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Woman applying concealer to her face, right below her right eye.

How To Use Concealer

We hate to tell you this, but you’ve probably been using concealer wrong. We know, it’s a hard blow. But if you’ve ever given yourself “raccoon eyes” or made a blemish more noticeable than it was to begin with, you need a little concealer how-to. 

Let’s talk about concealer and how to use it properly so you can erase blemishes, dark circles, and skin imperfections.

What does concealer do?

Concealer is a multipurpose product that does more than just hide dark circles—she is multi-talented if you give her a chance. Here’s how it works.

Covers blemishes, redness, and dark spots

You probably started wearing concealer as an adolescent to help hide blemishes—after all, it’s the perfect tool to hide bumps. 

Redness or hyperpigmentation (like dark spots and sunspots) are prime targets for concealer. Different colored concealers can help correct these areas and give your skin that flawless look.

Brightens dark circles

Raise your hand if you’ve been personally victimized by dark circles even when you get plenty of sleep. 

As you age, the skin under your eyes (which is already incredibly thin and fragile) loses collagen. This loss of collagen makes it easier to see the blood vessels under your eyes, giving the appearance of dark circles.

Concealer can help brighten the area under your eyes, so you can look as awake as you feel.

Contours

Just because you weren’t born with sky-high cheekbones doesn’t mean you can’t channel your inner Maleficent and create the look. Concealer is the perfect tool for sculpting, shaping, and enhancing the natural structure of your face.

Color corrects

Most of us don’t have perfectly even complexions. Concealer helps correct areas of imbalance on the skin, giving the illusion of monotone skin color and creating the perfect palette for the rest of your makeup. 

How is concealer different from foundation?

Both concealer and foundation can enhance your complexion and create the base of your entire look. 

Key differences

Concealers aren’t meant to straight cover your entire face. They’re intended to give spot-treatment coverage to smaller areas of skin that need a little more coverage than foundation alone. 

  • Coverage. Because concealers are made to cover things up, most of them will be medium to full coverage—this is more coverage than the average foundation. Keep in mind: For more natural looks, less coverage is more. 
  • Color. You’ll find some concealers in shades that are anything but skin-toned, and that’s because they’re designed to correct pigmentation inconsistencies on the skin, like redness and dark spots. Green concealers can reduce the appearance of redness, and yellow concealers can cover bluish blemishes.
  • Use. You’ll only use a concealer on specific areas of your skin. Hiding a blemish, brightening the area under your eyes, and contouring are all small jobs. For larger areas of coverage, you should use foundation. 

How do you choose the right concealer?

The wrong concealer can create halos under your eyes or draw more attention to the areas of your skin you’d rather cover. 

However, the right concealer can be life-changing. 

Here’s how to find your personal holy grail concealer.

Figure out your skin type

You probably already know your skin type (normal, dry, oily, or combination). Because concealers are available in different formulas, knowing your skin type can help you choose the one that will work best for you.

  • Dry. For dry skin, liquid and creme concealers work best. These concealers spread easily and may contain oils that help hydrate your skin.
  • Oily. Oily skin works well with powdered concealers. These concealers are usually applied with a brush and help correct and absorb oil simultaneously. 
  • Normal to combination. Stick concealers work well on normal and combination skin types, but you may want to consider an additional formula for drier areas, like under your eyes.

Find your shade—or shades

There are no limits when it comes to concealer colors. You may need several different options in your arsenal because you’ll be looking for a shade to correct color, hide blemishes, and contour.

  • For contouring, look for a concealer that’s one shade darker than your natural skin tone. This will help create the illusion of shadows that lift the cheekbones and add structure to the nose. 
  • For highlighting, use a concealer that is a half shade lighter than your natural skin tone. You can use this color to brighten the eye area and define your cupid’s bow. 
  • For covering blemishes or redness, look for color correctors specifically designed to counter the pigment that needs correction.

Choose clean, vegan, and cruelty-free products

Conventional concealers can contain harsh ingredients that irritate your skin and harm your body. Not to mention, many of them are tested on animals

  • Parabens. Parabens are a class of chemicals used to extend the shelf life of cosmetic products. Parabens are hormone disruptors and can interfere with your endocrine system.
  • BHA and BHT. These synthetic antioxidants are added to concealers as preservatives, but they have been shown to cause organ toxicity and are even suspected to be carcinogens. 

Don’t put your body (or a furry friend) at risk. Shop for concealers that are clean, vegan, and cruelty-free. 

How do you use concealer?

Once you’ve got the perfect tool, it’s time to learn how to use it.

Step one: Apply primer

Primer goes on first. It creates a smooth surface that prevents your cosmetics from being absorbed by your skin and helps them last.

Step two: Apply your base

You read that right: foundation goes on first. Why? Foundation gives less coverage than concealer, but it can provide just enough coverage so you don’t need to apply your concealer everywhere. If you apply concealer first, you might end up with too much coverage, or you’ll just smear around your hard work when you go in with a layer of foundation. 

Step three: Apply under-eye concealer

Go easy and remember that less is more. You can always add another buildable layer of concealer, but it’s tough to remove makeup and reapply. 

Avoid putting concealer directly under your eyes if you’re concerned about under-eye lines and wrinkles. Instead, apply a dot of concealer just above the cheekbone (about ¼ inch under your eye) and one at your outer corner, and blend. 

Step four: Apply around your nose

The corners of your nose are naturally redder than other areas on your skin. Apply a dab of concealer in each area to eliminate shadows. 

Step five: Cover any blemishes, redness or dark spots

Blemishes and skin imperfections get covered last. To conceal these spots, use the “spackle” technique and dab concealer on the spot repetitively until you reach the desired level of coverage. 

Step six: Set your concealer

Setting your concealer helps it stay in place. You can choose a setting spray or use a powder (or both) to set your concealer. 

The baking technique involves applying several layers of setting powder to your concealer and allowing a few minutes for the powder to warm (or “bake”) to your skin. Once the concealer has been set, the remaining powder is dusted off your face.

Concealer is about to become a staple in your makeup bag

Concealer might just become your favorite beauty must-have. Knowing how to use your concealer the right way is seriously game-changing. 

For more tips (and for the very best clean, vegan concealers), head over to the Kinder Beauty Blog

Not a Kinder Beauty Box member? What are you waiting for? Survey the very best clean and kind beauty products (including the most effective concealers) without ever leaving your house. Kinder Beauty is better beauty. 

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Sources:

Parabens | Safe Cosmetics 

Queen of Green Cosmetics and Body Care The Dirty Dozen: BHA and BHT | David Suzuki

Cruelty-Free Makeup: These Brands DON'T Test on Animals | PETA