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How To Use Concealer The Right Ways: Game-Changing Tricks & Expert Makeup Tips

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woman applying concealer under eye with text overlay how to use concealer the right ways

If there’s one makeup product you can use in a multitude of ways, it would, without a doubt, be concealer! The truth is it can be the most magical multi-purpose secret weapon for any makeup gals’ collection!

Now, I’m sure you’re familiar with its most common uses, like covering infuriating breakouts, hiding excessive darkness under your eyes, masking redness, and camouflaging dark marks/spots. But you might be surprised by some of the additional, game-changing ways the PRO’s make use of it.

When I first trained in makeup artistry, I remember being absolutely blown away as I learned about the extensive ways concealer was used on actors. I had, of course, experience using concealer for my own pimples and post-acne scars back then, but honestly, my knowledge was limited.

This lack of knowledge was likely why I struggled to keep my dark spots covered all day and why my breakouts got worse every time I tried a new concealer or foundation product.

I didn’t know how critical picking the right concealer was for faking a perfect complexion or what I needed to pay attention to when selecting it. Not to mention all the problems that would arise from using the wrong one. I also knew nothing about how concealers were used to get rid of undesirable colors on the face, for countershading, to make actors seemingly age backward, fix makeup mistakes, or let alone for the lips and brows (just to name a few)!

woman with contouring makeup on her face with text overlay game-changing concealer tricks and expert makeup tips

Well, Beauties, today I want to let you in on a few of these makeup tips, tricks & secrets. So, if you’ve been itching to learn more about concealer, like how to use it, where to apply it, how to choose it, or more importantly, how it can quickly become a rather unexpected “ace up your makeup lovin’ sleave,” this one is for you!!

What To Use Concealer For…

Like most gals, I’m sure you know a bit about concealer’s most common uses for hiding flaws and skin imperfections. Whether those sleepless nights are catching up with you, you’re dealing with that “once a month” PMS pimple that just emerged, or you have some post-acne battle scars that need covering, we all know that you should reach for a handy dandy concealer…right?

But I often find that when working with makeup clients, they don’t fully understand how concealer works with color-correcting (getting rid of undesirable color) and countershading. Is this perhaps the case for you too??

If so, let’s take it back to the basics!! Let’s go over a few makeup tips to help you understand how concealer works with both a little better.

concealer, color correctors, and makeup brush

Getting Rid Of Undesirable Color

Well ladies, while a full-coverage basic skin-toned concealer may work on a few minor issues for some gals, there is another option. In fact, most of you will get far better results from trying it instead.

I learned early on about a process the PROs use in makeup school, called “neutralizing” (aka color correcting). This is where the color wheel plays into hiding all those flaws and skin concerns you’re worried about!

Now, the goal of this process is to cancel out whatever undesirable color each skin problem is causing on your face with another color. The best way to do this is to use colors that fall opposite each other on the color wheel.

For example, suppose you notice your undereye circles have a blueish tint to them. You’ll see on the color wheel that the color that falls directly opposite of blue is orange. Therefore, if you want to cancel out blue, we want to look at the color orange for a solution!

color wheel with text overlay concealer makeup tip
  • Orange Or Peach Cancels Blue
  • Green Cancels Red
  • Yellow Cancels Purple
  • Purple Cancels Yellow

Ladies, I’ll save an explanation on how to do full-fledge color correcting for a future post… For now, keep scrolling… I’ll go into how the first 3 colors work with concealers based on your skin concerns under “how to choose the right concealer.” 🙂

What Exactly Is Countershading?

Well, Beauties, countershading is similar to highlighting but with more of a corrective makeup approach. Highlighting is typically used to draw extra attention to different points on your face in a flattering way. Now, countershading like highlighting uses a lighter shade of makeup; however, the purpose is to minimize any shadowy areas that fall on your face.

For example, let’s say you notice that the outer corners of your lips appear a little darker or shaded than the rest of your face. Countershading would correct this!

Let’s go over some of the common shadowy areas women tend to notice on their faces. When a concealer is applied to these areas, it counteracts those shadows, evens everything out, and subtly lifts.

diagram of where to use concealer to reduce shadows on the face
  1. The corners of the nose (around each nostril)
  2. Corners of the lips
  3. Inner corners of the eyes
  4. Directly under the bottom lip (center chin area)

How To Choose The Right Concealer: Expert Makeup Tips

Let’s move into product selection, shall we? When selecting a concealer, the two most important things to consider if you want to choose the right one are the shade and formula.

Start by first thinking about what you’re planning to use your concealer for, as in countershading and/or any skin concerns you have. Secondly, you want to take into consideration your skin type.

Your skin concern (acne, vs. under-eye circles, vs. dark spots/age spots/dark scars, etc.) determines the shade you should try and which formula is best in terms of the type of coverage needed. Your decision to try countershading or not will also determine your choice in shades. And lastly, your skin type will impact your choice of the formula.

woman applying concealer on her dark circles under her eyes with text overlay how to choose the right concealer

Keep in mind, Beauties, you may need more than one concealer if you have more than one skin concern and if you plan to try countershading. What you use to hide dark circles will not tone down a bright, red pimple that popped up overnight.

Concealer Shades Based On Skin Concerns: Essential Makeup Tips

Ok, so now what you want to do is think… “neutralizing concealer,” aka color correcting concealer.  This is different than a color-correcting cream (aka bright color corrector). Although some makeup manufacturers will refer to color-correcting creams as color correcting concealers, which I’m sure makes it quite confusing for most people.  

To avoid confusion, think of a color-correcting cream as basically a cream makeup product that is ONLY yellow, green, peach, or orange. Now, imagine if you mixed a basic skin tone concealer (fair, medium, deep, dark, etc.) with a yellow, green, peach, or orange cream. The result would be what I am referring to as a neutralizing concealer (color correcting concealer). It basically looks like a skin tone but has a subtle hint of yellow, for example.

color corrector with concealer and peach-toned concealer
The Difference Between Concealer, Color Correcting Cream, & Concealer With An Undertone

Here are some general guidelines and concealer tips for skin concerns, Beauties…

Dark Under-Eye Circles:

First, take a look at the coloring of the skin under your eyes.  Does it look sort of purplish, bluish, or brownish?  Based on the concept of neutralizing undesirable colors, you should make sure this concealer has a subtle undertone that cancels the coloring you see

  • If your dark circles have a blueish coloring to them, you want an orange or peach-based concealer. 
  • If they have a brownish undertone, which is most common in ethnic women, an orange or peach-based concealer is also your best bet. 
  • Alternatively, if you noticed a purplish tint, then you want a yellow-toned or golden-based concealer.

Next, you want to make sure this concealer is about 1/2 shade to 2 shades (at the most) lighter than your skin color below your eyes. 

Dark Spots/Marks, Age Spots, Areas Of Hyperpigmentation, Post Acne Scars:

woman with discoloration on her cheek and with makeup after using concealer

Depending on how dark these issues are, you may be able to get away with a full coverage concealer that matches your foundation. However, what I find works exceedingly well for most ladies is a neutralizing concealer. You should look for a color similar to your skin tone (and foundation) but with a slight peach or orange undertone.

Acne & General Redness: 

First, let me say, when spot treating a pimple, you DO NOT want to go lighter, as this will just highlight and bring more attention to it.  For some, depending on the level of redness, a full coverage concealer that matches your foundation can be sufficient depending on the brand.

But, what’s usually a better option, ladies, is a concealer that matches your skin tone and foundation as closely as possible but is yellow-based or contains a subtle olive undertone (green cancels red).

PRO Tip: If you can’t find a concealer with a neutralizing undertone, try mixing a color-correcting cream (orange, yellow, or green) with a regular skin-toned concealer that matches your base color (your foundation).

concealer and color corrector

Concealer Shade Based On Countershading: Essential Makeup Tips

For countershading, you will want to use a basic concealer about 1-2 shades lighter than your skin tone with the same general undertone as your skin’s natural undertone (warm, vs., cool, vs., neutral).  This is not to be confused with the problematic undertones you see in your skin concerns discussed in the previous section. Just think… something almost exactly like your foundation color, only 1- 2 shades lighter. For more on finding your skin’s “natural undertone”….

**Now, if you notice any obvious problematic undertones like redness from broken capillaries around your nose or blues and purples at the inner corners of your eyes, you will want to use a neutralizing concealer instead. 

Concealer Formula: Essential Makeup Tips

Are you struggling with cakey makeup? Do you notice dry splotchy patches after applying your makeup? Does your makeup seem to exaggerate your fine lines, making them more visible? Are you getting more breakouts? Do your dark spots keep peeking through a few hours after you’ve covered them? All of these problems come from using the wrong concealer formula.

different types of concealer

Concealers can be found in cream, liquid, pen, or stick form. Cream concealers will generally come in a pot, compact, palette, or as a pencil. Stick concealers come in a little tube that allows you to roll the concealer up like lipstick. And liquids can vary slightly, from a container that looks similar to a lip gloss with an application wand to a squirtable tube.

Both your foundation and concealer formulas are essential for a natural, seamless, flawless makeup look. It’s a core concept in The Ultimate Makeup Bundle because it really does significantly impact the way your makeup sits on, holds up, and applies to your skin.

Your chosen concealer’s formula must address all of your needs, from your skin’s particular needs to your desire to hide various problem areas. Some formulas work markedly better with certain skin types and thus address those needs more efficiently. For example, someone with dry skin that needs something more hydrating could handle a formula that someone with acne-prone skin may not.

Additionally, some formulas are better at hiding specific skin concerns than others due to their consistency, texture, and weight.  Depending on your skin concern, you may need to go with a thicker formula that provides heavier coverage.

Woman with contour makeup on her face and concealer

12 Game-Changing Ways To Use Concealer: The Tricks Your Makeup Routine’s Been Missing!!

We all have a makeup routine we’re accustomed to, and it likely includes using concealer for the typical reasons we’ve already covered. But this next list will give you 12 little-known ways the PRO’s use concealer.

If you’ve been stuck in a beauty rut, your makeup routine is in need of some upgrades & changes, or you’re feeling experimental and want to try a few new looks, proceed, Beauties! Onward and makeup brush upwards! 😉

1) Use Concealer As An Eye Makeup Primer

Did you run out of eyeshadow primer? You can always grab your trusty concealer and use it as a base for your eyeshadow. To give your eyes the best head start, just take a little and apply it to your lids. Next, blend it out (you can use your ring finger), and follow up by setting the area with a light powder. Setting with powder will prevent creasing.

2) Use Concealer As A Lip Primer

Yep, that’s right; you can even use concealer to prime your lips!! This trick will give your lipstick a more rich color payoff and help it last longer! With your finger, tap a little concealer on your lips. Next, rub your lips together to blend it out. Lastly, apply your regular lip makeup products.

womans lips with red lipstick

3) Reshape & Fake Fuller Lips

Say hello to the pouty look!! Another quick trick you could try instead of in a hurry is simply applying just a dab of concealer to the center of your bottom lip and gently blending it out. This will give your bottom lip more of a pout!

For step-by-step reshaping tips for fuller lips, no fillers necessary.…Check out Tip #1 from this post about using makeup to look younger using brows and lips.

4) Make Your Lip Color Pop Or Give Lips Some Extra Definition

Take your lip game to the next level!!! To achieve both of these goals, you will do the same thing, using a thin, fine-tipped brush. After applying your lipstick, try lining right outside the lip line with concealer.  Then blend it out with your fingers.

5) Use It To Get Defined Brows

Want to get your eyebrows on point?? To define your brows and sharpen their look, take a small flat-tipped brush and outline your brow’s outer shape both above and below. Go along the full perimeter of your brow with either a shade lighter than your skin tone (1 shade lighter). Try blending out with fingers.

diagram showing where to use concealer to define eyebrows

6) Use For Some Brow Lifting

Ready for a little heavy lifting?? If you only want to lift the brows, apply a lighter shade of concealer right below them. You can use it along the entire length of the underside of your brows. However, going just under the arch and extending outward under the tail will really give you some oomph with the lift. Again, don’t forget to blend it out.

7) Fix Makeup Mistakes & Clean Things Up A Bit

Whoops!!! Worry not, gals! Whether you want to correct a few makeup mishaps with your other products or simply clean things up for sharper lines and edges, a concealer will do the job! Ok, ladies, grab a concealer the same shade as your foundation as you give these tricks a go!

Want to sharpen that winged liner look? Using your concealer and a firm angled liner makeup brush, you can clean up the edges for a crisper, sharper, more precise line. Just go in as close as possible to the outer edge, right up next to the previously drawn line.

diagram showing how to use concealer to sharpen eyeliner

Need some help with your eyeliner woes? Has that cat-eye gone totally wrong? Again you’ll want to use a firm, stiff brush along with the concealer. If your line was a bit squiggly on the first eyeliner attempt, try using it to smooth over any messiness. And if you notice any stray marks or dashes, you can use your concealer to cover them up. In this case, gently dab it on over them, and they’ll be hidden, good as gone!

Just applied your lipstick and notice it looks a little messy? Using a lip brush, small concealer brush, or even an angled eyeliner brush, you can sharpen and clean up the lips’ outer edges with your concealer. Slowly swipe it along the outer part of your lip line. This is particularly helpful if you are using a bold lip color or a red.

8) Fake A Well-Rested, More Awake Look With Concealer

Late-night partying? Burning the midnight oil for the job? This makeup trick brightens things up in a jiffy!! You’ll want to apply the concealer to the inner corners of the eye in a V shape, the middle of your lid, and right below your brow bone area.  Generally, one shade lighter than your foundation or skin tone is good.

diagram showing where to use concealer to look more awake

9) Use Concealer As A Highlighter

Ready to work those high points & angles? When you use makeup to highlight, the goal is to enhance the face in the most flattering ways and bring out certain features.  For this, the focus is on the high points and areas where light naturally tends to hit your face. Now, if you use a concealer to highlight, you can expect a far more natural effect and look.

You should go for a color that is 1-2 shades lighter than your foundation.  So where does it go?? The most flattering places to apply it will bring attention to the center of the face.  So you want to use it on the forehead (at the center), the center of your chin, along your nose, and above the cupid’s bow. To add definition to your bone structure, you’ll want to apply it at the highest points of your cheekbones.  

diagram showing where to use concealer for highlighting the face

A few other optional places, depending on your preferences, could be applying it directly under the arch of your brow, or you may try both above and below the eyebrow arch.

10) Change Your Lipstick Color Into Something More Subtle

Toning down vibrant lipstick for a more daytime work vibe just got easier!! Take the lipstick a create a custom shade by simply mixing a tiny amount of it with concealer! What I like to do is cut off a smidge of the lipstick with a makeup spatula, then blend it with the concealer till it’s a smooth, even color. Then using a lipstick brush, I apply this new shade to my lips, and voila!!

11) Use Concealer To Contour (As A Shading Product)

I don’t usually suggest contouring with cream products for beginners but as you improve in your makeup skills, give this trick a try. Much like you can use concealer for highlighting, it can also be used to sculpt your features when contouring.

Instead of going lighter as you do for highlighting, you want to go a few shades darker than your skin tone (2 shades is a good place). However, since contouring is about creating shadows on the face, you want to avoid one that’s too warm in tone. You should look for a concealer that has a cool undertone.

woman with concealer and contouring makeup on her face

12) Use Concealer To Look Younger With Age-Defying Tricks

No time for Father Time?? I hear that!! Unfortunately, as we age, everything begins to go goes south, including the brow area. Now, you may not be aware of this, but our lips can also become noticeably thinner and less defined. So, a few of the ways concealer can be used to help you look younger, we’ve covered it with brow lifting and giving the illusion of fuller lips.

But those aren’t the only ways, so let’s cover a few other places it can be applied to give Father Time a run for his money, shall we? Ladies, you’ll want to grab a concealer that is a shade lighter than your foundation. As always, make sure you blend it out after application.

woman applying concealer to look younger

Using Concealer For Shadowy Areas & Wrinkle Folds

The goal for a more youthful appearance is to offset any shadows or skin folds resulting from loss of skin elasticity.  So, depending on your particular face and where you see signs of aging, here are a few key areas you may want to focus on.

  • Along the marionette lines
  • Around the mouth
  • Right in the indentation or valley of your frown lines where you notice the darkness
  • The crease in your chin
  • The inner eye area going up towards the brows 
where to use concealer to look younger

**A key thing to note… When using concealer for the 11’s, aka frown lines, it takes a lot of practice. There is a fine line (no pun intended) between minimizing those lines and bringing more attention to them. I really only recommend this trick if you have very deep furrows between your brows.

Using Concealer To Create A Lifting Effect

Next, if you are in your 30’s and up and want to apply concealer to create a lifting effect, here are a few areas on the face to try.

  • Slightly higher than you normally would on the cheekbones
  • Right above the arch of your brow (slight lifting effect)
  • Upwards, angled at about 45 degrees from the outer corner of each eye, moving in the brow tail direction. 
  • Applying an inverted triangle under the eyes (the triangle of light)

PRO Tip: If you use the triangle technique to cover dark circles, use a neutralizing concealer, 1/2 -2 shades lighter than the skin under your eyes. But if you are only using it to create a semi-lifting effect, go with a typical concealer a shade lighter than your foundation.

where to use concealer to look younger

The Concealer Wrap Up!!

Well, ladies, that sums up today’s concealer tips and tricks. Concealer is possibly the single most important product to add to your makeup collection. If you’ve been underestimating its power and value to take your makeup game and beauty routine up a few levels, it’s time to put some of these creative hacks to use. I hope you found everything helpful and start experimenting with a few new ways to use and make the most of it, Beauties.

Need more help choosing a concealer?  This guide is for you!!

There are just so many concealers on the market, let alone face makeup products in general; it can make your makeup shopping a bit intimidating.  And picking the right concealer formula can certainly be stressful. This is one of the reasons I created The Ultimate Makeup Bundle.  I wanted to make things easier for all the ladies out there. 

makeup beginners guide

Regarding concealer, you’ll discover…

  • How to select concealer & foundation based on your skin type (oily, dry, sensitive, combo, normal, or acne-prone).
  • Which formulas are compatible with your skin type and are best in terms of coverage & texture for each kind of skin problem or concern you have, whether it’s dark circles, pimples, or discoloration (dark marks or age spots)!
  • How to prepare your skin so your makeup applies smoothly & evenly.
  • How to apply & perfect your base makeup.

But that’s not all; you’ll also get tips on application and a few bonus makeup cheat sheets for blush, eyeshadow, and makeup expiration tracking too! If you are ready to step into the world of makeup, improve your looks, and upgrade your makeup skills, you may click here to learn more about it!

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