Patients often ask what the best products are to cover bruising on the face, neck, and eyes. We don’t sell or endorse any one brand but there are many effective reasonably priced color correcting concealer products available online and in the makeup section of drug stores. Before you buy any color correcting bruise concealer (its best to do this prior to surgery), it is important to know what to look for, what will work and why. I’ll walk you through the basics in this blog, and provide a cheat sheet in the next blog


In my practice, we always advise patients to expect bruising for 10-14 days after any surgery. I require that all patients stop using any medications, herbs, and supplements that act as blood thinners 3 weeks prior to surgery because they can lead to more bleeding during surgery and more bruising postoperatively. I also use very highly skilled surgical techniques to minimize the amount of post-op bruising and provide all facial surgery patients with an oral Arnica regimen to start 7 days prior to surgery. Even with these precautions, some bruising is expected.


Color correcting is a concealer technique used by professional makeup artists to improve uneven skin tone, cover blemishes and to contour facial features. Bruise concealing is a lot simpler but relies on the same basic concept – using the color wheel to determine which concealer color will neutralize your bruise.

When choosing a color-correcting concealer product, keep in mind that your bruising will change color over time. Consequently, you need to purchase a small concealer palette with multiple corrective colors, rather than just one color. Your bruising will start out reddish and purple, then turn to brown and yellow before completely clearing.


Many of my patients know that I am an artist (in addition to a plastic surgeon!) but you don’t have to be one to use the color wheel theory to choose a corrective color to cover your bruise. It’s very simple, colors that are opposite one another on the color wheel cancel each other out. See the bruise and color wheel below.

Post-Op Bruise Cover Up Walnut Creek

First, look at the bruise above – there are two colors – #1 is red-violet, #3 is yellow. The small picture shows how this bruise looks after concealer and foundation.

Now, look at the color wheel below.  To neutralize #1 red-violet, choose the color opposite on the color wheel – #2 or green – then put green concealer on the red-violet bruise.

Next, to neutralize #3 or yellow, choose the color opposite yellow on the color wheel – #4 or violet – and put the violet concealer on the yellow bruise.

There are some slight variations so a little blending (which can easily be done on the back of your hand) may be necessary.

Finally, when the concealing color is applied, finish off by applying a powder on top of the concealer. The powder should match your normal unbruised skin tone. You’re done!



  • 6 color concealer palette – NYX makes one you can get at the drug store with yellow, green, purple, pink, peachy orange and tan. The drug store brands seem to perform as well as professional brands.
  • One makeup brush – firm – You will need a small round inexpensive makeup brush that is firm rather than soft and fluffy. (Tip: you can actually just use your middle finger to dap the concealers on if you don’t have a makeup brush.)
  • Two makeup sponges – For blending. Available at most drug stores.
  • Makeup foundation – That matches your normal skin tone – applied over the neutralizing concealer and blended into the non-bruised skin.

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The technique is very simple. Just refer to the color wheel and cheat sheet below for color guidance. Gently wash your face with a gentle cleanser first and apply a thin layer of moisturizer to the areas of the face you will be applying the concealer. Be careful not to put moisturizer or makeup directly on your stitches or incisions. If you have had eyelid surgery do not put any makeup or concealer on your upper lids due to the incision in the crease of the lid. Also, be very careful if you have had a lower eyelid lift not to put concealer too close to the thin incision just under the lower eyelashes.

Step 1 – Neutralize the color – To start concealing your bruises choose the appropriate hue for your individual bruises and apply the corrective colors with the small firm makeup brush or use your middle finger as an applicator. Either way, patting it on is the easiest technique. If you need to blend colors to get the right hue, the back of your hand works great as an artist’s palette. Using the back of your hand this way also allows you to control how much color you end up applying to your face. If you’ve got too much concealer on either the brush or your finger you can dab a bit off onto the back of your hand before touching down on your bruise.

You don’t want to glob it on – rather dab to slowly build the color up. You may need to go over it more than once to create the corrective illusion. Once you feel the bruised color is neutralized, pat it with the first makeup sponge to blend and actually lift some of the product off so it is not too thick or gloppy on the skin.

Step 2 – Blend with foundation – To blend, lightly pat your regular foundation over the concealer as well as on to the rest of your face. Using the second clean makeup sponge, gently blend the foundation until you create a natural, even-looking skin tone. It may take a little practice but don’t get discouraged – you will have plenty of post-op time at home to work on perfecting your technique. You can wash it all off and do it again if you’re not happy with the result the first time.

Don’t hesitate to ask any questions about how to deal with your post-operative bruising at your pre-op appointment. Laurie, my patient counselor, will be happy to help you prepare for this part of your recovery.


Dr. BarnettGreen Concealer is the opposite from red on the color wheel so it will hide redness and more red bruising

Dr. BarnettYellow Concealer is the opposite of purple and works for correcting purple bruises

Dr. BarnettPurple or Lavendar Concealer is the opposite of yellow and will correct your bruises as they start to turn more yellow toward as you heal

Dr. BarnettOrange Concealer is the opposite from blue and works well with darker skin tones to conceal blue under eye circles

Dr. BarnettPink Concealer works for people with lighter skin tones to neutralize blue toned bruises. Pale pink works better on fair skin, a salmon or peach tone will work better on medium skin. You can blend these on the back of your hand from a mix or red, orange and yellow if your palette doesn’t contain the right hue

If you have very dark skin all the same principles above will apply but you may need to purchase a concealer pallette with darker hues. (NYX brand has different concealer pallets for light and dark skin.)


Ready to look and feel your best? Schedule a consultation with Andrew Barnett M.D. to discuss your options today. Consultations are available in both our San Francisco and Walnut Creek offices. You may schedule for either location by calling (415) 879-8735 or through our website – Renee or Laurie will help you and answer any pre-consultation questions you may have!

Dr Barnett was amazing in every way. Before my surgery, during and then post. He was supportive, knowledgeable and so kind. I recommend him highly

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