Concealers can be scary and intimidating if you don’t know much about them, or are new to makeup – cream or liquid? shade? do you apply it over or under foundation? fingers or brush? how is concealer different from a corrector? aaaagghhh.
Take a deep breath, grab a cup of tea, and read on for my version of a crash course on concealers…
Typically, concealers are used to hide any imperfections on your skin, and even out/brighten your complexion. Here are the things I would consider when picking and using a concealer
Your skin type
If you have oily skin, or large pores, you should avoid creamy textures as they tend to make skin look more shiny and could also clog pores. You may want to use something that tends to set as matte, such as the MAC Select Cover Up, or Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer. Personally, I find these too heavy and makeup-y (?!).
For a dry skin, you would pick the opposite – something more liquid-y and creamy, like the Clarins Instant Concealer.
I have normal/combination skin, and I really like Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer. The texture is very light, but it gives pretty decent coverage (see below) with a bit of a glow.
Your skin concern
Let me start by saying you might not even need concealer; your foundation or BB cream could do a good enough job covering any problems you may have. However, if it’s spots and pimples you are looking to cover, you would want to pick a heavy coverage concealer and spot conceal with it. Watch the Lisa Eldridge video below (Read: I am too lazy to explain). I think the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer does a great job at this. The Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage is also a cult favourite. However, these concealers are quite thick, and I find them too heavy for the under-eye area, and they crease and make your lines (if any) look more visible.
To cover dark circles and brighten the under-eye area, I would recommend using a corrector (Eg: Bobbi Brown cream or liquid or Tarte Colored Clay) first. Over this, apply a brightening liquid concealer like the Charlotte Tilbury Retoucher. Also, don’t go too close to the eyes, otherwise they will end up looking puffy.
The kind of foundation you are wearing
Let’s keep this simple. If you are wearing a powder foundation, apply your creamy concealer BEFORE foundation, to avoid streaky lines. If you are wearing a liquid/cream/gel foundation, you can apply the concealer under or over foundation. Heck, apply it under AND over if you feel like it.
Just a piece of friendly advice though – less is more with concealer (and many other things in life). Apply it to specific areas, and avoid applying it too heavily to the same areas that have foundation underneath, because this will add ‘texture’ to the skin and make it look very heavy and made-up.
Depending on how much cash you want to splurge, and what value you place on a concealer, you could pick great products from Chanel, Dior, Cle de Peau, and so on. However, there are many great budget options available as well, and some that lie in between the two. From the drugstore, Maybelline, Bourjois, L’oreal and Collection have a great range. I find that they are not as long lasting as the high-end ones, but they are very very good.
My top picks are concealers that are good all-rounders, such as the Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer (I use Light-Medium Neutral. I know. They couldn’t have made the shade names more confusing). I LOVE the Dior Star concealer as well, but I feel like it emphasizes my pores around the nose (dang!).
Here’s a demo. I blend it out with my fingers, but you could use a brush. No filters here, and natural light.
Let me know if you are interested in individual reviews on any of the above concealers. x