There are very few guarantees in life. And one of them is that you are going to get bruises. On your elbows, on your legs, on your knees, and anywhere else. The trouble is that sometimes you get them at times, you really don’t want to look like a four-year-old who is constantly ambling into things. On your wedding day! Or on a big presentation day at work or school.

So how do you go about covering them? And more specifically, how do you do that if you’ve got really sensitive skin?

Well, I was asked that recently, so I decided to share with you my ideas and product recommendations that may help you with how to cover a bruise with makeup – especially if you have sensitive skin.


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Shopping List

To make this a little simpler, I’ve broken our shopping list down into sections. Skin Prep, Makeup to Cover Bruises, Setting Powders, Setting Sprays, Removers, and After Care. So you can find exactly what you’re looking for with ease.

Skin Prep

clear bottle with red lid


Witch Hazel

An alcohol-free, low-tannin-containing witch hazel is an easy way to prep the area you want to cover so it is free of lotions, dirt or anything else that will prevent the makeup from sitting nicely on your skin and achieving a realistic covering effect as you planned.
Using a witch hazel that is free of alcohol will ensure that you don’t dry out your skin too much prior to applying your bruise-cover makeup. It will also help to close your pores and prevent a sweat breakout or moisture from disrupting your makeup.

brown plastic bottles


Skin Saver

If you haven’t used Skin Saver Barrier Lotion, thank me later, as I might just have introduced you to your sensitive skin’s new best friend!

Skin Saver is the perfect product to prep your skin with if you have reactive skin, or need to use a barrier underneath makeup that not only protects your skin, but soothes and nourishes it at the same time.

So, by applying a layer of Skin Saver to the area you want to cover with makeup, letting it dry for 3 minutes (that’s the key!) and then applying your makeup, you can be assured your skin stays protected, your makeup will remove so easily. Your skin won’t get angry at you.

You can even apply more than one layer if you need to. Just be sure to dry it thoroughly in between coats.
This product is a game changer, so do check it out if you need help finding a barrier to protect your sensitive skin.

Skin Saver was created by film and tv makeup artist Jennifer Aspinall after she found the need for protecting performer’s skin from heavy prosthetics and strong adhesives each day.

It contains aloe leaf oil, jojoba oil, and castor seed oil to help nourish your skin while protecting you.

white cannisters with green labels



I have been using Dermashield since my very first professional job almost 30 years ago. We used to call it “liquid gloves.” Maybe it’s still called that; I don’t know. It’s been around that long!
Dermashield provides a thin, breathable barrier onto your skin that stays with repeated washing.
So by dispensing a small amount of this, and applying it to your bruised area, letting it dry, and then applying your bruise cover makeup. This way you can be sure that your skin is well protected and your makeup will stay on while you need it and remove with ease when it’s time as well.

Once again, the secret is to allow it time to dry on your skin. No rushing the benefits of Dermashield. You can read more here about just how effective and safe Dermashield is.

Makeup To Cover Bruises For Your Sensitive Skin

makeup palette with 16 skin tone shades


Dermacolor Mini Camouflage Palette

This is not the first time I have sung the praises of the Dermacolor Mini Camouflage Palette. These are staples in pro makeup artist’s kits worldwide for good reason.

This is a cream-based makeup that is highly-pigmented, and while it may feel a little on the dry side to use, for the purposes of being durable, using on your body (and not necessarily on your face) this is a great, user-friendly option for covering bruises.
You will need a spatula or try these great spatula and palette sets so you can easily decant the shades you need, and mix and match as you please.
I still use my Dermacolor palettes for quick tattoo or bruise cover-ups on set, because it lasts, is highly durable and provide excellent coverage, too. You will get more life out of your cover if you powder and set the cream, as is the case with almost all cream makeups anyway.

Black Makeup Palette with 12 skin tone shades


EBA Evo Skin Palettes

I absolutely love this Evo Cream Palette from European Body Arts. And while it works a treat to cover tattoos, blemishes , bruises, you name it, on the skin. I do wish there was a deep skin tone palette, and a fair skin tone palette in the Skin line.

This is a very middle-of-the-road range of shades. So if you’re super fair, or super deep, you may have to look elsewhere.
But, if your skin tone is within the shades you see above, then this is definitely worth checking out for your bruise-covering needs.
The Evoo creams are very soft, and easy to use, easy to blend and mix to match your own shades.
These palettes also look really sleek, are slim and easy to store, and, dare I say – almost pass as a MAC palette (some of my faves for the slick black packaging alone!)

But appearances aside, this is a solid and reliable palette to cover your bruises with ease. And do powder and set afterward to ensure your makeup lasts all day. I just wish it was available in a broader range of shades.

cream makeup palette


Maq Pro Fard Cream Palettes

This is one of the best concealer types and one of my all-time favorite palettes. The teeny, tiny Maq Pro Fard Cream Palette AB03. Much like the Dermacolor camouflage cream makeup I mentioned above, this full coverage concealer is highly pigmented, very durable, and may be way too dry for some. But for covering unwelcomed bruises, these can be the perfect product.
You will want to give the cream a light power once you’ve finished, to help set the makeup and keep it in place.
I also love how compact these palettes are. AND how much product you get in such a small product. They really do seem to last a lifetime, and provide the perfect shades to use as a color corrector or for tackling shade variation within the one spot.
Take a look at the other palettes in this range for a massive variety of shades and tones, as well as corrective colors for all purposes.


Dermablend Leg And Body Makeup

Now, you know I love a good palette (or 31!) but I wanted to show you that you do have options for different types of makeup as well.
The Dermablend Leg and Body Makeup is a fantastic, high-coverage, liquid foundation texture that is basically made for the very reason you need! Putting makeup on your arms and legs, right?
Leg and Body Makeup is vegan, allergy tested, sensitive skin tested, fragrance-ree, pthalate-free, you name it.
Take a look at the advice given on their site, and do give it time to dry after applying. And be sure to use a powder to set as well as a good setting spray for the best results of durability and to prevent transfer.


MAC Pro Airbrush Makeup

Now, this might come as some surprise, but the MAC Pro Airbrush Makeup is fast becoming one of my go-to’s for so many things within the makeup realm. And its staying power is just one of the reasons you might like to consider this makeup. And if you don’t airbrush? No probs. You can use this straight onto your makeup palette or wax paper palette and with your favorite foundation brush.
Now, with all flawless finishes, you may have to work in layers to create a good coverage, so it might take a bit of time between layers. To dry the makeup before coming in with your next layer, but believe me, this stuff goes nowhere!
You have to work quickly, but once you get it, you will get it. I love the Pro Airbrush makeup line that MAC has given us. I use it a lot on men, on arms and hands when I need to match shade variations and will keep doing so as long as they keep making it! (And I have one of my very favorite makeup artists to thank for the method!)
Remember to set with powder and setting spray for best results.

Setting Powders


Dermablend Loose Setting Powder

Okay, so I know I’ve been repeating myself about using a setting powder. And here’s my first pick for setting your sensitive skin. Dermablend Loose Setting Powder will set your body and bruise cover makeup for 16hrs.
I recommend using a powder puff to press in the powder in a rolling fashion. I think the kids are calling this baking now! (yep, I’m not young anymore!!) but whatever you want to call it, the outcome is still the same. Available in 4 shades – Original, Banana, Cool Beige, and Saffron, for the purposes of powdering, there is plenty of wiggle room with your shade choice.


Bare Minerals Veil Setting Powder

If your skin is super sensitive, even when it comes to setting powders, it might be worth giving a mineral powder a try.
The Bare Minerals Veil Setting Powder will give you all the uses of your traditional setting powder, but without the talc, flashback or any other nasties that may give your skin cause for reaction.
Available in 4 shades, the Bare Minerals Veil Setting Powder is a great option if you’re looking to switch up your powder choice and find another option.


Etude Zero Sebum Powder

Etude is a fantastic Korean beauty brand that I love sharing inside The Makeup Refinery. I kinda feel like it’s a bit of a secret, so that’s why I’m extra excited to share this gem with you.
While the Zero Sebum Powder is intended for use for those among us who have oily skin, it doesn’t mean you can’t use it perfectly for setting your bruise-cover makeup.
And the reason it will work so well is that this powder is designed for sensitive skin, is made almost entirely of mineral powder and a whole bunch of things that are good news for your skin concerns.
Zero Sebum Powder is Talc-free, also free of any animal raw material, and free of artificial fragrance.

Setting Sprays


Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Setting Spray

A matte, flawless finish setting spray that will keep your makeup on all night? Well, I’m not usually a buyer into hype, but there are always exceptions, right?
I love that Charlotte Tilbury’s Flawless Setting Spray also contains aloe vera and Japanese green tea to help soothe and nourish your sensitive skin, as well as do the hard work.

plastic spray bottle


Jordane Aqua Bamboo Setting Spray

This may be one of it’s kind. If not, a water-based, effective setting spray is definitely an endangered species, for sure.
But what I really love about the Jordane Aqua Bamboo Setting Spray is that it doesn’t feel like you have anything on at all. And it still seals your makeup in a big way.
Water-based, and water-proof, this sealer-miracle is something of an industry-insider secret at this stage. And I’m letting you in on it!
And you know it works, because it was designed to work with very heavy theatrical makeup. So it’s definitely going to work for sealing your bruise-cover makeup.

brown plastic spray bottle with purple lid


Urban Decay All-Nighter Setting Spray

Vegan, smudge-proof, cruelty-free and formulated to control the temperature of your makeup (what?). This matte-finish setting spray is definitely here to stay.
While it does have a large ingredient lost, I must say, try before you buy if you’re extra sensitive. The travel-size bottles are great options if you’re not sure starting out as well. But the Urban Decay All-Nighter Setting Spray most definitely lives up to its name. And is worthy of the awards.


clear bottle with green label


European Body Arts Unveil

Another best kept secret, EBA Unveil is definitely a go-to within film and tv for prosthetic makeup artists, body painters, and other artists who come to rely on products that work.
What makes Unveil so special is that it removes even the strongest of makeup without the use of any alcohol. And that’s kind of a rare thing when it comes to strong makeup and makeup adhesive removers.

pink makeup eraser towels


Makeup Eraser

One of the best investments I ever made in my own makeup removal was indeed, the Makeup Eraser.
The 7-Day Set is the perfect solution for removing your bruise cover makeup. And they literally fit in your hand and are totally gentle on your sensitive skin.
While the Makeup Eraser works on its own to remove your makeup (how, I will never understand!), using it with one of the removers I mention here is definitely a good idea.
A lot of these makeup products are strong. Of course they are, that’s what they’ve been designed to do. But what that means is that they are hard to get off.
And generally, that can end up in your rubbing, scrubbing, and irritating your skin.
So go gentle; use your Makeup Eraser and pair it with one of these removers for gentle, easy removal.

white plastic bottle with green pump lid


Dermalogica Pre Cleanse

Dermalogica Pre Cleanse is a fantastic option for getting the makeup off your arms or legs wherever you have to use makeup to cover your bruises.
It’s an oil-based cleanser that contains Vitamin E and Apricot Oils and will gently but thoroughly break down the makeup you’ve fought so hard to keep on all day.
The ample size of the Cleanser bottle will last you a long time, and is definitely worth the price tag.

After Care

white jar with orange label



Another staple in my makeup kit (and almost every makeup artist I know) Edap is the saver of all skin. The go-to for post makeup removal rehydration, regenration, and all things replenishing for your sensitive skin.
It feels so good when you apply it, and I assure you it will minimize redness, and help keep irritation at bay. And if it works for people oin heavy prosthetic makeup, I can tell you it will also work for your bruised leg or arms.

yellow jar with brown and white text on label


Shea Butter

Look for all natural, pure African Shea Butter to help keep your skin from getting irritated when you’re not covering your bruises. Full of Vitamins A, E and F, this is a great product to use daily and keep your skin well hydrated, smooth and as far from irritation as you can.

white and blue tube and packagin box


Arnica 35

Arnica 35 is going to help heal and remedy your bruises in between you having to cover them up. So, if you weren’t aware yet, arnica helps speed up the healing process for your bruises by stimulating blood supply and increasing stimulation at the site of your bruise.
So by applying a topical lotion such as Arnica 35, you can clear your bruises up in no time.

empty blue ice pack



That’s right, don’t forget the good, old fashioned ice pack. One of the simplest and most effective ways you can heal your bruising.


Vita Arnicare +K

Arnica is so good I had to mention it twice! With Vita Arnicare +K, you will give your skin a calming, soothing way to help minimize your broozing and restore your skin. Vita Arnicar +K contains not only Arnica, but vitamin K cream, horse chestnut, comfrey, & collagen cream. All designed to look after your skin. Use twice daily for the best results.

Understanding Your Sensitive Skin

I know that having sensitive skin can be challenging. But there are ways of overcoming these challenges. And there are definitely products that can and will help you.

Sometimes, unfortunately it comes down to a matter of trial and error. So what may work for someone else may not work for your skin.

But it is important to work out what your skin is reacting to. A qualified Dermatologist will in time help you work out what causes your skin to flare up. So if WebMD isn’t cutting it anymore, do seek professional advice!

Preparing Your Skin Before Makeup

While the instinct may be to use a rubbing alcohol, 70% alcohol or astringent to prep the skin, your arms or legs (or any other site of your bruising) may feel different to your face about that.

Depending on where the bruises are on your body, you may need to add a moisturizing or nourishing product as opposed to an astringing product which will set your skin up to have little to no reaction on the products you use to cover the bruising. And that’s exactly why I wanted to mention Skin Saver and Dermashield in the Shopping list above.

Remember, prepping the skin will help create a smooth canvas for you to apply your concealing makeup onto. It can help your makeup last longer, and look better. And in turn, you are going to feel better about the whole thing.

Color Correcting

If you use a more traditional foundation on your legs, you may want to consider color correction before you add the foundation that matches to your skin. 

Remember that the shade of your skin where the bruises are may be totally different to the shade of skin on your face (ie your foundation shade) so for me personally, thats why I like to use palettes, so I can mix and match to wherever on the body I’m covering.
That being said, don’t be afraid to mix and match. let’s say you wanted to use Dermablend Face and Body Makeup, you could totally use the MAq Pro Fard Cream palette to color correct underneath.

This will take out the muddiness that your bruised skin may appear as, once you put the foundation on by itself.

If color-correcting is still a little scary, be sure to read up on color theory and see if it helps you understand the color wheel and color theory for makeup. I promise you, it’s not as scary as it sounds!

Covering Bruises With Makeup

Prep the skin according to its current condition (i.e. if dry, use a moisturizer or primer, if oily, use an astringent).

Use a brush and apply the coverage makeup over your bruise (these products are highly-pigmented and do not require color correcting underneath).

Add in any skin characteristics, such as freckles or spots to help the area blend into your own surrounding skin.

Set the makeup with a gentle setting powder.

Remove excess powder (and further set the makeup with a water spray).

Use a gentle setting spray to lock in the makeup and make it bulletproof.

After Care For Your Bruises

The magic doesn’t end when your day is over – be sure to remove your makeup each night before you shower

This will ensure that you remove not only all of the makeup, but the remover as well, in case you need to cover it day after day

Remember there are products you can use to help heal your bruises more quickly as well. Arnica is your bruise’s new best friend when it comes to healing.


Tips For Maintaining Your Bruise Cover Makeup

  • Take the time to prep your skin properly.
  • If your bruise is particularly deep or dark, take the time to color-correct it prior to applying your foundation or skin-toned makeup. A green concealer. And the more it gets into the bluish bruises or purple tones, try using yellow concealer, through to a more orange-toned corrector to neutralize your underlying skin tone.
  • Don’t be afraid to work in thin layers. This will ensure you build up coverage gradually, will very thin layers. Your makeup will look more natural, and will have less chance of getting cakey, or cracking.
  • Don’t forget your translucent powder. You want to add more power if you are going to be sitting on reflective furniture for periods of time. You can avoid sitting on leather furniture altogether, if possible. Or use a cushion or cloth to place under your legs to prevent damage to your bruise cover if on your legs.
  • Don’t forget your setting spray. It is going to help lock your makeup in place. Take the time to find a setting spray for sensitive skin that won’t irritate.
  • Avoid wearing clothing that ends where the bruise is – a cuff or sleeve can rub on your makeup and take off the makeup.
  • Carry a small touch-up kit with you. This way, you can discreetly touch up any dings or marks that you might contend with throughout the day.
  • Transfer-resistant clothing and lighter fabrics will help prevent any disturbance to your bruise or the makeup that is covering it.
  • Protect and heal. Remember, your makeup can only do so much. Make healing your bruise a priority by using topical treatments that we have looked at above that can help with specifically because of their bruise-healing characteristics.


I hope that you can follow some of these tips. That they help you enjoy longer-lasting coverage, and minimize any chances of your makeup smudging or wearing off throughout the day. And I hope that next time, you miss the corner of the couch, or your dogs don’t get so excited that they give you your expected bruises for a minute!

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