Concealer is amazing. It instantly brightens dark eye circles, conceals spots, camouflages pigmentation spots, and so much more. But how do you know which shade of concealer to choose? When you go to a makeup counter or drugstore to buy a concealer, the sales assistant will often tell you to choose a shade that’s 1 to 2 shades lighter than your skin tone. But choosing a lighter shade of concealer isn’t actually going to do anything at all. There’s actually a bit more to choosing a concealer than this. But don’t worry, I’m going to break it down and make it super simple for you so that you’ll never again waste money on the wrong concealer. So let’s get started with helping you choose your perfect concealer shade.
THE BASICS OF CONCEALER
Let me get a little bit technical for a second. When choosing your perfect concealer shade, the rules of colour theory come into play. Now don’t worry, this isn’t going to be an art lesson, nor is it going to be complicated. ☺
Last week I touched on the differences between foundation and concealer. Today I’m concentrating on concealer only. Firstly, the purpose of concealer is to neutralise, or even out, certain areas of your skin. So for example, dark circles around the eye area, spots, redness on your cheeks, chin and nose. It’s not possible to treat all of these issues with just one shade of concealer. Why? Well here’s where our colour theory comes into play.
If you look at the colour wheel, the colours that are opposite each other on the wheel are called complimentary colours. That’s because when they’re placed side by side, they compliment one another and increase in their brightness. However, when you mix them together, they neutralise one another. I’ve given you some examples of complementary colours in the chart below.
WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH CHOOSING CONCEALER?
Dark circles around the eye area are generally a bluish colour. So this is where our colour theory comes into play. As orange is the opposite of blue on the colour wheel, you need to choose a concealer that has orange undertones in it, in order to neutralise those pesky dark circles around your eyes.
Now let’s move on to any redness or spots, which are, of course, red in colour. As we’ve already established, green is the opposite of red on the colour wheel. So in order to neutralise any redness or spots, you need to choose a concealer that contains green undertones.
So when choosing a concealer, you first need to take a look at the colour of the area you want to neutralise. Then choose a concealer with a colour base that’s the opposite of it on the colour wheel.
As you can see, choosing a concealer that’s one shade lighter than your skintone isn’t actually going to conceal anything at all. In fact, choosing a lighter shade with no undertones can often just lead to a grey looking tint around your eye area. All that’s going to do is make you look ill and even more tired. So if you’ve been using a concealer and wondering why you’re still looking tired, or still have redness, this is most likely why.
So how do I choose my perfect concealer shade?
Many of the mainstream brands you find in department stores and drugstores don’t have undertones in their concealers. They’ll often just have shades that have names such as light 1, light 2, medium 1, dark 1, and so on. That’s okay. But that’s referring more to your skintone, rather than what it’s actually supposed to be concealing. Even some of the very well known, and very expensive, brands don’t have undertones in their concealers.
Now this next bit is a little tricky. It can be, in all honesty, very hard to know which concealers have green undertones and which have orange undertones. The reason being, they don’t actually look orange or green.
But I’ll attempt to make it a little easier for you. MAC is a brand whose concealers have undertones in them. They have a coding system which makes it easier to find which shades will neutralise dark shadows and which will neutralise redness and spots.
If you’d prefer more of a natural alternative then the Touch Mineral Concealers by Younique are perfect for you. These concealers are free from parabens, talc, formaldehyde, and fragrance and are not tested on animals. They’re also vegan-friendly.
These are the very concealers I use on myself and my clients every single day. They have undertones to them, so it makes it so much easier to choose the perfect concealer shade that will actually do what you want it to do. The only thing you need to then choose is whether you are light, medium or dark toned.
I’ve listed out below which shades are for balancing out dark eye circles and which ones are for balancing out redness. This will make it very easy for you to find your perfect concealer shade for the area you want to conceal. If your area around your eyes is not overly dark, or if you have little to no redness, then choose a neutral shade, as this is the perfect concealer shade for you.
One thing to note it that these concealers are highly pigmented. So this means, you only need to apply the tiniest amount of product. They’re very easy to apply and you can literally apply them in seconds. So you’ll immediately look fresher and more awake, which in turn makes you FEEL more awake. I use one shade with green undertones to balance out redness on my cheeks, chin and nose area. And I use a shade with orange undertones to brighten the dark circles around my eye area. So even before applying my foundation, my complexion already looks more even and refreshed. Some days I actually only wear concealer.
As you can see, I use 2 different shades of concealer to neutralise 2 different areas of my face. But this doesn’t mean that you’ll need 2 different shades of concealer too. It really just depends on what you want to neutralise. So for example, if you only have some redness on your skin but don’t have any dark eye circles (lucky you), then you’ll only need 1 concealer with green undertones to it. If you’ve only got dark eye circles, but no redness on your skin, then you only need 1 concealer with orange undertones to it.
SOMETHING TO NOTE
Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclait is NOT a concealer. It DOES NOT neutralise under eye circles. It is in fact best used as a highlighter. A highlighter attracts light, creating the illusion of brightness. But most of us need a little extra coverage from a concealer, in order to really neutralise and brighten up dark circles. If you do want to use a highlighter around your eye area, it’s better to stick to a matte product. Touche Eclait has a little shimmer to it. So if you have puffy eyes, or fine lines or wrinkles around the eye area, it’s best to avoid products with illuminating properties. Otherwise, you run the risk of emphasising the fine lines even further.
HOW DO I APPLY CONCEALER?
Congratulations. Now you’ve finally found your perfect concealer shade. Yeahh. 🙂 The next step is applying it. One of the most frequently asked questions I’m asked by my clients is ‘In what order should I apply concealer and foundation?’ Well the simple answer to that is, it really doesn’t matter in what order you apply them. You can apply concealer first and then foundation if you prefer. Or you can apply foundation first and then concealer.
There’s only one exception to this rule. And that’s when applying a powder foundation. The basic rule to remember is that liquid products are ALWAYS applied before powder products.
So what this means is, if your concealer has a liquid or cream consistency, and your foundation is a powder foundation, then you’ll need to apply your concealer first, and then apply your foundation. The reason is that it’s very difficult to apply liquid or cream products OVER a powder product.
A powder product will always set a liquid product. In other words, it will hold it in place. But applying a liquid product over a powder product will result in an uneven, patchy looking application.
If both your concealer and foundation have a liquid or cream consistency, then it doesn’t matter in what order you apply them in. Here’s a quick recap:
I personally like to apply my concealer first, then my foundation. Doing it this way means I use less foundation and ensures a very natural looking finish to my skin. But this is just my personal preference. And like I said, there’s no right or wrong way when it comes to applying liquid products on top of liquid products.
Less is More
Don’t go overboard applying concealer, especially around the eye area. You really only need to apply a very small amount of product. Otherwise, you run the risk of looking even more tired, as the product will look heavy and cause creasing or settle in any fine lines or wrinkles. Start off small and apply only a very tiny amount. The amount the size of a pin head on each eye is more than enough. You can always add a little more if you feel you need it.
Applying Concealer to the eye area:
Apply only to the inner corner of the eye area and work your way downwards. This is generally the area that looks darkest. Don’t apply all the way up to the eye. Otherwise, the concealer will settle in any fine lines or wrinkles, which will only accentuate them even further. Even if you don’t have any fine lines or wrinkles (lucky you ☺), avoid applying it all the way up to the eye are. Otherwise, you risk your eyes looking puffy and tired. Stop applying the concealer about half way around your eye socket. You can also apply a little concealer on the outer corners of your eyes if you like, as we often have dark shadows in this area too. Apply using your fingers, as the heat from your fingers will really help work the product into your skin and blend it well.
Applying Concealer to any redness or spots:
Again, begin by only using a small amount of product. If you feel you still need a bit more coverage, then go ahead and apply a little more. Building up the product slowly in this way will ensure you have a much smoother and natural looking application.
SO LET’S RECAP
Dark eye circles – choose a concealer with orange undertones (sometimes referred to as pink)
Redness & spots – choose a concealer with green undertones (sometimes referred to as yellow)
I really hope you found this post helpful. And if you’re still unsure what your perfect concealer shade is, don’t worry, as I’m more than happy to help you choose. I’m a hosting a makeup workshop this month where I’ll be showing you to look Refreshed & Radiant in 5 minutes. One the things you’ll learn is how to choose your perfect-for-you shade of concealer and how to apply it correctly. You’ll all the details of the makeup workshop here and how to secure your place at the workshop.
Can’t make the makeup workshop? No problem. I can still help you choose your perfect-for-you shade of concealer, foundation, or whatever you need help with. I’d love to hear from you. You can get in touch with me here via the contact form. Or you can send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be delighted to help you find your perfect concealer shade. xo