10 Ways to Apply Concealer Like a Pro

Janell M. Hickman
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Lack of sleep, dark circles and blemishes can leave you looking less than your best. But before you reach for your trusty concealer, are you actually hiding your imperfections or highlighting them?  No need to fret, you can still look #flawless thanks to expert advice shedding light on tricks, tips and things to avoid when applying concealer. We promise, after a late night on the town these 10 tricks will leave you feeling fabulous—not frumpy!

1. Find The Right Shade
“I firmly believe that concealer should only be ever so slightly lighter than your natural color because going too light draws attention to problem areas,” explains makeup artist and founder of Sonia Kashuk Beauty, Sonia Kashuk. “Go with a shade that’s closer to your foundation – anything too light will look artificial. If you are skipping foundation altogether, choose a shade that’s the exact color of your skin so it blends seamlessly.”

 2. Decipher Your Undertones
“If you’re not sure of your skin’s undertones, here’s an easy trick: look at the veins on the inside of your wrist,” shares Olivia Chantecaille, Creative Director of Chantecaille. “If they look blue/purple in color then you have blue undertones. If they’re blue/green then you’re neutral, and finally if they’re green/olive then you have yellow undertones,” she continues. “The type of jewelry you choose to wear can also be a good indicator. People with cool undertones tend to wear more silver while those with warm undertones opt for gold.”

3. Always Apply Foundation First
“Applying the foundation first helps to even out discoloration and hide darkness under the eyes [as well as] many of the imperfections that you might conceal in the first place,” shares Sephora’s Lead PRO Artist Ilde Goncalves. “This way you will need to use less concealer to cover or neutralize blemishes and dark circles.”

MORE: Your Guide to Finding the Best Concealer For You

4. Find The Right Coverage
“Always stick to creamy concealers, if they get too dry they look heavy on the skin,” explains Kashuk. “You can also mix textures, focusing heavier coverage where needed and applying sheerer coverage to the rest of the area. For dark circles on older skin I love our Liquid Light Concealer—it’s brightening, moisturizing, and lightweight so it lifts darkness while keeping from settling in fine lines. For blemishes and extra dark circles I use our All Covered Up Concealer. It has a heavier coverage but still super creamy to effortlessly blend with the skin.”

5. Hide Pimples Effectively
“I like to disinfect the area before applying any makeup. Our Detox Clay Mask contains rosemary, which acts as a natural antibacterial, while kaolin heals and honey soothes,” shares Chantecaille. “With a Q-tip, apply a small amount of the mask directly to the pimple, leave for 5 minutes and wash off. When covering a pimple, always apply concealer with a brush [she suggests Chantecaille’s Total Concealer]. Next, apply a small amount directly to the pimple, patting the formula into skin and slowly blending out. Immediately follow with a thin layer of HD Perfecting Powder to set the concealer in place.”

6. Don’t Be Afraid of Colored Concealers
“Just like opposite colors on the color wheel cancel one another out, colored concealers work to neutralize discoloration,” explains Goncalves. “Green and yellow concealers help to neutralize redness, while purple works best to erase unwanted yellow undertones. Colored concealers should be used under your foundation in very small amounts—just enough to neutralize the area,” he adds.

MORE: 8 Fabulous Concealers That Won’t Crease

7. Avoid Oil Slicks
“For [women] that have an issue with concealer not staying put, try a sheer dusting power  (like Sonia Kashuk Beauty Brightening Powder) to set it in place while also adding a hint of brightness to the eye,” explains Kashuk.  “For setting blemishes, use a colorless matte loose powder. However, be incredibly careful when using powders – always apply a minimal amount with a light, airy brush and older [women] should stay away from powder altogether!”

8. Prep Skin Accordingly
“Never put concealer directly onto dry under eyes—always use an eye cream first,” explains Chantecaille. “I like to apply a small amount of Stress Repair Concentrate with my finger, tapping it into the skin so it sinks in. [Another tip] when applying concealer is always leave a little bit of dry time for each eye. It stops you from applying too much and allows the product to build better.”

9. Brushes = Control
“Applying your the concealer with a brush allows for precise and even coverage. I also recommend using brushes because you can be strategic and use less product,” explains Goncalves. “For the under eye area, I like to use the Sephora Collection Pro Airbrush Concealer Brush #57  because it buffs out the product and leaves you with an airbrushed finish. For spot treatment, tap product on with a smaller, flat brush like the Sephora Collection Pro Flat Concealer #76 that gives you precision and control.”

10. Bring Attention To Other Areas of The Face
“[To fake looking rested] add a bit of blush—it will instantly brighten the face,” shares Kashuk. “ Or, own the darkness of the eye with a smokey look, then add a pop of color to the lip to further brighten the face.”

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