The mortal enemy of most women isn’t an obnoxious boss or rude friend; it’s something much closer to home: the bluish circles under the eyes and the splotchy red blemishes that emerge overnight.
No matter how much yellow-tinged concealer you cake on top of the problem areas, it never seems to accomplish anything more than making you look like a heavily-spackled Donatella Versace on an off day.
Here’s a bit of tough love: You’re probably using concealer incorrectly.
And for good reason: Concealer is the one product that’s difficult to get right on your own. Here's the step-by-step, makeup-artist-endorsed guide to applying concealer and finding the best-matched shade.
Admit your makeup weaknesses.
Whether it’s a whitehead that’s sprung up or a patch of rosacea that won’t quit, the right shade and technique is important.
For guidance on the most stubborn product sold on any beauty aisle, we consulted Rouge New York’s Rebecca Perkins, former makeup department head for "Law & Order: SVU," who began her own studio in partnership with actress Stephanie March.
In more than ten years in the cosmetics business, Perkins has covered nearly every blemish imaginable.
Tap a professional to choose your shade.
The first rule of concealer, according to Perkins, is never bringing in an amateur to do a professional’s job. In this case, it’s choosing the perfect color for all your facial marks.
To pick a shade, visit a professional makeup counter in either a boutique, like Sephora, or a department store. It’s not just a well-trained eye you need to make a color judgement, but proper lighting as well.
As Perkins puts it,
Nix the rainbow-hued concealers, please.
At the very end of the concealer aisle lurks a few odd characters, including ochre and minty green-colored tubes.
In theory, these shades are meant to color-correct pimples and dark circles by canceling them out. During morning beauty routines, however, some combination of unnatural lighting and pre-coffee exhaustion often results in green-and-yellow circles across your face.
According to Perkins, color correction is a theory better saved for tattoo coverage than the average pimple.
However, don’t disregard yellow altogether. Beauty guru Bobbi Brown recommends searching for a neutral shade with a hint of yellow, rather than pink, to reflect skin’s natural undertones.
Opt for a brand with tons of choices.
Every skin color and its particular blemishes are unique, so don't settle for "dark," "medium" or "light." It's worth investing in a product that truly fits your face.
For her part, Perkins raves about Amazing Cosmetics Concealer, a pricey formula that also happens to come in 20 different colors. Because you'll only use a small dab at a time, the makeup expert recommends investing in a truly luxurious – and effective – product.
If the concealer falls outside your budget, rest assured there are plenty of quality alternatives. Both Make Up Forever Full Cover Concealer and Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer consistently garner high marks on both shade variety and formula from reviewers.
Less is nearly always more.
Without the right shade of concealer, no one will buy your cover up. But, even worse than choosing a not-quite-right color is the decision to liberally layer it on. Perkins recommends using a brush designated specifically for concealer, ensuring you're not applying it too heavily.
Once the makeup is on your skin, use your ring finger to pat it in and ensure maximum bonding with your foundation.