Concealer is quite possibly the biggest lifesaver (or rather, face saver) in our makeup arsenal, but it can also be a pretty tricky tool to apply correctly. Our concealer of choice can be our best friend, dealing with blemishes, dark circles, uneven skin blotches, and more—but it works best when applied with precision, in the right spots, in the correct way. Are you using your concealer to its fullest potential?
Order of Products
“If you’re working with a cream concealer that doesn’t set with a long-wear finish, I typically like to apply foundation first. This allows for the foundation to do its best at masking any imperfection,” says Josh Graham, Lead Makeup Artist at Cate McNabb Cosmetics. “After foundation has been applied, I will assess what blemishes need tending.”
A little concealing around the nose will generally help with that extra bit of redness that pops through. It’s important also to remember when concealing around the eye that the inner corners of the eye are often forgotten, says Graham. You can use a wand or a brush, but this specific place is almost always best handled with the ring finger. “The same approach can be taken to concealing blemishes on the face—a brush is great, but sometimes tapping a bit of the product on with the finger can really allow for a layering effect,” Graham adds.
Highlighting and Contouring
Once you’ve taken care of blemishes, spot concealing, and dark circles, you can move on to highlighting and contouring. If your brows are feeling a bit unruly, you can easily trick the eye and apply a bit of concealer one shade lighter than your skin and smooth that just under the brow, says Graham. Apply with a flat or angled brush so you get a smooth, crisp line and blend down. This takes care of the brow-lifting highlight that most people try and accomplish with a shimmery eye shadow.
If you do have a concealer that’s a shade lighter than your skin tone, go ahead and brush it just on the high plane of the cheek, down the center of the nose, and on the Cupid’s bow. Blend that out and set with powder, then go ahead and finish the rest of your makeup, Graham says.
When you move on to your lips, you can actually run a bit of concealer around the perimeter of the lip to give a crisp, clean border for your lipstick, or apply your lip color first and then take that same angled or flat brush and clean up errant lipstick lines for a super polished effect.
Read more: 10 Concealers That Won’t Cake or Crease