There are countless guides and products for wanting to cover up blemishes, hyperpigmentation, and other marks on your face. But body makeup that covers those scars, bruises, and bug bites is rarely talked about.
Why? One might think you can use your regular old face foundation. Technically you can — but you might not get the best results. Nick Lujan, global director of artistry & education for Kevyn Aucoin Beauty, notes that body and face makeup have different functions. “There are formulas on the market that are designated for face and body use,” says Lujan. “However, [face makeup] tends to be on the very sheer side and produce a natural look to the effect of liquid pantyhose.”
For that reason, Lujan suggests looking for leg makeup that is full coverage, long-wear, and waterproof. You’ll also want to consider that your legs, arms, and other parts of your body are sometimes darker than your face, neck, and chest, so the pro suggests matching the shade to the areas you are covering rather than your complexion.
If you do want to use what you already have, celebrity makeup artist Monika Blunder says you can just add a few extra layers to turn up the opacity. Blunder adds that this will also help if you’re looking for a more natural-looking result.
You can also consider color-correcting when wanting to camouflage body blemishes. Blunder suggests taking a look at the color wheel to find out what shades will cancel each other out. (For a quick rundown: Lujan says that green will neutralize red, peach and yellow will neutralize blue and purple, and that the more full coverage you need, the less color-correcting you’ll use.) Blunder adds that bruises change colors throughout the day, so your color-correcting may need to be adjusted as you go into the night.
In general, Lujan says that any area you want to cover should be clean and void of any oils and other skin care so that you get maximum coverage and wear. Blunder adds that you never want to put body makeup on any open wound of any kind, as it’s best to wait until it’s healed so you don’t irritate it more.
She also says to avoid any raised, thick scabs as makeup is very hard to clean off of them. “It collects in the little crevices, and you can always see the texture coming through, so I tend to also give those as much time to heal as possible before I cover it,” she says. If you want to do something to lessen its appearance, she says to lightly cover it with a sheer layer of product to reduce redness as opposed to fully covering it.
As for application, both experts are fans of using your hands to blend in body makeup. “It warms the product and the patting motion gives you a lot of control,” says Blunder. Lujan first recommends cleaning your hands, then gently dabbing and patting the makeup onto your body. From there, you’ll want to dab outward until the edges of the product disappear. If needed, use a clean beauty sponge to blend it out even more.
To make sure your body makeup doesn’t transfer or run, Dermablend’s director of education and in-house makeup artist Helen Keegan strongly suggests finishing with a setting powder. She says to wait at least five minutes before putting the powder on, pausing for a minute between each layer. The amount of setting powder you put on depends on how many layers of makeup you used. “This allows it to work its way down through your coverage for the ultimate setting routine,” she says. “If applied correctly, body makeup will wear for up to 16 hours and be both smudge and transfer-resistant — and who doesn’t love that?”
See the more of the makeup artists’ favorite body and leg makeup picks below.