Makeup Magic for Covering Melasma

Updated 05/02/19
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Melasma is a type of hyperpigmentation characterized by brown patches on the cheeks, forehead, and upper lip. It can be very difficult to treat; until the condition resolves on its own or through the help of various melasma treatments, you might need to cover up these brownish blotches with makeup.

The Best Makeup to Cover Melasma

To cover melasma, you need something more than a typical concealer, which is designed to obscure mainly smaller imperfections on the skin. Full-coverage camouflage makeup is your best option.

Dermablend Professional Cover Creme ($34) is a great choice, plus it has SPF 30. This is very beneficial since sun exposure can trigger or worsen melasma. 

The brand also makes Leg and Body Makeup ($34), made for covering up tattoos. The latter only has SPF 15 and dries more quickly. If you go that route, you need to start with a tiny amount and be careful to blend around demarcation lines. Then let the makeup dry slightly before adding more. When finished, let it dry for an additional five to eight minutes before applying setting powder.

Finding the correct foundation shade (or shades) is key. Dermablend has a shade selector tool to help with that.

How to Apply Makeup to Conceal Melasma

Once you've found your perfect foundation, here's how to cover up melasma step by step.

  1. Start with a clean, dry face to make sure that the makeup stays put during the day or for a special event.
  2. Make sure to moisturize well, especially if you have dry skin, so that the makeup doesn't look cakey or unnatural. Give the moisturizer enough time to absorb.
  3. If you'll be going out into the sun, you may want to apply sunscreen as well, especially if you're using a foundation that doesn't have SPF. Even if it does, additional sun protection doesn't hurt.
  4. Apply makeup primer, and let it dry for five more minutes.
  1. Choose your applicator. Using a brush provides better coverage than using your fingers or a sponge. Try a fluffy, synthetic eye shadow or concealer brush for precise application.
  2. Place a small amount of makeup on the back of your hand. Some camouflage makeup formulas dry very quickly, so you need to work fast. Start with a small amount and build coverage. This method is best for achieving more natural looking coverage.
  3. Apply makeup in thin layers to the affected areas. Dab it on with the brush 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.
  1. Apply your usual foundation to your full face, if needed. Blend well.
  2. Apply finishing powder to set the makeup and help prevent transfer and smudging. Use a generous amount of powder, pressing it into the skin with a powder brush. Wait a few minutes to let it set, then gently brush off the excess.

If you're not adept at applying cover-up and foundation on yourself, it might be helpful to see a professional makeup artist to help you pick the best formula and shade, and to learn how to cover your melasma correctly. They're called artists for a reason, and they'll know exactly how to help you look and feel your best.

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