Acne Coverage Makeup Tutorial

Hello lovelies. Now today's post is something I have wanted to do for a very long time as it is the one thing I have always struggled the most with in the beauty department and actually the very reason I first ever got into beauty blogging and YouTube beauty. Since going vegan my skin has insanely improved and it has pretty much cured my acne. Alas I know that is not what it may seen from the title of this post but sometimes I can still experience a stubborn break out. For example, if I eat a product that may contain a trace of milk I am 99.99999% likely to break out as a result. Likewise, my skin is also very sensitive (as you can tell from the redness), so anything from not washing my face before I go to bed or touching my face with a dirty phone or hands can also cause me to have a little break out. In the first picture above I had recently ate a pastry on holiday that I was told was vegan but, reflecting on the shop keepers uncertainty, suspect it might have had a trace of dairy in it. And, to add the cherry on the cake, I also didn't wash my face before going to bed a couple of nights previous because I was so utterly poofed. And bam. Here's the results and I wanted to cover it. So I flippn' floppin' did and after about five years of blood, sweat and trial and error I have finally found a routine that works for my bloody stubborn skin! Read along if you would like to find out my trusted and trialled routine for covering some pesky collection of spots!

Top Tips!
  • Never dry out the skin before applying your makeup. Always nourish it with moisturising products. Dry and flaky spots are the hardest of things to cover up in a natural fashion and (as gross as it sounds) a nice smooth juicier spot (oh deer!) is much easier to cover up well and naturally. If your spot treatment has a drying effect try applying it earlier on to give your skin a chance to regain some moisture while giving the product time to work its magic.
  • Don't squeeze the spot before applying your makeup. This will only increase redness and cause the area to swell, making it much harder to cover. Save any squeezing sessions (which you shouldn't be doing full stop! But I am aware that sometimes a prominent whitehead ready to go can be quite the temptation) for the evening time, after you have washed your face. The warmth of the water will make any ready-to-go spots easier to pop away and then you can apply your spot treatment product to the area to really help zap it away! Please never pop a spot until it is ripe and ready however! (I apologise; I didn't anticipate this to be so gross).
  • Use gentle dabbing motions as opposed to buffing motions. Buffing any products onto the face over an area of spots will only move the product away, reducing the coverage of your makeup, or exacerbate any dryness around the spot, again preventing that natural coverage look.
  • Apply your makeup, especially base products, in very thin layers and build your desired coverage and opacity in thin layers. This will prevent cake-y-ness and stop mass product movement when applying other products (foundation, concealer, powder etc) on top.
  • Don't feel disheartened if you feel you can still see your spots peeking through. Spots can be incredibly difficult to cover and I don't think they were designed to be covered, those pesky twits! As much as you think they may still look incredibly noticeable they really won't appear noticeable to others. You see your spots everyday so they are bound to look more prominent to you, even when covered. But most importantly, spots are by all means not a bad thing. Almost everyone either has them or has had them! So don't feel disheartened lovelies because everyone will most usually see their own spots more prominently and worse than other's because they see them so frequently.

To the makeup!

As I do with any makeup look, begin with a setting spray. For this I use MAC's Fix +, which does a pretty fabulous job at seriously boosting my makeup longevity but from a little reading around I have heard setting sprays with alcohol in have the best adhering properties. Makes sense considering alcohol has slightly drying yet tacky effect. Spray all over and waft until dry. This prevents watering down of your primer and allows it to glue it's self onto your face from the tackiness of the setting spray, again mega boosting your makeup's longevity.

Next apply your primer, smoothing it all over your face and then, once evenly spread, pat it into your skin. This achieves again another layer of tackiness. In your pre-coverage base tackiness will be your best friend as I'm sure you won't want a wash of redness popping through at lunch time (yes I have had this many a time). Now if you are an eyebrow gal I would suggest wacking these on now so you can carve out and clean up the edges with a touch of concealer. The same goes for eye shadow and winged liner because again you can clean up those edges when applying your base and under eye concealer. You also don't want to be intensely buffing away any under eye fall out and risk brushing away your carefully placed products only to reveal your nice shiny red spot (another thing I have also previously done).

Now you are ready for the ultimate challenge. SPOT COVERAGE! Grab your trusted green concealer, which for my self I am using the Collection Lasting Perfection green concealer at the moment. It does the job decently but it's still a market I have to explore. I pop a little on the back of my hand (to maintain cleanliness in the bottle and prevent future breakouts) and take small dabbles on my finger and dot it on to my collection of spots and read areas. Then, I find the best way to blend the product in and achieve the best coverage is to dab it in using the Zoeva 142 concealer brush. Don't worry too much about the greenness. You want it to be slightly noticeable otherwise it wouldn't be colour correcting. Likewise,  you also do not want to look like a set of traffic lights on go so don't be afraid to blend. If your spots still show through a little post dabbing do not worry. This is perfectly normal because the green is only colour correcting. The coverage comes with concealer and evening-out with foundation. Exactly as you have previously done with the green concealer, now apply your usual skin coloured concealer over your spots/ the area you placed your green concealer. For this I use the Rimmel Lasting Finish Concealer in the shade Porcelain and I find it fab for covering my redness and spots because it is so generously pigmented and thick enough that it doesn't disappear when blending. Not so great under the eyes however. And yes, before foundation. I promise you I haven't gone mad!

As I mentioned briefly previously, we have now created a glue-like base to keep our makeup on all day, colour corrected any redness to make it easier to cover, concealed it with concealer ;) and now we need to even out the entire base. For foundation I used the Rimmel Wake Me Up Foundation in the shade Light Porcelain because it has a good medium build-able coverage yet is moisturising and radiant. In my opinion, stay away from matte foundations! Madness you may think but a matte base, I have found, actually accentuates bumps from acne and significantly shows up any dry patches you may have that often come with the cycle of spots. Do not fear dewiness as one, we have already prepped the skin to hold onto our makeup throughout the day, and two, we can dial down the dazzle with powder next. 

Seen as dabbing is the application method I have found to be the most successful for acne coverage makeup I prefer to use a beauty blender to apply my foundation and, as mentioned previously, in thin layers until you achieve the coverage you desire. For myself, I prefer to apply the foundation on first dab to the areas I require the most coverage and blend from there however if you have extremely oily areas you may prefer to start in the less oilier areas and blend from there as the lesser the product on the oily areas the more likely it is to stay put.

For foundation, I prefer to apply two thin layers. Once it is complete this is the moment when I like to go in with my under eye concealer, just for the purpose of sharpening up my eye look. Top tip however! Use a nourishing/ dewy under eye concealer. A thick potted or any difficult to blend concealer will more than likely ruin your acne coverage by moving away you pre-placed foundation and concealer. Make sure your beauty blender isn't to damp at the end you are using it also as this will cause the same problem (again, another two mistakes I have also made). Because I am only recently making this mistake with by heavy duty Rimmel Lasting Finish Concealer I have been using my foundation to do the job however my previous concealer love has been the Seventeen Stay time concealer in Porcelain and it really is fantabulous at naturally covering any under eye shadows.

This is it! Now your master piece, your work of art, your hard graft is complete you must set it in place as though you are setting it in stone. First I like to bake under my eyes with any lose powder and by beauty blender as I find they crease within a nanosecond of a breath. Then I apply my pressed powder, the Collection Pressed Powder in Ivory, with a powder puff. The No7 powder puff to be precise. The key is in the powder puff (I am aware there is many a powder puff in this paragraph). Although they can be extra fluffy and light, a powder brush will only wipe away your previous products covering your redness and spots. I can assure you this because yet again, you guessed it, I myself have done this. A powder puff whereas will press the powder into your skin, not only achieving THE most flawless look but also giving maximum coverage and preventing product-wiping-away. Alas, do not worry if at this point you look like you have just had your head over the food processor full of icing sugar. This will all be resolved wonderfully in a moment. 

Once you have powdered your entire face now gently dust away your under eye bake, very gently and very lightly, with an extremely fluffy brush. I also find a precise brush, like an eye shadow fluffy brush, works well because you can avoid wiping away any spot coverage areas by just focusing the dusting precisely under the eye. 

To add a little dimension back into my face I then applied my contour, highlight and blush from the Sleek Face Form palette in Fair. Again, the key is in the application. As you can't really dab contour I would suggest gentle and precision blending, which for this I used the mini Benefit box blusher brush. For highlight I use the Real Techniques setting brush on the tops of my cheek bones and then the Zoeva pencil brush for precision areas like the cupids bow, brow bone and tip of the nose. Blush however is certainly one to dab and that can be dabbed! Because it is a red-toned product it has the power to accentuate any visible redness therefore dabbing the product onto and upwards from the apples of your cheeks will help prevent movement of your pre-applied makeup and the exposure of any spots. To achieve a delicately "gradiated" and blending finish I use the Zoeva angled 127 blush brush.

Before finalising the look with mascara and lips I have one last little tip to even further prolong and improve your makeup look. To hold your makeup in place and dial down the powder-i-ness I spritz my face again with my setting spray and immediately waft my face until it is dry before moving a muscle. This will set your makeup in place almost like a hairspray but certainly without the tackiness. It also creates the most beautifully seamless effect to the skin as well.

To finalise, I then finished off my look with mascara and a bit of lip colour. I like to apply my mascara after my spritz of setting spray to avoid and smudges that may ruin my holy base.

Other products used for the makeup look pictured above...
  • NYX Proof It Eye Shadow Primer
  • Urban Decay Naked 3 palette (lid shade: Strange, crease shade: Limit)
  • Rimmel Super Curler Mascara
  • Kiko Pencil Lip Gloss 09 Nude

And that my friends is my ultimate guide to my long established acne coverage makeup routine. I hope this can help you in some way as to achieving what you were looking for but most importantly just remember that you are all bloody beautiful and in my 20 years of life I can 110% certainly you tell you that it really is what's on the flippin' floppin' inside that counts!!

Ellie Xx


  1. These tips are so reassuring! I don't have acne but I recently broke out on my cheek so some of the tips will be so helpful to covering them up xx

    1. :O Najida I cannot tell you how much that means to me! To know that my acne tips have helped someone in some way truly means the world to me because I have had such a bumpy ride (pun not intended) with my acne and I don’t want any one to ever feel the negativities or bum things that I have felt with mine. I just want to uplift us all! :D I really hope at least one of the tips works for you lovely and let me know how it goes! :D Thanks so kindly for the read and your lovely comment girly :D ! Xx

  2. These are great tips, I'm defiantly going to try this.

    1. Jade thank you so, so kindly and I hope at least one of my weird and wonderful tips is helpful to you! Let me know how it goes! Thank you so kindly for commenting :) . Xx

  3. I love that you've used affordable products. I always colour collect, but hadn't thought about setting spray first!

    1. I’m such a big fan and advocate for affordable beauty because I love a bargain and I like to watch my pennies and it’s always lovely to share a good bargain! Also, there’s so much more room to explore when products are affordable I feel! Oooooo yes; I find any steps to prolong makeup wear is always a win! Currently trying some different sprays but I really want to try the Urban decay All Nighter as it’s cruelty free and mean’t to be amaze-balls! Thanks so much for your comment lovely! :D Xx

  4. These are such great tips, Ellie! Thanks so much for sharing them with us. I can't imagine how hard it must be to cover up acne. I struggle with a few spots near that time of the month, so I totally feel for anyone who struggles to cover up acne. But these tips are so helpful and will definitely help a lot of people out xx

    Lauren |

    1. Thank you very kindly Lauren; I would be overjoyed if any of these tips helped at least one person! :D Sometimes it can be a bit of a pain to cover (not that acne needs to be covered though I just like to have an even base for when I add colour like lippie or eye shadow) however this routine never fails me! I’m also working on a light coverage acne routine at the moment so hopefully there will be a post coming in the future :D . Xx


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