Makeup Magic for Covering Melasma

Various Foundation Skin Swatches on an Geometric Background
Stocksy | Design by Zackary Angeline .

You've just applied a full face of foundation, concealer, and powder only to find that your hyperpigmentation is still peeking through. What gives? If you're like many with melasma (a type of hyperpigmentation characterized by brown patches on the cheeks, forehead, and upper lip), you know the difficulty that comes with trying to cover it up. Truth is, there are many variables that come into play when it comes to concealing those dark spots: the type of product you're using, the shade it's in, and the coverage and texture it has. Not to mention, your actual skin type and tone play a huge factor, too.

Whether your melasma is caused by hormonal changes, sun exposure, or skin-irritating products, you've probably grown accustomed to battling it as it comes and goes. Below, we outlined everything you need to know about how to cover it up, from products to techniques and everything in between.

The Best Makeup to Cover Melasma

To cover melasma, you'll likely need something more substantial than a light-coverage concealer. Instead, opt for full-coverage products, bearing in mind that you don't need to go full-coverage with your entire face (just the areas with dark spots).

Makeup artist Jaleesa Jaikaran recommends first applying a full-coverage concealer that matches the shade of your melasma to any patches on your skin. Then, dab your usual foundation or concealer over it.

Foundation Balm
Kevyn Aucoin Foundation Balm $52.00

This full-coverage foundation is a balm, which means it's thick enough to provide ample coverage to the areas you need it most.

Hourglass Vanish Airbrush Concealer
Hourglass Vanish Airbrush Concealer $36.00

With its blurring and brightening properties, this waterproof concealer offers up to 16 hours of wear and a full-coverage finish.

Cover + Care Pressed Powder
Kiss New York Professional Cover and Care Pressed Powder $7.00

Ideal for people with acne, hyperpigmentation, and combination to oily skin types, this foundation powder adds more coverage than a translucent powder by evening out skin tone.

Dermablend Leg and Body Makeup
Dermablend Leg and Body Makeup $37.00

If you're covering melasma on your body, this body foundation is the ideal option, as it instantly covers dark spots, bruises, scars, and veins.

How to Apply Makeup to Conceal Melasma

Once you have your product lineup, here's a step-by-step on how to cover melasma.

  1. Moisturize: Starting with clean, dry skin, apply moisturizer. Especially important for those with dry skin, moisturizer ensures any liquid or powder product doesn't look cakey or unnatural. Give the moisturizer enough time to absorb before makeup application.
  2. Apply SPF: If you're applying makeup during the day, apply sunscreen (even if your foundation has SPF in it).
  3. Apply Primer: Primer creates a smooth base for makeup to sit on and ensures a long-lasting finish.
  4. Choose an applicator: A stippling brush provides more full coverage while a sponge gives a more natural finish. Try a fluffy synthetic eye shadow or concealer brush for precise application.
  5. Apply foundation: Place a small amount of foundation on the back of your hand, bearing in mind that most camouflage makeup formulas dry very quickly, so apply a little amount at a time when building coverage. Apply makeup in thin layers to the affected areas and blend outward. If you need more coverage, dab more product onto the area until you achieve your desired results. Blend well at the edges to give your skin an even look.
  6. Apply foundation powder: To set the makeup and help prevent transfer and smudging, use a foundation powder (versus a translucent powder) to set any liquid products. Use a pressing motion to apply for a more full-coverage look.
Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Ogbechie-Godec OA, Elbuluk N. Melasma: an Up-to-Date Comprehensive Review. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb). 2017 Sep;7(3):305-318. doi: 10.1007/s13555-017-0194-1.

Related Stories