What Is Concealer?
Concealer is a makeup product that you can use to cover, conceal, and camouflage spots, scratches, shadows or blemishes on the skin. A concealer tends to be available in a flesh-toned shade. And depending on where on the face or body you are going to apply it, it either matches the skin tone, or is a slightly lighter shade (particularly in fashion under the eye area) than the skin tone of the makeup wearer.
Why use a Concealer?
In a nutshell, concealing helps foundation with the task of evening out your skin tone, right? But it does so much more than that.
So why do we conceal?
To cover blemishes, scratches, scars, any marks on the skin that you might not like to share with the world on a daily basis.
If you are using concealer to cover acne, try looking for one that contains salicylic acid, as this will help work on the acne at the same time as keeping it covered.
We can use concealer to cover dark shadows under your eyes – when you’re tired, stressed or dehydrated and you want to brighten your eyes a little. A concealer can work wonders.
Basically, we want to look and feel better about ourselves – and our clients/models/actors.
How To Use a Concealer Correctly
To answer this question, it makes sense to go back a step in the makeup application process.
I don’t know about you, but that means that concealing starts with the foundation application.
Personally, at least 3/4 of the time, I start with the foundation when applying makeup. If the look has a heavy or dramatic eye look, I might start with the eye, but more often than not, I start with the foundation.
I might add, for the sake of this post, we’re not discussing skin prep or any skincare steps you want to include in your routine here. This is strictly laser-focused on concealing as I want to keep our eyes on the road. Hope that makes sense! We can take skin prep another day 🙂
How to Conceal:
- Apply your foundation over the face. This will help lighten the load of your concealer, as it will cover any light blemishes or discolorations in the process. So if you think of each makeup step as helping the next step, you can love your foundation a little bit more for how much it achieves!
- Next, apply your concealer to the areas that need it. I like to use a small concealer brush – that way, I can pinpoint and apply accurately exactly where the concealer product is going. This is advantageous for many reasons: I don’t waste product, I’m time efficient, and I’m clean with my application. Win-win.
- Once I have applied the concealer to the targetted area, I use a clean brush to blend it out and into the foundation – and like magic, it disappears (that was in my magician’s voice….)
If you’re concealing your own face, you may feel more comfortable using your fingers. And that’s fine. Just make sure they are clean, and try to stick to using your fourth finger. You will have a lighter touch with it than, say, your pointer finger, and the warmth of your finger will help blend and move the concealer product beautifully, too.
And that’s the reader’s digest version of how I like to conceal a spot or scar on the face.
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Types of Concealers
Like all of our beloved makeup products, there’s an abundance of choices when it comes to concealers.
And the type you use is dependent on the skin type it’s going on. For example, the concealer I would use on a 21-year-old with flawless, plump skin (not envious at all!) may be different from the concealer I use on a 65-year-old.
Concealers are available as liquids, creams, creamier “pen” products with a button to push the product out, sticks, and even a powder color-correcting concealer.
Generally speaking, liquid concealers can be lighter in coverage and rely on reflective qualities as opposed to high-pigment and heavy coverage. They feel lighter on the skin and may be better options if your skin is dry or textured.
Amazing Cosmetics Concealer
I’ve only recently become aware of this amazing concealer, and how grateful am I that I did? While the lighter concealer shades can run a tad ashy, this lovely concealer blends out nicely and finely and conceals dark shadows like a champion.
Maybelline Instant Rewind Concealer
With what may be the highest-ever review count on Amazon (a whopping almost 175,000 strong, to be precise!), it seems like the masses have spoken.
And a vast majority of these reviews are 4 or 5 stars. Pretty incredible.
This Maybelline baby has some staying power for a liquid concealer and packs a punch in the pigment department. This is a dream product that is long-lasting and without getting all up in your creases or fine lines. It’s almost too good to be so affordable.
Available in 18 glorious shades.
e.l.f. Hydrating Camo Concealer
Another stellar product from e.l.f that’s not only affordable and falls in the “drugstore” classification but is high-quality and works as well as its counterparts that may even have an extra zero after the cost price of this one.
Pretty cool, right?
Available in 25 different shades.
DermAblend Cover Care Concealer
The high-coverage reputation of Dermablend continues with the Cover Care Concealer. Available in an easy-to-use tube with a sponge-tipped wand applicator, you use straight onto those stubborn spots, acne scars, and under-eye area dark circles.
With staying power and a matte finish, this is a great stop if you’re looking for the one product to use for your concealing.
IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer
How could I leave out IT Cosmetic’s #1 Best-Seller product?
This multi-tasker will easily conceal your under-eye bags, any redness, hyperpigmentation, extreme under-eye darkness, age spots, dark spots, broken capillaries, and discoloration.
High-pigment, full coverage concealing. Can’t go wrong.
Find the IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye here.
A cream concealer can offer a higher level of coverage. these products tend to be thicker and drier than their liquid cousins and may require a lighter touch and more time and finesse to perfect.
RMS Un-Cover Up All Natural Concealer
I love everything RMS is about. Celebrating your skin and not necessarily “covering it up.”
So with that in mind, this is a vegan, cruelty-free hydrator and lightweight formula concealer. I love a good skincare/makeup combo.
Dermaflage Coverage +
Specifically targeted towards those among us who experience rosacea, Dermaflage is about as intense as it gets when it comes to coverage. So if it’s high coverage you’re looking for, you are in the right place.
I hope that Dermaflage will expand on its limited shade options in the future.
NYX Conceal Correct Palette
While this is a rather obvious nod to the MAC Concealer Palettes I love so much and rely on at work. There is definitely a place in the market for the NYX Conceal Correct palettes. These creams are blendable and while they may not have the pigment power of a MAC cream or let’s say the Maqpro creams, they will still help you get the concealing done, and with a couple of correcting options (a peach color corrector and a yellow color corrector) inside each palette, it s a great starter kit for someone that may be new to the concept of color correcting.
A great low-cost intro into the world of concealing and correcting.
Find the NYX Conceal Correct Palette here.
The lesser-known of the concealer family, this concealer may just house one of my favorite products of all time! Well, the product in question is a bit of an anomaly – as it lies in both the concealer and corrector classification.
Powder concealers tend to be mineral-based.
PUR 4-in-1 Pressed powder mineral makeup
This compact is a lovely intro to the world of powder makeup for those that are unfamiliar.
The perfect all-rounder – whether you’re looking for some minimal concealing or a quick all-over base. And who says powder makeup is going anywhere?
It’s vegan, cruelty-free, contains an SPF 15+, and is definitely worth a try if you like to keep it simple in your makeup routine.
Bareminerals Loose Powder Concealer
Super convenient and perfectly concealing, this BareMinerals loose powder is so easy to use. And again, perfect for you if you just need a quick swipe of color over your complexion.
I love a good mineral powder product, as they really do work.
Bare Minerals pairs coverage with protection as this powder also packs a punch with an SPF 20. It will cover your redness, acne, scars, and anything else you want to keep from the world while looking and feeling light as a feather.
Revlon Photoready Concealer Stick
With a medium to full coverage finish, this Revlon staple comes ready and easy to use, with an angled top. It’s like your favorite lippie that just knows how it needs to go on your face.
So once you apply directly from the stick, you can just blend it in with a tap of your finger.
I look forward to seeing Revlon expand on its shade options in time, as currently there are only a few options for lighter skin tones.
Cleau de Peau Concealer
Now, while this may be at the other end of the scale in terms of price, there is good reason.
This gorgeous luxury brand truly provides us with the highest level of quality and gives us a dewy yet high-covering concealer that is long-lasting. It just makes you feel radiant and fab.
Available in 12 shades. Easy to apply straight from the stick and blend with your finger.
Find the Clè De Peau Concealer here.
What is Corrector?
In makeup, a corrector is a product that uses the principles of color theory to neutralize the actual color of the skin to match and blend in with your all-over skin tone.
For example, a green neutralizer will even out redness or a red pimple. Or you can use an orange corrector to soften under eye dark circles (that can have a blue tone).
You could also classify a corrector as a red-based product that you use as a first step to cover tattoos.
In a nutshell, a corrector is any product that corrects discoloration in the skin using the opposite shade of the discoloration to do so.
The Color Wheel
So we couldn’t really discuss correcting in makeup without a gentle nod to our old pal, the color wheel.
And if you’re still avoiding understanding or just generally acknowledging the existence of color theory and the principles of the color wheel, PLEASE DO! It’s not that hard once you understand the basics. And you can learn those basics right here.
The very concept of correcting IS color theory, really. So you probably already know more than you’re giving yourself credit for, and if you use any green, purple, orange, yellow, or red complexion colors, chances are, you are applying the principles of color theory already.
Why use a Corrector?
That’s a very good question.
And the answer is, to create the illusion of even skin tone with light and color.
One of my very first movie experiences (back in the dawn of time – the 1990s) I worked on 100’s of pale, bald characters. First, we would shave their heads, and once that was complete, we would apply a green neutralizer all over their scalps to help take out any warmth in the skin.
And then, finally, a pale cream base was applied all over their head and powdered.
And that, my friend, was my very own introduction to correcting. On the job. Best way to learn, right?
How to Use a Corrector
Unlike a concealer, a corrector is most beneficial if applied before your foundation.
This is because it’s main task is correcting discoloration on the skin. Essentially, bring the area in question to an equal playing ground with the rest of the face.
So by correcting (or neutralizing) the targetted area first, when you go to apply your foundation shade to your face, the area you have corrected will appear the same shade and tone as the rest of your skin.
Does that make sense?
It’s basically color theory in practice and kind of magical. And once you grasp it, you won’t ungrasp it.
So if you have dark blueish circles under your eyes, you will want an orange to peach-based corrector if you have fair skin.
If you have dark blueish or purple-ish circles under your eyes and you have a darker skin tone, you will want a red-toned corrector to neutralize the dark circles.
And the same principles apply whether you are combatting melasma or hyper-pigmentation, acne or red spots, or redness.
I like to apply the corrector to my own face with my finger. The warmth of my finger helps blend the product really well, and seems to work better than a brush.
If I am applying corrector to someone else, I always use a small makeup brush to get the product on, and then a fresh brush to blend it.
When applying a corrector, you’ll see that some of the work is done instantly. But the magic doesn’t truly happen until your foundation goes over it and you have your even skin tone once again.
So, the steps are:
- Identify the correcting you want to achieve.
- Select your correcting makeup.
- Apply your corrector to the targetted area you are looking to neutralize.
- Blend out the corrector so just a fine layer remains and it blends out perfectly into the surrounding skin.
- Continue with your complexion makeup – your foundation and concealer (if you need it). The foundation should seamlessly cover the corrector you have just applied.
Types of Correctors
Creams and liquid colour correctors are by far the most popular. Depending on the skin type you are working with, of course, you’ll determine the best formulation for the skin type.
If you have very dry skin, I would recommend a liquid over a cream, as a cream product can be drier and heavier and end up emphasizing any dryness or skin flaking as opposed to covering and making your skin look flawless.
Here are some of my favorites and some of the best color correctors available.
Ben Nye Corrector Wheel
The Ben Nye name is such a well-respected name in the theatrical industry. And this color corrector wheel is the perfect entry-level compact if the color wheel is entirely new to you.
And if you’re still wondering how to use a green or a purple cream on your face, check out my introduction to color theory in makeup. It will definitely help you understand what color theory is, and literally what a color wheel is too.
This particular palette will be applied to light skin tones, although the orange and olive tones will also work nicely on medium to darker skin tones for corrective work.
Ben Nye creams are always easy to use and work with, so as I mentioned if you’re looking to start trying color correcting in your makeup, look no further than this high-quality cream.
Find the Ben Nye Corrector Wheel here.
Maqpror Fard Creme Palette Corrector
If you haven’t already seen me rave about Maqpro elsewhere, now’s your chance.
Some of my all-time favorite correctors are mini-me-sized cream color-correcting palettes that last forever and go a long way.
This is a fantastic corrector palette for medium to deeper skin tones and will correct any pigmentation, shadows, or dark spots you may be looking to correct.
If you don’t know where to start, just have a play.
Find the Maqpro Fard Corrector Palette here.
NYX Cream Corrector Palette
Here’s another user-friendly, entry-level corrector if you’re new to the color-correcting game.
Like its concealer counterpart, the NYX Cream Corrector is less pigmented than, say, the Maqpro cream yet still maintains a creamy formula. And for you, that may be perfect.
Find the NYX Cream Corrector Palette here.
Ucanbe Face Corrector Palette
I decided to include this corrector palette from Ucanbe because of the range of shades all within the one palette.
And the reason that this is important, is that for beginners, and for the sake of usability, any single one of us can grab this palette and settle on the right shade and combinations of shades to correct our skin tones with ease.
There’s no denying this is a great jumping-off point for the price-point.
Find the Ucanbe Cream corrector Palette here.
Vasanti Liquid V0s Color Correcting Concealer
I love this single color correcting shade for under-eye color correcting for olive and medium to dark skin tones.
Its that perfect orange concealer tone to easily cancel out dark circles, shadows and skin imperfections that can occur from time to time.
L.A. Girl Pro Conceal Corrector Set
Another great starter kit for the concealing and correcting beginner. LA Girl provide us with a very staple orange, green and yellow color correcting combo that can take care of all manner of discolorations and scars on our faces.
These creams will be most effective on the light-to-medium skin shades, and the orange would also work for medium to darker skin tones.
Stila Correct and Perfect Palette
This is a long-time classic correcting palette from Stila.
I like it because you are given the creams in the set, plus the added bonus of two powder correctors that you can use in conjunction ith the creams, or on their own as well.
Plus if you are still unsure about what shades to use, the back label gives you a guide for what each shade is for.
Would love, love, LOVE to see this palette in medium, dark, and deep shades too.
Nyx Color Correcting Powder
While these powders may look a bit scary to you, they are really not.
And while the banana shade is obviously the most popular by far (thanks Kim Kardashian for bringing banana powder to the masses!) the green color corrector and lavender color corrector options are great. NYX suggests you can use them before or after your foundation application to help cancel out redness (green) and sallowness (lavender).
Available in banana, lavender, and green.
Find the NYX Color Correcting Powder here.
Neutrogena Clear Coverage Correcting Powder Makeup Compact
In pressed powder formulation, Neutrogena’s Color Correcting Compact is a convenient way to color correct your redness.
Easy to keep in your purse on the move, this green colour corrector is even more easy to use. Apply with either a puff or brush in a stipple motion to deposit green neutralizing powder where you need it.
Do I Need a Concealer If I use a Corrector?
Technically yes. And no.
Let’s go over it.
If you have particularly dramatic dark blue/brown circles under your eyes, you may rely on a very strong orange-based corrector as the first step of your makeup application. You may then follow this with a concealer, and then your foundation.
You may use your orange-based corrector and go straight into you foundation next. It’s entirely up to you.
On the other hand, you may have a very faint scar that you only conceal each day. And perhaps you apply your foundation first, and then, if you need to, you add some of your concealer over the top, and that’s it.
There are no hard and fast rules, so experiment, and don’t be afraid to try different things and different process, techniques and products.
At the end of the day, concealers and correctors are very different products with different functions. And at the end of the day, if you feel great, who cares what your approach is?
So, whe it comes to the concealer vs corrector debate, well, it’s entirel up to you. So go and find your makeup flow.
Featured Image by George Milton