Illustration by Sofia Bews.

Illustration by Sofia Bews.

You know what? Hickies happen. They happen plenty, and to everyone—teenagers and adults. You might be making out with someone, they might be doing delicious-feeling things to your neck, and then later, you might look in the mirror and go, “WHAT THE—!” A huge hickey! Right on a visible place on your neck or chest! And you have school/work tomorrow, oh nooooo! How did this even happen??

Hickies are broken blood vessels caused by suction on delicate skin. They’re caused by someone nipping, biting, or sucking on your neck (or any other body part). They can appear even if it didn’t feel like your makeout partner was really sucking hard on your skin—in the heat of the moment, kisses or touches that feel regular-strength can actually be stronger than you realize! Hickies can be red, blue-black, or purple. They are totally normal—a calling card of the very-excited makeout. They are also an endless source of amusement to friends and a sure-fire way to alert a possibly disapproving guardian that you’ve been messin’ around with someone.

First and foremost, Rooks: I want you know there is no reason to cover a hickey if you don’t want to or have to. There’s nothing shameful about having had a great makeout session, and if you like the hickey where your ~friend~ left it, by all means, keep it out in the open! But if you don’t want everyone in the hallways to know what you were up to via hickey, there are things you can do.

Take immediate action.
Upon noticing the hickey, get thee to the freezer. You want an ice pack, or a bag of frozen peas, or even an ice cube wrapped in a washcloth. The cold helps slow down the blood seepage from your tiny, busted blood vessels. Apply the cold to your hickey as much as you can for the first two days after getting kissed a bit too hard.

Soothe your skin.
Apply a healing/soothing ointment, gel, or lotion to the hickey. I like arnica gel, which helps relieve swelling and discoloration from bruises (or hickeys!). When you apply the gel, dab it directly in the center of the hickey, then spread it outwards with your fingers with firm pressure. Do this several times a day.

It’s a lovely day for a scarf, wouldn’t you say? Seriously, though—maybe it’s too hot for a turtleneck (the official shirt of the hickey) or a woolly scarf, but what if you tied a jaunty chiffon scarf around your neck, á la streetwear glamour queens? No one has to know you’re covering a hickey—maybe you just look damn good in scarves! Depending on where the hickey is, a choker could also work, as could a thick collar necklace or one with lots of beads.

Cover it.
All hickies have their own intrinsic beauty, like a skin sunset, an explosion of blood vessels as unique as the constellations in the night sky. What color is your particular hickey? Is your hickey more red? Cover it with a green-based corrective concealer. Is it purple-y black? You want yellow. Your hickey is likely more than one color—dab on your corrective concealer with abandon, mixing and blending the colors as you see fit! You’re the artist, your skin is the canvas! I like this palette from e.l.f. because it has lots of the colors you’ll need in one place and it is also $3.

Also, if you’re really looking to go pro, you need to do use what the professionals use: Dermablend. Check out the before and after pics of what this stuff can do! Dermablend offers truly opaque coverage, and I learned about it from a roller derby queen who was also a burlesque dancer (meaning that she was covered in skating-related bruises but also constantly getting undressed onstage).

Heat it up.
If your hickey is stubborn and still hanging around after three to four days, and you can’t really keep this scarf look going for yet another day, try gently pressing a warm washcloth to the hickey for a few minutes. This should help bring new blood to the area, which will help sweep away the old, dark, clotted blood that just isn’t taking the hint.

Hickeys are normal and nothing to be ashamed of, but if you want to cover them up, these li’l tricks should help 😘 ♦