10 Makeup Artist Secrets for Perfect Concealer Application Every Single Time
1. Pick your perfect shade
There's a lot of information out there about how to find the perfect concealer shade, and pros will often tell you to go a shade or two lighter than your skin tone for a noticeable brightening effect. However, makeup artist Jeannie Vincent says otherwise, noting that doing so can lead to a "dreaded blotch effect." Instead, she suggests looking for a shade that "basically disappears into your skin," so opt for something as close as possible to your complexion. Just be sure you test them in the daylight to ensure there are no surprises when you step out into the sun.
2. Choose a formula with your skin's texture in mind
So many different types of concealer exist—solid, stick, cream, and liquid, to name a few—which can make it challenging to know which is best for your complexion. "As you get older, you have to choose a product, especially a concealer or a foundation, for texture," says 72-year-old makeup artist Sandy Linter, who has worked with the likes of Diana Ross, Iman, and Christie Brinkley. "You don't want it to make your pores look bigger. And the wrong product can bring out the wrinkles instead of diffusing the wrinkles. No makeup can hide wrinkles completely, but sometimes when you're well made up, they're not nearly so obvious." If you have dry or mature skin, opt for a product with a creamy texture, which is less likely to cake or flake.
3. Opt for medium coverage if you prefer not to wear foundation
Another thing you should keep in mind when selecting a new concealer formula? How you plan to wear it. If you're hoping to wear concealer alone on your face, Vincent says that opting for full coverage will look unnatural. "Go for something a little less paint-like, a little more hydrating and buildable," she says. "Generally, stick or solid concealers will be a little drier and stick better to spots, and liquid concealers will be a little creamier with less coverage."
4. Embrace color-correcting concealers
While nude concealers are the go-to, don't let the colorful concealers fall by the wayside—instead, learn how to use them. "A rosy-toned concealer helps with blue and purple tones in lighter skin, and an orange-red concealer helps cancel out dark areas on darker-toned skin," says celebrity makeup artist Aliana Lopez. Expanding on color-correcting concealers, Rose-Marie Swift, makeup artist and RMS Beauty founder, says that it's best to only apply the concealer to the under-eye circle itself, not the whole under-eye. She says that doing so will help everything blend better and look more natural.
5. Always prep your skin before applying concealer
If you're someone who finds that your concealer never seems to stay in place, it's time to re-evaluate your pre-makeup routine. That's because, according to Lopez, concealer applies (and sticks) best to prepped and hydrated skin, so you should never start your makeup routine without having first applied your favorite skin-care products. Just be sure to let them dry first so that your concealer doesn't pill up on top of your moisturizer, SPF, and primer.
6. Concealer works best when applied with a brush
Although applying makeup with your hands might feel convenient, Linter says it's not the best way to do things, which is why a brush is always her first choice. "Because your finger is a little warm and then you put your concealer on and it never really works because every time you pick your finger up off your face, you've lifted off concealer," she explains. "So you put on more and more and more and you don't get the right effect." Her favorite concealer brush? The Kevyn Aucoin Duet Concealer Brush ($32).
7. Think: Less is more
Speaking of the idea of applying more, and more, and more, Swift says that when it comes to your under-eye area, you'll want to take a more minimal approach. "I'm a firm believer in not piling too much under the eye because thick, dry concealers look just as bad as the bag itself," she says, noting that she prefers ultra-lightweight formulas over thick, full-coverage ones.
8. Consider using concealer as an eyeshadow primer
Concealer doesn't only work well under the eyes, though—it can be great on the lids, too. According to makeup artist and natural beauty expert Jessa Blades, concealer can help to make eyeshadows look as vibrant as possible. Best yet, since a detailed shadow look will go on top of the concealer, she says that applying it with your finger is perfectly acceptable, though a brush works well, too.
9. Or as a way to accentuate your brows
Don't stop at your eyes, though! Blades says that concealer also works well to create the appearance of sculpted arches. "You can use it to emphasize that underneath line that most people forget about," she says. To do so, after you finish filling in your arches, apply a small amount of concealer underneath the hairline to create a well-defined arch line.
10. Don't forget to set your concealer
Whether you're using concealer under your arches, eyes, or somewhere else on your face, it's essential to set it. "Use the lightest powder you can find so you don't end up with caked-up drying ingredients such as talc and clay-laden powders," says Swift. This way, it will stay in place no matter what the day (or night) brings your way.
Shop our favorite concealers
Though this concealer is lightweight, it offers medium coverage and a radiant finish that looks gorgeous around the eyes and the other high points of your face. Plus, it comes in 48 (!) shades, so you’ll be sure to find your perfect match every time.
A consistent Sephora bestseller, this creamy concealer serves double duty in hiding blemishes and adding light to your skin. It locks in place for up to 16 hours, and is easily buildable so you can determine exactly how much coverage you want.
Meant to give your complexion a “your skin, but better” type of look, this natural-looking concealer is infused with skin-nourishing ingredients. It’s got caffeine (which wakes up your under eyes), hyaluronic acid (which aids in hydration), and peptides (which work to plump skin), so it’s basically skin-care and makeup in a single tube.
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