How To Hide A Tattoo Using Makeup

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Tattoos are almost always meant to be displayed. After all, they're a literal expression of one's personality, passions, and beliefs, all rolled up into a stunning work of art. That said, situations occasionally arise that make it necessary to cover up said ink, no matter how beloved. There are many reasons why a person might choose to cover up a tattoo temporarily. Perhaps your grandma disapproves, and it's not worth rocking the boat at the holidays, the cartoon character on your shoulder doesn't quite jive with a gown you've chosen for a formal event, or you just hate your tattoo


Then there's the fact that a lot of professional occupations frown upon visible tattoos in the workplace, so if you want to be a flight attendant, medical professional, or work in some other tattoo-restrictive field, it's probably going to be necessary to cover up anything visible on the hands, neck, or face. This could be only for the interview process to project a more typically professional appearance but could potentially extend beyond that, depending on the company's specific requirements. Whatever the reason, it's not too taxing to cover up the typical tattoo. It requires a few products and patience to get the technique down.

What products and tools you need to hide a tattoo with makeup

Covering up a tattoo with makeup requires a handful of cosmetics and other tools for the best results. Do note, however, that this is likely something that you'll get better at over time, so if it's for a big event, a trial run or two is probably a good idea to troubleshoot what works and what doesn't. Before you plan to get started, round up the following items from the local drugstore or an online retailer:

  • Alcohol wipes or other skin cleanser
  • Makeup primer
  • Tattoo coverup makeup in red or coral or a color-correcting crayon in orange or peach
  • Full-coverage foundation in the correct skin tone
  • Concealer in the right skin tone
  • Face powder and a puff or brush for application
  • Setting spray or hairspray
  • Several makeup sponges for blending

Speaking to Elle, digital beauty director Danielle James recommended the Mac Cosmetics Studio Fix Conceal and Correct Palette ($42) as the "OG palette" for tattoo coverage. For a reliable concealer, beauty assistant Tasha Nicole Smith pointed to the TikTok favorite Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer ($32). When choosing a foundation, consider Dermablend Quick-Fix Body Foundation Stick ($32), RCMA "Series Favorites" 5 Part Pallets ($30), or Estée Lauder Double Wear Maximum Cover Camouflage Foundation For Face and Body SPF 15 ($49).

Clean and prep the area

The first step to any makeup application is cleaning the target area. Otherwise, oil or dirt might negatively impact the appearance. You can do this by washing the spot with soap and water or using an alcohol wipe. You can also shave any hair off around your tattoo if desired, but it's not necessary.Next, apply a makeup primer to the tattoo and the skin around it. Make sure to do it evenly (not too thin or thick). The primer will not only help the makeup stay on longer but also create a blank slate of sorts to work with. L'Oréal Paris Prime Lab Up to 24H Matte Setter ($17) is one option, but you'll find plenty of primers on the market.


Color correct the ink

The next step is to color-correct the dark ink with tattoo coverup makeup. However, if you don't want to spring for full-fledged tattoo makeup, using a cosmetic color-correcting crayon is fine. You shouldn't skip this step because if you do, you'll need a lot more concealer and foundation to get the job done. Wondering why you'd use makeup that doesn't match your skin tone for this step? It all has to do with color theory, which is how colors work together.


To hide a tattoo, the ink must be canceled out using a color roughly opposite where it is on the color wheel. So, for dominantly blue ink tattoos, an orange or peach corrector will do the trick, whereas greenish or black ink would do best with a red color corrector. Darker skin tones will require more vivid color-corrector shades to be effective. Apply the makeup using the crayon function or a makeup sponge, maextendingt slightly outside the lines of the tattoo. 

Apply foundation

The next layer is, fortunately, something you probably already have: foundation. However, if the skin tone of the covered area differs dramatically from your face, it might be necessary to purchase one in a different hue. This is likely a genuine concern for many people, as certain parts of the body are more regularly exposed to the sun, especially the forearms, back of the neck, and legs. 


Apply the foundation to the tattoo, blending it carefully around the outside of the ink. This will help it appear more realistic against your natural skin tone. There's no point in covering up a tattoo if it will look like an obvious splotch of makeup, right?

Conceal and set

Using a concealer stick that matches your skin tone, add a layer on top of the foundation and blend it nicely with a makeup sponge. A gentle finger will also work in a pinch. Then, help your hard-earned coverage stay in place as long as possible by setting it with a dusting of makeup powder, followed by a cosmetic setting spray for good measure. Hairspray is another effective tool for preserving makeup, so feel free to try that if you're out of setting spray.