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How to Perfectly Cover up a Tattoo With Makeup

How to Perfectly Cover up a Tattoo With Makeup

While you probably love displaying your tattoos most of the time, you may find that it is essential to cover them up every now and then in certain situations. Alternatively, you may find yourself not liking the look of an older tattoo and wanting to cover it up to keep it out of sight. Whatever your reasons are, however, makeup is your best friend when it comes to perfectly hiding a tattoo.

In this article, we will be discussing the best makeup products and methods to use when trying to cover up your tattoo. You’ll even learn about other makeup-free ways to conceal your tattoo that can help you out in a pinch. Read on to learn everything you need about covering up your tattoo with makeup!

Why Would You Want to Cover Your Tattoo?

For anyone who has tattoos, there is a good chance you also love displaying the unique artwork that is a permanent part of your body. However, there are some situations which require your tattoos to be covered up, such as job interviews, formal events, and while in a work or school setting; attitudes about tattoos being unprofessional are changing, but you still may find the need to cover up your tattoos from time to time.

Additionally, if you have a tattoo that you’ve fallen out of love with, you may find yourself wanting to cover it up for your own peace of mind, as well as for public appearances. An even coating of makeup is the best way to conceal your tattoo, no matter the situation.

Makeup Items You Will Need to Cover Your Tattoo

foundation on woman’s hand

There are several different makeup items that you can use to cover up your tattoo, but we will only be listing the most effective and accessible options.

Full-Coverage Foundation

Full-coverage foundation is one of the best items to cover up your tattoo, as it generally provides an opaque, buildable layer that obscures the appearance of your tattoo without a lot of effort. Whichever brand of foundation you purchase, you should be looking for something in a matte finish, as a dewy finish will not dry enough to give you perfectly buildable coverage.

For maximum tattoo concealment, we recommend a brand like Dermablend; their foundation can be matched to your skin undertones, giving you the most natural-looking finish possible.


A concealer should be used underneath whichever foundation product you are using as a way to provide an extra layer of coverage and take the edge off of any extremely dark spots in your tattoo. If you have a tattoo with lots of color in it, you may want to consider a colored concealer to help mask the appearance of bright ink.

When choosing a colored concealer, follow the color wheel and choose the color opposite your tattoo’s color for the best masking. For example, green masks red tones, while yellow cancels out purple tones.

Setting Powder

A setting powder, either translucent or one that matches your skin tone, is essential in keeping your tattoo covering makeup in place all day. Without a setting powder, it will be difficult to build layers of coverage, and your foundation is at risk of rubbing off onto your clothing or anything else throughout the day.

If you want extra protection, you may want to invest in a setting spray to apply on top of the finished tattoo cover up, as setting spray in a matte finish can ensure that the makeup stays in place all day, with many products offering up to a surprising 16 hours of coverage.

Steps for Perfectly Covering Your Tattoo With Makeup

Once you have your supplies gathered, it’s time to apply your makeup onto your tattoo, perfectly covering it up.

  1. Wash the tattooed area that you wish to cover up; washing it will prepare the skin for makeup and allow foundation to stick more easily. If needed, you can shave the tattooed area to get any unwanted hair out of the way of your application.
  2. Apply a layer of concealer to your tattoo. If the tattoo is colored, work with tinted concealers to mask the tones of the tattoo. If your tattoo is mostly black ink, you can use a concealer that best matches your skin tone.
  3. Once the concealer is applied, dab on a layer of full-coverage foundation in a stippling motion. This involves dotting the foundation on the skin, as this gives the most efficient, natural-looking coverage.
  4. After the foundation is applied, evaluate the area. If you can still see the tattoo, apply a layer of setting powder, wait 30 seconds to a minute for it to settle, and then apply another layer of foundation.
  5. Repeat the evaluation, setting powder, and foundation application step until you have achieved desired coverage over your tattoo. For most tattoos, it will take about 2 to 3 layers of makeup to perfectly conceal the ink.
  6. After you are happy with your foundation coverage and have applied your last layer of setting powder, you can then spray on your optional setting spray to hold the makeup in place even longer. If you don’t want to use setting spray, you are finished after the last layer of setting powder.
  7. Wait a few minutes after your last layer of setting powder or spray for the makeup to dry out and fully cling to your skin before pulling on clothing or doing anything else that could smudge the makeup covering up your tattoo.

Keep in mind that you should only be applying makeup on top of a tattoo that is fully healed; fresh or new tattoos cannot have makeup applied to them, or you run a risk of developing a serious infection in your new ink.

If you are trying to cover up a brand-new tattoo, skip down to our section on hiding your tattoo without makeup.

What About Tattoo Cover up Kits?

You may have seen tattoo cover up and concealment kits for sale either online or in the store. These kits generally carry a foundation and a concealer that you can use to cover up your tattoo.

While some of these kits can be helpful, many of them do not carry a setting powder or spray to hold your makeup in place and instead resort to making the foundation a little extra sticky for better hold.

Because tattoo cover up kits can be fairly hit or miss with their effectiveness and ingredient quality, it may be a better idea to purchase your foundation, concealer, and setting powders separately and directly from reputable brands, especially if you need effective long-term tattoo concealment on a regular basis.

Ways to Hide Your Tattoo Without Makeup

man with tattoo half hidden

If you have a brand-new tattoo you are looking to conceal or don’t have time to run to a store for makeup, you can try out one of these simple, makeup-free ways to conceal your tattoo.


One of the best, easiest ways to cover up your tattoos is to invest in clothing that covers the tattooed areas of your body. This includes long-sleeved shirts, leggings, jackets, and undershirts.

If you frequently have to wear white collared shirts to work and have arm tattoos, you may want to consider investing in a cover up sleeve to wear underneath it, as bright, bold ink may be visible underneath a white shirt.


For wrist and ankle tattoos, you can consider investing in bracelets and anklets to hide your ink. You may also want to invest in longer pairs of socks if you are worried about ankle tattoos being visible throughout the day.

If you have tattoos on the neck, back, or collarbones, you can use a scarf or other neckwear accessory to cover up the design.

Hair Placement

For tattoos that are on your neck, collar bones, or back, you may be able to style your hair in a way that perfectly covers up the tattoo. This method works best if you have longer hair that can be let down or thrown over a shoulder to conceal your ink.

Professional Cover Up

If you are frequently covering up your tattoo because you don’t enjoy the design anymore, then a professional cover up may be a good option for you. For a cover up, you can consult with a local tattoo artist who will help you come up with a design to tattoo over the original ink, leaving you with a tattoo that you are much more in love with.

You can also invest in tattoo removal creams and laser treatments to remove the unwanted tattoo, but these methods may take longer to work, and in the case of laser treatments, can hurt a little bit.

Strategically Conceal Your Tattoos

Even though you may love your tattoos, there are unfortunate times when it’s important to cover them up, whether this be work-related or due to formal events.

As attitudes change about tattoos, it is becoming more common for people to wear their tattoos proudly, even in the workplace, but until then, you can follow our easy tattoo coverage steps to perfectly conceal your ink with makeup whenever it’s necessary.