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THIS Is How You Actually Cover Acne

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    I got my first pimple in seventh grade — long before most of my friends started experiencing their own delightful acne bouts. What started as a single bulbous zit spread like wildfire across my cheeks, chin, and forehead. It wasn't long before nearly every inch of my face was covered with tiny whiteheads. Needless to say, my confidence was wrecked. From then on, I waged a war against acne that didn't subside until my senior year of high school: when I finally bit the bullet, and saw a dermatologist who prescribed me the miracle that is Retin-A.

    Before discovering Retin-A, I tried just about every conventional and unconventional acne remedy (benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, toothpaste) with little success. Because I couldn't get rid of my acne, I set my sights on covering it up. Where did I go for advice? YouTube, of course.

    On YouTube, I saw people like me baring their blemished faces in the service of sharing cover-up techniques and tricks to help the rest of us restore our confidence. Today, YouTube is inundated with millions of acne-themed videos: The word "acne" brings up over 2 million results, and "acne foundation routine" brings up around 260K. Sifting through all of them to find the best of the best is a task you're likely not up for. That's why we've tapped seven of our favorite YouTubers for their best acne-coverage tips. Check 'em out, ahead.

    The grown-up guide to dealing with acne. Read more from The Acne Diaries here.


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    Jaleesa Moses
    The Ipsy stylist and YouTuber suffered from hormonal acne as a teen. "It made me self-conscious, and I started to explore makeup more so that I could cover it up," she says.

    Through trial and error, Moses discovered that full-coverage concealers that have a drier consistency (think stick concealers, not creams or liquids) are the key to long-wearing coverage. "Green correctors are [also] great for masking redness," she says. Moses reaches for Smashbox's Color Correcting pencils, which "aren't too creamy and stay put all day." When applying, Moses suggests a stippling motion instead of a buffing or swiping one. (The later tend to remove more makeup than they leave behind.)

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    Maryam Maquillage
    "I never had severe or cystic acne," says the creator of the blog and YouTube channel Maryam Maquillage. "But it was enough for me to refuse going to school or beg my mom to let me stay home 'sick.'"

    As she got older, Maryam realized that acne insecurity was self-perpetuating. "The more you pay attention and obsess over it, the worse it becomes and the more it reveals itself." Now, Maryam has no problem revealing her adult acne to her hundreds of thousands of subscribers.

    Today, Maryam's acne-coverage routine starts with controlling oil and minimizing pores, then continues to concealing pimples. For a really smooth canvas, she begins with a mattifying primer that contains zit-fighting salicylic acid (she loves this one from Cover FX). Then, like Moses, she moves on to color-correcting (if necessary) before applying foundation and concealer. Finally, to even textured or bumpy patches, she tops it all off with a pore-minimizing powder from It Cosmetics.

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    Wayne Goss
    Professional makeup artist and YouTuber Wayne Goss has a slightly different approach to covering up stubborn acne, one that's born out of a desire for self-preservation rather than precise concealing. "I remember vividly that, for months, I would wash my face in the bathroom with the light off so I couldn't see my reflection in the mirror," he says of his severe adult acne.

    "[If you] have more than seven or so breakouts on [your] skin that need covering, never ever spot-cover because it's so disheartening [to] go in with a small brush on every single blemish," he says. Instead, Goss recommends applying a couple layers of a full-coverage foundation, such as Make Up For Ever Ultra HD or RCMA, so that your entire face can be done in one fell swoop.

    Once your foundation is done, Goss suggests setting your work with a matte foundation or powder. "Anything matte absorbs the light, so you won't be drawing attention to it," he says. Then add a little highlight to keep things natural. The key is strategically placing product on clear zones, rather than on problem areas. "If you have acne on your forehead, highlight your cheeks [and vice versa]," says Goss.

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    Cassandra Bankson
    Bankson has struggled with severe acne long before her YouTube channel launched in 2010. "Makeup was a mask, but it was a shield that gave me the protection to go out," she says. "[Eventually] wearing makeup gave me the confidence that I needed to love myself without makeup."

    Although she loves her skin with or without makeup, Bankson has road-tested some tried-and-true concealing methods. "[My friend] who's a makeup artist in L.A. taught me about applying makeup in layers," she says. "That's when I started learning about primer, foundation, concealer, and powder to cover uneven texture."

    Rather than glopping product over your breakouts, Bankson recommends working in light layers, which look the most natural and disguise uneven texture.

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    Christen Dominique
    "I've always had a love for makeup and creating different looks," says Ipsy stylist and YouTuber Christen Dominique. "But [when I had acne], I felt that no matter what look I did no one would appreciate my work... [I thought] they were just staring at my acne." She soon realized that by emphasizing her eye makeup or wearing bold, dramatic colors, she drew people's eyes away from her pimples.

    When it comes to actually concealing, though, Dominique reaches for silicone-based primers (like Murad's Invisiblur) to fill in pores and create a smooth canvas for makeup. Once she's done priming, she reaches for Tarte's Amazonian Clay Foundation. "It has a primer-like feel, which smooths out [my] skin, and it's also full coverage for acne scarring or blemishes," she says. Then, she dots a concealer in the same shade as her foundation (she loves Urban Decay's Naked Skin Concealer) over visible pimples.