How to Cover a Cold Sore with Makeup

So, you have that big wedding over the weekend to attend to, and just at the perfect moment, a cold sore appears. We know the frustration of having your beauty plans messed up because of a single pimple, so having annoying cold sores would make you feel even worse.

Don’t fret, though, because, for one, you can feel if a cold sore is coming, so you don’t exactly have to cancel that weekend plan for a simple cold sore. It’s easy to feel agitated and uncomfortable to have skin irritations where you can’t even focus on the task at hand with the scare of an underlying cold sore behind your makeup is waiting to be exposed.

Cold sores can be annoying, but you don’t need to hide because of them. They don’t take lives, and in fact, fifty to eighty percent of U.S adults have cold sores (or oral herpes), and ninety percent of adults would have been exposed to this simple virus by the age of 50, according to John Hopkins Medicine.

So, the real question here is, how do we cover a cold sore scab with makeup for that weekend getaway? Is it possible?

What is a cold sore?

Cold sores, fever blisters, or herpes simplex labialis are a group of tiny, painful blisters caused by the herpes simplex virus. Don’t be scared, though, as this is a pretty common type of virus that 90% of people worldwide experience. However, that doesn’t make the experience any less annoying.

These cold sores usually build up around and near the lips and are formed in groups and patches. People who are getting the virus for the first time are most likely to develop the most severe symptoms compared to when it’s your 2nd or 3rd time. Usually, children can be seriously ill when getting this virus for the first time.

While people who have already experienced cold sores can develop antibodies to this virus and make them immune to it, many people have still been reported to have experienced a recurrence of the fever blisters later on.

How to treat a cold sore

Is it okay to cover up a cold sore?

Definitely! In fact, it’s widespread concern of many people experiencing cold sores. Cold sores usually disappear in 7 to 10 days without a scar, including the disappearance of scabs. During that time, when your cold sore has healed and you’re left with a scab, you can cover up the cold sore scab with your daily makeup, and remember a few points we’re going to discuss in the next paragraph.

How to cover up a cold sore with makeup

Covering a cold sore with makeup is pretty much what you do when covering up your pimple scars, but with more care, as a cold sore is a form of a virus.

Use a disposable applicator

Cold sores are highly contagious, although they aren’t severe conditions. In that sense, make sure never to use your favorite applicators, make-up brushes, or makeup sponges when deciding to apply makeup over your cold sore scabs.

To prevent spreading the infection, never use other people’s makeup brushes (this one you should never do with or without the infection). Try using disposable applicators like cotton swabs or disposable makeup sponges for single-use, and make sure to discard them properly after using.

You can clean makeup sponges, but we recommend using them once for this time. Also, never double dip the sponges and wash your hands after using them.

In the case of lipsticks or lip tints with built-in applicators, avoid using the usual applicators and grab a disposable lip applicator. For lipsticks on a tube, do not directly apply the lipstick to your lips. Instead, use a sponge or a disposable lip applicator, too.

Don’t pick or peel your cold sore

The worst thing you could do is make your cold sores even worse by picking and peeling them. You might get the urge, but remember that picking and peeling can cause even more bleeding and scarring, and a permanent scar on the cold sore area, at worse. What you thought was just a few days of covering up may end you doing so for a lifetime.

Before applying makeup over your cold sore, make sure to let it heal naturally before doing so. Let it scab. Don’t apply makeup over an open and fresh cold sore because the makeup won’t apply correctly, and your open wound can get even more infected, like what you do when deciding to use makeup over your freshly popped pimple.

Use concealers with high coverage

Now that you’ve got the precautions down, time to figure out how to cover up a cold sore scab with makeup.

In choosing the best concealer to apply over your cold sore scab, select a concealer that’s more creamy than liquid consistency, which is often in jars, tubes, or compacts and is usually very concentrated.

These concentrated and full-coverage formulas will help you hide those cold sore scabs better than lighter formulas, emphasizing application on the affected area. Since these are heavy-concentrated formulas, you don’t need to put on a lot. A little of it goes a long way.

If a cold sore is on your lip, try going with pigmented liquid lipsticks that have full-coverage and long-lasting formulas, so your cold sore scabs don’t become visible quickly.

Choose the right color

Choosing the right base color for your concealer depending on the redness of your skin is essential. You can opt for a yellow or green-based concealer to cover up the redness, then follow it up with a concealer that matches your skin tone.

The same goes with choosing the color of the foundation you’ll be applying.

Build up the concealer and the foundation slowly over the skin and the scabbed area to make sure your makeup doesn’t get cakey trying to cover up the cold sore.

Grab a setting spray or finishing powder

If using a finishing powder, grab a separate brush. Use a setting spray and finishing powder to make your makeup stays on longer. Applying makeup over a cold sore is made with a considerable effort to make it flawless and unrecognizable, so of course, you would want that coverage to last as long as possible until the end of the day.

Remove makeup carefully

Knowing how to remove makeup is just as important as knowing how to cover a cold sore with makeup.

By removing your makeup correctly, you’re allowing your cold sore scabs time to heal and breathe properly during the night. Make sure that when removing makeup, especially using make-up removers or micellar water, do not wipe the cotton pad all over your face.

Even if your cold sore is already a scab, it’s still infected and not fully healed. Use a separate cotton swab to dip onto a makeup remover (do not double-dip!) and remove the makeup from the cold sore area. Then, grab another cotton pad to remove makeup from the rest of the face to avoid getting the infection all over your face.