How to Make Blemishes Disappear: Color Theory for Makeup

acne_pimple_f_600x250 Yikes. We sure do hate those blemishes and covering them can sometimes be the hardest part. Here’s my colorful way to cancel out those blemishes with makeup.

So, I’ve taken three different theatre makeup courses in my life. And honestly, when trends like contouring entered the beauty scene – theatre makeup already had me well prepared. Another great tip theatre makeup taught me was color theory for skin.

See, when you study bruises and how to recreate them based on how old they are – you learn a thing or two.

How does this pertain to color? Well, it’s simple. Even those who have taken color theory in art classes know about complementary colors. And for those who decided to skip that class, complementary colors are ones that are opposite on the color wheel. You can learn more about it here.

color theoryOne of the first lessons you learn in a makeup class is how to mix your own shade of foundation. The colors they give you are orange, blue, and white to start or red, green, and white. Why? Because red and green (and blue and orange) are complimentary colors, but when you mix them together they create brown (or cancel each other out, essentially). Then you add the white to match your shade.


Let’s talk about blemishes:

Hickeys & Bruises The colors you’re going to see in a bruise and hickeys are mainly red, purple, and yellow. Check out a bruise color progression, it’s really cool.

Since bruises and hickeys are the same thing (broken blood vessels), they can be covered the same. Here’s a quick color chart showing complementary colors: complementary scan Essentially, varying shades of purple and yellow can cover bruises and hickeys. Here a a few products good purple products:


In the drugstore, I’ve also seen purple, green, and yellow stick concealers that look like lipstick. The trick is to find the best shade/product that covers your bruises, hickeys, or whatever you need. I suggest reading some reviews before purchasing.


You know, the ugly red inflamed kind? It’s best to cover those with a green based primer. Why? Remember when we said that red and green make brown? That’s why. You want it to neutral out the red of your pimples. Unfortunately, experiencing these types of pimples is the daily for me.

physiciansformulaSo, I use this Physicians Formula Primer: Yes, it’s a drugstore product, but it works great for my needs. Although I’m sure you’ve seen several different and equally effective green primers. A few notable ones I’ve found are below:


Other blemishes So, I realize there are several different types of blemishes, but most of them focus on the colors we have already talked about. For example, birthmarks can be a range of colors from red, brown, or black. The same goes for moles.

Black and dark browns are trickier colors to cover, but it is possible. The trick is to build up the color to your natural skin tone. Start with a full bodied and thick white primer, your next layer should be concealer that is slightly lighter than your own skin tone, then use a concealer that is closest to your skin tone, blend into your skin, and make sure to apply translucent powder or a setting spray.

I’m sure there are several techniques, but because this is based on color theory – layered white to combat against black. I found this Youtube video to help with the basics. There is definitely more complex things you can do, but this is a good start.

But, wait, what about those blue veins? Orange, guys. Orange. There are several kits that I’ve found to help cover up all around blemishes like the Glominerals Corrective Camouflage Kit.

Well, I hope this helped you get a better control of your blemishes using color theory. Let me know what tricks and tips you have picked up for covering blemishes in the comments!

5 thoughts on “How to Make Blemishes Disappear: Color Theory for Makeup

  1. How do you avoid panda eyes? I have sallow skin that masks as fair. I successfully cover the dark under eye circles (I think) then have panda eyes in photos. Help!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Karen – I can’t imagine how I missed this comment! I’m sorry about that – it looks like you need a less dense concealer. If you have dark under eye circles and they are a shade of purple-blue (which is typical for fairer skins), then you should use a light concealer with a yellow-orange under tone. I really like Benefit’s Fake up – but for some it may not have enough yellow under tone. I hear Smashbox’s Under Eye Primer is pretty good, too. I hope this helps!


  2. Pingback: My No-Poo Journey | Thrifting & Bitching

    • Hi Janet, that’s a great question! Depending on how dark the darkening actually is – if it’s a brown or black based coloring I would cover it by layering a base white, then a flesh tone, then your typical foundation. See the description above for covering brown and dark blemishes. I hope this helps!


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