How to Apply Concealer

July 24th, 2009

… the master of disguise!

How to apply concealer with a brush

We’ve all got something to hide! Whether you are troubled by dark under-eye circles, lines and wrinkles, spots, blemishes, scars, pigmentation, freckles, moles, birthmarks, tattoos, broken capillaries, veins or rosacea (among other conditions), a concealer should be the number one item in your cosmetic arsenal.

Concealers are available in a variety of textures (i.e. cream, liquid or powder) and come packaged in many different ways (i.e. pots, tubes, pencils, palettes and sticks). Most concealers do more than simply camouflage; they also offer users additional benefits. Some are infused with anti-bacterial ingredients to treat spots and blemishes, while others are enriched with antioxidants (i.e. vitamins A and D) to help fight premature aging. Waterproof and silica-rich formulations are popular, long-wearing, shine-free options in humid environments. The best concealer(s) for you will depend on a number of factors, including your skin type, the preferred finish, and the specific area being treated.

It’s a cover up!

To get the best finish from your concealer, pat it onto the problem area and use a tapping motion to work it onto the skin. Apply it sparingly initially, and slowly build up the desired coverage layer by layer. Ensure you blend well at the edges so the concealed area merges seamlessly with surrounding skin, and for a longer lasting finish set it with a light dusting of translucent powder.

Makeup artist tip: Dry skin has a tendency to “grab” makeup. So, if you don’t want concealed areas to stand out, and appear dark and patchy, ensure the skin is adequately hydrated before you begin.

Tools of the trade.

The consistency of the concealer, the coverage needed, and the size and shape of the treatment area are just some of the variables that you need to consider when choosing a method of application. Overall, fingertips work well at blending most textures of concealer as their warmth helps to dissolve the product onto the skin. For more controlled application over small areas, use a concealer brush; and for larger areas on the body, employ a foundation brush or sponge for a fast, mess-free result.

Makeup artist tip: For easy application in hard-to-reach areas such as the inner corner of the eye and side of the nose, use a concealer brush or a latex, wedge-shaped sponge to apply the product, and then complete the blending process with your fingertip.


Which concealer brush is best?

Choose a small, slightly pointed brush with firm but flexible bristles for precise application. If you can’t find a concealer brush, a lip brush that fits the aforementioned criteria will do a perfect job. For bigger areas, or those requiring optimal coverage, select a firm, flat, dense-bristled brush with a rounded edge or tapered tip. Want one-brush-fits-all? My personal favorite all-purpose concealing tool is a flat, medium-sized brush with synthetic bristles and a slightly rounded tip (as pictured).

Should I apply concealer or foundation first?

Applying concealer

It depends! Most often I apply foundation before concealer; this way the foundation covers up any minor imperfections and I can focus my attention on the real issues. However, there are exceptions. For instance, to stop the fall-out from dark eyeshadow smudging foundation, I conceal the eye area first, apply the eyeshadow (and remove any flakes which have fallen onto the face), then follow up with foundation (and sometimes more concealer).

Makeup artist tip: If you do apply your concealer first, be careful that you don’t wipe the benefits away when you blend foundation over the top. The times when I do apply concealer before foundation, I take this into account and conceal more heavily.

What concealer should I choose?

Ultimately you are trying to achieve a consistent skin tone, so experiment with different shades and formulas to find a solution that meets your specific needs. Below are some general guidelines:


For spots, blemishes and discolorations, pick an opaque (full coverage) concealer in a shade that matches the color of your foundation. If you don’t wear foundation, select a shade which closely matches your tinted moisturiser or natural skin tone. Most white skins have a yellow or pink undertone, Asian complexions tend to be yellow based, and black skins are generally yellow, red or blue toned. To mask dark under-eye circles, choose a concealer that has a warm (pink) base to counteract the blue/gray undertones in the skin, even if the rest of your face has a yellow tone.


If you have dry skin, select a moisturizing concealer to give coverage, provide comfort and soften lines. Matte formulations are likely to make the skin feel tight and appear crepey. Not good! However, if your skin is oily, go matte to prevent the concealer “slipping” and wearing off quickly.

The best way to smooth and relax expression lines and wrinkles and lighten and brighten the complexion is to opt for a skin-perfecting formulation which contains light-diffusing pigments.

Concealing dark circles

Makeup artist tip: Highlighter pens are not concealers! Never use a highlighter pen alone on dark under-eye circles because, as the name suggests, it will highlight them … making your zombie eyes even more obvious! Do you want to erase dark circles and get a fatigue-free glow? Make your own perfectly-textured under-eye concealment product by combining a highlighter pen and opaque concealer. Mix them together on the back of your hand before applying to the face.

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11 Responses to “How to Apply Concealer”

  1. jacinda says:

    Cheers guys – could do with all the help going – with sleep deprived mother of newborn eyes on the go!

  2. Little Miss Makeup says:

    A pleasure. Happy motherhood! x

  3. joanne says:

    I love the amazing tips you guys have. I have really dry skin and my concealer always cakes, I’ll have to get something more moisturizing! Thanks so much!

  4. Little Miss Makeup says:

    Thanks, Joanne :). Let me know when you find a moisturizing concealer that works for you! x

  5. sandra edoga says:

    wants to know how to apply shadow to brighten the eye

  6. Little Miss Makeup says:

    Hi Sandra, to brighten the eye, sweep eyeshadow over the lower section of the top eyelid and apply lots of mascara to the lashes.

    Matte or metallic beige eyeshadow works best on white complexions, while yellow or orangey-peach shades suit Asian or yellow-based black skins. If your skin is black with a red undertone, use an orange, reddish-brown or burgundy shadow.

    Hope this helps :)!

  7. michelle says:

    so helpful! thank you!

  8. Little Miss Makeup says:

    Thanks, Michelle. Pleased you found it useful :)!

  9. Israela says:

    Great. Thanks a million!

  10. Anna says:

    This helped a lot!

  11. Little Miss Makeup says:

    Thanks, Anna. I’m so pleased you found it helpful!

    LMM x

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