Concealer is my BFF

BlogHer Original Post

When makeup mavens talk about the products they won't leave the house without, they usually mention color cosmetics like lipstick, mascara, or eyebrow color. Concealer doesn't tend to be at the top of the list, maybe because it isn't as dramatic as lipstick, or as easy to apply as mascara. But what a difference the right concealer makes! I really won't leave home without it. 

And guess what? My fellow BlogHer Style writers agree! Metalia and Susan Wagner have both written posts with their excellent concealer tricks. Metalia even included pictures! OK, I'm not that brave, but I have a few ideas about concealer to share.

Benefit-Lemon-AidIt's crucial to find the right color. The secret to a natural-looking concealer is to pick a shade that matches your foundation or is a little bit lighter. Too much lighter and you'll end up looking like you have a sunglasses tan. If you pick up color in the summer, and your foundation ends up being too light, chances are your concealer is too light, too, so be prepared to buy more than one shade. And don't be afraid to ask for help. Somehow it's hard to really see our own skin and hair color, and a second, objective set of eyes can be really helpful. Even in the drugstore, you can show the clerk two shades and ask which one is the best match. (Pictured: Benefit's Lemon Aid, $20)

Find the right texture. Don't confuse those liquid highlighters with concealers. Products like Yves St. Laurent's ground-breaking Touche Éclat are really sheer highlighters. They don't really cover circles so much as deflect attention away from them. You don't want to get anything too shimmery, but at the same time, if you're covering dark under-eye circles, light diffusers bounce light -- and attention -- away from your under-eye shadows. But if you have bags as well as circles under your eyes, anything shimmery or shiny will only emphasize them. This is also true for crows feet.

Urban-Decay-Concealer-BrushUse the right application technique. In my experience, the easiest way to improve the application of your concealer of choice is to use a concealer brush. Don't use a natural bristle brush; get a taklon brush. Taklon is a synthetic fiber that is treated to make it softer and more absorbent than natural bristles; brushes made with taklon are the best for applying creamy makeup. The bristles are durable, easy to clean, and dry quickly after you wash them, which means that you can clean your brush frequently. On top of all that, taklon is cheaper than natural bristles. (Pictured: Urban Decay's Blending Brush, $26)

How to use a concealer brush. A lot of concealers come with a built-in sponge tipped applicator or brush, but frankly, I find these to be more trouble than they're worth. It's hard to control the amount of concealer that gets on the brush or wand, and after using the product, and putting the brush back into the tube for the fiftieth time, hygiene becomes an issue. So even when I'm using a concealer pen like Yves St. Laurent's Touche Éclat, I use the back of my hand as a palette. I work the brush into the concealer on my hand, then apply it around my eyes. That controls the amount of product I'm applying.

Help, I still look exhausted! If you still need help erasing under-eye circles, there are two additional tricks to try. A yellow-toned concealer or concealer base helps cancel out the effect of dark, purplish under-eye shadows. Benefit's Lemon-Aid is a good one.

Another trick that works well for a lot of women is topping their regular concealer with a tiny bit of Laura Mercier's Secret Brightening Powder.

Poppy hands out unsolicited beauty and style advice at The Beauty Boomer when she isn't making fun of celebrities on Mamarazzi.

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