Large Pores

The Tool Kit: Makeup primer; powder foundation.

The Technique: No product can tighten pores, but makeup primers that contain silicone (like Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch) make them appear smaller by laying down a thin film on the skin. When you apply foundation, it sticks to that smooth surface, rather than settling into (and accentuating) pores. Boehmer prefers to use powder foundations (try Max Factor Powdered Foundation or Cover FX Mineral Powder Foundation) on skin with more noticeable pores, which tends to be oily. (We also like Per-fékt Skin Perfection Gel, a silky primer with oil absorbers and a slight tint that can double as a sheer foundation.) Avoid light-reflecting foundations, which can draw attention to pore size.


The Tool Kit: Thick concealer (the kind in a pot or compact) that matches your skin and has yellow undertones to counteract redness; sheer loose powder; small brush with a straight, firm tip (slightly larger than an eyeliner brush).

The Technique: Before you begin, accept your limits: You can only camouflage the redness of a pimple; try to disguise the bump itself, and you'll end up with a mound of noticeable concealer. Use a brush to dot the concealer (we like Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage) directly on top of the blemish; then dip a small puff or another brush in translucent powder and pat it over the spot to set the concealer and leave a smooth finish. (Benefit Bluff Dust, a yellow-tinged sheer powder, comes with a velour puff.)

Age Spots

The Tool Kit: Concealer (a touch lighter than your skin tone, with peach or gold tones to brighten darkness); brush; powder and/or cream foundation (that matches your skin).

The Technique: For isolated dark spots, just dot the concealer on top with a thin brush and pat with your finger to blend the edges. Then use a large brush to apply a fine layer of powder foundation over the whole face. This will help set the concealed patches and even out your complexion. (The very dry skinned should choose a liquid or cream foundation instead.) If you have more significant sun damage and need to cover larger patches, Boehmer recommends starting with a sheer liquid foundation all over the face, and then blending a heavier cream foundation over darker areas.

Cold Sores

The Tool Kit: Soothing ointment; Q-tips; concealer; sheer lip gloss.

The Technique: Before you cover the sore, dab on an ointment like Aquaphor to protect it. No topical treatment has been shown to significantly shorten the life span of a cold sore (only a prescription oral medication, like Valtrex, can do that, if you pop a pill at the first tingle), but it's important to keep it moist while it heals. Next, dab on a concealer that matches the skin around your lips. To avoid contaminating your makeup, use a Q-tip (makeup artist Mally Roncal coats it with a little Vaseline first so it glides more easily over the inflamed area)—and don't double-dip. And you know how if you don't want people staring at your butt, you wouldn't put a big bow on it? Skip the bright lipstick and go for a sheer rosy gloss (again, using a clean Q-tip). Have fun with color on your eyes instead—which can draw attention away from that sore spot.

Thin Lips

The Tool Kit:Light lip liner; lipstick; sheer gloss.

The Technique: First, how not to plump up your lips: by drawing on new ones. It's okay to trace slightly above the lip line, says makeup artist Paula Dorf, but only with a very light pencil. (She uses her own peachy pink Enhancer Baby Eyes to define the lip line, or try Cargo The Reverse Lipliner.) Stick to pale lipstick colors as well. Anything too dark makes the mouth look smaller. A dab of glimmery gloss on the center of the lips (both top and bottom) will also have a mild pout-enhancing effect. And a note on lip plumpers: Most use irritating agents like cinnamon to increase blood flow to the lips. If you can bear the "tingling" (we prefer the more accurate term: "burning"), slick them on before you apply any color. The results are temporary, though, and far from bee-stung.


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