How To Make Acne Totally Invisible Under Makeup With the ‘Sticky Method’

Photo: Stocksy/VICTOR TORRES
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You've got a honking red pimple that just won't go away. And what's worse, try as you might to cover up, it almost feels like it's repelling makeup—no matter how much foundation you slather on, that angry red dot wants to show itself off. Instead of caking on layer after layer, Massachusetts-based makeup artist and TikToker Mikayla Nogueira has the perfect solution. She calls it the "sticky method," and says it's why so many people don't even realize she has acne.

"I call it the sticky method because we're about to get real sticky," Nogueira says in a recent video. "We're gonna make these [pimples] look like they don't even exist."

@mikaylanogueira HOW TO PERFECTLY COVER ACNE USING THE STICKY METHOD ??? #makeup #beauty #acne #acnecoverage ♬ original sound - Mikayla Nogueira

How to camouflage pimples with the sticky method

1. Start with a sticky serum

"A serum that leaves the base feeling a little bit tacky after it's applied is going to work out," says Nogueira in the video. "I'm going to use the Glow Recipe Plum Plump Hyaluronic Serum."

The serum is infused with hyaluronic acid, which hydrates and visibly plumps the skin, and has a slightly-sticky texture (not so much that it will bother you, but enough that it will help your makeup stay put) for the first few minutes after you apply. Nogueira starts her routine by layering the product all over her face, then letting it dry to peak tackiness.

2. Follow up with primer

Next, Nogueira preps her skin with the e.l.f. Power Grip Primer ($10).

"This is a very sticky gripping primer that grips makeup to the skin," she says on TikTok. "There are tons and tons of gripping primers out there but the e.l.f. one is affordable and one of the best."

The whole point of a primer is to lock your foundation in place (which is why makeup artists tout it as the most important step for giving your makeup staying power), and at only $10 a pop, this one has long been a fan-favorite. It's got a jelly texture that gives skin a "soft focus" effect, and after you apply, your face will be primed and ready to hold onto your concealer like glue.

3. Cover blemishes with a matte concealer

Nogueira then uses a matte concealer to spot cover. Her go-to is the Nars Soft Matte Complete Concealer ($30).

"I highly recommend using a concealer brush," she says in the video. "Take a decent amount of concealer on your brush and you're going to put it right on top of the blemish and we're going to do this for the entire face where it's needed."

Before you do anything else, it's absolutely critical that you let your concealer dry. "That's why a matte concealer is going to be the best option because it's going to have a higher chance of drying down," says Nogueira. "Give it two to five minutes to dry completely. That dry downtime is super important with the sticky method. I even recommend using a fan if you have one. At no point in the process do we blend the concealer."

4. Apply your go-to medium-to-full-coverage foundation

"Now it's time to apply foundation," says Nogueira. "I highly recommend using a sponge for application, [because] that is going to make sure it does not interrupt the dried-down concealer underneath. Apply your foundation as usual—a medium to full coverage is probably best with this method."

5. Continue with the rest of your routine

Now you can carry on with the rest of your makeup as usual knowing that you have a flawless base. Most importantly, though? "Don't let acne dull your shine," says Nogueira.

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Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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