Filling in the Lines: covering up your ink with makeup!

 In the past decade alone two things are certain. Respectively tattoos and cosplay have become more common. As it stands 36% of Americans age 18-25 have at least one tattoo. Given the average age of con goers and cosplayers alike I KNOW some of you have tattoos. And as the hobby of cosplay becomes an art form as well some of you find yourself wondering, ” My character doesn’t have MY tattoos, do I cover up my ink?”

That is up to you, I say wear it loud and proud (especially if its geeky). But in case  you decide to cover it up i threw together a little how-to/review with some products that are middle of the road when it comes to budget. But hey, that ink wasn’t cheap! Treat it nicely even if you’re just covering up!

If you’re not used to wearing make-up one key factor is to make sure your skin is clean before apply, and making sure to blend, blend, blend and seal, seal, seal. This allows the makeup to really stick. If you’re gonna be running around a con you DON’T want your makeup smudging everywhere.

That being said, there are a TON of tattoo cover-up makeup options out there so lets talk options.


When you ask about make up options for covering tattoos you will likely hear one of 3 options Dermablend, Kat Von D and plain old concealer and makeup.

Dermablend is pretty well-known in the makeup world for covering up large blemishes, skin conditions and more recently Zombieboy.

While it is a great product, getting all the products you need is expensive. The three basics (concealer, foundation, setting powder) will run you at least $150 before shipping! That’s expensive for only a few weekends a year, and makeup DOES go bad.

Kat Von D, most known for her tattoo work on Miami Ink and LA Ink, has an amazing makeup line in general. You can find it at Sephora and prices range between 14-36 dollars a pop. Still a little bit pricey but well worth it in my opinion. I have south-east asian skin so tone matching is the bane of my existence and Kat Von D is one of the few lines that has my shade. Plus its at Sephora so you can test it before you buy it.

This is the best option if you have the money for it, you’ll need:

Tattoo Eraser  14$

Lock-it Tattoo concealer 25$

Lock-it pressed powder or Lock-it foundation 34$

Lock ‘N Load Make up Setting Spray $24 (optional but recommended)

This is the BEST option for tone matching and quality purposes.

But since I know you’ve already spent HUNDREDS on your cosplay you don’t exactly have more cash to drop on make up. Luckily there are budget options!

Hard Candy! Its 6 bucks a pop and you can find it at Walmart! However shades are very limited. So what I suggest is to use their Glamoflage concealer and find a foundation or powder from L’Oreal that’s closer to your skin tone.

Glamoflauge Heavy Duty Concealer 6$

Not cheap enough? I’ve got one more option.

E.L.F, the Studio line runs about $3 a pop and 6$ for the setting powder. Again being a budget line tones are still fairly limited but I recommend the following products:

Concealer Pencil and Brush 3$

Studio Concealer 3$

Studio Maximum Coverage Concealer 3$

Studio High Definition Powder 6$

Great so now you have options, so pick and choose and we’ll move on to the fun part, covering up your ink. For this I will be using a combination of products.


  • Kat Von D Tattoo Eraser
  • Kat Von D Lock-It Powder
  • Hard Candy Glamoflauge
  • E.L.F HD Powder
  • Kabuki brush
  • Concealer or Foundation brush

You’re probably wondering “why so many products? Can’t i slap on some concealer and foundation?” Well you could but your result wouldn’t look as good, especially not on camera. Think of the cheap Halloween face paint your parents used on you as a kid, streaky and gross. Plus modern tattoos have layers and depth, so should your make up.

Coloring in the lines:

Now let’s get started. Here’s the tattoo I will be covering up today. It’s on my forearm and is a decent size and a nice range of shades to show why these steps are important.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Now we’re gonna use the Kat Von D Tattoo Eraser. Start by outlining your tattoo, the outline is usually the most pigmented and darkest part of your tattoo (and the hardest to cover), so make sure to get it all!

After outlining fill in the colored areas, you can skip any light washes like the greys on my anchor. Use your fingers or a foundation brush to apply concealer.  If you don’t own any brushes E.L.F makes nice and cheap brushes ranging from 1$ to 3$. The only brush you really need is a nice fluffy blush or kabuki brush. Your Fingers are best suited for applying the concealer so you can avoid brush lines and make it look more natural.

(Note: In picture on the left i used the kat Von D Tattoo eraser on the right and the Glamoflauge pencil on the left. As you can see there is a difference, this is where its better to get the more expensive product because it contains more pigment.)


Now for the FIRST layer of concealer, thats right FIRST Layer. You’ll see why.

Put a little bit directly to your skin or on to a sponge if you prefer. Start from the center and in a patting motion distribute it outwards, past the tattoo. Keep patting till it dries, you can lightly dab with a tissue to speed the drying up. Once dry i pat on my foundation powder and blend it out with a kabuki brush.


Alright first layer done, we’re finished right? NOPE, unless you have a teeny tiny tattoo with minimal pigmenting you’re not done. The two shots below are with one layer. Photo on the left is natural lighting and photo on the right is with flash. You can still faintly see my tattoo.

This is with 2 layers. Again natural lighting on the left, flash on the right.

Three layers later…. 

I think we finally got it! After my third layer was dry and powdered i dusted my entire arm with the E.L.F HD powder to set it. The HD powder is a reflective powder that acts as a light diffuser which is especially good in pictures. And you want to look good in pictures right?

So here are some “indoor” shots in my bathroom with overhead fluorescent lighting.

In my super Hawaiian living room with natural lighting:

Aaaaannnd… with flash:

Not too bad right? Total application time was maybe 30 to 45 minutes. If i was wearing it out to a con, especially in warmer climates or outdoors i would use a setting spray (E.L.F makes one too!) and a spray on sunscreen. I always carry my HD powder in my con kit so it’s always good to touch up in between panels and what not.  Most of this make-up i already keep on hand (like the Lock-it Powder is my daily face powder.) So if you have a powder or foundation that matches your tone or that you like better use that! If you were to buy all the material outright you’d probably spend around 60$ which is right down the middle for quality makeup.  And as always the cardinal rule in ANY makeup application is BLEND, BLEND, BLEND. While i hope that you wear your ink proud i know that’s not always the case. I hope my little demo helps you out, let me know if you have any questions or suggestions! I do have some background in makeup and cosmetology so i could send a little advice your way!



All the makeup products used on 2 Shots of Geek are purchased by me for personal/review purpose unless mentioned otherwise.


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