How To Hide A Sunburn With Makeup Without Causing More Damage Or Looking Like A Clown

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Summertime is prime time for sunburns, and although it's admirable to strive for a burn-free season, accidents happen, and sometimes, you wake up after a two-hour long nap by the pool with an awful sunglasses tan (I'm looking at you, Kim Kardashian). Your first instinct might be to go HAM with some foundation before going out in public, but really, covering sunburn with makeup is tricky.

You want to ensure full coverage so that none of the red peeks through your foundation, but you don't want to look like you've put on pounds of stage makeup. Besides, summertime is also prime time for sweat, so the less makeup you use means the lower your chance of having it all melt off in the heat, thereby exposing your sunburn all over again. You also want to make sure you don't damage your skin further, or hurt yourself in the process, because sunburns are painful.

Remember that the sunburns you get early in life can have serious consequences later, and blistering sunburns are a risk factor for developing skin cancer. So here's your friendly reminder that preventing sunburns is by far the best way to hide them, but if you're really in a pinch, here are seven steps, and accompanying products, to effectively hide your sunburn without causing more damage or looking like a clown:

1. Start With Sunscreen

Extra Smooth Sun Protection Cream For Face, $32, Shiseido

You’ll probably hate me for saying this if you’ve already got a lobster-red face, but I can't say this enough. If you don't get sunburned then you don't have to hide your sunburn! So use sunscreen in the summertime, specifically a broad-spectrum one. This sunscreen from Shiseido is on the pricier side, but it's specially formulated for faces so it will be gentle on already sunburned skin and will protect you from all kinds of UV rays.

2. Soothe With Aloe Vera Gel

Alba Botanica Very Emollient After Sun, $9, Alba Bontanica

If you do forget to put on sunscreen and end up with a burn, the best treatment is aloe vera gel. It'll both cool down your skin as well as facilitate the healing process started. Before putting on any makeup, apply a thin layer of aloe vera as a base layer of protection, almost like a primer so you're not just putting foundation directly on top of your damaged skin.

3. Moisturize With SPF-Laden Lotion

Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture Facial Moisturizer , $9, Amazon

Once you have on your first layer of protection in the form of aloe vera, you need to moisturize. Even though you already have a sunburn, use a lotion with SPF protection to ensure your burn doesn't get even worse. This oil-free moisturizer from Neutrogena also prevents your face from getting greasy as it provides some much-needed moisture for your thirsty skin.

4. Layer On Green Concealer

Hi Definition Photo Concealer Wand in Green, $5, NYX Cosmetics

Do you remember the color wheel from your elementary school art class? Well, there's this idea called complementary colors, which means that colors on opposite ends of the color wheel neutralize each other. Red and green are complementary, so if you're trying to neutralize the red on your face, add some green.

Dab on a green concealer, like this one from Nyx Cosmetics, on the places where you're most burnt: likely the bridge of your nose, the highest point of your forehead, your cheekbones, and your chin. Blend it in, as you would with regular concealer, but you might want to use your fingers and a very light touch to prevent any unnecessary discomfort.

6. Try A Specially Formulated Foundation...

Clinique Redness Solutions Makeup SPF 15 with Probiotic Technology, $28, Sephora

This is where the whole makeup application process gets a little tricky because this is the point in the process where a heavy hand could end up with a cake-y, overdone look. But if you've prepped your face as described, applying foundation should be pretty simple. You can use your regular foundation, or one that's specially formulated to deal with redness like this one from Clinique.

Put some foundation on all the places where you applied that green concealer, and carefully, softly, gently blend in with your fingers. If you applied the green concealer properly and blended it well, the foundation should bring your skin color back to neutral.

5. Or Cover With Mineral Powder Foundation

L’Oréal True Match Mineral Foundation, $15, L'Oreal Paris

If you're still really nervous about using too much makeup, I'd recommend using a powder foundation, which is lighter than your usual liquid or creme foundation but still has pretty good coverage. Your skin will be able to breathe a little easier, which could be good if your sunburn is particularly brutal. As an added bonus, this mineral foundation from L'Oréal has broad spectrum sun protection, too! Same basic directions for application apply.

7. Finish With Bronzer

Rimmel London Natural Bronzer in Sunshine, $4, Target

It seems counterintuitive to add bronzer to your face when you’re already burnt to a crisp, but after applying all of this makeup, you need something to give your face some shape. You did get some sun, after all. Lightly apply some bronzer to your cheekbones and around your temples with a big brush, so people know you made it outside this summer without having any idea of how sunburned you really got.

Image: kimkardashian/Twitter; Courtesy Brands