Tattoo Cover Up: Temporarily Cover Your Tattoo With Makeup

Your tattoo could be a mean of expression, however, it may not be appropriate in some situations. Once inked, the only way to get rid of it is expensive tattoo removal treatments at salons and spas. But what if all you need is to hide your tattoo for a few hours?

woman with tattoos posing over her shoulder, in the street.

When the need arises to cover up your tattoo for a short while, then makeup is your go-to solution. Just like covering your blemishes with foundation and concealer, you can also hide a tattoo easily.

Applying the right base makeup, like foundation and concealer, in the right sequence, on your tattoo can cover it up temporarily and conveniently.  When used in combination with good skin prep products and additional products to set the makeup in place, you can definitely go to that interview or that family function without any worry.

Keep reading as we show you the step-by-step process of covering up a tattoo with makeup.

Basic Makeup Products that are Best for Covering Tattoos

To cover a tattoo, the type of makeup products that you can use range from basic to absolutely-full-coverage stage makeup. Since many of us do not own stage makeup, we have to make do with basic makeup products that we have to hand.

The most basic items that you will need are:


A liquid or cream concealer that is a few shades lighter than your skin tone is required. This concealer should preferably offer medium-to-full coverage.


A full-coverage foundation is your best option to hide the tattoo completely. Be sure to use one that matches the skin tone of the area where the tattoo is and not your face. This is because your face is usually a different shade than other areas of your body.

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Setting Powder

A translucent setting powder is a must to set the concealer and foundation in place.

The excess oils from the makeup and your skin will be absorbed by the powder so that the base products are set and do not slip or slide from their place. Alternatively, if you do not have a translucent powder, you can also use pressed powder or a powder foundation in your skin shade.

woman applying powder foundation to her face.

Setting Spray

To further lock the makeup in place, a makeup setting spray is an excellent product. Its long-lasting formula seals the makeup and keeps it from transferring onto your clothes.


Apart from the makeup products, using the right tools to apply them is also important. 

  • For the concealer and the foundation, you will need a makeup sponge or a stippling brush.
  • A powder brush or a fluffy brush is needed to apply the powder.

You do not have to purchase separate tools for covering a tattoo on your body. The same brushes and sponge that you use for your face can be used. However, make sure to rinse your brushes before using them on your face again.

woman with full body tattoo sleeves sitting on a pavement wearing a white vest.

Specialist Products You Can Use for More Coverage

The basic makeup products listed above are sufficient to cover up a tattoo completely in most cases. But, when the permanent ink of your tattoo is dark like in the case with new tattoos, basic makeup products might not be enough. So the need for specialist products arises.

Waterproof base products are also available in this category that will help in the tattoo staying concealed even if some water touches the makeup by mistake. Waterproof formulas also increase the longevity of the makeup.

Stage Makeup

Stage artists use special makeup for their performances as regular makeup melts away in the heat of the powerful stage lights.

This type of makeup is meant for heavy coverage, meaning that it can last for as long as 24 hours in a wide range of weather conditions. A white base is the most basic stage makeup that you can apply on your tattoo before your foundation to provide an absolutely plain base. Cream-based foundations are your other option, along with stage makeup products, to keep your tattoo hidden for a longer period of time.

Special Products Meant for Concealing Tattoos

Many companies have come up with products that are extremely high in coverage and can be effectively used to cover tattoos.

Tattoo Camo, Dermablend, Dermacol, and Covermark are the popular options available in the market. They often come in a wide range of colours making it easier for people of any skin tone to find a product that will match them perfectly.

Colour Corrector

Colour correctors are specially formulated to ‘correct and conceal’ the colour of the skin they are applied on. A simple example would be when makeup artists use a green corrector to conceal redness on the skin better.

Depending on the colour of your tattoo, pick a colour corrector that will counter it (refer to a simple colour wheel for hints). Since most tattoos are created using black ink, the best option for a colour corrector that will offer more coverage is a peach, pink or orange corrector.

woman, with tattoos, leaning against a post.

How to Prep the Area 


When you apply makeup on your face, makeup artists always recommend you to begin with a freshly cleansed face. The same thing applies in this scenario too. So be sure that the area of the body with the tattoo is clean for proper makeup application. 

Use a small amount of body wash, some soap or even your facial cleanser to wash the area and remove any excess oils that may interfere with the makeup application. In fact, excess skin oil can also decrease the longevity of the makeup that you are going to use to cover up your tattoo.

Rinse the area clean and pat the skin dry.


Apply some moisturiser to hydrate the skin, especially if you have dry skin. This is because dry patches can result in the makeup gathering in patches and not apply evenly over the skin. Be sure to gently massage the skin until the moisturiser is absorbed.

You can follow this up with sunscreen application if the body part with the tattoo is going to be exposed to direct sunlight.

Suggested Article: How to Choose the Right Sun Protection for You.

Make sure it has healed properly

Another thing to keep in mind during preparing the area for makeup is to only apply makeup on a completely healed tattoo. A fresh ink that hasn’t peeled and healed thoroughly can contract an infection easily if you apply any product like foundation or powder onto it. So, let your tattoo heal first before you decide to cover it up temporarily with makeup.

a woman covered in tattoos, leaning out of a pool.

Covering the Tattoo Step-By-Step


Begin with a clean and freshly moisturised skin. Do this by applying a moisturiser that is meant for your skin type.

Apply Primer

Now, apply a makeup primer to provide a base for the makeup to hold on to better and for longer. 

  • If you have oily skin, use a mattifying primer.
  • Dry skin requires a hydrating primer.
  • Whereas normal to combination skin types have the option of choosing any primer they like, depending on how matte or how dewy they want their skin to look.

Let the primer set for a few minutes.

Colour Correct

An orange or peach colour corrector is best when wanting to cover tattoos. However, a great substitute for this would be an orange or red matte lipstick. But, be careful and do not use a creamy lipstick, lip gloss or liquid lipstick.

Use a round concealer simply brush to apply the product in soft strokes and blend out the edges to make them as seamless as possible.


On top of the colour corrector, apply a thin layer of concealer that is lighter than your skin shade. Use a similar blending technique as you did for the colour corrector.

You can also use a makeup sponge to pat it into place, as blending it out too much will make the coverage sheer. Next, apply another thin layer of the concealer if required (in the case of darker tattoos).

person covering a tattoo with a cotton ball and product.


Next, apply a foundation that matches your skin tone. Be sure to use a bigger brush if you like or a makeup sponge to get full coverage in the end.


Using a fluffy brush (such as a powder brush or a bronzing brush), apply the translucent powder on top to provide resistance to the makeup against smudging. 

You can even apply some extra powder using a powder or velour puff and bake the makeup for a few minutes. Doing so will lock the makeup in place even better.

Use the fluffy brush to remove any excess powder after the baking is done.

Setting Spray

Finally, spray on some makeup setting spray to secure the makeup in place even more.

How to Ensure the Makeup Lasts All Day

When you are trying to hide a tattoo with makeup, you obviously want the makeup to last pretty much all day long. It needs to be foolproof, smudge-proof, and waterproof as well. To ensure that the makeup covering your tattoo lasts all day, make sure to include the steps below in the makeup application process.

Prep the Skin

Prepping your skin is vital as clean skin that is moisturised provides the appropriate setting for the makeup to be applied on. This will even out the skin texture and provide a smooth surface for the concealer and foundation to be applied on.

Apply Primer

Applying primer is another important step that you shouldn’t go without. Some primers also provide a sticky base that the foundation can hold onto better and, therefore, make it last longer.

Choose the Right Foundation Formula

Oil-free or matte foundation is a better and long-lasting formula to choose for tattoo covering makeup. Such formulas absorb excess oils from your skin and, therefore, prevent it from causing your makeup to slip and slide.

woman having tattoo covered with a blender and product.

Apply Powder

Do not forget to apply powder on top of the foundation for a flawless and matte finish. The powder can be translucent or in your skin shade. The use of the powder will help to set the base makeup in place. 

You can also use the powder foundation first followed up by a dusting of the translucent powder to add double protection during the setting process.

Apply Setting Spray

A good setting spray will lock the makeup in place further and even prevent colour transfer. Before you put any clothes upon the area, let the makeup set for 45 minutes to one hour.

Mistakes You Should Avoid

To have good coverage and to make your makeup last on the tattoo, some precautionary tips need to be kept in mind. These are common mistakes that people make either before, during or after the application of the makeup.

Don’t Skip Moisturiser

Makeup doesn’t work well with dry skin. If you have skin that is flaking or has developing ashiness due to being extremely dry, gently exfoliate the skin and then apply a nourishing moisturiser.

a woman standing in front of a white brick wall whilst exfoliating her face with a white scrub.

Exfoliation will remove the dead skin cells and the moisturiser will make the skin supple enough for better makeup application.

Do Not Skip Colour Corrector

Covering the permanent ink with just concealer and foundation might not give excellent results. It is important, therefore, to cancel out the darkness of the tattoo ink with the orange tones in the corrector.

Pick Your Concealer and Foundation Carefully

The concealer needs to be one to two shades lighter than the skin tone of the tattooed area. However, the foundation has to be an exact match for the skin shade here. Applying a tonne of concealer or foundation at once will give the makeup a cakey appearance. So to avoid doing this we recommend applying the concealer and foundation in thin layers. If needed, you can always layer on more.

Use the Right Tools to Apply the Makeup

Wrong makeup brushes or a low-quality makeup sponge will leave the makeup streaky and unblended. Be sure to use the correct tools for the job at hand.

Now you should be ready to bare your skin ahead of any upcoming event that you feel your tattoos aren’t invited to!

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