Basic Training: How to Apply Concealer

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Photo: Rolando Robinson

In our series, Basic Training, we’ll be giving a crash course on simple hair and makeup tricks that you still haven’t quite mastered.

Concealer is our best friend. It totally bails us out on a regular basis by hiding our blemishes and dark under-eye circles, but like all relationships, ours isn’t perfect. Concealer has a tendency to cake up and look obvious in photos. We reached out to Joanna Schlip, celebrity makeup artist for Physician’s Formula, to teach us the correct way to apply flawless-looking concealer.

Step 1: Choose the right formula.
“Make sure it’s not illuminating, so there’s no iridescence,” says Schlip. Illuminating formulas might sound like a good idea for brightening your under-eye area, but they are responsible for concealer that looks chalky in photos. When picking a concealer, watch out for words like “brightening” or “glowing.” Those are generally hints that the formula is not for you. Schlip used Physician’s Formula Super BB All-in-1 Beauty Balm Concealer ($12.95, physiciansformula.com) to get the flawless application seen above.

Step 2: Keep a few colors on hand.
Schlip says one of the biggest mistakes people make is going too light with their concealer. And we get it: you want to lighten your circles, so you go with a lighter color, but you might as well be screaming to the world “I’m wearing concealer!” Instead, Schlip says concealer should match your skin tone.

To ensure it matches, have a few different shades on hand. “Not every day are you wearing the same color of concealer. Some days are lighter than others.”

Step 3: Apply concealer before foundation.
We’ve heard different things from different makeup artists, but Schlip recommends using concealer under your foundation to keep it from looking obvious.

Step 4: Start application at the inside of the eye area.
When putting on your concealer, start at the top  inside corner of the eye and pull it down toward the rest of your under-eye area, concentrating on the areas that really need it.

Step 5: Try the criss-cross technique.
“I like using a makeup brush, so I can do criss-cross motions,” says Schlip. “I think it’s the best way to get seamless coverage.” Just like it sounds, you’ll swish your makeup brush from one side to the other as you blend the color in.

Step 6: Set the concealer.
Once you’ve applied concealer, you’ll want to apply your foundation over it. Gently tap the foundation onto the concealer-covered areas. Next, use a light finishing powder over the area. Do this before applying lipstick or eye makeup, so the concealer has a chance to fully set before you walk out the door.

Read more: Beauty Tips & Tricks Every Woman Needs to Know

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