Your Top Concealer Questions, Answered
Your Top Concealer Questions, Answered

Your Top Concealer Questions, Answered

In this series, we ask the pros to answer your beauty questions. This time round, it’s all about concealer: from when to apply to the ones offering the highest coverage, we asked make-up artist Jennifer Oliver for her best advice.
By Rebecca Hull

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Q: Should Concealer Be Lighter Or Darker Than Your Natural Skin Tone?

A: “It can be tempting to go for a shade much lighter than your skin tone to make yourself look as bright and wide awake as possible. But as a rule, a concealer more than a shade or two lighter than your skin can look ashy and grey, so try to find some balance. To go really bright, you would need a colour corrector underneath first to stop it looking grey.”

Q: How Do You Stop Concealer Creasing?

A: “Whether we’re smiling, frowning or squinting, our faces naturally move throughout the day, so it’s impossible to stop concealer from creasing altogether. However, there are ways to minimise the problem. The top causes are using none or too much eye cream. Likewise, applying too thick a layer of concealer will inevitably cause creasing, and finally not using enough powder – or applying it too quickly – will also exacerbate the issue. Your make-up is only ever as good as your skincare, so invest in a good eye cream to prep the area and wait for it to fully absorb before you apply concealer. The skin should feel soft and smooth – not damp or tacky. To lock everything in, apply concealer then let it ‘sit’ for a while, allowing it to settle into any creases. Once you’ve done this, pat out the wrinkles with your finger, then set it with a finely milled powder.”

Q: What’s The Best Concealer For Disguising Under-Eye Circles?

A: “An under-eye concealer should give good coverage, brighten the area, but still look natural. One product that ticks all these boxes is Bobbi Brown’s Skin Concealer Sticks. With 12-hour wear, they don’t budge, and they are incredibly easy to use – just swipe them on, then use your ring finger to blend the formula out. The colour is buildable and lasts – ideal for chucking in your bag, too.”

Q: Fingers, Brush Or Beautyblender – Which Is Better For Applying Concealer?

A: “The right brush can be a game-changer for applying concealer – especially under the eye. It can make application quick and easy, and deposit just the right amount of product. My go-to technique is to lay down the product with a brush – I love the Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Concealer Brush – then I’ll buff the concealer lightly under the eye. After this, I’ll use my ring finger to tap the product to blend it out to a smooth finish. The warmth of your ring finger helps everything melt into the skin – ideal if you want a more natural look. If you need your concealer to stay all day, use a damp Beautyblender to really press the concealer into the skin. This gives more of an airbrushed effect – then set it with powder to lock it in.”


Q: Any Tips For Finding The Right Concealer Shade For Summer & Winter?

A: “Our skin tends to be paler and sallower in winter, so it’s better to use a concealer that’s lighter and cooler toned during the colder months. In summer, our skin is exposed to more sunlight and tends to take on more of a golden tone, so opt for warmer shades to match. Go into the store with no make-up on, try the shade under your eyes and let it settle for a couple of minutes to see the true colour. Then go into natural light to double check – artificial lighting can be deceptive.”

Q: Do You Need An Eyeshadow Primer Or Is Concealer Enough?

A: “If you’re not wearing any eye make-up on top, a light swipe of concealer set with powder can neutralise any discolouration and brighten the area. However, if you’re wearing eye make-up on top, I would avoid laying down any concealer first. Most concealer formulas have a hydrating element to them, and naturally we have more oil on the eyelid, which can cause the eyeshadow to slip. Instead, try a cream shadow stick – Vieve and Bobbi Brown do brilliant ones – as they often double up as a priming base. For very oily lids, try the NARS Pro Prime Smudge-Proof Base for extra longevity.”

Q: Do You Apply Concealer Before Or After Foundation?

A: “Different people – including make-up artists – have their own preference, but there really is no right or wrong. It all depends on the final look you’re going for. For a more natural, fresh-faced look, I prefer applying concealer first. Once you neutralise any discolouration, you’ll find you really don’t need as much coverage as you think elsewhere – often, a sheer veil of foundation or tinted moisturiser is all you need. For more glam, full-coverage make-up, I apply foundation first, then concealer afterwards to brighten up the inner part of the face and balance a smokier eye.”

Q: What Concealer Is Best For Covering Blemishes?

A: “The last thing you want to do is colour correct a spot only to see the concealer sat on top of it – or worse, see it cling to any dry skin or flaky texture. I always use a powder formula to conceal spots; often, spots have a creamy texture to them and liquid concealers can only enhance how they look. I love Bobbi Brown’s Skin Weightless Powder Foundation for a larger area of blemishes or M·A·C’s Studio Finish SPF35 Concealer to cover individual blemishes. With the Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Concealer Brush, I use a patting motion on top of the spot to pack on the product. Many blemishes appear red on the skin, including pimples, acne, allergic reactions, ingrown hairs and cold sores, so it’s best to avoid a concealer with a pink undertone and find one with more of a yellow or peach undertone to neutralise the redness. On a darker skin tone, blemishes tend to have more of a brown tone – so use a peach or orange toned concealer in this case.”


Q: What’s The Best Concealer For Covering Rosacea?

A: “The most effective way to conceal the redness of rosacea is to use a green-toned concealer. This will help correct the colour – green is the opposite colour to red on the colour wheel, so it neutralises its appearance. The best I’ve found is Chanel’s Le Correcteur de Chanel. It’s so easy to use, reflects the light and creates a blurring effect that’s seriously smooth. Apply a few dabs on the area of concern, using a brush, and tap it in lightly – I use Bobbi Brown’s Full Coverage Brush. Be mindful not to blend it in too much so the product disappears completely. Afterwards, apply your foundation and concealer as normal. Because you’ve colour corrected, you won’t need as much coverage on top.”

Q: Which Brand Has The Best Range Of Concealer Shades For Darker Skin Tones?

A: “The NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer comes in 29 shades with different undertones, so you’ll be able to find the perfect shade. A make-up artist favourite, it provides long-wearing coverage with a soft-focus finish. It has a matte feel to it, but still cushions the skin for a smooth, non-cakey look. The oil-free formula is as effective at smoothing imperfections, dark spots and uneven texture on the skin as it is for brightening and concealing under the eye.”

Q: Can You Advise On Concealer Placement – Is Triangle Application A Thing?

A: “TikTok videos have inspired many of us to try out new concealer techniques. Often though, they only look appealing on camera. It can be hard to distinguish between what’s visually pleasing for a photograph and what looks good in real life. My advice? Look at your skin in a mirror and examine where the discolouration is. We tend to have more darkness and discolouration at the inner corner of the eye, and close to the lashes, but not as much on the outer part of the eye. If concealer is likely to crease anywhere, chances are it’ll be there, so just use concealer where you need it most. That said, if you did want to try the triangle application, it’s all about applying your concealer in that shape, down the side of the nose and outer corners of the eyes for a lifted, flawless look. It also works well for anyone with redness or discolouration around the nose.”

Q: Finally, If Your Concealer Is Pilling, What Can Be Done?

A: “Pilling is what happens when you’ve used too much of any one skincare product. Rich formulas are often the cause – especially when they’ve not been left long enough to properly absorb. To prevent pilling, use a light, water-based eye cream and save any thicker formulas for night-time. Apply just a tiny amount of whatever you choose to use, and focus the application around the contour of your eye. Give it a minute or two to set, then go in with your concealer.”

For more make-up advice, tips and recommendations, follow @Jennifer_Makeup

Jennifer is also available for makeovers – including bridal make-up. Get in touch with her via her Instagram


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