How to Hide Embarrassing Sunburn

Covering Sunburn (Image Credit: Nieto Angel)

Covering Sunburn (Image Credit: Nieto Angel)

You just committed the biggest summer blunder…. you got burned.  You overestimated your ability to “tan” so, instead of being sunkissed, you look sun-made-out with.

Now what? Unfortunately we don’t have a magic cream or formula to make sunburn go away, so were going to have to go old school on this one. Thankfully for you there are some quick makeup fixes that can be a total life-saver when it comes to treating and covering sunburn.

First and foremost, moisturize. This will help calm your skin as well as keep it from peeling. No one wants to have their skin shedding onto their clothes.  Make sure if your face is burnt to get a moisturizer specifically for your face. When your face peels and cracks it makes it a bajillion times harder to cover, and makeup tends to just make it worse, so take care of it in the beginning. Slather moisturizer on all over and often. You can’t go wrong with this.

The key to covering a sunburn, as opposite as it sounds, is minimal makeup.  Your skin is very vulnerable now that you have burnt it to a crisp, so you will want to prevent further damage and irritation. But a little makeup can go a long way. I hate to burst your bubble, and I will use this as a disclaimer: there really is no way to do this without a little pain; I’m human not a genie.

You’ll want to start with a liquid foundation after your skin is clean and prepped. Try to make sure you won’t have to do much blending when you apply your makeup. Using a flat brush or a makeup sponge will help ease the pain of application. But go easy with the amount; you don’t want to look like a pancake face and a lot will only irritate your skin further. Stick to just a little dab on your Rudolf-red nose, cheeks, forehead and chin and lightly blend.  You can stick to your normal foundation color; you won’t need to go lighter or darker in this case.

Powder foundation will work very well on top of the liquid foundation, or even alone if that is what you prefer. Powders won’t irritate your skin and they brush on lightly. They continue to mask the redness of your skin by creating a natural coverage.

Bronzer will be your best friend when you’ve got a bad sunburn. You want one that isn’t too drastically different from your normal skin tone, but one that stays away from any color or undertones. Bronzer on your arms and chest will also help mask some unsightly burns.

I never leave the house without a little blush on, so if you are like me resist the urge to apply blush at all costs; this time it just isn’t going to work. This should be a no-brainer – you do not need anything else to make your skin look redder, unless that is if you have the dreaded sunglasses burn. When you look like a raccoon even after foundation, applying powder and bronzer and taking a little blush around your eyes to even out your color isn’t a bad idea. It may seem like a really weird concept, but it will work to disguise the difference.

And don’t forget the lip-gloss! One that is golden tinted and more pale-colored will help distract from your sunburn and keep the contrast in color down. Make sure you don’t wear any red or vibrant colored lip-gloss or stick. This will make you look more like you have some weird jungle disease than act as a distraction.

Clothing wise, you might want to reconsider that skin-tight dress or pants option and go for a beachy, flowy look instead! Avoid all pinks, reds, and oranges.  Black, olive greens, brown and low-key prints are all good options.  Light pastels, minus pink, are also a good option.

Since you have completely embarrassed yourself, let us now learn a valuable lesson….USE SUNSCREEN RELIGIOUSLY. You can’t complain that they are too oily and slimy or cause acne because there are so many new and improved sunscreens on the market. L’Oreal, Neutrogena and Aveeno make protective sunscreens that are light and barely noticeable on your skin.

There are also moisturizers now that have SPF in them that can be your backup when you forget. Using moisturizer with SPF on a daily basis will not only keep your skin from looking like a leather bag in 15 years, but has been proven to help avoid precancerous conditions and help the body fight off the damage you have most likely already racked up.

Sunburn doesn’t have to ruin your vacation or your evening out. While there are no instant fixes or remedies, just take care of your skin and learn to love that cold shower.



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