I want to talk about the new Ordinary concealer, but first I want to back up: I love writing about grooming because I believe it genuinely improves guy's lives. All these creams and potions and time in front of the mirror aren't (just) vanity—these small routines add up to make you look like you give a damn, and to make you feel better, too.
So with that, I have to ask: will you finally get a concealer already? This tinted cream is one of those little things that does a disproportionate amount of work. It'll cover up pimples, redness, dark under-eyes, and other blemishes. They're not expensive, and it is virtually guaranteed that there's one that perfectly matches your skin tone. If you do it right, no one will know it's there.
So why are so many men hung up on dabbing a tiny dot of tinted cream onto small areas of the face? Up until a couple years ago, grooming writers like me were still saying things like “It’s O.K. for men to wear concealer; it’s not makeup, try it!” Which was our way of trying to tell many male readers that concealer won’t compromise anyone’s fragile masculinity. We're past that now. Who cares if it is or isn’t makeup? It has a clear benefit. Try it if you want.
Another thing we're past? The concept of “concealer for men” or “makeup for men.” This is not a thing! It’s concealer. It’s makeup. Yes, men tend to have oily skin. And yes, our pores, on average appear larger than most women’s. But there are already concealers for all skin types, and men have never been left out of that equation. “Concealer and makeup for men” is another nice way of saying “this design of this packaging won't compromise your fragile masculinity.”
Concealer has always been here. Concealer has always been your friend. It can be the difference between you fixating on an angry red zit all day (in your self-view on Zoom, or on a date) and not thinking twice about it. In short, it’s a confidence booster.
But you have to have a good concealer. A good one is durable and doesn’t sweat away in five minutes. And you need one (or two) that match your skin tones. (The reason I say tones is because your skin probably changes throughout the year, based on how holed-up you are or how much sun you’ve been soaking. Use SPF, please.) And my hunch is that sometimes, cost is a big factor in whether or not we buy something—especially if we only need it some of the time.
So, all of that brings me to this news: At the beginning of this year, skincare phenomenon the Ordinary launched a new range of sub-$6 concealers, in 36 shades.
The company's serums and moisturizers are beloved by many men, but it isn't because the Ordinary chased them. They simply made neutrally branded, high-quality skin care products for a fair price for anyone who wanted that. Which, it turned out, was a lot of people—including a lot of men. Now they're attempting the same trick with makeup.
There's a lot to like about the brand's concealer. Crucially, it comes in a ton of shades. These factor in your main tone from “very fair" to "very deep” (their terminology) as well as undertones (are they yellow, or red, or pink, or neutral?), like any good concealer brand ought to do. (Seriously, any brand that tries marketing 3-5 shades of concealer total is pulling your leg. The expectation should be 15 or 20 options, minimum.)
And I’m happy to report that The Ordinary’s concealer is sturdy stuff, too. It’s goopy enough to stay put, rather than fade away or run down your face. I do find it a little less durable than the more expensive options, but that’s a given based on the price. For under $6, this stuff is a steal. Just pocket it for the day and do a touch up or two if you need to.
When you apply, make sure you gently pat it in with your ring or pinky finger (since they’re less forceful than your thumb and first two fingers)—and definitely don’t smear or rub it in. A tiny dot goes a long way, and this little travel-size tube lasts a long time, too, especially if you get a couple shades that run the gamut of your skin-tone spectrum. I think 2-3 tones is wise, from your lightest winter color to your darkest summer one. Given this range of shades at such a low cost, I’m hoping that all of you finally stock up on these concealers.
And lest you think we're simply in the tank for the Ordinary, here are three other brands that offer a large variety of shades. The options below are not as low-cost as the Ordinary, but they're not bad value, either: Their quality, color range, and durability are especially noteworthy.
$26.00, Fenty Beauty
GQ grooming columnist Phillip Picardi makes the case for wearing concealer—and explains everything you need to know about trying it out.
Originally Appeared on GQ