn’t amplify the raised texture.”

What’s the best way to apply concealer for acne?

“The best method to apply concealer for acne is to use a smaller concealer brush,” makeup artist Emily Gray explains. “This allows you more control over the placement of the product. I also believe that you get more full coverage using a brush, which is vital for covering acne.” This spot-concealing technique is ideal before and after applying foundation as long as you have a concealer close to your skin tone.

Is there ever a time where it’s better not to cover acne with makeup?

Is there a time when you really should let that bad boy breathe? Dr. Jeannette Graf, a board-certified dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, explains that if the acne in question is open or weeping, applying concealer may make it worse. “It can further clog pores and make your skin more irritated,” she says. “If you’re using certain acne medications, such as topical retinoids, sometimes it’s important to avoid using makeup in the affected areas as it can cause further irritation.”

Our Experts:

  • Dr. Jeannette Graf, board-certified dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mt Sinai School of Medicine
  • Allan Avendaño, makeup artist
  • Kathleen Hou, former beauty director of the Cut
  • Emily Gray, makeup artist


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The Ultimate Guide to Covering Up Your Zits
The Ultimate Guide to Covering Up Your Zits (2024)


The Ultimate Guide to Covering Up Your Zits? ›

Reddit agrees: Use an eye-shadow primer — not a concealer — as the first step to covering your pimple. Urban Decay's Primer Potion is so popular on the Reddit beauty boards that it even has an acronym: UDPP. Dot a tiny bit on the blemish and let it set to hide inflammation and redness and make concealer stick better.

How do you cover up pimples really well? ›

Apply primer for a more even skin texture. Dot concealer only on the spots you want to cover. Lightly blend it into the surrounding skin with a brush or sponge. Apply foundation, tinted moisturizer, or cream all over.

What covers pimples best? ›

Best Concealers for Acne
  • SaieSlip Tint Radiant All-Over Concealer with Niacinamide25 Colors. 304. $28.00. New.
  • Armani BeautyLuminous Silk Face and Under-Eye Concealer22 Colors. 1.3K. $42.00.
  • CLINIQUEBeyond Perfecting Foundation + Concealer26 Colors. 2.6K. $39.00.

Do pimples heal better covered or uncovered? ›

Keep a picked-at pimple covered with a small amount of ointment until it's fully healed. This can take a few days. Also, make sure you're only covering the pimple, not the skin around it (especially if it's on your face).

How to pop a deep pimple? ›

A pustule sits deeper beneath your skin, so it requires a bit more work. Use a hot compress to draw the pus to the surface before applying pressure. As with a whitehead, you may need to use a sterilized needle to open an exit. Stop the process if your popping attempt isn't immediately successful.

How to cure pimples permanently? ›

  2. APPLY HEAT. ...
  5. Develop a consistent and well-coordinated skincare routine. ...
  6. Try to limit stress. ...
  7. Follow a skin-healthy diet.

How do you cover all types of pimples? ›

Using a color-correcting concealer can cover your pimples. This is usually a green concealer, which is opposite the color of your zit on the color wheel. Conceal the spots. Dab your skin tone concealer on your color-corrected blemishes to diminish their appearance.

Does covering a pimple help it go away? ›

A single-center, randomized clinical trial completed by Johnson & Johnson in 2021 indicated that using a pimple patch for one week on either popped or unpopped pimples did improve the look of pimples. The study also revealed that popped pimples healed faster using hydrocolloid patches than those that healed without.

How to hide pimples without makeup? ›

Top ways to hide pimples without makeup
  1. Ice. To reduce inflammation and discomfort, try applying ice to the skin. ...
  2. Warm compress. Ice should be your go-to when you need to hide your pimple pronto or if the pain is getting uncomfortable. ...
  3. Spot treatments. ...
  4. Pimple patches. ...
  5. Natural remedies. ...
  6. Accessories.
Jul 6, 2023

What to do if I popped a pimple in the Triangle of Death? ›

Avoid picking or squeezing the popped breakout to let your skin heal naturally. If you notice any signs of potential infection like redness, increased pain, pus, or inflammation surrounding the blemish, contact a healthcare professional immediately.

What is the white seed in a pimple? ›

When you squeeze your nose or squeeze a pimple on your nose, there are white substances coming out of the pores, looking like thin strings. It's called the sebaceous filament, which is made up of sebum and dead skin cells that accumulate around hair follicles.

How to shrink a pimple in minutes? ›

  1. Apply Ice to the Pimple:
  2. Apply a Paste of Crushed Aspirin to the Pimple.
  3. Use An Over-the-Counter Acne Spot Treatment.
  4. Use Makeup with Salicylic Acid to Conceal Pimples.
  5. Apply a Face Mask for Acne.
  6. Get a Cortisone Injection to Quickly Get Rid of a Pimple.
Jul 31, 2023

How do you hide a pimple really well? ›

To hide pimples, use a concealer brush to dab a yellow or green primer on the blemish to counteract the redness. Once the primer is on, put just enough concealer over the primer to help it blend in to your natural skin tone. In order to help set the makeup so it stays on all day, press some powder on top.

Is vaseline good for pimples? ›

Petrolatum is the refined version of petroleum that appears in skincare products. Vaseline doesn't help acne, however, using petroleum jelly on your face may cause breakouts. In other situations, Vaseline is good for your skin if it's dry or needs protection against blisters and rashes.

Does toothpaste help with pimples? ›

The American Academy of Dermatology does not recommend using toothpaste on pimples because it can damage the biological barrier of the skin. Though it may be effective in the short term, the use of toothpaste may result in skin damage in the long run.

How do you cover up a hard pimple? ›

If you choose to use a color corrector, apply that next, and then apply your foundation. Then lightly dab on concealer with a flat brush to the areas that need special attention. Build the product up in thin layers until the breakout is barely visible.

What happens if you don't pop a pimple? ›

Because popping isn't the way to go, patience is the key. Your pimple will disappear on its own, and by leaving it alone you're less likely to be left with any reminders that it was there. To dry a pimple up faster, apply 5% benzoyl peroxide gel or cream once or twice a day.

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