Friday, March 28, 2014

Concealer 101!

The art of pulling a disappearing act for skin imperfections can sometimes be a bit more complicated than we'd like it to be.  Concealer is one of those things that everyone for one reason or another knows they need, but they don't have a clue of how to find the right one to camouflage the plethora of facial situations that could happen on any given morning.  Whether your issues are pesky under eye circles, sensitive skin flare ups, teenage (or not so teenage) hormonal bumpy wonderfulness... at some point or another we all need this magical little product.  

Lets clear up the concealer confusion!

*DISCLAIMER*  You may love or hate some of my answers, or they may seem unorthodox to you- but trust me- these are things that every good makeup artist knows and does!

Right out of the gate I have to tell ya-- Concealer and under-eye brighteners are two different things!!!  Brighteners will do just as they suggest-- they brighten!  But they do next to nothing when it comes to covering stuff.  So if you have dark circles you need to cover them first THEN brighten the area.  Otherwise you'll still have a shadow cast under your eyes but it'll be a super weird gray color.


Covering dark circles...

On a scale from 1-10 (10 being you look like you have a dramatic smokey eye without any makeup on) how bad are your dark circles???  If you said a 5 or higher- this rule is for you!  Go ORANGE!!!  Like the color of raw salmon kind of orange!  How much orange corrector you use will depend on the color of your skin and how dark the color your combating is (the darker you skin or the darker the area you're covering the more orange you use).   I know this sounds crazy- But the reason why you need to do this goes back to one of my early posts about Color Theory.  Under eye circles usually have a blueish/gray cast to them, and you need to combat that color with warmer shades to neutralize it and get it right.  First you mix the orange and the shade that matches your skin together on the back of your hand and buff it onto the area you're trying to cover, then (if needed) you go over it with just the concealer that matches your skin.  You will be amazed!

Bobbi Brown, Laura Mercier, and MAC all make great corrector concealers- but don't discount other orange colored makeup products with creamy consistencies you may already have. Charlie and I a few years ago were moving cross country and the day before we moved he was out in our garage stacking up extra wood flooring that we had.  And he tilted a box the wrong direction and a wood panel slid out and slammed him in the eye.  Even though we iced his face so much it practically froze it still swelled up into a horrible looking black eye.  He got some weird pleasure out of telling people I did that to him...  

Anywhooo, a few days later we were about to go to dinner with his new boss.  We were totally ready to go and I literally had one foot out the door and Charlie asked me (barley even able to make eye contact while he asked) to cover up his eye.  Keep in mind we were moving cross country and our things hadn't arrived yet, so I was doing my makeup with whatever I had packed.  Luckily Charlie and I have similar skin-tones and I had brought my favorite florescent orange lipstick (Morange by MAC).  The look of concern on his face when I whipped out this lipstick was priceless, but not even 2 minutes later you couldn't even tell that he had a black and blue!  He was impressed, and I couldn't help but make my accomplished, I'm proud of myself smile :)     

Now if you rated your under eye darkness a 1 on the scale you are one of the lucky few that between foundation and an under-eye brightener, you may not need any concealer.  If you rated your circles a 2-4 then between foundation and a concealer that matches your skin- you'll be just fine.

Covering redness in blemishes...

Some of you may be wondering about green concealer- I'll cut to the chase- don't waste your money.  If you have a lot of all over redness in your skin I would consider a green primer.  Smashbox makes a GREAT one.  But as far as using a green concealer to specifically cover individual red spots can over complicate the process.  You can just use a more yellow based concealer (yellow is a color used to make green) and it'll get the job done without over complicating things.  The green does work but without knowing exactly what you're doing- covering the green concealer can make that spot look lighter than the rest of your face.  It's not quite as "fool-proof" as the orange concealer trick.  So I don't feel as confident telling you to do that.  


Everyone wants one miracle concealer that they can use for every skin problem they have.  Unfortunately concealers are formulated for rather specific purposes.  

Something really wet is great for under the eye, it is going to spread out and cover a wider area without looking heavy and its easier to set in place.  Something thicker and creamier is going to stick to one spot and really concentrate the coverage on exactly what you're putting it on.  So it's ideal for covering breakouts and dark spots.  

Sometimes if you have a blemish that is drying out it can get a little flaky and using a creamy concealer draws attention to the flakiness.  So what I like to do in that case is mix the two consistencies together.  It looks way better! 


If you use a liquid, cream, or mousse foundation you want to apply your foundation first THEN concealer!!!  For some reason everyone thinks it's the other way around!  Here's the thing-- We tend to be our own worst critics and when you look at your skin without anything on it you're likely to see LOTS of things that you are going to want to cover and you end up being over zealous with your concealer.  Then when you put your foundation on you end up spreading out your concealer that you placed in the process and now you look like you are wearing a foundation mask!!!  Put your foundation on first!  Because even if it is a really sheer coverage, it'll blur things over and you have a much better perspective of what needs the extra boost of coverage.

For powder foundation users...

Disregard that last paragraph!  Haha!  Cream products tend to not go over a powder base as smoothly.  If you have dark circles to cover- do your concealer first and then your powder.  But if you have blemishes to cover you may not even need a concealer.  If you use a powder foundation then the powder has coverage and you can just apply it like normal and then with a sponge or a small, flat, stiff brush (like an eyeshadow brush) apply your powder like it was your concealer!    

For around the eye area I suggest buffing your concealer with a fluffy brush in teeny little circular motions, it'll make the concealer look more natural and keep it from settling into the little lines around our eyes (and I'm not just referring to fine lines and wrinkles).  And for blemishes I recommend tapping/stippling on your concealer, that will help build up the coverage better!   

In general I don't really suggest using your finger to apply your concealer because around your eyes your fingers will apply color unevenly.  Sometimes I might work a creamy concealer in my fingers for a few seconds just warm it up and then I might place it with the same fingers, but I always then switch to a brush to actually blend it out.  As for applying concealer over top of blemishes you want to be extra mindful of bacteria so you definitely don't want to use your fingers.  Basically- you need to go get yourself a brush!  

Making Your Concealer Stay!!!

You HAVE to set your concealer!  Otherwise it'll slip and slide right out of place and within an hour you'll look like you never covered anything.  What you do is (in the areas you concealed) you want to tap and press your setting powder of choice in place!  You don't want to buff because you will disturb the coverage you just worked so hard for.  Once you have tapped it over the concealed areas then you can go ahead and buff your little heart out!  Just remember to tap and press it into place first!  If you use a powder foundation then you don't have to worry about this step.  If you use a self-setting foundation (like a cream to powder) you still need to set your concealer.  You don't need to set your whole face- just the spots you boosted the coverage. 

Welcome to flawless face land!

Love and Blessings,

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