Of all the tips and tricks Allure editors have amassed over the years from makeup artists, one of the most useful snippets of advice we've retained is to invest in multiples of your base products. Why? Because when it comes to foundation and concealer, it can be helpful to have several on hand for different situations and concerns. Take foundation for instance: Pros say you should have two in your collection so that you can create custom shades when your skin color changes during seasons — or so that you can shade and illuminate without whipping out your contour and highlighter stick.
As far as concealer is concerned, it's a smidge more complex. Some experts have admitted to using up to four concealers at a time, depending on the desired finish they want. Though they did add that in most cases, just two will suffice for those who don't do makeup for a living. I'll let the pros explain themselves.
Color is undoubtedly one of the most important aspects when it comes to concealer — not to mention the main reason you'll want multiples in your kit. That's because one shade of concealer may not work for every skin concern you want to cover up. A color that works to neutralize redness won't brighten up undereye circles or conceal a scar and vice versa.
When it comes to your under-eyes, most pros recommend using a light-reflective formula that's one shade lighter than your complexion, as this imparts a subtly luminous effect that makes you appear more refreshed and awake. Makeup artist Joanna Schlip recommends Yves Saint Laurent's top-rated Touché Eclat for light coverage and Clé de Peau Beauté's classic Concealer when she wants a touch more opacity. "I love it because it won't crease but covers really well," she explains.
Another great undereye option is Giorgio Armani Beauty's High Precision Retouch Concealer, which comes recommended from Yara Shahidi's go-to makeup artist, Emily Cheng.
A makeup artist uses a concealing wand to brighten a model’s under-eyes.
If you struggle with stubborn dark circles, a color-correcting concealer in a peach-y, orange (for darker skin tones, suggests makeup artist Nick Barose), or purple-tinted hue can be an excellent solution that helps to diminish their intensity. For this, makeup artist Kate Lee, who works with stars like Dakota Johnson and Emilia Clarke, favors Chanel's Longwear Color Correcteur in Rose. "It really helps to cancel out any blue or green tones," she says. "Then I usually pat a more complexion-appropriate concealer on top to balance it out."
When working on clients with medium to dark skin tones, Cheng reaches for her Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer to cover dark circles. The formula comes in 22 shades with plenty of options for deeper complexions.
Color-correcting concealers can also be used to address concerns like redness and hyperpigmentation; green to minimize redness and peach or purple to disguise acne scars or sunspots. Then, as Lee suggests, apply a small amount of concealer that matches your skin tone on top to marry all the tones together.
For makeup artist Rommy Najor, who works with A-listers like Kate Moss and Hillary Duff, color correcting is a step he tends to forgo, preferring light layers of a high-coverage concealer instead. "I generally don’t use color correctors since I already get enough payoff in coverage with a concealer itself," he says. Although, he does enjoy the M.A.C. Conceal and Correct Palettes, which includes several different complexion shades, as well as a color corrector you can use when needed. "You can customize your shade all year round with these which is great since our skin tone can change depending on seasons."
In regards to blemishes, makeup artists advise looking for a shade as close as possible to your complexion, seeing as you want the concealer to blend seamlessly into your skin without any obvious lines or awkward discoloration. (Here is a handy guide that will help you determine your skin tone and undertones once and for all.)
Finally, while it's not an issue or concern in the traditional sense, the pros pointed out that it can also be helpful to have more than one concealer since most people's skin color changes slightly throughout the year. Having two or three in your collection allows you to adjust your makeup accordingly should you get a little lighter in the winter or darker in the summer. Even if it's just a subtle shift, having the right shade for you on hand is ideal if you want to achieve the most natural-looking finish possible.
When we talk about texture here, we're referring to the actual consistency and feel of a concealer, which is all determined by its formula. Concealers can be thin or thick, sheer or opaque, creamy or dry — all of which come into play when choosing what kind you want to use on a specific skin concern.
"Under-eyes tend to be drier so you want to aim for creamy liquid concealer," explains Barose, who likes IT Cosmetics' Bye Bye Under Eye and the Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer. "These help to reflect light and brighten up the area," he explains. And, because they're creamy and moisturizing, they won't dry out the under-eyes, which can make the area appear cakey.
Makeup artist Fiona Stiles likes to use a thinner liquid formula for under the eyes. Lee also likes a creamy, liquid concealer, but prefers one with a brush or wand applicator, like Laura Mercier's Flawless Fusion Longwear Concealer.
A makeup artist applies concealer to a model’s blemish.
On the flip side, for acne spots, all the pros recommend a thicker, more pigment-rich concealer that sticks to blemishes and won't reflect light (this will only highlight the area). "For blemish spots on the face, you want something thicker and drier like the ones that usually come in pots, pans, or palettes," says Barose. "I like palettes such as M.A.C.'s Conceal and Correct, which has six shades or the Laura Mercier's Secret Camouflage with two shades so that you can mix and match," he adds.
Schlip is also a fan of Secret Camouflage, which has long been a staple in many a makeup artist kit. "It covers just about anything and is ultra long-wearing," she says.
Najor also likes Clé de Peau Beauté's concealer, Kryolan Dermacolor Palettes, and M.A.C. Pro Longwear Concealer for hard-to-cover concerns, as they're ultra-pigmented, dry down well and are quite stable so they wear well throughout the day.
Lee adds that opaque concealers are better for areas that have redness or need more coverage such as blemishes, veins or scars.
Highlight and Contour
In terms of highlighting and contouring, some makeup artists use concealer to shade and illuminate because it blends into the skin so beautifully. The reason? It's the same consistency as what you used on the rest of your face and therefore melts right in. Schlip likes the RCMA Palettes for this as they come with a wide range of colors to suit a variety of skin tones.
A makeup artist highlights and contours a model’s face using concealer and a small blending brush.
Stiles says she specifically likes to contour and highlight with concealer on darker skin tones: "I don't do this on lighter skin tones as it tends to lean a bit orange, but certainly for darker skin tones because the colors add depth and dimension," she explains. If you've had trouble finding a concealer that matches your skin tone, no need to fret: Here are 10 of the best for darker complexions.
Lee, on the other hand, likes to use a highlighting concealer to enhance the brow bone and around the lip line. "It makes it appear crisper," she says. "I usually use a shade one or two tones lighter, and I use the tiniest amount and place it very precisely."
Every makeup artist I spoke to suggested having at least two concealers in your collection, as this makes it much easier to address skin concerns that require different types of attention, such as dark circles and blemishes. If you're not afraid of options, it couldn't hurt to have three or four in case you want to color correct, or if you know for a fact your skin tone varies a lot. Need help shopping for concealers? We got you. Here are 11 concealers that work well on dry under-eyes and 16 experts recommend for dark spots and hyperpigmentation.
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