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6 Concealer Myths Standing Between You and Flawless Application

Kara Jillian Brown

Kara Jillian BrownFebruary 4, 2020

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Photo: Stocksy / Studio Firma

Concealer is the most hardworking multitasker of all time. A product that can brighten under-eye circles and cover pimples? I’m sold. It’s likely one of the first beauty products you tried, and the one you turn to even on “no makeup” days.

Everyone has their own tips and tricks for using concealer, and some are… better than others. Should I really make a big triangle under my eye when applying concealer? Do I put it on before, or after my foundation? And what even is baking? Fret not—we’ve tapped some experts to set the record straight.

Myth #1: More is better

Jeannie Vincent, a Boston-based makeup artist, says less is more, especially on maturing skin. “Instead of applying concealer all over the under eye in a windshield wiper motion, I like to only apply concealer to the very darkest and deepest points, usually closest to the nose (inner corner) and outer corner, or in the line that makes up the ‘bag’ of the eye,” she says. “If you have puffiness around the eye and apply concealer all over, it will magnify the issue instead of masking it. Only apply concealer in the deepest lines in order to make the whole area appear flatter.”

Myth #2: All powders will set your concealer

Applying powder to concealer can help it stay in place, but only if it’s the right kind, explains Neil Scibelli, New York City-based makeup artist. “While I do think it’s important to set concealers, which I do mostly if a client is appearing on TV or being photographed, it’s important to use a very finely milled, translucent powder,” he says. “Using just any foundation powder around the eyes can sometimes just bring out fine lines around the eyes. They also don’t blend as easily.”

Myth #3: You need to bake

For those who don’t obsess over beauty videos on YouTube, baking is when you load up on powder over your concealer, let it set for several minutes, and then wipe off the excess. “Loading powder up on the delicate under-eye area will just cause your makeup to look caked and dry,” Vincent says. “I have never seen it look natural, because in the time you leave it bake, the powder really accumulates and sticks under the eye.” Instead, she says to use a very small amount of powder (if needed) to set your concealer.  She likes the RMS Beauty Tinted “Un” Powder ($34).

Myth #4: One concealer shade will work for your whole face

“Sometimes you need more than one shade of concealer for your whole face,” Scibelli says. “For example, the same color concealer you’d use under your eyes may look too light around your nose or jawline.” He says it’s okay to go with a brighter or lighter concealer under the eyes, and then use one that matches your skin tone to correct the rest of your face. Vincent warns not to goo too light with your under-eye concealer, as that can draw attention to any dark circles or blemishes you are trying to cover. “Choose a shade up to one shade lighter than your foundation for under eyes.”

Myth #5: Crease-proof concealer is universal

“Crease proof” is different for everyone, even if the label says it’s creaseless,” Scibelli says. “You won’t know how it wears around your own eye shape until you try it for yourself. Luckily, most cosmetic stores, and even drugstores, have pretty great return and exchange policies on makeup.”

If dark circles and under-eye puffiness are ongoing issues, try brow pinching: 

You can absolutely wear concealer without foundation, here’s how. And these are some of the best drugstore concealers out there.

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