Concealer is one of those elementary beauty go-tos – unspectacular in itself but absolutely key to a great skin finish and inherently equipped for multi-tasking when you’re stuck. Most of us know the feeling of a sudden angry blemish or wandering mascara suddenly reorienting otherwise balanced make-up.
The handbag concealer really is beauty’s fire extinguisher. Added to moisturiser, it becomes a foundation substitute. Worn on eyelids, an appropriate concealer acts as a primer for eye make-up to hold on to. Choose one with top-tier coverage, and it can cover tattoos or even pigmented scarring if you feel like it.
Concealer for everyday use largely falls into two categories – the type you use under or around the eye area, and the type that you turn to for covering blemishes or pigmentation.
In the under-eye area, we’re looking for a liquid or creamy consistency. Anything too thick, too matte or too dry will settle, crease, create unnecessary texture and impart a tired impression. Yellow or pink undertones will help with under-eye blueness or darkness.
Benefit Boi-ing Cakeless Concealer (€25 at cultbeauty.com) does a great job of counteracting under-eye darkness with a crease-resistant formula, lifting the whole area.
Sculpted by Aimee Brighten Up Concealer (€16 at sculptedbyaimee.com) works similarly and is without comparison the best affordable under-eye concealer I’ve used in years. It will happily stretch to conceal redness too – it’s particularly good around the nose area, but the brand makes a much stiffer, non light-reflective formula in a pot that is better suited to active blemishes.
Mac Studio Fix 24-Hour Smooth Wear Concealer (€24 at Brown Thomas) is a good hybrid formula. As a liquid, it does work well under the eyes. However, it’s buildable with a matte finish, making its 18-shade offering even more ideal for blemish cover. Since blemishes are generally raised and textured, a matte finish will visually de-emphasise an area, while bright or sheeny finishes visually push it forward as they reflect light.
However, an entirely matte concealer won’t look right if you prefer a more glowing finish to your foundation, so it’s important that concealer finishes for blemish cover roughly match your foundation finish. If the rest of your face is more light-reflective with a glassier look, any flat patches of matte concealer will look conspicuous and draw the eye. Rose Inc Softlight Luminous Hydrating Concealer (€30 at Space NK) is subtly glowing without any slickness and offers immensely pigmented coverage.
Concealers will behave differently depending on what is placed under them. For example, a drier under-eye concealer might be brought to heel with a rich eye cream underneath, while the same eye cream could be too slick a base for a brightening fluid formula. A matte concealer covering a blemish with glowing moisturiser may have a slightly sheenier finish, which could be desirable if you like a more radiant foundation. Experimenting with concealers is the best way to find your ideal set-up.
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