Learn how to pick the right concealer, and refine the art of going under cover. Your perfect match will mask imperfections and disappear into your skin.
1. Choose a Finish
If you’ve ever glanced in the mirror in the middle of the day to find that your concealer has caked up or disappeared completely, reconsider the product you’re using. Creamy, light-reflecting formulations are best for under eyes; they neutralize dark circles and impart a dewy, rested look. To cover pimples and redness, smooth on a matte, opaque concealer, “particularly if you have uneven or problem skin,” says Moani Lee. It’ll stay put for hours and deflect light more subtly.
This creamy stick contains pearl powders to instantly brighten, and quick- drying oils that help it blend in smoothly.
Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer, $70, cledepeaubeaute.com.
A shine-free formula makes bumps and hyperpigmented areas recede. These velvety pots are densely pigmented, so use a light touch.
Nars Soft Matte Complete Concealer, $30, narscosmetics.com.
2. Find the Right Color
Keep at least two shades on hand: One that precisely matches your skin (or foundation, if you wear it), and a slightly lighter one to offset shadows under your eyes. This also lets you custom-blend shades if you’re tanner or paler than usual, or have flare-ups from rosacea or broken capillaries, Botox bruises, or inflamed pimples. Opt for a dual- or multi-tone palette, and you’ll be ready for anything that pops up.
An MVP in many a makeup artist’s kit, this duo is less emollient than others, which actually makes it more versatile. Tap it right onto a blemish, or mix it into a dab of eye cream to cancel out dark shadows.
Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage, $35, lauramercier.com
3. Apply It Like a Pro
Whatever you’re putting on, do it in natural light, moisturize your entire face first, and “give it time to be absorbed, or concealer won’t adhere to skin,” says Rachel Short.
Employ a fine-tipped brush (fingers can introduce bacteria to the area) to fan concealer around the pimple, blur the edges, and tap it directly on top. A formula with salicylic acid heals as it conceals. Then use other makeup to detract from the spot. “If you have a blemish on your chin, play up your eyes,” says Claire Balest.
It Cosmetics Bye Bye Breakout Concealer, $28, itcosmetics.com
For Dark Circles
"Dot it from the inner eye sockets to right under the irises, and blend well with your ring finger,” says Short. Color-correcting shades counteract shadows—we’re not talking scary greens or purples, but peachy-pinks for light complexions and oranges for medium to dark skin. Finish with a layer of your regular concealer.
Becca Under Eye Brightening Corrector, $32, beccacosmetics.com
Yellow undertones neutralize flushed areas. Using a sponge, a flat brush, or your fingertips, “dot and blend, repeating until skin looks seamless,” says Lee.
BareMinerals BarePro 16-Hour Full Coverage Concealer, $24, bareminerals.com
Claire Balest, a Knoxville, Tennessee makeup artist; Moani Lee, a New York City makeup artist; Rachel Short, assistant vice president of education and training at Dermablend; and Jenny Smith, Nars global makeup artist.