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18 October 2017Last updated
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Beauty | Reviews

How to apply concealer – and which ones you should be using

The secret to perfect looking skin is all about finding the right concealer and using it properly. Follow our top tips for your best-looking complexion ever

Sarah-Jane Corfield-Smith
29 Sep 2017 | 12:00 am
  • Source:Shutterstock

Oh concealer, is there a more effective and powerful product in your make-up bag? We don’t think so. Unlike foundation, concealer packs a heftier pigment punch. After all that’s what it’s designed for, to quite literally camouflage any skin issues you’ve got going on. Such as concealing spots, reducing redness, banishing dark circles and evening out skin tone, allowing you to fake a flawless complexion. However, are you using yours properly? It’s not quite the case of putting it on and rubbing it in. No, no. To truly get the beautifying best out of your concealer there are some tips and tricks you need to know about. So let us share with you everything you need to know about concealing to perfection.

Under the Eyes

There are two issues that may make you turn to concealer when it comes to concealing the delicate skin under the eyes: Pigmentation in the form of dark circles or shadowy eye bags.

Read: From darkness into light

Let’s start with pigmentation. There are a few reasons you may have dark circles. They can be genetic. You skin colour also plays a part; the darker your skin, the more melanin you have and this can collect in pockets under the eyes, it’s sometimes known as periorbital melanonosis. Age, of course, is a factor too; the older we get the thinner the skin around the eyes becomes, which makes the blood vessels more visible. However, the good news is whatever your reason for wanting to conceal dark circles, the method is the same. Firstly, you don’t start with concealer. Begin by using a colour corrector in the area. Colour correcting is based on the principle of the colour wheel (a technique that artists use), where colours on opposite sides will cancel each other out. To help neutralise dark circles you need to look for a peach toned colour corrector, darker skins will need a darker peach, verging on red, tone. Begin by dabbing this on to the pigmentation. Give it a few seconds to settle in and then go over the top with your concealer. Choose a creamy concealer a shade lighter than your skin tone. Matte or fairly opaque textures are best here.

Let’s turn our attention to bags of the eye variety. There are lots of reasons you may be getting them. Firstly the natural shape of your eye could mean you’re more inclined to them as if your eyes are quite hollow then any light shining down on you will cause a natural shadow under your eyes. There is also an element of sleepless nights leading to eye bags, as when we are tired our body can’t work as fast as it does when we’re energised. That means our body can’t flush away any toxins or fluids that have built up under the eye. And then of course, there’s getting older. As we age, fat that helps support the eyes moves into the lower eyelids, which causes them to look puffy and swollen. Whatever the reason, eye bags are not what you want and you need to get concealer on and get it on fast. In this case you’re best to avoid matte textures as they may leave your skin looking crepey. Your friend here is a concealer with light reflecting particles in. These little beads of pearlised pigment sit on the surface of the skin allowing more light to bounce and reflect off, meaning your skin looks more glowy, fresh and lighter. Just what you need when feeling exhausted. If you can’t find a light reflecting concealer then use a regular concealer a shade lighter than your skin tone to help brighten the darkness.

Read: The new generation of lightweight foundation

Now, how to get your concealer under your eyes and look the best it can. Whatever product you’re using, the application process is the same and it’s probably not how you currently use your concealer. ‘I get quite frustrated watching women applying concealer under their eyes and then sweeping it away with their fingers or a brush,’ says make-up artist Aimee Adams. ‘It is the most ineffective way to apply concealer because you’re essentially just wiping it all away so there’s hardly any left! Instead, apply your concealer in a downwards triangle so the point is going down towards your cheek and then dab it into place, as if you’re pushing the product into the skin,’ explains Aimee. You can use whatever tool you like for this; a brush or a damp beauty sponge but Aimee recommends using your ring finger as it has the lightest pressure for working on this delicate area of skin.

On the Spot

Concealers and breakouts are make-up’s BFFs. However, much as with pigmentation patches, start with a colour corrector first. This time, it’s more likely that your skin, especially around the spot will be red and angry so it’s here you need to direct your colour corrector towards. To counterbalance redness in the skin, green needs to be applied on top. It may sound strange but it really does work - we promise! Because you don’t want to further the spread of your spots it’s best to either use a brush, but you must remember to clean it afterwards, or your fingers making sure they’re clean to start with and you wash them straight after. Dab it around the spot as far out as the redness goes and once applied it’s time for concealer. It’s tempting to reach for the heaviest concealer you can find, however highly pigmented concealers can be very drying so you either need to dilute them down with a touch of moisturiser or choose a lighter consistency and build up the coverage you want.

Read: Extreme colour correction

The reason you don’t want anything too drying is because the skin around your spot is already dehydrated and an overly heavy concealer will dry into the cracks of the skin and your spots will look more noticeable. The last thing you want. Just like with the colour corrector, hygiene is key when covering up spots - if you’re using a brush or your fingers, they need to be clean to start with and you must clean them straight after. Dab your concealer directly onto the spot and then buff some of the colour around it so that it blends into the surrounding skin perfectly.

Sarah-Jane Corfield-Smith

Sarah-Jane Corfield-Smith