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The confused girl's guide to concealer
Your dark under-eye circles are the bane of your existence, so you want to cover them up – but your usual concealer just ain’t doing the job. And when you try to cover up that angry red pimple, you just end up making it a gazillion times more obvious.
And here’s why: not every concealer can tackle every single blemish, dark spot, or imperfection that needs concealing. A concealer’s formulation, colour, shade and ingredients combine to help it target something specific. So, let’s figure out which concealer will work best for you, depending on what you want it to do.
WHAT TYPE OF CONCEALER SHOULD I USE?
Cream? Stick? Liquid? Pencil? Pen? WHY ARE THERE SO MANY FORMS OF CONCEALER?!
A creamy formulation is best for those with dry skin, and thanks to the high coverage it offers, it can help to conceal pimples, blemishes and under-eye circles.
Try: Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer Kit
Just like the cream concealer, a stick concealer is quite pigmented and typically more nourishing, so it’s best for dry skin types who are looking for a lot of coverage. Stick concealers are ideal for targeting certain areas, which makes concealing pimples and redness quite easy. Some are even formulated with anti-inflammatory properties to treat blemishes while concealing (try: Models Prefer Concealer Stick), while others have light-diffusing properties, which can make dark circles look brighter (try: Revlon PhotoReady Concealer).
Liquid concealers usually provide medium coverage and can be used to cover hints of darkness under the eyes and lightly even out skin tone. They’re also great for covering freckles and light pigmentation. Liquid foundation is also a good option for those with oilier skin, as cream and stick foundations may be a touch too rich and may clog pores.
Try: INIKA Certified Organic Natural Perfection Concealer
Pencil concealers tend to deliver a semi-matte finish, making them perfect for contouring. But you can also use them to conceal small spots and get into little nooks (like the corners of your nose to hide any redness).
Try: Shu Uemura Cover Crayon
Pen concealers are taking the beauty world by storm, but it’s important to know how to use them before you hop on the bandwagon. With semi-sheer coverage that adds radiance and luminosity, these concealers cannot be used on their own to hide dark under-eye circles. Your best bet is to use your regular concealer first, followed by the pen concealer (as this combo will reduce the dark colour and then make it appear brighter). Another handy hint? Don’t use this kind of concealer to cover a pimple – you’ll just draw more attention to it.
Try: Sormé Touch Concealer Pen
WHAT KIND OF COVERAGE DO I NEED?
If you want to conceal pimples, blemishes, dark shadows, dark pigmentation and redness, look for a concealer that offers high coverage (or use a medium coverage concealer that is buildable without the ‘caking’ effect).
If your areas of concern are light in colour (like freckles or faded acne scars), opt for a concealer with medium coverage.
There aren’t too many concealers out there that offer light coverage, but they’re good for contouring and highlighting your features. You could also use a semi-sheer concealer over your regular concealer for added radiance.
WHAT COLOUR CONCEALER SHOULD I USE?
As a general rule of thumb, use a concealer that matches your skin tone (and foundation. There are some exceptions, but more on that later. It’s also clever to pair your skin-toned concealer with a colour-correcting concealer for maximum results.
This colour family of concealers is formulated to counteract dark shadows, so they’re perfect for combating any blue or purple under your eyes.
Try: jane iredale Circle/Delete Concealer in #2
A mint green concealer will work wonders to counteract redness, so it’s your best bet when trying to hide that angry red pimple.
Try: Physicians Formula Gentle Cover Concealer Stick in Green
Yellow concealers also work well to balance out blue shadows under eyes or bluish bruises. They can also even out mild red tones on your skin.
Try: e.l.f. Essential Cover Everything Concealer in Corrective Yellow
Don’t be alarmed by the pretty purple hue! It’s brilliant at hiding flaws. Created to counteract sallowness, using a lavender concealer before your standard one can help to bring colour back into your skin.
Try: Australis Colour Correct Concealer
I’M TRYING TO HIDE…
Pssst! Here’s where you’ll find out about using a concealer that’s not the exact shade of your skin tone.
Before concealing that pesky pimple, make sure the area around it is clean. If the blemish is an angry red, lightly dab green concealer over the area to neutralise the colour.
Then, choose a full-coverage concealer in a shade that matches your skin tone. Bonus points for using one with pimple-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid. Using either your pinky finger or a small brush, lightly dab the concealer where it’s needed.
If your pimple is raised, you can actually use a concealer that’s one shade lighter than your skin tone, as the head of the pimple casts a shadow and this will make it look not-so-monstrous.
Lightly dab a peach/salmon concealer under your eyes and blend it in with your ring finger. Follow with a concealer in your skin tone that has a creamy formulation (and make sure it’s lightweight, as heavy concealers will settle into any lines). Finish off with a light dusting of translucent powder to set the colour.
RELATED: What are make-up setting sprays?
For extra radiance, finish with a pen concealer. Apply the colour under your eyes and down the side of your nose and gently pat it in.
How tired I am
Use a concealer in a shade slightly lighter than your skin tone on the inner corners of your eyes, on the middle of your eyelids, and below your brow bone to make your eyes pop. Apply the colour and blend it in for eye-opening results.
Got birthmarks or pigmentation spots you want to cover up? Try dabbing either a peach or yellow concealer over the area, followed by your regular concealer. This will help to even out your skin tone and leave you with a #flawless complexion.
Nothing, I just want my angles to look fierce
Now, listen up beauties. To contour with a concealer, you’ll need a concealer one or two shades darker than your skin tone, and one that’s a shade or two lighter than your skin tone. Ideally, use a pencil concealer as it gives you more control. Otherwise, squirt some concealer on the back of your hand and use your ring finger to apply like so:
Light concealer: A few lines in the middle of your forehead, the bridge of your nose, your chin and on your cheekbones.
Dark concealer: Either side of the bridge of your nose, under your cheekbones, your jawline and your hairline.
RELATED: Contouring dos and don'ts
Use a loose brush to blend in the lines so they almost disappear. The result? Features that are oh-so-defined.
Bonus tip: Use a concealer pen on the areas you applied your light concealer to make those features stand out more.
What do you usually conceal? Do you have any concealing tips of your own?