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The 8-step guide to clear skin

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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