How To Use Makeup To Cover Up Your Tattoos

Experts say these products are like Magic Erasers.

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makeup for tattoo cover-up
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There’s no doubt that getting a tattoo is a commitment. Whether you got your ink in honor of a big life moment, as a reminder of someone special, or you just simply liked the look of a piece of art, it’s technically on your body forever. (Unless you want to go through the lengthy process of getting it physically removed), but there’s also the more budget-friendly, less painful — albeit temporary — option of covering your tattoos with makeup.

If you saw Paris Jackson’s impressive transformation at the 2024 Grammys (where she covered all 80 of her tattoos), you know that it’s possible to appear ink-free with the right tattoo cover-up makeup products — no matter how many tats you have. Of course, there are some dos and don’ts to concealing your ink, and some formulas are more effective at camouflaging them than others.

For everything you need to know about covering your tattoos with makeup, TZR spoke to two professional makeup artists, who share their go-to technique along with their can’t-live-without products.

Start With A Coral-Toned Product

Before applying any type of foundation or concealer, you need to color correct. “You need to start with a coral tone to neutralize the tattoo and then apply a color as close to your skin tone on top,” explains Heba Thorisdottir, a makeup designer for movies, including Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and The Suicide Squad. “Preferably do the skin tone [foundation] in layers and powder between.” You may need to use two different colors to match your skin tone. “For example if you have a tattoo that wraps around your arm and your skin is lighter underneath than on top where you get more sun exposure,” she explains. But, for the most part, she says that using a coral base will neutralize all colors of ink, setting you up for success when you go in with your flesh-toned formula.

Use A Highly-Concentrated Flesh-Toned Product

For the actual covering and matching of your skin tone, Thorisdottir recommends using a super-concentrated formula. She adds that it should also have a creamy texture such as a concealer. “The product used should be full coverage and be high in pigment,” echoes Miami-based makeup artist, Natalie Dresher.

In terms of choosing the shade that matches your skin, Dresher harkens back to Thorisdottir’s point about the location of your tattoo and how that will play a part in the foundation formula you choose. “When choosing the shade of the foundation for the tattoo cover-up, I match the area where the tattoo is on,” says Dresher. “For example, the inner wrist often will be a lighter shade than the color of your chest (which is where a traditional shade match is done). So I would pick the lighter shade to cover an inner wrist tattoo.” If you have multiple tattoos in different areas, you will likely have to curate a wardrobe of shades that match those specific spots if you want the most believable coverage.

Look For Formulas With Staying Power

If you’re going to go through the process of covering your tattoo with makeup, it only makes sense that you would want your handiwork to last. Both Thorisdottir and Dresher agree that a combination of setting powder and spray is essential for in-between layers of foundation/concealer and to lock in the look — ultimately making it waterproof — at the end. Thorisdottir adds that sometimes, it can help to get a primer involved, too. She suggests using it as the very first step before you go in with your color corrector.

The Right Applicator Is Key

The tool you use to apply the product is just as important as the formula and shade you’ve chosen. “Tattoo cover up is all about texture,” says Thorisdottir. “So you want to have a textured brush or a sponge.” Because concealing a tattoo with makeup will require multiple layers of makeup, stippling with a brush and/or sponge will help to build and ultimately give you the best coverage.

The Best Makeup Products For Covering Tattoos

Color Correctors


Translucent Powder

Setting Sprays

Makeup Spronge