How to Temporarily Cover Up Your Tattoo with Makeup

There are a ton of reasons why you might be looking into covering up your tattoo. Maybe you have a wedding or a job interview, or maybe it has faded and you’re embarrassed by it.

Whatever the reason, as long as you have the right products and the proper knowledge, any tattoo can be covered up with makeup. Learn how to conceal your tattoo now!

What You’ll Need

While your everyday makeup might be able to do the trick if it’s just a one-time thing, you’ll want to buy specific makeup if you plan to be covering up your tattoo on a regular basis. Here’s everything you’ll need:


Just like the face, the area around the tattoo will need to be primed so that the makeup is applied smoothly. A primer with a white base like NYX Angel Veil can help to reduce transparency over an extended period of time and keep the makeup in place.

Full Coverage Foundation

A full coverage foundation or a specific tattoo cover-up is often thick and creamy so that it best hides the tattoo. Dermablend is one of the best brands for this as it’s designed to offer full body coverage and doesn’t transfer to your clothes. Choose a color slightly lighter than your skin tone for the best overall results.

Concealer Palette

Since the foundation needs to be applied thickly and you’re using a lighter color than usual, it won’t be the exact color as your skin, which can make it stand out. A concealer or contouring palette with a wide variety of tones can be used for blending and tone adjustment so that it matches the surrounding area better. This NYX Professional Makeup Highlight and Contour Pro Palette is a great example of the various shades that can be used to blend the makeup with your skin.

Color Correcting Palette

If your tattoo is bright and colorful, then a color correcting palette can help to neutralize these inks. For example, if your tattoo is heavily red and orange, a green color corrector will counterbalance this so that it’s much easier to cover. This NYX Professional Color Correcting Palette is the perfect example of what’s best for those with multiple colors in their ink. If the colors of your tattoo are all warm or all cool, then a color correcting primer can kill two birds with one stone.

Translucent Powder

To set the layers of makeup applied, a loose powder is needed. Translucent powder works best as it doesn’t affect the work you’ve done to get your covered tattoo to match the color of your skin. Try this NYX Translucent Finishing Powder to keep everything in place.

Finishing Spray

Keep all of your hard work in place with finishing spray like this NYX Matte Finishing Spray. If you’re in a pinch, hairspray works as well but it can leave your skin quite sticky.

How to Cover Up a Tattoo

Once you’ve gathered all of the makeup needed, you’re all set to cover up your ink. Here are the steps to take:

Step 1: Clean the Skin

Use a damp washcloth to wash the skin surrounding your tattoo until you have a clean surface. Pat dry with a towel.

Step 2: Prime Your Tattoo

Apply an even layer of primer over your tattoo and allow it to dry. This will give you an even base to apply the foundation to and ensure that the makeup lasts.

Step 3: Apply Color Corrector (optional)

If your tattoo is colorful, then this is the best time to use a color corrector. Here’s a guide to which color to apply to your tattoo:

  1. Light pink concealer hides light blue inks
  2. Peach concealer hides medium blue and purple inks
  3. Yellow concealer hides dark blue and purple inks
  4. Green concealer hides red and pink ink colors
  5. Lavender concealer hides yellow and light orange colors

Step 4: Cover With Foundation

Apply a generous amount of full coverage foundation to your tattoo and blend it by gently patting it with a beauty blender. Repeat this by building up the coverage until your tattoo is mostly hidden.

Step 5: Apply Concealer

Choose a concealer that is closest to your skin tone and apply it with a beauty blender. You will likely have to mix a few colors together to get the right tone. Repeat this until your tattoo is completely covered and the area matches the surrounding skin.

Step 6: Set With Loose Powder

Once you’ve finished covering up your tattoo, you’ll want to set it all with a loose translucent powder. A colored loose powder can also be used, but if it’s too light or dark it can make your coverup more obvious. After you’ve worked hard to match the concealer to your skin tone, the last thing you want to do is throw it off with the wrong loose powder.

Step 7: Spray it Down With Finishing Spray

A finishing spray can help your cover-up work last longer and prevent the makeup from rubbing off on your clothes or the furniture. Hair spray can also work, but it might also leave the skin a bit sticky. Spray the area a few times, let it dry, and you’re all set!

The Downside of Covering Up a Tattoo

While using makeup to conceal a tattoo can work every once in a while, if you’re trying to cover up unwanted ink every day, it can get tedious. It’s time-consuming and not 100 percent reliable. Even following these steps to the letter can’t guarantee that the makeup won’t come off as there are a number of other factors that can affect its longevity such as sweating, the rain, and something as simple as bumping into someone. Not to mention that if it gets on your clothes, it could ruin them.

Other Options

If you find yourself constantly covering up your tattoo, consider getting a tattoo removed permanently with laser tattoo removal. You’ll save yourself a ton of time and frustration, and if it’s already fading, fewer laser sessions will be needed.

Another option is to have your tattoo covered up with something else. After getting several laser tattoo removal treatments, you can lighten up the ink enough to put nearly any new design over the old one.

author avatar
Paul A. Boulos
Dr. Paul A. Boulos is an excellent and versatile cosmetic surgeon, passionate about his vocation and helping others. Dr. Boulos is an alumni of Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine and completed his General Surgery training at Inspira Medical in Southern New Jersey. He studied and learn under Dr. Joseph Castellano, one of the premier breast and body Cosmetic Surgeons in South Florida. He currently works as a Cosmetic Surgeon at Jolie Plastic Surgery in Miami, FL.