By Alexis Bennett – Self
Concealer can be a girl’s best friend (especially after a sleepless night), but it can also turn into your worst enemy if it isn’t used correctly. The creamy product is meant to disguise discoloration, including acne scars and dark under-eye circles. But the makeup essential can easily turn any look into a disaster if you haven’t mastered the art of application. Creasing lines and ashy complexions are just a few of the concealer blunders that could happen to anyone. Luckily, we’ve gathered the most common mistakes women make along with a few easy-to-follow solutions.
- You’re buying the wrong color.
“Not choosing the correct shade is one of the biggest mistakes people make,” Carmen Williamson, a makeup artist at Joanna Czech Dallas, tells SELF. “Always go a shade lighter than your foundation.” The lighter tone will cancel out dark discoloration, but be careful not to go too fair. Concealers that are more than one shade lighter than your skin tone can leave you with a ghostly shadow. If you bought the wrong color, there’s a quick fix. “If your concealer is too light, you can blend it with a small amount of your foundation,” says Williamson.
And if you’re bold enough to venture into the world of color-correcting concealer, make sure you’re choosing hues that will fix your beauty dilemmas. “Use yellow to even out your skin tone, green to reduce redness, and pink/peach to combat dark circles,” says Williamson.
- You’re layering all wrong.
“You should always apply your foundation first and then concealer,” Williamson says. Smoothing on foundation before concealing will help you seamlessly blend the products together. It will also minimize your chances of applying too much coverup.
The only time that applying concealer before foundation works is if you are covering blemishes or scarring. But you have to be extremely careful and make sure you only apply a very thin layer of both products on top. “Both the concealer and foundation can be rubbed away if you do not apply and blend lightly,” Williamson says.
- You’re placing the product in the wrong spot.
To get flawless coverage of dark under-eye circles, you’ll need to do more work than just patting product on the problem area. Instead of applying the coverup in a semi-circle underneath your lower lash line, beauty pros suggest extending the product down in an inverted triangle shape. The point of the triangle should stop across from the tip of your nose; and corners of your eye will complete the other points. This technique helps the concealer to blend in seamlessly with the rest of your makeup. Plus, it brightens up your face where light would naturally reflect.
- You’re applying too much product.
Remember less is always more. Applying too much concealer can lead to unwanted creasing. The dreaded lines can become worse throughout the day as oil builds up and you make your regular facial expressions. But there’s always a remedy. In the event that you’re a little heavy handed, use a tissue to blot off excess product. Another pro tip: Layer on a few drops of eye cream with a cotton swab to help dilute any extra concealer.
- You’re using the wrong tools for blending.
Blending is one of the most crucial steps when applying concealer. Too much rubbing can erase all of your work, and not enough mixing can result in harsh unwanted lines. In order to master the technique, you’ll need to have the proper tools on hand. “Always use a sponge when blending concealer,” says Williamson. “Fingers have warmth so they can be used to heat up the product before applying, but they’re not ideal for blending.” So bounce a sponge like the Beautyblender Micro.mini ($18, sephora.com) over the product to perfectly blend it all in.
- You’re using too much setting powder.
The debate for using setting powder on top of concealer is still brewing. Some pros claim that using a translucent product will keep concealer in place, while others say it’s a culprit for caked-up lines. The right answer? It depends. “Setting powders are great on younger skin,” says Williamson. “If you have more mature skin proceed with caution.” Experiment with a small amount of setting powder to gauge what will work best for your face. “If you use too much, it can look drying and make lines more noticeable,” says Williamson.