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How to Choose the Right Concealer for Your Skin Tone, Skin Type and Under-Eye Needs

Finding the right shade of concealer can be tricky. These pro tips will show you how to find the one that’s best for you.

Concealer is your secret weapon for minimizing everything from dark circles and blemishes to hyperpigmentation and redness, but choosing the right one can be unnecessarily complicated. How do you match your skin tone? Should you go lighter? How do you decide on a brand or formulation? What if your concealer doesn’t properly cover everything? Jodi Urichuk, L’Oréal Paris Canadian Makeup Artist & Expert, has the scoop on how to choose a concealer that suits your needs and how to apply it once you’ve found your perfect match.

How to choose your concealer shade

When it comes to choosing the best colour of concealer, you should look for one that is “the same shade as your skin tone to cover anything on the face, and then go one or two shades lighter on the under-eye area,” says Urichuk. To find a good match, swipe a few different shades along your jawline and see which one blends into your skin the best. For this, you’ll want natural light, so head to a window or go outside and look at your jawline in a hand-held mirror. To camouflage noticeably dark under-eye circles, or to highlight parts of the face, go with a shade or two lighter than the one you’ve chosen for the rest of your face. For contouring, go one or two shades darker. 

How to choose a coverage level

You’re probably best off choosing a full-coverage concealer, since any stubborn dark circles and blemishes will likely require plenty of pigment. If you want a thinner consistency, you can mix your concealer with a drop of oil or serum, or simply skip concealer in favour of only foundation on the days you’ve had plenty of sleep and your complexion looks clear.

Ready to put your concealer to work? Here are the best moves for…

Covering dark circles

“When covering dark circles, I try to correct the discoloration first and then go back with a concealer that matches the skin perfectly,” says Urichuk. This technique means reducing darkness with a peach-toned primer or a concealer that’s a couple of shades lighter and then applying a second layer that matches your skin tone and foundation.

Even if you don’t have noticeably dark under-eye circles, drawing an upside-down concealer triangle under the eye can wake up a tired-looking face. “Using a concealer with light reflection or luminosity may mean you’ll need only a light application,” says Urichuk.

Reducing puffiness

Urichuk recommends starting with an eye cream that contains caffeine and then blotting the area with a tissue before dabbing on concealer. “Product placement is key for this particular issue,” she says. “You should apply concealer under the actual bag where it looks dark rather than applying it to the bag itself.”

Concealing blemishes

If you’re prone to pimples or have small problem areas that require extra coverage, you’ll want to add a fine-tipped concealer brush or a liquid liner brush to your makeup kit. Using your tool of choice, “tap the concealer onto the area that needs coverage and lightly pat with your finger,” says Urichuk. “Then take a concealer that matches the skin and blend around the area with a fluffy brush. Finish with a translucent powder—but pat, don’t sweep, or you’ll remove all your hard work.”

Minimizing hyperpigmentation

You may have dark spots or patches caused by sun damage or hormone fluctuations. To minimize these spots, “use a colour corrector with peachy undertones to camouflage and then go back in with a concealer shade that matches your skin tone,” says Urichuk.

Toning down redness

Before whipping out your concealer, apply a layer of green-toned colour corrector or primer to your skin. Since green is the opposite of red on the colour wheel, it will neutralize ruddiness. Follow up with a concealer that’s a perfect match with your skin tone.

Highlighting and contouring

“I'm a huge fan of using cream and liquid concealers to highlight and contour,” says Urichuk. Traditional contour powders can be hard to blend or may look muddy, while shimmery highlighters may be too much for day wear. Cream and liquid concealers, on the other hand, tend to be matte or slightly illuminating and blend seamlessly with foundation for a natural-looking contoured complexion.

Your all-in-one concealer

If you’re still having trouble deciding how to choose concealer for your skin tone or concerns, try L’Oréal Paris Infallible Full Wear Concealer. It comes in 24 different shades, so there’s a tone to suit everyone. Plus, the creamy full-coverage formula won’t transfer, fade or flake and is perfect for concealing dark circles, blemishes and pigmentation or blending with an oil or hyaluronic acid serum for a sheer application on the entire face. Simply start at the centre and feather outward with a small, fluffy brush.

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