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Hair & Makeup

How to use concealer like a makeup artist

Good concealer is in the choosing more than the applying. Discover how to use it like a pro with these makeup-artist-approved tips and tricks…


Many of us are wearing less makeup on a day-to-day basis, instead opting for a more thorough skincare regimen. So, while we’re easing back on the foundation – either because we’re not leaving the house as much or it’s not compatible with wearing a face covering – concealer is really coming into its own. A touch of concealer, applied correctly and worn strategically, can make you appear naturally radiant on Zoom, and in real life, without looking like you’re wearing much makeup at all. Here’s everything you need to know to apply your concealer like a makeup pro…

Choose the right texture for the area you’re concealing

“People think concealer is concealer, but there’s a big difference between the concealer I’d use under the eyes and the rest of the face,” says London-based makeup artist and Thandie Newton’s go-to face painter, Kay Montano. “The under-eye area is thin and dry, with fewer pores, so the skin here needs a hydrating, creamy concealer that won’t look cakey. The T-zone is oilier and thicker in texture, so you need a more powdery formula that stays put.” Mixing a small amount of face oil or moisturizer in with a dry concealer formula will help to spread out the coverage and make it easier to apply.

Shop different shades

“Under the eyes, you want a tone that will neutralize the blue or gray shades that can appear. For pale skin, that means a concealer that is peachier than your natural complexion; for Black skin, a concealer with terracotta undertones will help to neutralize the gray that can appear under eyes,” says Montano. Selecting a shade that will neutralize shadows rather than match your skin tone is important if you want your efforts to look as natural as possible. Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Vanish in Tan is excellent at disguising dark circles, thanks to its warm peach and apricot tones. Apply a small amount with your ring finger (pressing, not patting) and concentrate the color at the inner corners of your eyes, where shadows are likely to be at their worst.

For the rest of your face, choose a concealer that’s as close to your own natural skin coloring as possible – in terms of both shade and tone. Also, remember that you may need a couple of shades of concealer at your disposal because, depending on your skin tone and whether you have any pigmentation or sun damage, your skin may be darker in some places than others. Again, add a drop of moisturizer to your concealer to make it slightly lighter and more sheer if necessary.

How to use concealer: the easy expert technique

For blemishes, Montano uses her fingers to apply concealer only where needed. “The more layers, the more it’s likely to slip,” she warns. Under the eyes, it’s about a light, targeted approach. “Apply concealer in a crescent underneath the eyes (in the depth of the shadows), avoiding placing it too close to the lashes, which can make eyes appear puffy,” she advises. “Then apply a small crescent shape inside the inner corners of the eyes – people often miss this area, which can look very blue and dark – and a larger crescent shape at the outer corners.”


The model featured in this story is not associated with NET-A-PORTER and does not endorse it or the products shown