Beautifully Unblemished

Acne, be gone! One brave makeup artist bares all to teach us firsthand how to get a flawless face and cover up those blemishes.

Skin before and after acne tutorial

Think you're alone in the quest for clear skin? Think again my friend! According to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne is the most common skin condition in the United States. While you definitely can't get rid of your pesky little pimple problem overnight, with the proper tools, products and understanding of your skin, you can learn how to fake a flawless face in just eight steps. Nivál Salon and Spa's amazing resident makeup artist, Kelley Unthank, shows us how.

Clear skin step 1



It's important to start this process with a clean, moisturized and prepped face, says Kelley.

"Here, I'm using Per-fékt's Skin Perfection Gel (, $58)."

She advises, "Apply with a brush or simply use your hands, just as you would your daily moisturizer. This helps to give your skin a softer, smoother appearance, allowing the makeup to blend in brilliantly."

Clear skin step 2



With a small blending brush, apply your concealer directly to the blemish.

"I like to use a green concealer for any predominantly red spots," notes Kelley.

"Although it looks silly now," she adds, "this will completely cancel out the redness, which wouldn't happen if I was using a skin-toned (yellow) concealer."

Clear skin step 3



Once you've corrected your blemishes and blended out nicely, you're ready to apply your foundation.

"Think of it as a wall," says Kelley. "You have to spackle over any imperfections before you put on the paint!"

Clear skin step 4


Contour and highlighting

Now that you have an almost flawless and even canvas, the dimensions and shades of your features need to be replaced or, rather, re-created, points out Kelley.

"These rules differ for everyone depending on your face shape, but basically, the places to highlight include the highest point of your cheek, the center of your forehead between your brows, the bridge of your nose and the cupid's bow of your lip."

As for contouring, focus on the bottom arch of your cheek (generally starting from the tragus of your ear and heading toward the bottom of your nose), your jawline, your hairline, your temples and the sides of your nose.

Clear skin step 5



Using a larger blending brush, begin blending the lines together.

"Make sure your strokes are very soft so as to avoid moving or disrupting the makeup underneath," Kelley cautions. "To soften your touch, try to hold your brush at the far end of the handle."

Clear skin step 6



Next, with a large powder brush, apply the setting powder of your choice all over your face to set the product. For very minimal coverage or dryer skin, Kelley says a basic "blot powder" will work fine.

"For even more coverage and very oily skin, try Mac's Studio Fix Powder (, $27)," she suggests.

Clear skin step 7



Apply blush to the apples of your cheeks, up toward your tragus.

"Start slow, putting only a small amount of product on your brush," warns Kelley. "It's much easier to apply more than it is to take off too much!"

Clear skin step 8


Finishing touches

Now your skin is perfection, so the rest is a breeze. At this point, Kelley says to add a hint of color to your eyes and lips, give your lashes a few strokes of mascara and voilá! You've just finished your very own DIY celebrity transformation! Enjoy.

FUN fact!

Nearly 85 percent of all people experience acne at some point in their lives!

More beauty advice

5 Steps to brighter skin
30 Drugstore beauty buys that are worth it
Best buys: Leave-in conditioners


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Comments on "The 8-step guide to clear skin"

biwam February 02, 2014 | 7:04 PM

looks totally natural...

used vit a June 19, 2013 | 7:48 AM

all you need is vitamin a...not acutain which is poison and the docter knows it but is making money off of it..sad..just simple dry vitamin a from walmart or health store ..3 800Iu caps/softgels of it spaced out thru out the day for a few weeks and within a week no more new acne an it will also make your warts disappear instantly!! and use fresh aloe gel(NOT mederma...dosnt do !) 2x a day to make the scars dramatically lessond within a few days as well...good luck!

Ekta March 09, 2013 | 8:13 PM

I grew up with terrible acne, for those people saying to use "natural products" or just use simple products don't understand the terrors of having horrible skin. It's actually so embarrassing when you've tried everything you possibly could and still are embarrassed to show your face. Sometimes the only thing you can do is to wear makeup so you can feel normal. Please don't underestimate how bad acne can make people feel, sometimes you have to just "outgrow" it...

Louise March 09, 2013 | 10:13 AM

Holly - I totally agree! The make up is awful. Surely it's best to try and rectify the problem not just cover it up? I wash my face every morning & evening with Simple face wash and then I dab diluted Tea Tree oil all over my face (not around the sensitive eye area, that burns like hell) and leave it, or you can use a cotton bud and dab onto problem spots directly. I've found this has really helped, I actually went to work without foundation all week and felt great :) You can pick up tea tree oil from amazon for around £2. Also eating fresh fruit and veg & quitting smoking has really helped too!

Holly March 08, 2013 | 3:44 PM

I think it is fair to point out the obvious. This is not, as titled, an 8 step guide to clear skin. This woman has hideous blemishes and she covers them with up with gobs of make up. How is this helping anyone whatsoever? It's not. Chances are if you use make up to hide your skin imperfections, you already know what the hell you're doing. It's not rocket science. I am just perplexed at the awfulness of the content of this "tutorial" and the outcome, a woman with blatant, drastic, disgusting make up overkill.

Maria March 06, 2013 | 8:53 PM

[edited] Kelley- Thank you! Loves it! What do you use for contouring and highlighting?

Ashley March 06, 2013 | 6:31 PM

It's not about covering your face with paint, its about giving girls who have acne scars, burns, deep blemishes and etc. a little glimmer of hope....of feeling like a regular person even if its just for the night. I think Kelley did an amazing job and you seem like a super talented makeup artist! I would also like to note that it takes a lot for a person to be this exposed and anyone willing to do so to help the rest of us out, must be a great person! Thanks Kelley!

Holly March 06, 2013 | 5:24 PM

If I covered my face with paint you wouldn't see my blemishes either.

Jennifer March 06, 2013 | 4:40 PM

Omg! I need this Kelley person in my life.

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