How To Make A Zit Disappear — Oooh Magic!

Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
As a rule, perfect skin is not easy to craft. Unless you were born with poreless, dewy, smooth, clear, soft skin (in which case, screw you), you need to spend a lot of time mastering just the right combination of products to create the complexion of your dreams. And of course, just when you've got that perfect ratio of foundation to highlighter to powder, a big honking zit brews up on your chin and no amount of concealer will make that thing look like anything less than a bullseye on your face.

By nature, pimples are a giant pain in the ass. In addition to being red, sore, and inflamed, they create myriad hurdles that your makeup can't seem to conquer. Redness that won't tone down, protruding lesions that refuse to flatten out, lingering scars, flaky scabs — there really is nothing more engineered to break our makeup spirits quite like pimples.

And whether you believe it or not, we're ALL susceptible to them — yes, even models and A-list celebs. The difference is, when they've got a fat one on their face, their makeup pros know all of the clever tricks to hide, flatten, moisturize, and make that pimple look like it never even existed.

Well, shouldn't we all have the tools to tame the acne beast? We don't see any reason why not, which is why we went to the very same pros to find out all the sneaky hacks and tips they have for covering up blemishes into obscurity. Read on for their secrets and to find out what they stock in their skin-emergency tool kit.
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"I use an acne treatment device only on the actual blemish. It sounds very scientific; and it kind of is. This little battery-operated tool has a zit zapper that radiates heat to destroy the bacteria responsible for breakouts. It has a preset timer for about two minutes. Once the timer goes off, treatment is done. Sometimes, the skin is a bit red immediately after treatment, but it doesn't stay red for long. You will see a flatter skin surface, making it easier to cover up the blemish." — Ermahn Ospina, makeup artist

Tanda ZAP Advanced Acne Clearing Device, $49, available at
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"You can put a little bit of classic Visine on the pimple. The same ingredient that constricts the red blood vessels in the whites of your eyes will diminish the redness in your pimple. So if you apply it to an inflamed area, it greatly diminishes the redness of the blemish. Then, it’s less difficult to conceal because you don’t have to contend with the red factor. Set the concealer with a light dusting of powder to set it and absorb any moisture from the concealer and give it an indelible staying power." — Troy Surratt, makeup artist.

Visine Original Eye Drops, $4.29, available at CVS.
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"I apply a water-based, calming moisturizer [before makeup], because if the blemish is too dry, it won't cover as naturally. Don't use too much powder, because it tends to make it look too flaky. If the blemish is really dry, I would use a creamier concealer, like Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer, which has great coverage." — Julie Harris, makeup artist

Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer, $48, available at
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"A lot of times, I have girls coming in the morning and maybe they tried to pop a pimple the night before, which is never a good idea! In that case, I dab a little bit of Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream on the pimple and let it sit for 15 minutes to soften any cracked or crusty skin. After that, I clean the area with a Q-tip and some rubbing alcohol.

"Then, I use a tiny drop of liquid bandage — it’s antiseptic and makes sure that the pimple doesn’t get infected any further. It also gives me the perfect smooth canvas to cover the blemish with my concealer of choice. With a small concealer brush, I dab the color on and just blend the edges with another Q-tip, so I don’t put the color on top of the blemish itself." — Tyron Machhausen, makeup artist

New-Skin Liquid Bandage, $5.99, available at
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"I apply a dab of Yon-Ka Pure Emulsion prior [to applying makeup] with a Q-tip to calm any redness — it's antiseptic to help with healing. If you have time, I would apply a compress with the emulsion for 15 minutes prior to application." — Harris

Yon-Ka Emulsion Pure, $58, available at
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"Apply a light application of color-corrective primer in green to the blemish, then tap in concealer." — Robert Sesnek, makeup artist

Physicians Formula Conceal Rx Physicians Strength Concealer in Soft Green, $9.99, available at Ulta.
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"If you’re doing spot coverage, always mix a bit of the foundation you’re using in to the concealer. This way, it blends seamlessly and the concealer won’t look noticeable." — Nick Barose, makeup artist
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"Start by using a camouflage concealer, not a creamy undereye concealer. Camouflage is more pigmented and less emollient (drier consistency) than concealer. It typically comes in a pot or stick form and is made to stay put." — Vanessa Scali, makeup artist

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Waterproof Concealer, $23, available at Ulta.
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"Whenever I have a pimple, I put Primer Potion on it and then dab on my concealer. A blemish pulls the skin, making it hard to cover evenly. Primer Potion puts [skin's texture] back to velvety, so it can be covered up." — Wende Zomnir, Urban Decay founder.
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"If the blemish has been picked at or has a scab, I like to do a thin veil of Aquaphor [and] then apply a cream or light foundation to cover the pimple. I then set with a very matte foundation powder, so that it seals the makeup while making the blemish unnoticeable and stays covered all day long. If it's just a raised, inflamed blemish, I do the same as the above, except I don't use the Aquaphor." — Rebecca Restrepo, makeup artist
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"Actually, Cameron Diaz taught me a long time ago — because she used to have problematic skin. When you have spots here and there or if you have a lot of spots in a concentrated area, like the chin, if you just cover everything with a lighter concealer it just ends up looking like [a patch of pale] bumps.

"Whereas if you add a little bit of an orange-ish corrector cream initially, that will counteract the [the pimple's] red or brown color. Then, dot on the individual spots with concealer and powder it with a bit of a powder that’s not lighter or darker, but a touch more on the warmer side of your skin. Use it with a small concealer brush and it sets it. Then, it looks a little bit more natural." — Gucci Westman, makeup artist

NYX Above & Beyond Full Coverage Concealer in Beige, $4.74, available at Target.
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"Using a small synthetic brush (my favorite is Shu Uemura's Synthetic Fiber brush #5F), apply [concealer] as precisely as possible on the spot. Remember it is a building process, so start with less and repeat as necessary. Tap with your finger to melt and blend into the skin." — Scali

Shu Uemura Kolinsky Brush 5R, $95, available at Shu Uemura.
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"I like to use those mini Beautyblenders to tap on concealer. This helps you to be more precise and doesn’t leave streaks, like a concealer brush would. And you can layer more with it, as well." — Barose

BeautyBlender Micro Mini, $18, available at Birchbox.
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"Use a dryer [formula of] concealer for oily blemishes and a creamy for dry." — Sesnek

Murad Acne Treatment Concealer, $21, available at Sephora.
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"Sometimes, if the pimples are not as red, you might be better off layering liquid foundation to disguise it instead of using concealer — concealer that’s too thick might bring out the bumpy texture even more." — Barose
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"For covering blemishes, I like to use a small, precise concealer brush with a high-coverage, richly pigmented formula and brush the product onto the blemish from every direction: up and down, side to side. This helps to cover the zit while depositing the concealer into any texture that the pustule or picking may have caused. I then blend out and diffuse the perimeter area.

"Blemishes are best covered after foundation has been applied to ensure that you don't wipe away your efforts during the foundation-blending process." — Surratt

Amazing Cosmetics Concealer Brush, $15, available at Ulta.
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"Camouflage concealer is opaque and is meant to conceal, so it tends to absorb more powder — which can then make the blemish appear darker than the rest of your skin. To avoid this, finish with translucent powder or a colorless powder. My favorites: Becca Blotting Powder Perfector in Transparent, Make Up For Ever Super Matte Loose Powder in Translucent Natural, or for very fair skin, (think: Christina Hendricks and Anna Kendrick) Make Up For Ever HD Pressed Powder." — Scali

Becca Blotting Powder Perfector in Translucent, $38, available at Sephora.
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"You can even out the color, which diminishes the appearance of the blemish, but you can’t really eliminate the dimensions of the blemish. That said, evening out its color and texture diminishes the appearance of the blemish greatly.

"Use a concealer that has a tacky texture that will actually adhere well to the blemish and not wear off or melt into the nooks and crannies — something that’s opaque and has good coverage. The concealer should have the tenacity to stay put and not blend or melt away, which could result in a cakey-looking pimple. My favorites are Surratt Surreal Skin Concealer, Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer, and Amazing Cosmetics Amazing Concealer. All of these formulas have sticky textures, which make it easier to conceal a blemish." — Surratt
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"Apply liquid adhesive just to the blemish, allow time to dry. Then, apply a creamy concealer, tapping into the area." — Sesnek

Kryolan Mastix Spirit Gum, $39.20, available at Alcone.
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"I’m a fan of Laura Mercier Camouflage concealer for blemishes. I love that you can use it wet or dry and there are two colors: a warm and lighter tone.

"I use a small concealer brush to apply the concealer, using the lighter color to cover if there is discoloration and the warmer color to blend in with the skin tone. You can also dab with a clean finger to blend." — Harris
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"If you can still see a bit of the pimples coming through the concealer, add compact powder foundation on top, but try to keep it just on the areas that needs it. This way, skin still looks natural and not mask-like. Opt for matte powder that's sheer and silky to keep it smooth." — Barose

Make Up For Ever Duo Mat Powder Foundation, $34, available at Sephora.
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"Something that I've always done after makeup is to spray on [a hydrating mist], like SK-II’s Mid-Day Essence. It ends up looking like it's your skin, as opposed to the makeup is sitting on top with the powder and you see everything. You just want to see a gorgeous face. You don't want to see all the product that went into it — it's not so chic." — Westman
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