How to Use Makeup to Cover Melasma

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Melasma is a type of hyperpigmentation characterized by brown patches on the cheeks, forehead and upper lip, and 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.

To conceal the melasma, you will actually need something more than a typical concealer. Concealer is designed to cover smaller imperfections on the skin.

  Your best option is to find a good camouflage makeup.

Some makeup brands to try are Dermablend (Dermablend Cover Crème SPF 30 foundation) and ColorTration (ColorTration Liquid Cover Makeup).  

Dermablend's Leg & Body Cover might be even better for covering melasma since it also covers up tattoos.  But the Leg & Body Cover only has SPF 15 and also dries quicker than the Cover Crème.  You need to start with a tiny amount and be careful to blend around demarcation lines. Then allow the makeup to dry slightly before adding more and when finished with the application, allow an additional  5 – 8 minute drying time before applying setting powder.

The ColorTration product is highly concentrated, so very little is needed, but it needs to be used with moisturizer added to make it look more natural and not too matte. (You'll find directions for using the product on the site.)

Finding the correct foundation shade (or shades) is key.

Dermablend has a shade selector tool and ColorTration offers a color trial kit to help you find the right shade or mix of shades to achieve the perfect match for your skin tone.  

Steps for Applying Makeup to Conceal Melasma

  1. Start with a dry, clean face. This is to make sure that the makeup stays put during the day or for a special event.
  1. Moisturize. Be sure the skin moisturized, especially if you have dry skin, so that it is smooth and the makeup will look less cakey or unnatural. Give the moisturizer enough time to absorb.
  2. If you will be going out into the sun, you will need to use a moisturizer with sunscreen. This step is very important, since sun exposure can trigger or worsen melasma.
  3. Apply makeup primer. Next apply a primer and allow the product to dry for five more minutes.
  4. Choose your applicator. Some people prefer using their fingertips to apply the makeup for gradual coverage and better results.  Just make sure your hands and fingers are clean. If using a brush, try using a fluffy, synthetic eye shadow brush or any brush that will provide light application. The goal is to use whatever technique to you start with thin layers until you reach the desired coverage.
  5. Start small. Using a spatula or brush, place a small amount of makeup on the back of your hand.  Some of the camouflage makeup can dry very quickly, so you need to work fast and start with a small amount and build coverage. You also don’t want to start by applying too much makeup, because you want it to appear natural on the areas that need concealing. 
  1. Apply the makeup directly over the dark patches. Using your fingertips or brush,  apply makeup in thin layers, tapping on with your fingertips (or foundation brush) and blending outwardly. If you need more coverage tap more product onto the area until you achieve the desired results. Blend well at the edges to give your skin an even look.
  2. Next apply your usual foundation (if needed) to the surrounding skin, blending well.
  3. Apply setting powder. Apply finishing powder to set the makeup and help prevent transfer and smudging.  Use a generous amount of the powder, pressing it into the skin with a powder brush. Wait a few minutes to let the powder set, then gently brush off the excess.

It might take time to get the makeup application to look flawless and natural.  You might even want to see a professional makeup artist to help you pick the best foundation and to learn how to cover your melasma correctly.