Choosing a Concealer

Get ready to go undercover -- and cover up any circles, spots, or splotches seamlessly!
by Hollee Actman Becker

While foundation evens out your skin tone, concealer zeros in on tiny flaws, covering blemishes and dark circles, making it a must for any bride. It can make you look as if you've had eight hours sleep when you've only had five, and it can instantly brighten your entire face.

Pimples and under-eye circles are the most common concealer targets, but there are a host of other complexion spoilers that need covering: small scars, broken blood vessels, redness around the nose, the inner corner of your eyes. On your big day you should also use concealer to cover up small bruises or blemishes on your arms, chest and back.

Here's the catch (you knew it was coming, right?): Getting concealer to look natural, not mask-like takes a lot of practice. Use these tips for going under cover:

Smooth Selection

Concealers come in pots, sticks, wands, compacts, and tubes. But no matter which packaging you choose, look for a creamy texture, one that's smooth to the touch. Avoid products that feel greasy, dry, or thick, or ones that have a chalky consistency.

Color Theory

The right concealer shade is yellow-based, not white, which can be much too light on the face. The biggest mistake women make with concealer is using too light a shade. Search for a concealer that is only one to two subtle shades lighter than your skin tone.

Apply Now

Start by putting concealer under the eye right up to the lower lashes and, most importantly, on the innermost corner of the eye. This is the most recessed area on the face, and therefore the darkest-appearing, but women often neglect it.

Blend Well

Smooth and blend concealer in a gentle pressing action with the pads of your first two fingers. The aim is to make it as smooth as possible so it isn't visible or distracting. Be gentle, though -- you don't want to end up rubbing the concealer away. One of the most common concealer mistakes is overzealous blending.

Ready, Set...

To set your concealer, dust on yellow-toned powder with a big powder puff. Use a generous amount, because more is better here; simply dust away excess with a brush. The powder keeps the concealer locked in place, and the yellow tone does wonders for dark circles. For extremely dark circles, choose a heavy-formula concealer in a shade slightly lighter than your skin tone.

Now You See It

To cover a red pimple, use a concealer shade as close to your skin tone as possible. If it's a dark blemish, use a slightly lighter concealer. Using your concealer brush, dab on a small amount of concealer and set with powder. If necessary, add a second layer of each. And remember: It's okay if you don't achieve total elimination. The point is to de-emphasize. An overly concealed spot will only call attention to itself -- not the goal you had in mind.

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