Concealer Dos and Don'ts

How do you use concealer, and how should you NOT use it? Here's our guide. Learn the right way to use concealer for under-eye circles and more.

How to Use Conceealer

Concealer is a miracle cosmetics product that no makeup bag should be without. Most of us have used it over many years, first to cover up an untimely pre-prom pimple, then to conceal the dark under-eye circles from sleepless nights as a new mother, and eventually to hide fine lines, wrinkles and age spots. But should we be using the same concealer for all of those issues? Does the concealer we used in high school to hide acne also work to hide fine lines? Or should the shades and textures of concealer we use change over time, the same way our needs change?

How to Use Concealer for Acne: Do’s and Don’ts

When shopping for a concealer to cover acne blemishes, texture is all-important. If you are in the midst of a break-out and have dark spots and scars from previous breakouts, DO be sure to reach for a thick, full-coverage concealer formula, preferably in stick form, to add a smooth texture with a shade that’s an exact match for your skin tone.

If your acne is mild, but you have dark spots from previous breakouts, DON'T choose a thick, stick concealer. In that case, a lighter, liquid concealer would provide a more natural look. Again, be sure that you DO choose a shade that matches your skin tone so you don’t end up looking patchy, a dead giveaway that you’re covering up blemishes. Keep in mind that choosing a concealer that is a good match for your skin but contains a slight yellow-tone will help to neutralize and even out redness.

In both cases, it’s crucial that you DO look for a noncomedogenic formula, which means it will not cause further breakouts. Be sure that your concealer is oil-free so your pores won’t be further clogged. Some cosmetics companies also produce concealer that conceals and heals at the same time, with medication included in the formula to help heal breakouts and prevent future breakouts from occurring, while simultaneously covering up blemishes.

How to Use Concealer for Dark Under-Eye Circles: Do’s and Don’ts

For covering up those dark, under-eye shadows and circles that indicate a late or sleepless night, DO reach for a brightening concealer that’s one shade lighter than your skin tone. When smoothed over dark circles, it should equal your natural skin color. Brightening concealers contain illuminating pigments to reflect light and promote a fresh, more awake appearance.

DO choose a slightly salmon shade. The orange tones in salmon concealer will help to cancel out the blue or gray tones of under-eye circles

DO put foundation on before applying concealer, not after. You want your concealer to work on top of your foundation which itself will go some way to cover up dark circles. The concealer applied on top will add to the brightening and seal it in.

DON’T rub the sensitive skin under your eyes while applying concealer. Instead, use your ring finger to lightly dab concealer under your eyes, concentrating on just the dark blue, gray, or purple area.

DO top with a light powder or setting spray to keep your concealer in place all day.

How to use Concealer for Fine Lines and Wrinkles: Dos and Don’ts

When choosing an under-eye concealer, DO be sure to choose one that offers medium coverage and is hydrating in order to avoid concealer settling into fine lines. A lightweight liquid concealer will work better on mature skin than a thick, stick concealer. It’s helpful to warm up a small amount of concealer in your hand before using it. This will melt it to a lighter, more blendable texture.

DON’T choose a concealer that is too light for your skin tone, or it may end up looking pasty or chalky, which will actually worsen the appearance of fine lines instead of helping to cover them.

DO begin with a small amount of concealer and build up if needed. Starting with too much concealer can cause settling into fine lines, rather than gliding over them.

DO be certain to moisturize before applying foundation and concealer, and DON’T top with setting powder if you have fine lines and wrinkles. A setting spray will help your concealer to last and will not settle into lines like a powder often will.

Concealer is not a one size fits all product. Today’s cosmetics market offers many options in concealers. Finding the right shade and texture to suit your skin’s own particular needs will give you the results you are looking for.

Resources— Prevention, InStyle, BeautyBanter, Cosmopolitan