Create Perfection Using Concealer
Or get very close to it using concealer and a sweep of powder to even out your skin tone. If you have not tried this technique then I recommend it, even with our ‘older girl’ skin.
But let’s look at the basics first.
Both concealer and foundation are typically used to make skin appear more uniform in color.
Concealers usually do a good job of hiding blemishes and dark under-eye circles by blending imperfections into the surrounding skin tone. They are good at this because they tend to be more heavily pigmented and come in a wide range of opacity and consistency.
The first commercially available concealer was launched in 1938 and has grown to become indispensable to those women keen on creating their best look.
Many make-up artists agree their single most vital make-up tool is their concealer, and I can understand why. Properly applied it covers spots and blemishes, spider veins, dark circles, evens out skin tone and contributes to a flawless complexion.
Okay I agree, the ‘flawless complexion’ bit may be a stretch but concealer is my second favourite makeup item, after my eyeliner pencil, because a little can make a big difference.
How to Choose the Perfect Concealer Color
There’s a lot of advice on this one.
One source gave three conflicting pieces of advice on the same web page: When using concealer apply half a shade lighter than your skin tone, apply one shade lighter, and finally the reader was advised to apply two shades lighter … someone’s confused.
The advice for choosing the right concealer color is the same as for foundation; it has to match your skin tone. When you are using concealer the colour must seem like it has melted into your skin. To put it another way, the correct colour will 'seem' to disappear on the skin and eliminate or blur imperfections.
TIP: For a concealer to conceal well it needs to have a high pigment level and contain mineral oil. This ensures it sits on top of the skin and covers rather than being absorbed into the skin.
Just like you would for foundation, always test on the skin then go outside into the daylight with a mirror to check how the color looks.
Some brands offer as many as 34 different concealer colors so finding your perfect colour should not be that difficult. Why not try mixing your own shade from two or more colours?
Colour is not the only factor when choosing your best concealer. Opacity and consistency are also important.
If you are covering major under-eye circles you're going to want a concealer that provides major coverage.
A good way to test is by dabbing concealer on the blue veins on the inside of your wrist to see how well they are covered.
How to Apply Concealer
When using concealer under the eyes put a small amount on the finger, brush or sponge and begin in the corner of your eye.
If using a brush or sponge gently sweep outward blending in as you go. Start with a small amount of product at first - you can always add more if needed.
When using concealer I believe you will get the most even and best coverage if you apply it with your ring finger. The ring finger exerts the least pressure so it won’t pull your under-eye skin and its warmth helps the blending. Just be sure to either pat gently or lightly press in.
Make sure you are not rubbing the delicate skin under the eyes, as it can be easily damaged (as we know, this is one of the first areas of the face where ageing begins to show).
Apply on other uneven spots and blemishes on the face, including the chin and around the nose and mouth if needed, and tap in.
TIP: When using concealer on these small areas, a good quality synthetic brush is by far the most effective tool.
Eliminate Dark Under-eye Circles
To effectively hide dark circles beneath your eyes, consider using a concealer that has a creamy consistency, a medium pigment level and a matte finish. It also needs to be in the yellow, olive, orange or peach tonal range.
As the majority of people have a yellow skin undertone it's best to steer away from pink based concealers. Thinking back to those art lessons, you will remember that pink plus blue equals purple. Not a good colour tone for the under eye area.
Looking at it this way you can see why the wrong color concealer could just add to the problem. Pink toned concealer on any reddened or bluish toned problem area will change it to an unflattering shade ranging from lilac to deep purple.
Before applying under eye concealer, apply a silky make-up primer with a high level of silicone. This ensures the concealer locks onto the skin.
Be careful when using loose powder to set concealer under your eyes as this can accentuate those little lines around the eye area. Make sure you tap any excess powder off first. I like to use a very light dusting of powder and this works for me.
TIP: If your concealer is too ‘stiff’ for under-eye application rub a small amount between your finger tips to warm up and soften the consistency, then pat on.
The Best Concealers
No prizes for guessing my favourite - yes MAC's Select Cover-up NW30. I apply to pigmentation and red blotches then dust over with a translucent powder. This is a nice natural look for the day and I seem to get away with it - thankfully.
You might like to try some favourites from other readers:
1. Bobbi Brown's Creamy Concealer
2. Laura Mercier's Secret Camouflage
3. L'oreal's Touche Magique
4. Sheer Cover's Mineral Makeup Concealer
5. YSL's Touche Eclat Illuminator
Illuminators have the amazing ability to make your skin look 10 times better.
What I love about them is how they camouflage like a concealer and add flattering highlights to your face. (Illuminators are tinged with shimmery metallic specks).
Dab it on your browbone, on the sides of your nose, the upper cheekbones, the inner corners of your eyes and just under your bottom lip.
Apply foundation and voila! A sparkling, fresher looking you.
Using a good moisturiser can help reduce the puffiness.
According to experts, products that contain small amounts of caffeine can help to quickly shrink puffiness.
Using concealer is a quick and easy way to even out my skin tone. I prefer to apply it after foundation, otherwise I have a tendency to use more than I should. The exception is when I want a 'light look' and that's when I use the technique I started this page with.
Experiment with different ways of using concealer; it's worth it!