Hey. I'm Nicola. I have a lot of tattoos, like, everywhere.

I'm really lucky; I've never had to hide them because I work in a super chill industry in a big, progressive city — but I know my circumstances are rare. My plethora of tattoos, however, combined with my position as a beauty editor with access to a ton of makeup makes me the perfect candidate to find out how to best disguise a tattoo with makeup in case you need to go "bare" for an important occasion.

And, it turns out, it really only takes two products and little perseverance. Let me show you:

To show you how it's done, I'm picking my most outwardly visible tattoo, this forearm piece done by the incomparable Olivia Olivier.

tattoo coverup
photo: Nicola Dall'Asen

It's pretty much the first thing you see when I reach out to shake your hand. Were I interviewing for a job in a conservative environment, it'd be the top thing I'd worry about.

The first thing you're going to need is a very full-coverage, matte foundation. I'm using Kat Von D Beauty's, as it's a staple in my routine and is designed to cover tattoos.

tattoo coverup
photo: Nicola Dall'Asen

Concealer also does the trick, but you'll be using a lot of product so I'd stick to foundation because it obviously comes in larger portions. Do not use anything with a dewy formula — that won't dry down well enough for you to layer product as needed.

You don't have to use Kat Von D Beauty's tattoo formula, either. Anything full-coverage and matte that matches you will work. And you can find that at any price point. Shop some of my tried-and-trues below:

Kat Von D Beauty Lock-It Foundation, $35

kat von d foundation
photo: Sephora

Anastasia Beverly Hills Stick Foundation, $25

abh stick foundation
photo: Ulta

NYX Stay Matte Not Flat Liquid Foundation, $8

nyx matte foundation
photo: Ulta

Clearly, though, one layer of even the thickest foundation will not be enough. So it's time to layer with a setting powder and basically repeat those two steps over and over again.

tattoo coverup
photo: Nicola Dall'Asen

The key to choosing a setting powder for tattoo-covering purpose is to pick one that will not oxidize and turn orange — the most surefire way to make sure your foundation and setting powder don't do that is to select both items from the same brand. Or pick a truly translucent powder rather than a pigmented one.

Why can't you just gloop on some more foundation and carry on? Well, because you're going to end up with wet foundation smeared all over your clothes if you do it that way. Layering thin amounts of foundation and powder on top of one another will a.) reach full opacity faster and b.) make sure your skin still looks and feels like skin instead of a foundation swamp.

Here are a few of the best setting powder picks at multiple budget points:

Kat Von D Beauty Lock-It Setting Powder, $30

kat von d setting powder
photo: Sephora

Dermablend Loose Setting Powder, $27

dermablend setting powder
photo: Ulta

e.l.f. Cosmetics High Definition Powder, $6

elf setting powder
photo: Ulta

Most tattoos, especially large black ones, won't disappear even after two layers of foundation and powder.

cover tattoos with makeup
photo: Nicola Dall'Asen

But three gets me pretty damn close. The only thing giving me away is the fact that my tattooed skin is a little embossed.

cover tattoo with makeup
photo: Nicola Dall'Asen

However, if you saw me from afar, you'd barely be able to tell that there's actually a tattoo under there.

So don't believe that tattoo cover-ups require a mass of color-correcting products, expensive bullshit, or sticky concealers. What you already have in your kit will probably do.

photo: Nicola Dall'Asen

Just be sure to prime and set it like you would any other makeup, otherwise it might not last so long.

If you have tattoos as numerous, big, and boldly colored as mine, keep in mind that no amount makeup will ever make them disappear completely.

Not without the help of laser removal, anyway.

As you can see from my own cover-up, tattooed skin can sometimes look embossed, and that might give you away upon close inspection. But this method is perfect for simple, smaller pieces that don't have a lot of color or shading.

But I say screw it; let your freak flag fly.

photo: Giphy

When that's not an option, though, this is a solid alternative.