A makeup artist on how to cover acne and problem skin


You’re welcome.

We all encounter problem skin every now and again – some of us more often than others.

But knowing how best to deal with troublesome symptoms can be a little tricky. It’s easy to panic and immediately layer on your thickest foundation to try and conceal imperfections, which isn’t always the best option. To help you nail the cover-up game, we’ve sought the help of makeup artist Rob Povey.


Opt for a concealer that’s dense and demi-matte to cover any major blemishes and provide a long-wear finish without causing more irritation to the problem areas. I favour a technique called pinpoint/spot-concealing, which involves applying your concealer with a firm, pointed brush (like a liquid/gel liner brush). Stipple the product directly onto the blemish, before blurring the edges of the product into the rest of the adjacent skin. Firmly set each blemish by pressing a translucent powder directly onto any concealing work to ensure longevity.

Rob recommends: Nars Soft Matte Complete Concealer and Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Powder


To neutralise the redness associated with rosacea, use colour-correcting products to cancel out the ruddiness before evening out the skin tone. A green-tinted primer will prep the skin for makeup, then follow with a colour correcting cream. Apply the cream light-handedly to the affected areas using your fingers and gently blend out into the rest of the complexion.

Rob recommends: Smashbox Adjust Photo Finish Primer and IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Redness Correcting Cream

Dark circles and under-eye bags

To diminish the bluish/brown undertones of dark circles, first hydrate with a rich eye cream to better aid makeup application on the especially delicate skin. Select either a pink, peach or orange-toned concealer (depending on the depth of your skin), apply sparingly to the darkest hollows under the eyes and buff out with a fluffy eyeshadow brush. Be sure to then blend either your foundation or a flesh-toned concealer over the area to bring everything together.

Rob recommends: Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado and IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye


To lessen the signs of pigmentation and/or sun damage, gradually build up the coverage of a liquid concealer in a slightly pink/peach/orange leaning hue, (again, depending on your own complexion, and not too dissimilar to your actual skin tone). Apply the product with a flat, firm concealer brush and fade out the edges of the product with warm fingers.

Rob recommends: MAC Cosmetics Pro Longwear Concealer

Scarring (acne or otherwise)

To counteract the nuances and depth of colour in scarring, you need to bring out the big guns. Kevyn Aucoin The Sensual Skin Enhancer is THE undisputed full-coverage concealer. This stuff is so insanely pigmented, you need less than a dot to completely transform an entire face. Apply with a flat, firm concealer brush and stipple the product over and around the edges of the scarring. You may need to utilise a colour corrector first, to offset the undertones of the scar – green/ochre for red marks, yellow/mustard for purplish scars, pink/peach for brightening receding, deep, pitted scars.

Rob recommends: Kevyn Aucoin The Sensual Skin Enhancer and MAC Cosmetics Studio Finish Skin Corrector

Large pores 

Ensure you keep any texture over the enlarged pore area relatively matte – any overt dewiness in your base or shimmery highlighters will only draw attention to the area. Pick a concealer that sets matte and waterproof, and buff over the skin with a controlled duo fibre brush. Create a further soft-focus effect by dusting a blurring powder over the skin to set it. Double down, and speak to your dermatologist about a prescription retinoid cream for nighttime – it will transform your skin!

Rob recommends: Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer and IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Pressed

Flaky Skin

Apply a really concentrated balm directly to any patches of flaky skin that regular moisturiser hasn’t fully quenched. Use a rich, creamy concealer to gently press into any flaky/dehydrated patches. Avoid buffing or blending the product with brushes, as this will generally aggravate and lift the dry patches, preventing product from sitting properly. Rather, use the warmth of your fingers to literally melt the product into the skin.

Rob recommends: Nudestix Moisture Pencil and RMS Un Cover-Up

This article was originally published in Fashion Journal 182.

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