Tattoos are works of art made over the most beautiful canvas in the world: the human body. They are pieces that are as personal as artistic; we have tattoos because we want to show them! Unfortunately, according to a recent study, only 23% of surveyed employers stated that tattoos wouldn’t affect their decision to hire a person. That leaves us with 77% of employers that would think twice when they see that ink on your skin. Learning how to cover your tattoos could be paramount for a successful long-term professional career.
It’s vital to learn; but do you know exactly how to cover a tattoo for work?
The answer is very simple: clothing or make-up.
Indeed, you can cover your tattoos by wearing long sleeves, long pants, spandex underwear, turtlenecks, cardigans, and such, but what if your tattoo is in a spot where clothing won’t reach or the weather is too hot?
In that case, you can use make-up.
Although it can take a little longer and a little extra money, the results can look astonishingly good, leaving no trace at all.
Well that was the short answer but if you really want to learn the best methods in much more detail, keep reading…
The easy methods
This guide will work its way from the easiest, most convenient, and affordable ways of covering your tattoo to the most complex. Let’s get started with the simplest way.
Depending on the weather and the kind of work you do, clothing can be a great ally in covering your tattoos. Some examples could be:
• Long pants & under-skirt tights – In the case that you have beautiful ink on your legs, you can wear long pants, tall socks, and under-skirt tights. For ladies on hot days, wearing thin stockings with patterns can help deceive the eye while staying fresh.
• Cardigans, jackets & turtlenecks – For those who have tattoos on their backs, wearing a cardigan or a jacket can be a great option. Also, turtlenecks and scarves can be great for neck tattoos (just blame it on the AC at the office).
• Chelsea boots & high-top sneakers – Depending on the dress code at work, you might be able to wear sneakers such as Converse Chuck Taylors. If that’s not the case, Chelsea boots always do the trick. Don’t forget those tall socks in case you’re sitting down.
For tattoos that are in difficult spots like fingers, wrists, and chest, accessorizing properly can be a great solution.
• Rings – Finger tattoos are not only cool but also becoming increasingly popular. Just throw in a nice big ring to cover it up and nobody will notice.
• Bracelets & watches – If you have a tattoo on your left wrist, then you can cover it up with a watch and look classy while at it. If it is on the other side, you might have to go for a bracelet; there are many great options. Plus, you can have different ones to match different outfits.
• Necklaces – Wearing a necklace with a pattern to cover a small tattoo on your chest can be a great option, especially if it is for a single, classy occasion like a party. You can take your outfit to the next level and look tattoo-free for a night.
If you happen to have tattoos either on the back of the neck, the sides, or anywhere on your skull just let your hair grow enough to cover it up.
If you have, for example, a full sleeve tattoo and live in a city where the temperature won’t allow long sleeve shirts, many companies manufacture sleeves to match the color of your skin. People will have to be really close to you to notice it’s not your skin.
In the case that you want to wear that open back dress for your company`s classy event or a see-thru one, you can wear spandex pieces or any other kind of shapewear to conceal them. They are created especially for that kind of situation.
Faking an injury
Ok, I know what you are thinking and yes, I agree; it is a little extreme. Nevertheless, ankles, wrists, elbows, fingers, and such can be covered with a fake bandage. Bear in mind that it is a one-time solution; you can’t fake that injury forever or that limp may become real.
Once you’ve exhausted the above options and there’s no other way around it but covering it up with make-up; this is exactly how you should do it.
A word of warning, before we get into the detailed, step by step procedure, make sure you are not applying these products over a new tattoo (at least 45-days old). Make-up will cause your pores to clog, and this can cause an infection if your skin isn’t properly healed.
• Step 1 – Shave it
If your tattoo is on a hairy part of your body, such as your forearm, you need to shave it before applying the make-up. Even if there is very little hair, spots such as your fingers, or the back of the palm, shaving it will improve the results. Otherwise, just a thorough wash will do.
• Step 2 – Apply the primer
Once the skin is dry and ready, apply the primer. The primer fills the pores and absorbs any natural oils. Make-up will look much more realistic and will last longer. Just use a cotton ball or pad and apply a generous layer.
• Step 3 – Use a color corrector
If you are covering a colorful tattoo, you will have to use a color corrector on it to maximize the effects. You can check the color wheel here to check the complimentary color to the primary color of your tattoo. For example, blue’s complementary color is orange; use orange corrector over a blue tattoo (this works well for black tattoos too).
Apply several dabs over the tattoo until it is completely covered. Don’t worry, you should still see it, we’re getting there.
• Step 4 – Apply the foundation
The foundation you choose needs to match your skin tone. Bear this in mind because if you use it often on your face, the tone of your skin might differ from one place to another of your body. Put some foundation on your finger and apply a generous dab of it covering the entire tattoo. Now you will start to see it fade away slowly (don’t worry, it’s not permanent).
• Step 5 – Apply the concealer
After you let the foundation dry completely, it is time to go for the concealer. Again, this needs to match the tone of your skin in the tattooed area, which can differ from the one you usually use on your face. Apply a generous dab of it with a beauty sponge and witness how magically your tattoo has faded away completely. Well done! Now let it dry for two to five minutes and let’s go to the final step.
• Step 6 – Translucent setting powder or hair spray application
To prevent all your hard work from being lost, you need to make sure you protect it properly. You can use either translucent setting powder or hair spray on it. With this final step, you’ll make sure there will be no bleeding or fading throughout the day.
If your tattoo still shines through the make-up layers, you can repeat steps four, five, and six as many times as needed.
Here’s a very short, fast video to see this procedure, and here is a much slower, detailed one in case you still have any doubts.
You should now have a very clear idea about how to cover up your tattoos for work. I suggest you stick to the rule of this guide and always try covering them up with clothing and accessories as your first choice. When you have no other option, make-up can be your best ally; especially if it is a one-off occasion.
Tattoos are becoming increasingly accepted in the world. A growing number of employers are now allowing them, and changing ancient company policies (e.g. Starbucks). There is still a long road to go until tattoos are fully accepted everywhere. Until then, you can apply these tips.
Remember that for every job that doesn’t allow employees to show off their body art, there are plenty more that do!