My biggest makeup battle was and still can be choosing the right concealer. Covering acne scaring, breakouts and concealing your under eyes without it creasing can be a task in itself. I am here to try and take the guess work out of choosing and applying the products and also share with you any tips and tricks I have learned during my studies as a Makeup Artist and also from just trying out new and different techniques.
A lot of people are under the illusion that foundation is the way to cover up imperfections and this is why we see many girls with caked on makeup which can infact draws attention to the problem areas rather than masking them. It is true that foundation does help to even out skintone and reduce some redness but for really prominent blemishes and under eye circles concealer is our savior. Concealers are specifically designed to deal with problem areas and when used correctly they can transform your makeup look. They are also great as they give you full coverage without having to use too much makeup.
There are TWO Types of Concealers. One for under eye and one for covering blemishes on your face.
UNDER EYE CONCEALERS: These are used to conceal discoloration and dark circles. It is designed to work with the very delicate skin around the eye area. They should be light and creamy in texture. It should also be subtle and hydrating as the skin under your eye tends to be drier and thinner than elsewhere on your face. There are two types of under eye concealers. The first one is a light reflecting one which instantly brightens the area while the other is for hiding discolouration. A lot of products on the market can do both and these are the products I would recommend.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT SHADE FOR YOU: The trick is to find a concealer that is light enough to brighten the eye area and conceal your under eye circles but not too light that it will not blend with your skin tone and draw more attention to the area. I would suggest getting a concealer one or two shades lighter than your own skin. In normal circumstances choosing a yellow based under eye concealer will cover slight discolouration and brighten the under eye. However, if you suffer really bad from discolouration I would recommend applying a corrector under the eye before applying your concealer. Peach, salmon or orange toned concealers work really well under the eye to correct any discolouration.
APPLICATION: Depending on the type of product I am using I would use different application techniques. For products that come in pumps or tubes I always put the concealer on the back of my hand, this not only warms the product before application but it also allows you to control the amount of concealer you apply to the under eye area. If you prefer a brush I would recommend using either a pointed type kabuki brush like the one above from Blank Canvas Cosmetics (F23 or F40) or the contour brush from the Real Techniques Core collection or if you prefer a smaller concealer brush to apply the product. I would then use your finger (be very delicate) or a beauty blender type sponge to blend the product out. My favourite is the Real Techniques miracle complexion sponge. If I am using a concealer wand such as YSL Touche Eclat I would apply the product directly from the wand under my eye and dab in with my ring finger or a sponge. You do not want too much product under the eye as it will sit in fine lines so I would recommend multiple light applications rather than one thick application. When applying concealer apply to the undereye areas, including the inner and outer corners of the eye. You should always set your concealer with a really light dusting of powder to set the eye. My favourite way to do this is to use a domed fluffy brush like the Wendy from Nima brush or the Blank Canvas (F15).
There are so many good powders for setting under the eye area. My favourite would have to be the Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder (review here) or the Hourglass Ambient Lighting powders (review here) for a more illuminated look. For a really bright eye choose a yellow powder like the Ben Nye Banana Luxury Powder or for a less expensive option try the Banana Dreams powder from W7.
QUICK TIP: If your under eye concealer has light reflecting particles in it do not use this to cover blemishes as it will only draw attention to the area rather than covering it.
MY FAVOURITE CONCEALERS FOR UNDER EYES: I have so many favourites. My high end picks would be Mac’s Pro Long wear concealer (review here) or Urban Decay Naked Weightless concealer. These can be used for blemishes also but make sure the colour matches your skintone if you use it to cover blemishes. Bobbi Brown’s Correctors are fantastic if you have discolouraton under the eyes. For my favourite budget buy concealers you can check out this post for lots of in depth info.
CONCEALERS FOR BLEMISHES ETC: These are used to cover pimples, veins, redness, broken capillaries etc. and are thicker in consistency and can often be much drier. It is always important that if you are suffering from acne that you also treat the acne sepretately to treat the underlying issue instead of just trying to conceal it as it will never go away. Also, always but especially if you have acne it is vital that you thoroughly cleanse your face at night so that no makeup is sitting on the skin that could irritate the acne even more.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT SHADE FOR YOU: Unlike the undereye concealer this type of concealer should match as close as possible to your natural skin tone. It’s a good idea to buy the same colour or as close as possible to your foundation. Often makeup brands have the same colours in foundations and concealers which makes it easier for you to choose the right shade. If not you can use the tip for choosing the right foundation in my previous post here.
APPLICATION: This really depends on the size of the area you wish/need to cover. The application is very similar to before. Apply the product to the back of clean hands to warm the product. Take some product up on a small concealer brush and wipe off excess. Light multiple applications is a must as otherwise you will have a very clumpy area which makes the area more noticeable than before. For small areas like pimples, veins etc. use the tip of the brush and dot or draw on the area as delicately as possible. For medium sized areas use the side of the brush and for larger areas I would recommend using your fingers. This is great to cover any areas of rosacea or pigementation. When using your fingers push the warmed product into your skin with your fingers.
QUICK NOTE: If your blemish concealer is thick in consistency do not attempt to use this under the eyes as this area is too delicate and thick consistency makeup will sit in the fine lines under the eye causing the makeup to crease. This is not a good look.
MY FAVOURITE CONCEALERS FOR BLEMISHES: My picks are the same as under eye concealers but I use them in a shade that matches my skintone instead of a few shades lighter. I also love the Makeup Forever concealer palettes and Laura Mercier secret camouflage concealers. Ben Nye Concealer wheels are fantastic as they come in a variety of shades including some salmon based one for concealing under the eyes too. I also like Inglot’s Cream concealer. They are really dry and thick but when applied in layers as I mention above they last all day long without budging.
So there we go. I hope you found this helpful and please feel free to contact me with any questions you might have and be sure to let me know what you think of my post.
Thanks everyone and stay tuned for the next post in my series of choosing the best products to suit you, I think I will do a more in-depth post on powders next. What do you think?