The Ultimate Guide to Concealer

Concealer Guide

Everyone has a position on concealer. I think it’s one of those beauty products that even people who don’t necessarily like to wear makeup use. Betting we likely all have a long and sordid history with cover ups that didn’t do much but draw more attention to that which needs hiding. You’ve been there if you’ve ever taken matters into your own hands (i.e. popped that sucker) and then immediately tried to douse it with makeup. Complex matters of the face. Then there’s the figuring out your shade, which can be especially challenging if you’re ordering online or at a drugstore without testers. Finger vs. brush? Set or not to set?  I’ve tried my fair share of concealing tubes, wands, pots, pens, pencils, sticks in every consistency from liquid and gel to cream and paste. I’ve formed opinions and given serious thought to all the pressing questions. Here’s what you should know.

Concealer Tips

Use Multiples. Or at least have options. Know that it is OK if you haven’t found one to do it all. I’m not totally sure that exists. Even if you find a perfect formula you might need two colors. Covering redness and blemishes aren’t the same as under circles. When I’m really showing fatigue, I’ll also use Becca’s Corrector which has a peach hue. Dark circles need that peachiness to counteract.

Pencils are Trending. This year saw a flurry of concealing pencils. I gave the Bobbi Brown Retouching Pencil a try and am surprised by how creamy it is. Sometimes you just need something to put in your purse that you can use to instantly cover a blemish.


Best at Drugstore. Maybelline is doing it right. I’m consistently impressed. The liquid Fit Me reminds me of the NARS Creamy Concealer and I like it as much. Sometimes I’ll dab this generously over my temples, sides of nose and take a fluffy brush to blend in instead of foundation. And the Face Studio Master Conceal gives full coverage but is so lightweight. I would liken this to the new Make Up For Ever concealer, without the wide color range. If you can find a match, it’s a fantastic budget find.

The ‘S’ Method. I’ve always heard makeup artists tell me to dot concealer in the shape of an upside down triangle. I never loved that, instead I just dabbed it under and up toward my temple. Then a Benefit makeup artist taught me to make an S shape starting at the corner of my outer brow, under my eye, down the nose and side of the mouth. I wrote about this here in more detail and honestly, it’s my favorite way to apply. I like to layer luminizer over it and buff the two together. I use this with all sorts of different formulas.

Fingers vs. Brush. I think both have a place. The warmth of your fingers helps blend and make it look natural but a brush can help give an airbrush look. When I do the pinpoint technique, I use the tiny brush to apply it and then press it in with my ring finger – focusing more on blending the areas around the blemish.

The Stretch Factor Maybe it was foreshadowing when Into The Gloss deemed concealers in pots to be the best because Glossier just released its Stretch Concealer in (you guessed it) a pot. I’ve been S-ing with this and the RMS Living Luminizer every day since I got my pots and I love how it wears.  It moves with your face – literally stretches – and covers and brightens at the same time. The Medium shade is perfect for my face but I like Light for under eyes and along my nose.

Set if Your Eye Makeup Transfers. If you find your eyeliner or mascara transfers, it might be you have too many emollient products coming together near the same area. I like to set my concealer most days because I wear my makeup for a long time. Usually at least 12-14 hours. Use something translucent and only use a little tiny bit. I sweep W3LL People Bio Brightening Powder under my eyes and even on my eyelids.

Now, your turn. What tips do you have? Do you have a technique, life-changing concealer or opinion that we need to know about?

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