If you’ve been using the same makeup techniques since middle school, it may be time to update your knowledge of how to apply concealer. Some of the latest tips may surprise you (did you know it’s best to apply concealer after foundation)? Plus, it’s always a good idea to brush up on your skills. So grab your concealer brush (or finger) and dive into these concealer application tips.
How To Properly Apply Concealer
Find The Right Concealer For You
There are approximately a bazillion types of concealers available on the market today. Between liquid, cream, wand, tinted, and more – which type should you choose? That answer largely depends on your specific skin concerns and the area you are trying to conceal.
Choose Your Formula
- Liquid Concealer: A versatile formula that works when your skin is dry, oily, or somewhere in between. Liquid concealer is thinner than other formulas. It can be sheer or layered for fuller coverage. You may want to try a liquid concealer for undereye circles or light blemishes.
- Stick Concealer: A full-coverage formula that can handle dark circles, dark spots, or discoloration. Stick concealers are often hydrating, making them a good choice if you experience dry skin.
- Cream Concealer: Creamy concealers have medium to full coverage that can be layered to build coverage. Because they are thicker, they can provide fuller coverage for concerns like spots or discoloration. The cream consistency often melts into foundation for a smooth, natural finish.1
Choose Your Shade
- A Notch Below Your Foundation Color: For your everyday concealer, some beauty experts recommend reaching for a half shade lighter than your foundation color. This helps you conceal and brighten up your complexion without adding any extra darkness.
- Your Natural Color Plus A Warm Undertone: For dark undereye circles, grab a peach-toned concealer for lighter skin or an orange-ey shade for darker skin. Adding warmth to blue-toned circles can help counteract cool tones and even out the complexion.
- Green Concealer: If you aim to cover redness caused by blemishes, skin irritations, or discoloration, go green. A green-tinted concealer layered underneath your normal concealer can help with color correction.2
Select Your Tool Of Choice
Many people choose to use clean fingers when applying concealer. Nothing wrong with that. In fact, a finger is a great tool to use on the delicate skin under your eyes. But depending on the job ahead of you, beauty sponges and concealer brushes should have a place on your counter, too.
- Finger: A convenient choice that works well on your under-eye area. The warmth of your skin helps melt and blend concealer in with your foundation.
- Beauty Sponge: A damp makeup sponge can give you a flawlessly smooth look. Beauty experts recommend these for concealing dark circles.
- Concealer Brush: For targeting blemishes, a stiff, pointed concealer brush should be your tool of choice. Using a brush on blemishes helps you to be more precise and cover only the spot in question.3
Prep Your Skin
Before you apply any makeup, you’ll always want to start with a clean, exfoliated, and moisturized face.
- Wash your face with your favorite daily cleanser.
- Apply a chemical exfoliant.
- Finish with a hydrating moisturizer to help keep your skin plump, smooth, and ready for makeup.4
Apply A Base Of Makeup
If you use foundation, you’ll want to apply it before you use your concealer. Adding foundation first gives you a blendable base to work with.
- Using your fingers, a foundation brush, or a beauty sponge, swipe on foundation that matches your skin tone and blend well.5
Cover Under Eye Circles With The Upside-Down Triangle Technique
Most of us could use a little help covering our undereye area. You may be tempted to swipe some concealer directly under your eye and move on. But this can look unnatural and call attention to dark circles. There’s a more effective technique: the upside-down triangle technique. Here’s how to use concealer to cover dark circles:
- Use a wand or brush to apply concealer in an upside-down triangle shape from the area underneath your eyes all the way beneath your cheekbones.
- Color in this shape with more concealer.
- Lightly dab in the concealer with your ring finger or a beauty sponge.6
Target Blemishes, Spots, And Redness
Once you’ve addressed your under eye area, you may choose to cover additional spots. Remember, for blemishes that need heavy coverage, you may want to use a cream concealer. For areas that need light color correction, you may want to use a liquid concealer.
- Using a stiff brush, dab concealer directly on the areas you want to cover.
- Gently blend the edges with the end of a sponge or a clean finger.7
Set With Powder
Once you’ve targeted the areas you’d like to conceal, you want to make sure to set your makeup with powder.
- Dip a fluffy brush in loose, translucent setting powder.
- Lightly tap the powder all over your face, focusing on the areas where you’ve applied concealer.8
How To Apply Concealer: Advanced Techniques
How To Cover Up A Pimple With Concealer
Covering up a pimple can feel like a momentous task. You’re attempting to layer on makeup to cover the spot, doing your best to make it appear smooth and not cakey or flakey – just like the rest of your skin. Super easy, right?
Concealers can provide amazing coverage for blemishes, but you have to know how to properly apply concealer. Your first step is to assess the area of the blemish. If it’s dry and flaky, try a chemical exfoliant followed by a thick cream. If it’s shiny and red, you may want to try a clarifying toner and a light moisturizer.
Once you’ve smoothed out your canvas, apply a small amount of concealer with a blending brush or the corner of a beauty sponge. Try to keep the concealer contained to the blemish itself. From here, you can build coverage by layering on concealer and then gently blend it in with the rest of your skin. Set your concealer with translucent powder.9
How To Cover Pockmarks
To cover a pockmark, dip a stiff brush into a concealer that’s a full shade lighter than your skin tone. Dab the center of the mark, taking care not to go outside of the edges. Set the concealer with translucent powder.10
How To Disguise Scars
If your scar is raised off your skin, use a creamy, thin formula to cover it. If your scar is flush with your skin, try a thick, matte formula. In both cases, dab concealer over the scar and use a soft finger or beauty sponge to tap it in. Set the concealer with a loose powder.11
How To Hide Dark Circles
The skin under your eyes is thinner than the rest of your skin. With age, this area tends to lose pigment and plumpness. First thing’s first, the best thing you can do for dark circles is to follow a killer skin routine with high quality products that nourish your skin. A regime that includes a protective cleanser, brightening toner, hydrating serum, and a high-quality moisturizer is a great place to start.12
To cover dark circles with concealer, start with a brightening primer. Next layer on a concealer before you apply foundation. Reach for one that is a few shades lighter than your skin tone, and then cover it up with a foundation that matches your complexion. Use the upside-down triangle technique to apply concealer to keep a natural, blended look.13
How To Smooth Out Cakey Concealer
Mature skin requires more hydration than it once did. Dehydrated skin can cause concealer to crease or cake on the skin. To prevent this, always remember to moisturize before you apply concealer. To smooth out cakey concealer that is sitting on your face, dab on moisturizer. Then, take a bit of foundation and mix it with your concealer. Apply this concealer-foundation mixture to soften up the crease.14
Transform Your Look With Concealer
There you have it. Once you master how to apply concealer and how to use concealer to cover up blemishes and dark circles, you may find yourself feeling much more confident in your makeup abilities. Concealer can make a huge difference in your look. But the best thing you can do for your complexion is to adopt a nourishing skincare routine, get plenty of sleep, and don’t forget to smile.