Sometimes it seems like concealer is both a blessing and a curse. When you know how to apply concealer correctly, it can be a game changer, but one false move and you walk out of the house looking like a raccoon. And when you throw green and yellow concealer in the mix, well, it leaves a lot of us mystified.
From knowing whether concealer should be applied before or after foundation to learning the difference between green, pink, and yellow concealer formulas, these are the top ten things nobody will ever tell you about concealer—unless you ask.
Concealer first, then foundation
There’s been debate about whether to apply concealer before or after foundation, but we suggest applying beforehand. Getting problem areas (like blemishes or dark circles) evened out before applying foundation makes for a smoother end result.
Define green concealer
Green concealers neutralize red zones on your face, like blemishes or red spots. Use green concealer to better cover up acne, but don’t use green on darker parts of your face such as dark circles or spots.
Yellow helps to even out skin tone overall, so use this on your face in areas that need equalizing. Yellow is the safest concealer color and works well for women who need basic concealing in general.
And don’t forget about pink
Like green concealer, pink works to neutralize the dark blue or purplish areas on your face. If you’ve got serious under eye circles or dark spots, pink concealer will help to cover up those areas.
Finish with loose powder
Loose powder over top of concealer helps to set it in place and goes one step further to even out skin tone—especially under your eyes. Simply use a translucent powder with a large, fluffy brush to sweep powder over the concealer.
Choose one shade lighter
When choosing a concealer, go about one shade lighter than your foundation. If you’re applying concealer to dark or red areas, using one shade lighter than the rest of your makeup will help to even out those tones. Be wary not to go too much lighter (or darker) with the product, though, as it can be a dead giveaway that you’re wearing too much makeup.
It can be a primer, too
Nothing helps your eyeshadow stay in place more than a great primer, especially if you’re planning a long night or you’ve got eyelids that are more on the oily side to begin with. Because of concealer’s consistency, it works as a smooth, slip-free base for your eyeshadow, plus it’ll help to make your shadow colors more vivid because it neutralizes your eyelid color first.
Avoid the caked-on look
First, go for a more lightweight concealer to prevent a caked on look. Make sure that you’re prepping your eye first with a gel or cream moisturizer, as dry skin underneath concealer can make it look packed on.
Always use a sponge
For the most even distribution, apply concealer along the bottom of your eye in four or five small dots. Using a makeup sponge, gently blot the concealer into skin. Applying in dots will help with even, crease-free distribution of the concealer.
Use it to clean up makeup mistakes
Clean up stray mascara (or other makeup) by dipping a cotton swab in a bit of concealer—you’re cleaning up the area and covering it up at the same time. Genius, right?
Originally published July 2016. Updated April 2017.