Monday, January 5, 2009

Faking it: Choosing the Correct Concealer

This post is prompted by a long standing pet peeve of mine. Countless times in the past, and just twice this month, I've seen makeup experts in beauty or fashion magazines give the advice that concealer should be a shade or two lighter than your natural skin tone. I don't believe in many rules as far as makeup goes, but matching your skin tone to your concealer is one I do subscribe to.

A basic rule of color is that very light shades highlight; they fool the eye into thinking that an object, or in this case an area of your face, is more prominent. Therefore, applying a concealer that is lighter than the skin around it is only going to make an area stand out. If you're using a concealer on an area that has dry or broken skin (such as under the eyes or on a blemish) a lighter concealer will make the uneven texture even more noticeable, and deep skin tones will actually look gray or ashy if a lighter color is applied.

Regardless of these facts, I still see this advice printed over and over. Instead, for the most flawless look, choose the shade that most closely matches your skin tone, or pick a palette that has two or more shades that you can blend together if you can't find one that matches your skin exactly.

Even when concealing under the eyes, a lighter shade will usually do more harm than good, making darkness look gray. The best tactic is not to go lighter but rather to choose a shade with a yellow tint, which will counterbalance dark blue circles.

A Quick Note on Application:

While most people apply concealer before they put on foundation, this actually is counterproductive, since most of the concealer will be wiped away as you put your foundation on. Instead, use your ring finger to lightly pat (not rub) the concealer on after you apply your foundation. Finish with a dusting of loose powder to set your look for longer wear.

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