Editor’s Pick: How to cover acne and imperfections!

I wish I could be one those Gisele-types. You know the kind of girls that run out the door with perfectly tousled curls and just a smidge of tinted moisturizer and a lick of lip gloss. Alas, like so many others out there, I have dark circles to conceal, acne blemishes and scars to camouflage and a sunkissed complexion to fake!

In another post, I’ll talk about the products and treatments I’ve found to be super helpful in tackling the blemishes and imperfections themselves. But in this post, I wanted to share the makeup & method I use everyday that I think is great at covering even the worst of breakouts and making me feel pretty again

After moisturizing (and letting it sink in for 10 minutes) I always start with a small amount of primer. It makes such a huge difference in how your makeup goes on – and makes it last all day long. I currently use the Estee Lauder Matte Perfecting Primer, which I think is particularly good if you tend get an oily t-zone like I do during the day. I’m also a fan of the lightweight water-based Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer Light & the velvety Smashbox Photo Finish Color Correcting Foundation Primerin green, which aims to minimize the appearance of redness.

When it comes to covering up the skin on my face, I believe there shouldn’t just be a thick blanket of foundation. However bad you think your skin is, there are always areas that aren’t actually affected by acne (and I like to think as a beacon of hope that one day all the skin on my face will be that ‘normal’!) For me, that is my forehead, the sides of my face and usually my upper cheeks.

I found this amazing how-to video by top celebrity makeup artist Lisa Eldridge in which she shows how to cover up acne in the most effective and yet beautiful way. She has a similar philosophy in which she says camouflage just the affected areas of your skin – and emphasize glowing, natural looking skin for the rest of your face.

She too advocates starting out with a sheer foundation all over just to even out the skin tone and building up the areas with blemishes either with concealer or foundation. I’ve tried a few foundations but I always end up coming back to the Estee Lauder Double Wear Light (right now I blend shades 2.0 & 3.0 together for a warm neutral) I like that it’s specifically oil-free, non-acnegenic, non-comodogenic, controls oil, resists smudging & never melts off. I can apply it in the morning and make it through a workday, workout and dinner and never have to touch it up or reapply concealer.

I warm the foundation on the back of my hand and then use a foundation brush to apply the sheer layer of foundation all over. I bought the No.7 Foundation Brush while I was in the UK (which Lisa actually uses in her video too). I then use a damp beautyblender sponge with a gentle patting motion to apply more coverage where I need it and just to blend the edges. If you haven’t tried the beautyblenderyet, I highly recommend it. It is absolutely amazing and I would never do my base without now.Obsessed.

how to cover acne makeup

I then apply concealer under my eyes and just to the more obvious blemishes (with the sponge & foundation, sometimes you don’t even need to add concealer) I like the Chanel Correcteur Perfectionand the Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place Flawless Wear Concealer. After waiting a few minutes for the foundation to settle, final step is to set everything with some loose translucent powder. I use the velour puff to gently press a tiny bit of powder over the blemishes just to set it in place (otherwise a brush might dislodge the concealer) and then dust a little bit over the rest of my face using a large fluffy powder brush. I currently use the Laura Mercier Invisible Loose Setting Powder. Try to dust in a gentle downwards motion rather than buff in circles as you may get more powder trapped on the ‘peach fuzz’ hairs on your face and make your base looked more caked on.

So that’s the base done and now you start to do all the fun stuff like beautifying your eyes or contouring your cheekbones. More importantly, you can stop worrying about whether everyone is staring at your bad skin (they’re not) and get back to enjoying your day!

I’d love to hear about your favorite products so please leave your comments below!

Primed To Perfection: The Secret to Flawless Makeup That Lasts All Day – And Night!


You wouldn’t think twice about painting your nails or your walls with a basecoat first – so why not treat your skin with the same level of attention? A primer is often seen as a superfluous accessory to a makeup bag – something best left to the professionals and cosmetics aficionados. But if you often find yourself wondering why your makeup seems to have evaporated by four o’clock, you shouldn’t underestimate the benefits of adding this simple step to your daily beauty routine.

Do I really need a primer, or can I just use a good moisturizer?

“Both!” says makeup artist Mally Roncal, who has worked with Jennifer Lopez and Beyoncé,“primer is really going to help your moisturizer sink in and do its job. Without it, your makeup is just going cling to your moisturizer, and as your moisturizer settles into your pores, its going to take your makeup with it, clogging your pores and ruining the life of your makeup.

If I start using a primer in the morning, should I skip the moisturizer?

Roncal says no: “Don’t skip on the moisturizer! Even if you have super oily skin, you still need moisturizer!” Celebrity makeup artist Kelsey Deenihan, who gets stars like Audrina Patridge and Ashley Tisdale prepped for the red carpet, also agrees on the one-two punch of a moisturizer-primer combo. “I always start with a light to medium moisturizer depending on my clients skin type. The moisturizer will keep the skin hydrated throughout the day but it’s the primer that will keep the makeup looking fresh and flawless. After moisturizing I add primer to my client’s skin to mask fine lines, creases, or large pores and create a seamless canvas for foundation. Another advantage is that most primers set the skin with a matte finish, which will provide shine control for normal to oily skin.”

For her recent red carpet appearance at the Teen Choice Awards (pictured above), Kim Kardashian’s makeup artist Joyce Bonelli used the “fab” Le Blanc de Chanel Sheer Illuminating Base to create her immaculate complexion. Jenna Anton, who works with the Victoria’s Secret models, also has a standby favourite: “A great primer makes a big difference but finding one that gives skin the perfect texture is the tricky part. I’ve tried a lot and always end up back on the Laura Mercier one.” Meanwhile Kelsey Deenihan switches between her two preferred products: NARS Pro-Prime Pore Refining Primer and Skinn Orchid Gel Mattefying Day Treatment.

Dark spots? Uneven skintone? How To Treat Hyperpigmentation

Uneven skintone

1. Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation 

PIH is more problematic for individuals with darker skin color & stems from wound healing to skin tissue, however slight, which results in an increased distribution of melanin. Simply put, melanin is what gives our skin its unique color and what protects our cells from sunlight.

2. Melasma

Better known as the ‘mask of pregnancy’, melasma is a hormonally induced pigmentation. Some scientists say UV exposure seems to be a requirement for melasma to develop, which may account for the fact that it is less noticeable in winter months when UV exposure is lower. The most common places for melasma to appear is on the chin, upper lip, cheeks, nose, and forehead. The condition may persist up to 5 years after pregnancy or stopping of birth control pills.

 3. No Sun Exposure, Period

The best defense is a good offense. Sunlight dramatically darkens pale pools of pigment in as little as a day at the beach. The single most important first step is avoid sun exposure at all costs! Apply a broad spectrum SPF like Elta MD UV Shield SPF 45 Oil-Free, & minimize your exposure by wearing a wide brimmed hat or oversized shades. The added SPF in your skin care products and makeup isn’t enough on its own and should be considered as the “icing on the cake”.

4. Eat Your Way To A Clearer Complexion 

Celebrity aesthetician Anna Logan from the Touch of Faith Aesthetics and Skin Care Spa in L.A recommends staying away from soy & heavy consumption of meat and dairy as they are heavily estrogenic. Opt for antioxidant-rich superfoods like goji berry, mangosteen, carrot, beet, green and white tea extracts. “I have also found Evening Primrose works very well for most women in balancing hormones.  The liver most times needs a good cleaning. I like to recommend drinking Milk Thistle tea for the liver in the evenings for 3 months straight.”

5. Lighten Up

Cleansing with small amounts of enzymes and fruit acids is a great way to lighten hyperpigmentation daily. Try Dermalogica ChromaWhite TRx Tri Active Cleanse or Jan Marini Clean Zyme Papaya Cleanser.

6. The Doc’s Prescription

Bernice Cohen RN, BSN, PHN, a Laser Specialist at AVA MD in Beverly Hills recommends a combination of Hydroquinone, Retinoic Acid and Kojic acid to promote cellular turnover and control melanocyte activity to prevent discoloration from reappearing. “Two of my favorite brands are AVA MD’s HQRA cream and prescription-strength OBAGI’S BLENDER, combined with a good Retinol,” says Cohen.

7. Non-Hydroquinone Alternatives

While hydroquinone is the only ingredient recognized as a skin lightening agent by the US FDA, it can often cause irritation and increased sensitivity to sunlight. Effective alternatives to hydroquinone are products containing Licorice, Lactic Acid (at 5%), Glucosamine and Phytic Acid.  Jan Marini Age Intervention Enlighten Plus features kojic acid, retinol, & licorice root extract, while Miranda Kerr’s brand KORA Organics’ Purifying Day and Night Cream is brimming with antioxidant vitamins as well as licorice extract – and both are hydroquinone free. You can also supercharge your regime by taking one teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of licorice extract for just a week as adrenal exhaustion is often a contributing factor.

 8. Be Meticulous & Patient To See Results

Annet King, Director of Global Education for The International Dermal Institute, says be meticulous about your brightening and exfoliating regimen – and be patient! “Results can take anywhere from 28 to 60 days, as this is how long skin cell renewal takes.” She also recommends getting a professional treatment every 4 to 6 weeks to increase skin luminosity and monitor skin health.