How to Cover a Tattoo

How to Cover a Tattoo

There are plenty of reasons to cover up your tattoo—they aren’t always seen as professional, and they could draw unwanted attention during events such as business meetings, weddings, interviews, and so on and so forth. However, they’re something to be proud of, and they’re a huge hassle to remove! Rather than getting them removed, what do you do in these situations? The answer is simple: cover them!

Temporary Covering

There are several different ways to get a tattoo covered. I’ll just be touching on a temporary solution—using makeup! By using makeup, you can choose whether or not to let your tattoo shine. It’s almost imperceptible to others, so they could go years without noticing you have a tattoo, if you apply the makeup just right. What’s more, it’s easy to get waterproof makeup, so you can even prepare for swimming trips. Whenever you’re ready to uncover it, all you need is a cloth with a small amount of rubbing alcohol—this will wipe any makeup right off!

Now, there is a trick to the makeup application. You can’t just apply any makeup and have it work. While there are several makeups used specifically for covering tattoos, these may not be available to you at the time you need to cover it. Stage makeup is more widely available, but still difficult to find unless you go to a specialty store. However, there’s no need to worry—our methods use makeups you’re likely to find at your regular store and for a low price.

4 Steps to Cover your Tattoo

The first ingredient you’ll need is red lipstick. It has to be red, or it won’t conceal the tattoo as well. The second and third ingredients are a concealer slightly lighter than your skin tone, and then a concealer that matches your skin tone. You’ll also want a brush to blend these in. Optionally, you can choose to purchase some translucent powder to help prevent the makeup from smearing. If you plan on swimming, make sure everything is waterproof!

How to cover a tattoo - red lipstickFor the first step, cover up your tattoo with the red lipstick. The red is important because it contrasts with the darker color of your tattoo, making it appear as more of a neutral color once you are finished applying the concealer. If you don’t use the lipstick, the application will appear to be a lot more murky and obvious. The red lipstick brings out a natural skin tone better than just concealer. Plus, it helps the makeup stick to your skin, even during outside activity.


For the second step of how to cover a tattoo, cover the lipstick application with your lighter concealer. Blend it in with your brush using circular motions until you can barely tell there’s a tattoo underneath. The lighter makeup prevents the glossy lipstick from showing through, while still utilizing the red color.

For the final step of covering your tattoo, go ahead and apply the concealer that matches the color of your skin. Blend it in until you can’t see the edges—and voila! You should have a concealed tattoo. The moisture of the red lipstick prevents it from looking chalky, the red of the lipstick prevents it from looking too bright, and the triple layer technique should mask your tattoo perfectly. Obviously, this works better for smaller tattoos, but in a pinch you can hide a larger tattoo this way.

As an extra step for how to cover a tattoo, you can choose to apply translucent powder. This helps blend the colors into your skin even more, plus it prevents smearing. It’s an absolute must if you’re trying to hide a larger tattoo, since you don’t want the makeup rubbing off whenever your arm or leg touches something. Using waterproof makeup prevents sweat and rain from ruining the application as well. However, some so-called waterproof makeups are really just water-resistant. If you plan on going swimming and still need to hide your tattoo, be sure to test your makeup beforehand in the shower.

Didn’t Work for You?

Now, this isn’t entirely foolproof. You might have a tattoo that isn’t purely black—it might even be lighter than your skin, if it’s a white-ink tattoo. If your tattoo is lighter than your skin, go ahead and get a darker concealer for the second step. The last concealer should still match the color of your skin. If your tattoo is an odd color, and you don’t think the red lipstick is working for you, there are other colors that can work.

It all comes down to color theory: if your tattoo is cool-colored, you want red lipstick. If your tattoo is warm-colored, you want purple or brown lipstick instead. The warm colors are red, orange, yellow, and brown. The cool colors are blue, purple, and green. Although green and purple are technically considered cool, if they are closer to yellow or red respectively, they might count as warm colors. If you have a mix of colors in your tattoo, go for the neutral brown instead. Of course, you should only experiment with different colors if the red lipstick just isn’t working for you.

Does it really Work?

Yes, it does! Have a look at the below video from L’Oreal on Youtube which shows a complete cover up of  the male model Zombie Boy. Who, for the ones who don’t know him, had is body completely tattooed.


Practice Ahead of Time!

How much you need to apply varies depending on the size and vibrancy of the tattoo. If you want to feel confident about your disguise, be sure to practice application ahead of time. The final result should look just like your normal skin, minus any hair or freckles you have. Of course, whether you need to apply it at all is something you should consider. While there might be dress codes for your work or business, you shouldn’t have to hide it at personal events. If you are invited to an event and told you must hide your tattoo, you should think twice about attending. After all, your tattoo is a part of yourself. If you have to hide your major feature in order to attend something, why bother going at all? Ultimately, knowing how to cover a tattoo will boost your confidence if you ever need to hide it. You know how to do it properly now. Knowing whether it’s necessary to hide it at all is another thing—and one that only you know the answer to!

Thank you!



1 thought on “How to Cover a Tattoo”

  1. I never realized that using lipstick could help you to cover a tattoo. I’m dressing up as an angel for a costume party tomorrow, so I can’t have my tattoo showing. I’ll have to try that when I cover the tattoo on my arm. Thanks for sharing!


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