Concealers with benefits: Why this multi-talented make-up is your new BFF

STEP 3 - Covering eye bags

Concealers not only hide skin imperfections but offer treatment benefits as well.

As the name suggests, a concealer is used to cover imperfections. However, it has since evolved into a multi-functional make-up tool. One key make-up item on 23-year-old Pearly Cheong’s dresser is her concealer. At her age, she has to deal with the occasional pimple.

“Blending the concealer around a pimple spot can be quite tricky,” says the human resource executive. “It takes a while to get it right,” says Cheong, who prefers using a concealer stick as it’s easy to use and portable. When she has a special event at night, she applies concealer below her eyes to brighten and even out her dark circles.

The main purpose of a concealer is to hide pimples, age spots, dark circles, large pores, facial veins and other visible blemishes. The different types of concealers in the market today include liquid, stick or crayon, cream, cream-to-powder and colour-correcting concealers.

Haritha Shan, MAC’s senior artist, says, ”Concealers can become your best friend, and one of the most useful and important tools for achieving a flawless complexion. But only if you know how to use it the right way. Nowadays, there are so many different concealers in the market that it’s very easy to get confused by the variety of products.”

She adds that depending on the consistency, different concealers serve various purposes.

“For example, if you want to camouflage pimples and zits, use thick, matte, very pigmented concealer, without light reflecting particles in it. To cover up dark circles under eyes, use lightweight, hydrating formulas that not only erase darkness, but also gently care, nourish and hydrate the tender area around the eyes. These types of concealers often contain light reflective particles.”

Before and after applying the MAC Mineralise Concealer.

Someone with dry skin should avoid a matte finish liquid concealer while those with oily skin and enlarged pores should not use a cream or stick concealer as these will worsen your skin condition. Choose a concealer with stronger coverage for darker circles, spots, red marks or veins, she advises.

Selecting the right shade of concealer is just as important as getting the correct shade of foundation for your skin. Often, you need different concealers for different imperfections. Those with yellow and peach undertones are great for under-eye areas while cool undertones are needed to neutralise redness on other parts of the face.

According to, select a shade of concealer that is one or two shades lighter than your natural skin tone for under-eyes. For other parts of the face, get one that matches the colour of your foundation exactly. Neutral beige to slightly yellow shades look best regardless of where they’re applied. Unless you’re considering a colour-correcting concealer, avoid concealer shades that are noticeably pink, rose, peach, white, yellow or copper.

According to the book The 21st Century Beauty Bible, you should never apply concealer before moisturising your skin and always try to apply your make-up at least 10 minutes after putting on your moisturiser, primer or eye cream. Your make-up will look much better and stay on longer.

Although some women might want a perfectly spotless canvas, it’s not advisable to apply concealer using a magnifying mirror, as the tendency is for us to slather it all over. Stand about half a metre away from a normal mirror and apply concealer to areas which you can see from that distance. Then move closer to the mirror to blend and even out.

Should a concealer be used under or over your foundation?

Most beauty experts tend to favour over foundation, as using it before would mean wiping away some of the concealer when you are smoothening out your foundation. However, some feel you should apply concealer before foundation for less coverage and on top of foundation if you need better coverage (

Another tip is to use your middle or ring finger to blend in the concealer as this gives a lighter touch and a more natural finish.

The Cle de Peau Beaute Concealer, deemed a “cult-classic” product is said to even out all skin tones and reduce dark spots and under-eye circles. This emulsion-based treatment concealer with moisturising complex is the brand’s only concealer. Lucia Pieroni, a celebrity make-up artist and the line’s colour creator, shares her tips for using the award-winning concealer.

“When it comes to coverage, a small amount of the correct product is far better than a lot of the wrong one. I start with a dime-sized amount, and apply over the desired area and always blend outwards,” she states. “I love to use the concealer as a base underneath a lipstick to hold colour in place, and to achieve that perfect pout. Using concealer under the eyes is essential when covering dark shadows, but don’t overdo it; a heavy-handed approach can look too artificially flawless and take away from the natural shading and character of the eye area.”

Besides hiding imperfections, concealers have also become treatment-based products. Such concealers are generally formulated for acne skin and are fast gaining popularity. Treatment concealer provides easy blending, blemish coverage, with a highly effective acne-fighting formula. Salicylic acid clears active breakouts and prevents new ones from forming, vitamin A regulates sebum production and vitamins C and E together with green tea extract provide powerful antioxidant protection.

“Treatment concealer comes in several shades to match skin tone and can be used with or without makeup,” says Haritha.

Lisa Yap, Shu Uemura’s international elite artist and education manager, agrees that treatment-based concealers have been well-received. “Our Point Cealer contains vitamin E which has anti-inflammation benefits and is safe to apply even on pimples,” she says.

Sisley’s Phyto Cernes Éclat eye concealer is also touted as an all-in-one skincare and make-up item which is said to erase the signs of fatigue and promote a bright eye contour. The formula does not contain any essential oil and is fragrance-free to avoid irritating the eye area. An additional benefit is its metal tip to massage and drain the eye contour area.

Concealers also serve to highlight and sculpt the face, like Shu Uemura’s double-ended Cover Crayon concealer. “Compared with an ordinary concealer, the Cover Crayon also allows for nose sculpting,” Yap adds.

Is the BB cream considered a concealer?

“Not at all. Based on most of the BB creams that I’ve tested, I’ve noticed that their texture fall into two groups – either light and lotion-like, or thick and creamy. It provides a very light and sheer coverage when applied to the skin, and serves only to even out the skin tone but it will not be able to fully conceal skin blemishes. To me, it was almost like a very light liquid foundation. Most consumers actually use BB creams as their tinted moisturiser or a light foundation because they seem to like the more natural finishing these creams offer,” concludes Haritha.

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