How to Cover a Bruise (or Hickey!)

 In Airbrush, Before & After, How to, Products

Covering bruises and other severe areas of discoloration is one of the trickiest makeup techniques to master – and it’s worth practicing before you have an emergency (hickey before a job interview, anyone?)

I used my own inner arm for this post – I woke up the day after a blood draw at the doctor’s office with a large, unsightly bruise on the inside crease of my elbow. Normally that’s not a place I’d bother putting makeup since it isn’t particularly visible in the first place, but it worked well for purposes of demonstration:

The first step for any full-coverage body makeup is to shave the area if possible. Body hair can make it more difficult to blend the makeup and you’ll see the hairs lying against the skin through the cream, which makes them even more noticeable. Gently shave up to an inch of the surrounding skin, for purposes of blending. (For this demonstration, I didn’t bother – there is barely even any peach fuzz on that part of my arm!)

Next, swipe the skin with alcohol to ensure that the surface is clean of body oils, moisturizer, or anything else that might prevent the makeup from adhering properly.

Now it’s time to color correct! With very small bruises this step might not be necessary, but since very few concealers are 100% opaque, it really helps to first cancel out the discoloration before using the skintone on top – otherwise you might just end up with a greyish blob still visible under the makeup.

Since my bruise has both blue and reddish purple discoloration, I chose two shades of a cream corrector by Temptu, one yellow-green to cancel the reddish purple, and one peach to cancel the blue (read more about color theory here):

See how much less noticeable the bruise is already?

Finally, it’s time to use my skin shade on top! I used airbrush so I could subtly layer over the darker areas and blend into the surrounding skin:

A little translucent powder on top sets the makeup and eliminates the shine – then you’re ready to go!

Here’s another example that I did for a friend who had accidentally bruised her cheekbone during a home improvement project. She came to me when she discovered that covering it only with foundation left her with a grey cast under the eye. This time, I did all the makeup by hand rather than using airbrush, which makes things slightly more challenging as you have to be careful not to upset the previous layer when applying the coverage (and the skin under the eye is very delicate, so I had to stipple the color on very gently). A pinky-peach corrector did the majority of the heavy lifting and her foundation color was lightly blended on top and set with translucent powder. Here’s the final before & after:

When choosing full coverage makeup, it helps to have a few shades you can blend together, as you might need something lighter or darker than what you use as a facial foundation. Choose something with good pigmentation and opacity so you don’t have to glop it on, though the color correction you do first will minimize the amount of product you’ll need. Finally, you’ll want something long-lasting, especially if the bruise is on a part of your body that brushes against clothes.



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