In the battle for complexion perfection, concealer is your secret weapon. The cover up has the ability to disguise blemishes, bags, dark spots, and redness while flawlessly blending into your skin's natural color and texture. But with so many different formulas, (liquid, cream, paste!), and application techniques (dab, swipe, dot!) it’s easy to feel camouflage-confused. Make Up For Ever artist Lijha Stewart reveals everything you need to know about this makeup must-have.
In a hurry? Concealer pencils are the ideal choice for mess-free application. "Pencils are great to highlight and contour because they are easy to draw on the face," says Lijha. "They’re also perfect for small flaws such as a blemish or dark spot." The tiny pencil tips are ideal for acne-prone Beauties who need precise pimple camouflage, and work well around the eyes to brighten shadows in the inner corners. "Pencils are usually more wax- or cream- based so they will feel and possibly look heavier on the skin," explains Lijha.
Beautylish recommends: Shiseido The Makeup Corrector Pencil
Beautylish recommends: Make Up For Ever Concealer Pencil
Beautylish recommends: Urban Decay Concealer Pencil
Most pen concealers feature a small brush for application and generally provide light coverage. Because these formulas are usually sheer and luminous, they’re designed to brighten and conceal the delicate skin around the eyes. “The radiant formula reflects light and blurs imperfections and discoloration," says Lijha. If your foundation flattens the dimensions of your face, apply your pen concealer as a face highlighter to give a brightening boost.
Beautylish recommends: Chanel Eclat Luminere Highlighter Face Pen
Beautylish recommends: Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place Concealer
Beautylish recommends: YSL Touche Éclat Radiant Touch
Need to bring your face back to neutral? Many stick concealers are yellow-based to color-correct a red complexion. "Because of the opaque formula, a concealer stick is great for hiding red spots and dark under-eye circles," says Lijha. Many stick formulas also include salicylic acid and other anti-inflammatory ingredients to zap zits while providing coverage. Since these can slide, take extra precautions to ensure durability. "Set creamy stick formulas with a setting power for all-day coverage," suggests Lijha.
Beautylish recommends: Nars Concealer
Beautylish recommends: Clinique Redness Targeted Corrector Beautylish recommends: Smashbox Camera Ready Full Coverage Concealer
Like concealer sticks, pan-based cream or cake formulas provide full coverage in a rich, budge-proof base. A cream is the liquid version of a stick concealer, while a cake formula has a texture similar to paste. "They both have less control than a stick but are ideal for larger areas such as around the eyes or on your chin," says Lijha. Since these formulas are highly pigmented, you only need a little product for maximum coverage. To avoid over-application, Lijha recommends applying a dab of these formulas with your fingers and blending out.
Beautylish recommends: Benefit Erase Paste
Beautylish recommends: Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer Beautylish recommends: Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage
Weightless liquid concealers provide light to medium coverage on the skin and many have hydrating properties. "Liquid usually provides less coverage, feels light on the skin, and adds more hydration," says Lijha. This kind of makeup is ideal for cloaking freckles, fine lines, capillaries, and smoothing out your skin tone. When applying the watery formula, be sure to use a sponge or brush.
Beautylish recommends: Revlon Age Defying Moisturizing Concealer
Beautylish recommends: MAC Pro Longwear Concealer
Beautylish recommends: Physician’s Formula Conceal Rx