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Skin Deep: Here's how to truly, properly cover up a massive spot

RESIST the urge to mess with them.

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Welcome to Skin Deep with Louise McSharry, my opportunity to put years of obsessing over beauty products and techniques to good use. I won’t tell you something is good if it’s not. I won’t recommend products I haven’t actually tried. As the magical sitar in Moulin Rouge said, I only speak the truth.

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One of the greatest tricks the world will ever play on you is making you believe that you’ll stop getting spots once your teenage years are over. Alas, as adults, we all learn that that simply isn’t true. Whether it’s stress, hormones or just annoying skin, spots will come and go throughout our lives.

Perhaps the worst thing about it is that they invariably come just when we don’t want them. First date? Massive spot. Going to wedding which will be attended by your ex? White head on your chin. Christmas party? Giant, sore, red one on the end of your nose giving you the appearance of Rudolph. We are cursed. So how do you cope when the inevitable happens?

First of all, I’m going to tell you not to squeeze your spots. I have to. I’m required by beauty columnist law. Of course, I know that you’re going to do it anyway, and so am I, but I have to at least say it. Why? Because squeezing a spot can spread bacteria, cause scarring and mean it takes longer to heal. So you really shouldn’t do it, but you’re going to anyway, because who can resist a white head?

Once you’ve squeezed it, do not pick it. This time I actually mean it. The more you pick, the more it’ll scab, and scabs are much harder to cover with makeup than a smooth red bump, and much more likely to scar.

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Now, to Operation Cover Up. First, make sure your skin is hydrated with moisturiser and serum if you fancy it. Dry skin is harder to cover smoothly than nicely moisturised skin. Next, if you have it, use a thin layer of green colour correcting product. Green cancels out red, so this will make a good start at neutralising the colour. Then apply your foundation as you normally would. Don’t go mad and add loads more than you normally would, looking caked will not help you here.

Once you’ve applied your foundation, it’s time to get down to the business of concealing. One mistake that many people make is to apply too much product. Layers and layers of concealer will look heavy and unnatural and only draw attention to your blemish (isn’t blemish just the most delicate way to describe these monsters? I love it). Instead, make sure you’re using the right product and apply it properly.

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When I say ‘the right product’, I mean the right consistency, and the right colour. It is my view that a pot of solid concealer does a better job than the liquid kind which comes in a tube, but as I always say, to each his own. My personal favourite is Kevin Aucoin’s Sensual Skin Enhancer,which can also be used as a foundation. It’s pricey, at €41.60 from BeautyBay, but it lasts years. Literally years. Also, it comes in a fantastic range of colours. If that’s too rich for your blood, I also rate Mac’s Studio Finish SPF 35 Concealer, which was a revelation to me the first time I used it when I was eighteen. If that’s still too pricey, well, brace yourself, because I have got a dreamy little tip for you.

As I said, aside from the consistency of the concealer, the colour is a major factor. If your concealer isn’t the same colour as your foundation it’s just going to shine a spotlight on your spot. Fortunately, I’m about to tell you about a concealer that is a great consistency, free, and exactly the right colour (if you already know this, allow me my dramatic moment). My friends, I’m talking about the foundation gunk around the top of the bottle. Yes, that’s right, the gross stuff which gathers there is a dream concealer. It’s essentially concentrated foundation and is the perfect colour for you. Seriously. Give it a go. I’m fine with it if you want to take a break from reading and do it immediately.

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Once you’ve chosen your concealer, the next thing you need is a brush. The right brush will make Operation Cover Up much easier, and more hygienic. This is one instance where I really do insist you clean your brush after each use, because you really, really don’t want spot bacteria to travel. My favourite is this one from It Cosmetics. I use the full end for foundation and the thin end for concealer. It’s a dream. Otherwise, any flat or small, short fluffy brush will do. Dab your brush in the pot, and then gently dab the concealer on your spot until the redness is gone. Once it’s gone, stop. Seriously, stop. Do not apply anything else. In fact, leave it completely alone until you’ve finished the rest of your makeup. Then go back in with a sponge (I like these mini ones from Inglot) or your clean finger and gently tap until any edges are gone. The less you mess with it, the better. Gently dust with a very light layer of translucent powder, and you’re done.

When I say you’re done, I mean, you’re done. Leave it alone. The urge to mess with a spot you’re self-conscious about on a night out is strong, but the more you apply makeup and poke at it, the messier it’s going to look. If you’ve applied a decent concealer, powdered it and left it alone it shouldn’t require any more attention. Simply chant to yourself ‘I’m the only one who’s thinking about this, I’m the only one who notices it, everyone else is too busy thinking about themselves’.

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Before I go, let’s talk about prevention. Next time you see one of these bad boys popping up, get yourself some Le Roche Posay Effeclar Duo +. Lash it on, and watch them disappear. This cream is honestly the best method of heading them off at the pass that I’ve ever used, and I can’t recommend it enough.

New Product

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I’ve mentioned Huda Beauty before, but in case you missed that, here’s the lowdown. Huda is an internet makeup QUEEN and some have called her the Kim Kardashian of the Middle East. She started as a blogger, but her own range of cosmetics has taken her to the next level, with her products appearing in every second makeup tutorial. Last week, her products launched in Brown Thomas’ Beauty Lounge on Clarendon Street in Dublin, and are also available from the store’s website. Try the liquid lipsticks and highlighter palettes.

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