Scars can be difficult to cover up with makeup, but luckily there are some solutions for it. Not every scar will respond to makeup the same way. That said, this article will provide you with tips for covering acne scars, acne and surgery scars, as well as surgery and surgical tape removals. Once you get rid of a scar, it’s always helpful to understand how to prevent new ones from forming. Makeup can help achieve just that.
The best makeup for scars is going to depend on the type of scar you have, but in general, you’re going to want something that’s creamy and blendable.
For example, if the scar is a raised bumpy texture, you can use a tinted moisturizer with SPF to help even out the skin tone. If it’s a more sunken-in scar that needs more coverage, apply foundation first and then add concealer to cover up any uneven spots.
You can also use color corrector or foundation that’s two shades lighter than your skin tone as an under-base before applying your normal foundation. This will help make sure that there are no weird patches or lines where the two layers meet.
Best makeup for scars
If you know the struggle of having dark circles, blotchy red skin, and issues with acne scarring and hyperpigmentation, you probably have your color wheel down: Purple concealer for under-eye shadows, green for reducing redness, and lots of yellow (because you need plenty of brightening concealer for covering up everything else). We know that these skin issues can require a special set of products, so for this year’s Healthy Beauty Awards, we called in a range of color-correctors and cover-ups to determine which were the best at actually covering and concealing.
Beyond scars and discoloration, the right makeup products can also help people with patchy or sparse brows and lashes, whether from getting a bit too gung-ho during the ’90s skinny eyebrow trend, or due to health conditions like trichotillomania, otherwise known as hair-pulling disorder. SELF’s editor in chief wrote an essay about how, after years of living with trichotillomania, a good eyebrow pencil helps her leave the house. During the testing process, she was a huge fan of the winning brow pencil below.
There weren’t many clear-cut recommendations from our panel of experts for makeup that will help you cover up scars and discoloration, specifically, except to look for active ingredients like titanium dioxide that help soothe sensitive, redness-prone skin. Most of the products below do, and others have been reviewed by our panel of testers (many who deal with a range of skin texture and discoloration issues themselves) for effectiveness. Here, the best makeup products for smoothing over scars, discoloration, and the like.
Il Makiage/Morgan Johnson
Best Full Coverage Foundation for Scars and Discoloration: Il Makiage Woke Up Like This Flawless Base Foundation
This “Woke Up Like This” full-coverage foundation was designed to give you flawless coverage, and does this with hydrators like hyaluronic acid that helps this foundation slide over skin without pilling. It goes on lightly and sinks into skin without any streaking or cake-y buildup. Testers loved the shade range, which comes in 50 different skin tone options to mix and match, and how well it concealed dark spots and textural issues. See the full ingredient list here.
Bonus Points, Per the Experts: This product contains titanium dioxide, which our derms suggested you look for.
One Tester Said: “This stuff is great!!! I had no expectations, having never tried this brand, but it held up so well! I still got shiny in my T-zone as I always do, but my oily face didn’t break up the foundation! This is a big deal. I also love the shade range, the full coverage, and the texture of the makeup itself. Huge fan. Would absolutely purchase.”
Buy It: $44, ilmakiage.com
- Huda Beauty/Morgan Johnson2Best Full Coverage Concealer for Scars and Discoloration: Huda Beauty The Overachiever ConcealerHuda Beauty wasn’t kidding with its “overachieving” claims, since our testers were pretty emphatic about how much they liked this concealer. It’s full-coverage (which our testers appreciated), and sets quickly without creasing. Even better, it also contains titanium dioxide to help combat redness and inflammation. This product contains titanium dioxide, which our derms recommended you look for.One Tester Said: “I really like the applicator for this, which has a medal tip that feels very cooling! It is sometimes hard to control how much you’re applying, but I like that I can spread it easily without getting makeup all over my fingers. The coverage is great and it seems to sink in well!”Buy It: $30, sephora.com
Best Color Correcting Primer for Scars and Discoloration: Neutrogena Prep + Correct Primer
A color-correcting primer is always helpful for reducing redness or smoothing over skin before you reach for foundation. Neutrogena gets it that your skin has specific needs, so it gives you options, from a green-tinted primer that neutralizes redness, to another that corrects skin discoloration, and a third that brightens dull-looking skin.
Bonus Points, Per the Experts: This product contains titanium dioxide, which our derms suggest you look for.
Just So You Know: This product contains sulfates, which our experts said to watch out for—they can be irritating to some.
One Tester Said: “I really liked this primer! I tried both the tone-correcting and the brightening, and I must say they both worked! The brightening one did brighten the sections of my face that I used it on, and the tone-correcting primer really helped even out my skin-tone before I applied foundation.”
Buy It: $13, walmart.com
Best Eyebrow Pencil for Scars and Discoloration: Aveda Brow Definer Eyebrow Pencil
Our testers—some who deal with body-focused repetitive behavior, which can sometimes leave brows sparse and scarred—loved how subtly this dual-sided Aveda brow definer pencil shapes your brows without looking overly filled in. It’s good for summer since it has a long-wear formula that’s smudge-proof and sweat-resistant plus a built-in spoolie brush to comb through your brows. Our experts noted to avoid mineral oil and petroleum-based products, and this eyebrow pencil is free of both. See ingredients
One Tester Said: “This pencil was perfect. I loved the way it blended with my brows and did not have a heavy makeup look. I did not have to do much for it to look exactly how I desired.”
Buy It: $24, aveda.com
Best Eyebrow Powder for Scars and Discoloration: Sigma Color + Shape Brow Powder Duo
This brow powder is great for defining brows that might be sparse due to scarring, overplucking, or compulsive pulling (like with body-focused repetitive behaviors). Our testers loved that this Sigma Color brow powder duo comes in two shades for filling in the patchy bits of your eyebrows, and it’s powdery, so it has a light touch that’s easily buildable with a brow brush. Because it’s non-comedogenic you also don’t have to worry about breakouts around your brow line.