Concealer application – most of us have been doing it pretty much the same way (give or take a beauty blender) since we were teenagers. With the world of beauty firmly focused on a flawless, natural-looking complexion, we thought it was high time for a refresh…
We can have all the make-up skills in the world honed to perfection: the perfect eyeliner flick, lipstick hacks and contouring down like a pro, but sometimes the basics can get a bit left behind. Concealer comes in many formulas and consistencies, and even colours – how on earth do you begin to determine which to use? We enlisted some expert help from International Make-up Artist for Bareminerals SJ Froom, to give us the lowdown on how to create the ultimate flawless finish.
When in your make-up routine should you apply concealer?
What to use first – concealer or foundation? While you might think that applying concealer and then foundation will help your concealer stay in place, it could actually do the opposite. SJ tells us ‘though there are no rules with the order in which you apply your foundation or concealer, I personally like to apply foundation first and then conceal afterwards.’ Applying foundation over the top of concealer can cause it to move. SJ adds ‘this could make your base look really heavy as you are just mixing the two products together.’ So if you apply your foundation first, you’ll use less concealer, making for a more natural-looking base.
What’s the best way to disguise dark circles?
For those dark shadows that dull your eyes and kill your well-rested vibes, there is one surefire solution. SJ advises using cool pinky undertones. ‘Anything with a peach tone will cancel out the appearance of grey, blue and purple.’ Becca Backlight Targeted Undereye Colour Corrector in Peach is an illuminating colour corrector that’s perfect to cancel out dark circles.
Then go over with a tone that matches your skin. To really wake up your eyes, apply this concealer in a triangle with the base under your eye and the point drawing down onto your cheek. Highlighting this area gives a lifted and brighter look to your face. SJ adds ‘a lot of under eye concealers have light reflecting particles to help brighten the eye area and are designed specifically for this purpose.’ Use your ring finger to apply product (as your weakest finger it gives the lightest pressure on the delicate eye area), as the warmth from your finger can help your concealer to blend well.
My concealer looks heavy and cakes under my eyes – what should I do?
If applying with your ring finger doesn’t seem to be doing the job, turning to tools may be your best bet. Try dampening a small blending sponge such as Gale Hayman Soft Focus Blender Sponge and use after you’ve dabbed on your concealer to blend. It gives a really smooth finish and also picks up any excess, which helps avoid it caking later on in the day. In addition to this, SJ suggests looking at where you apply your foundation and concealer, as you may be applying foundation unnecessarily. She says ‘if I am using a light tinted moisturiser I would be happy to take this right up under the eyes, however a full coverage foundation can look heavy and cakey around the eyes’. Therefore, if you usually opt for a heavier foundation SJ advises to ‘blend all over your complexion, but avoid the eye area. Then dab under eye concealer only where you need it’. Similarly, if your concealer is a heavier cream consistency, consider switching it for a liquid formula such as Bareskin Complete Coverage Serum Concealer, as these are more lightweight and less likely to cake.
How do you mask a blemish?
Again, the tone of your concealer is important here. ‘Blemishes are usually red in tone so a yellow-pigmented concealer is best to neutralise’ advises SJ, adding that it’s best not to go too light. ‘Make sure this concealer is a similar shade to your foundation to avoid highlighting the blemish’. And what about tools vs fingertips? SJ advocates using both, suggesting you ‘First use a very small brush to pop a tiny amount of concealer onto the blemish, and then gently tap with your ring finger to blend.’ If you’d rather not use your fingers, you can get a similar effect by stippling (pressing your brush down to blend) with the same precision tip brush – try IT Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Dual Airbrush Concealer Brush. It’s precise enough to pinpoint blemishes, while its flat side is ideal for blending
How can I help my concealer stay put?
‘The best way to keep concealer in place is to buff a small amount of finishing powder over the top’ says SJ. ‘A lightweight, translucent powder such as Bareminerals Mineral Veil, £18.50 will set the concealer so it won’t budge’. For blemishes, you can also try applying a lid primer before concealer, as this gives the product an easier surface to stick to, making it less likely to slide off.
How can you make your concealer work harder?
Concealers can do a lot more then mask imperfections. As SJ points out, the great thing about concealers is they are brilliant as multi-taskers. ‘Take a shade that is lighter than your skin tone and use it to highlight, and a shade that is too dark for you and use it to contour’. Concealers also make a great eye base to make your eyelid a blank canvas, and help your eyeshadow or cream, stick. If you’re stuck for room in your handbag or suitcase, a concealer can be the fix-all solution you need. Take a look our our round-up of the most capable concealers out there.
Dust this lightweight powder over any concealer (or your whole face if you like) to set your make-up and help it stay in place. It has illuminating pigments that give a glowy - but not glittery - finish, so if you're a powder sceptic, this is a great one to try.