How to cover up a tattoo?
June 21, 2012 7:15 AM   Subscribe

Tattoo cover up strategies needed.

I have a small colored tattoo (size of quarter) on my inner ankle. It has been 15 years, I hate it, and I want to remove it when I have the financial ability to do so.
I have an upcoming event where I need to cover it up for a few days in a row. A band aid won't be sufficient. It needs to be not noticeable by someone sitting next to me. I will be wearing a skirt/dress with bare legs.

My guess is stage make up. Can this be blended in well enough? Suggestions for products?

(I realize that the answer is to own up to my tattoo, that tattoos are more common nowadays, etc. Etc. - but take me at my word that in this circumstance, I need to cover it up.)
posted by anonymous to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (22 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I covered up my tattoos at my wedding with jewelry. It went fine. If there is such a thing as a tasteful anklet, that would save you a lot of smeary make-up. My wrist tattoo is a much bigger than a quarter, and I managed well. If you want to go the make-up route, some of my friends have used Dermablend in your situation.

By the way, I hear you on your parenthetical aside. I'm fine with my tattoos, but I didn't think my wedding day was the time to give my sweet grandma a heart attack.
posted by Coatlicue at 7:24 AM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

I asked my wife about this as we had for some reason recently discussed tattoo concealing, and she has heard that on the cheap end of things (walmart/drug store level) the Hard Candy Glamoflauge concealer is surprisingly effective, and on the higher-end of things (Sephora / Dep't Store), the Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer is the way to go.
posted by ndfine at 7:24 AM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

This video is an advertisement for dermablend -- -- and while I've never covered up my tattoos, I think this is the sort of product you're looking for.

Alternately would an anklet help? Gladiator style sandals might also offer you more ankle coverage while still being summer friendly.
posted by countrymod at 7:25 AM on June 21, 2012 [7 favorites]

Kat Von D's line has a concealer just for this purpose, also sold at Sephora.
posted by getawaysticks at 7:25 AM on June 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

Here is Kat Von D's product at Sephora and here is a video of the concealer in action.
posted by Flamingo at 7:30 AM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Okay, one more link for Kat Von D.
posted by Flamingo at 7:32 AM on June 21, 2012

I've used Dermablend for this but I found the color was just... off, but it might work for a smaller tatoo. I tried the Kat Von D concealer at Sephora and I felt it was too liquid-y and not highly pigmented enough to cover my friend's tattoo, so in a pinch we just went with a few layers of drugstore concealer (I think L'Oreal), letting it dry a bit between layers, then finishing it off with foundation and powder to set. I think really the technique is the more important part, so you might want to trial run this a few times.
posted by sm1tten at 7:36 AM on June 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

Quarter size? Get a small circular adhesive bandage and if anyone asks it's a mosquito bite that you couldn't leave alone.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 7:36 AM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Dermablend appears to be remarkably effective.
posted by MuffinMan at 7:40 AM on June 21, 2012

nthing Dermablend, or a really heavy concealer. If you go the Sephora route, you can try a few different types of concealers and products to see which matches your skin best.
posted by bedhead at 8:04 AM on June 21, 2012

Dermablend is magical. Just make sure you get a color that blends into your skin. This can be difficult if the person at the counter color matches you under the bright fluorescent lighting at the mall.
posted by topoisomerase at 8:11 AM on June 21, 2012

Kat Von D made a tattoo concealer!
posted by DarlingBri at 8:40 AM on June 21, 2012

Sandals with a thick ankle strap??
posted by beccaj at 8:53 AM on June 21, 2012

I've heard that the Sally Hansen spray-on leg makeup you can get at a lot of drug stores is almost as good as Dermablend - might be worth a try.
posted by mskyle at 9:01 AM on June 21, 2012

Can you just claim you sprained your ankle and have it wrapped in a wide bandage?
posted by modernnomad at 9:18 AM on June 21, 2012

Tights or pantyhose will help --- I'm sorry, I know it's hot and all, but yeah, pantyhose and closed-toe shoes.
posted by easily confused at 9:38 AM on June 21, 2012

Can you elaborate on why a bandaid or two won't cut it? I'd think that if anyone asked, you could just tell them you just had a mole removed or something.
posted by blaneyphoto at 10:05 AM on June 21, 2012

Espadrilles with a wide ribbon
posted by FatRabbit at 10:33 AM on June 21, 2012

Also, I wouldn't stress too much about getting the perfect match for your skin tone. No one's skin is perfectly even toned, many people have scars/sun spots/blotchy areas of whatever, and we're talking about your ankle, not your face -- as long as it looks "skin colored" at a glance I think you're home free.
posted by telegraph at 10:44 AM on June 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

watch this video of one of the pixiwoo girls covering up a tattoo. I think she uses mac stuff.

tattoo covering make up tutorial. It's pretty amazing.
Here is what she says about it...

Easy tattoo covering.
Please be aware that this technique will cover a black tattoo but if your tattoo is coloured you will not use an orange base. You use the opposite colour of the colour of your tattoo.
For example, If you have alot of purple in your tattoo with black key lines. You will use a yellow base over the purple and an orange or red-ish tone over the black.
Red tattoo = Green base
Black tattoo with blue undertones = Orange base
Black tattoo with green undertones = Red base
Green tattoo = Red base
Blue tattoo = Orange base
Purple = Yellow.
Yellow = Purple
Orange = Blue

posted by Tarumba at 11:52 AM on June 21, 2012

Make Up Forever's concealer is the best makeup I've found for covering tattoos and bruises. It's much, much better than Dermablend in my experience. You apply it carefully with a makeup sponge in multiple layers, then finish it with a powder to set it and blend it in with the surrounding skin. You can buy the products at Sephora and they will be happy to show you proper technique if you ask; you can also find tons of instructional videos on YouTube.

However! Even the very best concealers don't stand up to very close scrutiny--they're great for camera work and maybe even someone sitting a few feet away (unless they're looking real hard at your ankle--so don't wear any interesting jewelry or shoes that will draw attention to the area!). I'm guessing that you're going to a family event, though, and if your little cousin is playing at you feet they might notice something is strange and ask in their loud, innocent small-child voice why you have makeup on your leg.
posted by rhiannonstone at 12:19 PM on June 21, 2012

Mac Cosmetics make foundations that will cover tattoos - my cousin has a large tattoo on her neck that she can cover completely for work.
posted by jb at 4:04 AM on June 22, 2012

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