I can think of three good reasons why someone might want to hide a tattoo.
It could be because they have a job interview or a demanding boss.
Or they have a family member that’s prejudiced against body art.
Otherwise, there’s a problem with the tattoo itself.
In any case, that person needs the best waterproof concealer for tattoos.
I’m not talking about greasy stage makeup that rubs off on clothes. And I don’t mean regular foundation or concealer.
I’m describing waterproof tattoo cover-up, also known as tattoo camo. You’ll get more information about it in the reviews below.
How to conceal tattoos with makeup
The key to hiding a tattoo with makeup is patience.
It’s going to take you at least 5 minutes for small tattoos.
In most cases, you’ll need to build layers of concealer, then set it with powder. You may also require makeup setting spray if your skin is oily (1).
Slapdash application is not going to cut it.
But there’s a shortcut. If you’re willing to pay a little more, you can go to a salon for airbrush makeup. It lasts up to three days and only comes off with alcohol or special cleanser. It’s fantastic if you have a large area to cover.
On the other hand, it might not be convenient to visit a salon every time you need to conceal the tattoo.
Therefore, here’s how you can temporarily “remove” a tattoo.
Start with makeup concealer that’s two or three shades lighter than your skin. You might also try color-correcting makeup if the tattoo is incredibly vibrant. For example, green makeup will help cancel out red.
Although you can use your fingers to apply the makeup, it turns out more natural-looking if you use a sponge or brush.
Dab it on in thin layers, and don’t panic if it doesn’t seem to cover well at first. Let it dry for a few minutes, then add more.
(When I say dab, I mean precisely that. Don’t rub it in unless you want the makeup to disappear instead of the tattoo).
Once you’re satisfied with the results, apply a thick layer of setting powder, and wait at least two more minutes. Then, use a brush to knock off the excess powder.
The setting powder keeps the concealer from smudging or rubbing off on your clothes. It makes it lasts longer, even if you sweat or get oily.
If you have naturally oily skin, you can apply a setting spray to seal the makeup further. Again, let everything dry before you touch it or get dressed.
Later, when it’s time to wash off the concealer, try using makeup remover as you won’t have to scrub as much.
Best Waterproof Concealers for Tattoos
There are many kinds of tattoo cover-up. I’ve selected the best ones below.
Mehron Makeup Tattoo Cover
Mehron is an American brand that’s been in business for almost a century. It’s unlikely that you’ve heard of them unless you’ve used stage makeup before.
They’ve developed Tattoo Cover as a versatile solution for body art, birthmarks, and bruises.
It’s highly pigmented with a creamy texture that you pat on with a sponge. Yet, it’s tough enough that you’ll need makeup remover to take it off.
Besides the basic makeup, you can get a 5-color palette for color correction, too.
Keromask Full Coverage Concealer
Keromask isn’t a new brand, either. It started in London after World War II. The founders developed makeup for British fighter pilots who had been badly burned.
It’s a product that’s been dermatology-tested and safe for sensitive skin. You can use it to hide everything from tattoos to vitiligo, rosacea, and acne scars.
It contains a lot of pigment, so a small amount covers marks well. They recommend stippling it on with a makeup sponge, then feathering it to blend.
After it’s set with finishing powder, it’s waterproof. You can even apply sunscreen over the top.
Happily, the colors work for light, medium, and dark skin.
Dermablend Quick-Fix Body Makeup
The best drugstore makeup to cover tattoos isn’t cheap, but it’s definitely worth it.
Dermablend’s body makeup is available in a wide variety of shades for every skin tone.
Once it’s set with powder, it’s transfer-resistant for 16 hours. Notice that I said “transfer-resistant”, not waterproof. It can handle a little sweat, but not a rainstorm.
On the bright side, it comes in a stick format, making it extremely easy to apply and transport. All you need are your fingers to blend it. Also, it has sunscreen, which protects your tattoos from fading.
What’s also nice is that it’s fragrance-free and designed for sensitive skin. It doesn’t clog pores and shouldn’t trigger allergic reactions.
Dermablend Leg and Body Makeup, with SPF 25
It’s fun to watch Dermablend’s brief video on using their makeup to cover a tattoo. It makes it seem like magic.
But it’s not an exaggeration. This stuff comes in a dozen true-to-life colors for pretty much everyone on the planet. It hides everything from tats to varicose veins and more.
Moreover, it’s safe for sensitive skin and straightforward to apply.
To get the best results possible, put it on clean, dry skin that hasn’t been moisturized.
Use a sponge, brush, or your fingers to put on a thin layer. Once it dries, dust it with powder and wait at least three minutes before you knock off the excess.
Dermablend Loose Setting Powder
In for a penny, in for pound… If you’re going to purchase Dermablend’s makeup, you need this powder.
It’s because the setting powder ensures that the makeup lasts up to 16 hours. It soaks up oil and prevents smudging.
Don’t worry, the powder is translucent and won’t whiten the skin.
Dermacol Make-up Cover
In head-to-head competition with Dermablend is Dermacol. It’s a European brand used by makeup artists in Hollywood.
Even though the makeup tube is small, just a dab of the concealer goes a long way.
What’s more, this is a waterproof tattoo concealer. It’s not merely smudge-resistant. The formula is 50% pigment, giving it impressive coverage.
But to get the results you want, you have to take the time to apply it the right way.
First, choose the shade that most matches your skin color. Tap it into place with a sponge or a finger. (Don’t rub). If you’re having trouble blending, dampen the sponge.
Once it sets, it looks dewy, not dry or cakey.
Estee Lauder Double Wear Waterproof Extreme Wear Concealer
Estee Lauder wants to keep you covered up for 24 hours.
This is a creamy concealer that enhances the appearance of the skin with a velvet finish.
It stands up to sweat and high humidity, and it won’t rub off on clothes, either.
Since it’s oil-free, it’s safe to use on your face even if you have acne-prone skin.
ISDINCEUTICS Skin Drops
If you prefer liquid makeup that feels lightweight and looks as natural as possible, consider this one. It’s so potent that you can mix a single drop with your moisturizer and get the equivalent of a BB cream.
It hides tattoos, scars, and other forms of discoloration anywhere on the body. Once it sets, it keeps a matte finish for up to 12 hours.
The non-comedogenic formula moisturizes the skin with plant extracts.
Smart Cover Concealer Cream
Smart Cover isn’t just for tattoos. You can use it to hide dark circles and acne.
Apply it after moisturizer or sunscreen. Build layers to cover dark marks. (It’s available in stick, not just cream.)
The only con is that it comes in just three shades. You may have to mix them to get the perfect color.
It stands up to smudging and moisture throughout the day.
SCOBUTY Tattoo Concealer
Now, let’s look at other waterproof concealers explicitly made to cover up tattoos.
I checked each of them on Fakespot because I’d never heard of some of these brands before.
This one purports to hide scars and other issues as well. On the downside, it comes in only two shades, which you can blend together to get a better match. Those with dark skin will be out of luck.
You can use it anywhere on your face or body as it’s sweat-proof and not greasy. They suggest setting it with powder to help it last longer.
Tatjacket Tattoo Cover Up Liquid Concealer
American-made Tatjacket is available in several shades. If you’re not sure which one suits your skin color, get one of their blender packs.
The concealer is designed to be a 1-step process. In other words, one layer and you’re done–no setting powder needed.
Although users say that it works better than makeup, it tends to rub off on clothes. Although it’s described as waterproof, “water-resistant“ might be a better description. Still, you’ll need makeup remover to get it off.
Glossiva Tattoo Concealer
I started to wonder if some of these products are the same formula in different packaging.
But this concealer stands out as it adapts to skin color. You’ll still need to mix the light and dark pastes to match your tone.
It’s said to be waterproof, long-lasting, and gentle to the skin. It also blocks UV rays.
Bairly Sheer High Intensity Body Blemish & Tattoo Cover
At the beginning of the article, I mentioned airbrush makeup for covering tattoos. But a decent setup is expensive as you have to purchase the sprayer and the makeup. Then, you have to learn to use it correctly.
Cut to the chase by using spray paint from a can. No, not the graffiti kind. This is full-coverage makeup.
Unlike some similar aerosol products, it’s free of alcohol, oil, parabens, and odor. It’s also been tested by dermatologists and ophthalmologists for sensitive skin and eyes. You can use it anywhere on your face or body.
It’ll feel like it’s barely there on the skin, but it lasts up to 18 hours. It shouldn’t rub off on clothes, either.
If needed, you can build the coverage just like a traditional foundation. But fortunately, it won’t look cakey.
Catrice | Liquid Camouflage High Coverage Concealer
For those on a budget, I recommend Catrice’s Liquid Camouflage. It’s a cheap concealer with a sponge applicator in the tube.
But it does a lot of things right.
For one, it comes in light, medium, and deep shades for almost every skin tone. Each one is oil-free and contains no parabens.
Next, it’s highly-pigmented and buildable.
And third, it’s waterproof and long-wearing.
Rimmel Stay Matte Primer and Stay Matte Setting Spray
If you have oily skin or need extra durability, consider setting the tattoo concealer with a spray like this one.
It reduces shine and keeps makeup in place longer than powder can.
It doubles as a makeup primer, too.
Alternative ways to conceal tattoos
You don’t have to use makeup as there are other options available.
In a pinch, a bandage might do the trick. But over the long run, someone’s going to wonder why that part of your body is always injured.
Instead, try elastic sleeves for arms and legs. They make it look like you have on an extra layer of clothes, but they are dead easy to put on and pull off.
UV Sun Protection Arm Sleeves
You won’t be limited to flesh tone with this brand of tattoo cover-up sleeves. They come in everything from white and black to hot pink.
They are seamless to prevent itchiness and abrasion.
Furthermore, they offer UPF 50 protection against the sun.
Throw them in the machine to wash them, then let them air dry.
Tattoo removal is painful, but tattoo concealment is easy.
In only a few minutes, you can make the ink disappear temporarily.
There is a wide variety of tattoo cover creams, liquids, and sprays available. They can help you get through the day with your ink still a secret.
Come back and drop us a line to tell us about your experience concealing tattoos. We’d love to hear how waterproof concealer worked for you.
1. https://www.wikihow.com/Cover-a-Tattoo-with-Makeup co-authored by Grant Lubbock, updated September 9, 2020, accessed September 10, 2020