How to Easily Cover Tattoos With Low-Cost Cosmetics: An Illustrated Tutorial

Updated on March 13, 2020
Cynthia Hoover profile image

Cynthia is a gardening enthusiast. She has a green thumb and always plants a variety of items for harvesting during gardening season.

Covering Your Tattoo Using Makeup

Covering tattoos does not have to be expensive or labor-intensive at all. It is possible to easily cover tattoos in little time and without much effort. I have several visible tattoos, and while not offensive at all, they have cost me promotions in the past. Those of us with tattoos should understand even the sweetest looking tattoo may get in the way of our career. There may be many other reasons that you would have to cover your tattoos. Whatever the reasons, I will show you how to easily cover them. It only takes about 5 minutes to successfully cover a tattoo. Using low-budget cosmetics, it will cost around $15.00 or less to get the job done.

While tattoos are much less taboo today than they were 20 or 30 years ago, they can still be frowned upon by many. If you are a job seeker then you likely know exactly what I am talking about. For those who have maybe been stuck in the same position for a long time, despite glowing evaluations, your visible tattoos could be limiting your chance for a promotion. So considering covering any visible tattoos while you are in the workplace may help an employer to take you seriously as a 'professional' candidate for a promotion.

Quick Instructions

  1. Wash the tattoo and allow to dry completely. You may optionally choose to use a lotion before you start as well.
  2. Apply primer to the tattoo you wish to cover. Make sure to go past the outline of your tattoo a little.
  3. Apply foundation to the tattoo, and outside the outline area of the tattoo as well.
  4. Allow the foundation to dry and then apply concealer. Make sure to cover the tattoo evenly, and go outside the outline area of your tattoo to ensure it is completely covered.

Supplies Needed

  • Primer
  • Foundation
  • Concealer

primer, foundation, and concealer
primer, foundation, and concealer

Step #2

Wash your tattoo and allow to fully dry before you move onto the next step.

flower tattoo on someone's hand
flower tattoo on someone's hand

Step #3

Once the tattoo is dry, apply a face primer to the tattoo and the area just around it, as well.

apply face primer to the tattoo
apply face primer to the tattoo

Step #4

Once you have applied your primer you can move on to foundation. Apply the foundation on the tattoo and around the outside of it as well. This will ensure you are covering the entire tattoo, and none will be showing around the edge when you are done.

Apply foundation to the tattoo.
Apply foundation to the tattoo.

Step #5

After applying the foundation, you should see that your tattoo is much lighter in appearance. Now you will begin putting concealer over the area to completely cover your tattoo.

Your tattoo should be much lighter after applying foundation.
Your tattoo should be much lighter after applying foundation.

Step #6

Once you have finished applying concealer, your tattoo should be completely covered.

I covered my tattoo using primer, foundation, and concealer.
I covered my tattoo using primer, foundation, and concealer.

Do you have tattoos?

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Choosing Cosmetics for Covering a Tattoo

If you find the need to cover a visible tattoo arises, there is no need to buy expensive cosmetics. Many of the products geared toward tattoo cover-up are around $35, for a single product. My entire routine did not even cost near that amount. I used e.l.f products, they are budget-friendly and professional-grade cosmetics.

Here are the products I used and their cost:

  • e.l.f Mineral Infused Face Primer: $6.00
  • e.l.f Flawless Finish Foundation in Porcelain: $6.00
  • e.l.f Maximum Coverage Concealer: $3.00

For more than half the cost of high-end cosmetics, I managed to cover my tattoos just as easily. When I ordered these items, I also ordered others and used a coupon code I had found. So my total cost for the $80.00 worth of cosmetics I purchased ended up being a total of $15.00 with free shipping. Even if I need to stock up again, and do not have a coupon code, I can still purchase e.lf. products without taking much out of my budget.

The face primer also comes in several shades; I have the clear kind. Depending on the colors of the tattoo you want to cover, you may find lavender or green primer will help you cover the tattoo. The e.l.f concealer packs a big band for that $3.00 cost. A little goes a long way and it is a larger size container than a lot of other concealers you will find on the market today. Unfortunately, the best price for the concealer is on the e.l.f website. Other online marketplaces are selling the concealer for a huge markup right now. While other products are much cheaper through online retailers than on e.l.f's official website. So being a savvy shopper is a good idea when purchasing cosmetics.

There may be many reasons that will cause you to want to cover a tattoo. So many things influence the reasons we choose to get a tattoo. Though I can admit I never considered covering them when I first decided on mine. A few reasons to cover a tattoo may include:

  • Attending a wedding
  • To pursue a job or promotion
  • Family portraits
  • To avoid offending your Grandmother
  • To market yourself as a more professional individual

Having spent a large portion of my life in upper-level business management, I know first hand that a tattoo does not mean someone is unprofessional. Though, sadly, society does not always accept tattoos as okay in the workplace. Our families are not always accepting of tattoos either. If you do not want your Grandmother to see your tattoo then covering it may keep dinner conversation from turning into a nightmare.

Have you ever needed to cover a tattoo?

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e.l.f. Mineral Infused Face Primer, Use as a Base for Your Makeup, Refines Your Complexion, 0.47 Fluid Ounces
e.l.f. Mineral Infused Face Primer, Use as a Base for Your Makeup, Refines Your Complexion, 0.47 Fluid Ounces
This is the face primer I use to not only cover my tattoos but also in my daily cosmetics routine. It is not greasy and does not cause my skin to break out. I also find that it has a much more pleasing scent than other primers. It moisturizes my skin and fills in the little cracks and wrinkles, allowing me to get a much nicer finish to my cosmetics routine and overall look.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

  • Do you have suggestions for waterproof coverage of tattoos?

    If you need waterproof coverage for swimming, then there are several products on the market you can consider:

    • Double Wear Waterproof All Day Extreme Wear Concealer Estée Lauder

    • Kat Von D. Lock-It Foundation

    • Smashbox Studio Skin Full Coverage 24 Hour Foundation

    • Mac Pro Longer Waterproof Foundation

    • Cezanne Waterproof Liquid Foundation

    All of those are a good starting point to see what would fit your specific needs. Some are a bit pricier than others.

© 2016 Cynthia Hoover


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    • Cynthia Hoover profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Hoover 

      3 years ago from Newton, West Virginia

      Thanks Jodah! It's sad that job opportunities can be lost for even the smallest tattoo! I have 5 tattoos but 3 are visible and do require covering from time to time (even though they are not in anyway offensive).

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      this was a very helpful hub, Cynthia. I only have one tattoo currently and it is on my shoulder so it is easy to cover most of the time if need be. Two of my sons, however, have missed out on jobs because of tattoos they couldn't cover. Your advice would be helpful for them in the future.


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