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Concealer Mistakes Everyone Makes—and How to Fix Them

Think using concealer to disguise dark circles and blemishes requires pro skills? Avoid these common mistakes and you’ll be well on your way to the makeup big leagues.

If you’re anything like the average woman, you probably have a love/hate relationship with concealer. It’s one of those products that looks amazing when it works—bringing light to the face and minimizing imperfections—but it’s also very noticeable when used incorrectly. We’re here to demystify the whole situation, because concealer is not that complicated once you know the basics. Read on to discover exactly how to use concealer, the biggest mistakes to avoid and even the very best under-eye concealer for you.

Mistake 1: Skipping moisturizer

Prepping your skin for makeup is key, and that’s true for foundation, eyeshadow and concealer, too. Always apply eye cream and allow it to absorb before trying to cover dark circles. Your application will be smoother, and you’ll prevent caking. If you’re dealing with dry, flaky blemishes, the same holds true. But first, exfoliate the dry skin with a damp washcloth or scrub and then hydrate with an oil or a cream. Now you’re ready to add a layer of concealer.

Mistake 2: Using the same concealer for every issue

Don’t shoot the messenger, but you’ll probably want to have a couple of different concealers in your arsenal. Why? Because different shades and textures work best for different issues. For example, you might want a peach-toned concealer with light-reflective properties to combat the blue undertones of dark circles. Plus, an under-eye concealer should be light and fluid so it doesn’t settle into lines. A concealer for acne, on the other hand, should match your skin tone (or be slightly lighter) and have a thicker consistency to offer more coverage.

The best concealer for dark circles is L’Oréal Paris True Match Multi-Use Concealer. Available in a mix of 14 warm, cool and neutral shades ranging from fair to deep, it’s an ideal concealer for dark skin. The concealer pen uses a soft-touch cushion applicator to release a medium-coverage formula that seamlessly corrects under-eye circles and blurs imperfections, while also brightening the area around the eyes for a radiant look.

If you need a concealer for acne, try L’Oréal Paris True Match Crayon Concealer, available in six shades. It offers full coverage, which makes it perfect for hiding prominent blemishes.

Mistake 3: Putting concealer on before foundation

Wondering whether to apply concealer before or after foundation? When using a liquid or cream foundation, the rule of thumb is to apply a light layer to even out your complexion and then go in with concealer and spot-treat areas that require a little extra attention. That way, you won’t rub your concealer off after you’ve applied it, you’ll use less product overall and you won’t look like you’re wearing a mask of makeup. The one exception: if you’re using a powder foundation. In that case, apply concealer first to avoid clumping or pilling.

Mistake 4: Using the wrong brush

Yes, you can use your fingers to blend larger areas, but when it comes to blemishes, you’re going to want a concealer brush with a narrow tip. The narrower the brush, the more precise you can be with application—which means you can avoid creating a light circle of concealer around the blemish that draws attention. Pat the concealer directly on the spot, rather than brushing it over the surrounding area, to allow for thicker, more targeted coverage.

Mistake 5: Applying too much

Caking concealer on top of your dark circles will look unnatural and draw attention to fine lines. If you feel tempted to pile on layer after layer, try a colour corrector before your foundation—something in salmon or peach to help minimize blue tones. Ultimately, you’ll need less concealer to banish your blues and still enjoy a natural finish.

Mistake 6: Forgetting to set it

If you have oily skin or you find that your foundation and concealer seem to disappear or shift throughout the day, you’ll want to set them with a lightweight translucent powder. Dust the setting powder sparingly under your eyes and over blemishes to help your concealer stay put all day long. If your skin is super-dry or you have a flaky blemish, you may want to skip this step, as powder can draw attention to dryness. Instead, try a setting spray.

If you can remember these six common mistakes when applying your makeup, your love/hate relationship with concealer will be a distant memory. From now on, it will be only love—and that natural, flawless complexion you’re craving.

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