How To Conceal Everything

Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Concealer is one of life’s little helpers: It hides our skin imperfections from the rest of the world. It’s a seemingly straightforward job, yet a big one, and we can't thank it enough. But, it turns out this task is a little more complicated than we thought. You see, each pesky problem — whether zit, undereye circle, or fine line — should be concealed slightly differently.     

Not to worry: We had a couple of makeup artists break it down for us, to make sure we use our faithful friend to our best advantage. Here are the right shades and application techniques (plus, product recommendations) to cover up all your facial foes.  
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
First off: Don’t pop or pick at your pimple! Instead, makeup artist Jessi Butterfield suggests swiping a little astringent (she loves Orlane Astringent Purifying Lotion) on your face with a cotton round beforehand, concentrating on the troubled area. As for the concealer, Butterfield opts for the big gun, Make Up For Ever Full Cover, when zits are concerned. “I love this because it's serious camouflage and is waterproof,” she explains. “You don't need to worry about that little bump again after you work it over with this stuff. Blizzard, tsunami, whatever... This concealer really won't come off.”

Find a shade that matches your skin tone exactly, squirt a bit of it on the back of your hand, and then use a pointy eyeliner brush to apply it where you need it. Blend it in by tapping the area with clean fingers.
Benjamin Ruiz, Director of Global Creative Artistry at Laura Mercier, adds that it’s often hard to get the product to stick because zits are so, well, three-dimensional. He suggests first applying a loose powder, like Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder, to make sure the concealer stays put.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Just like with pimples, Butterfield stresses that skin care should be the first step in blackhead coverage. Again, start by coating the area with a gentle astringent. Then, choose a golden/yellow-based concealer like Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer. First, apply your regular foundation all over your face. Then, with a damp Beautyblender, dab the concealer on the dark areas in a rolling, pressing motion that will sheer it out.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Dark Spots
To really boost radiance and nix hyperpigmentation, Butterfield suggests starting with a brightening oil. Her favorite is Juara Radiance Vitality Oil, because it's loaded with vitamin C. Add two drops to the palm of your hand, rub your hands together, and press the oil into the skin. “I love oils for eliminating hyperpigmentation, because they pack the biggest moisture and brightening combo punch, which is vital for hiding dark spots,” she explains.

But, actually covering the dark spots can be a little tricky. Ruiz suggests mixing two shades of a concealer, like Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage, together to match your skin tone, and then applying it with a sponge, pressing it over larger areas and buffing it into the skin. If you find that your hyperpigmentation is really dark, Ruiz says that sometimes it’s helpful to mix a small amount of orange lipstick or blush with the concealer. "This will help cut out some of the darkness,” he explains. “I will sometimes finish the look by applying a peachy-orange blush to the area, but this is an elevated technique." (Hey, you can always ask a pro to try it on you — or experiment in the safety of your own bathroom.)
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Dark Circles
When trying to hide those undereye circles, Butterfield suggests starting with a corrector like Orlane Highlighter Care Brush. Dot a little of it under your eyes, or anywhere that needs a little brightening, and blend with your ring finger. “The peachy tone cuts that sleep-deprived blue in a flash, and hyaluronic acid plumps up your eyes for a fresh ‘I totally slept last night’ finish,” she says.

Next, add a bit of creamy, not heavy, concealer like Chanel Correcteur Perfection on top in the same way you applied the corrector. Finish with the smallest bit of loose powder to ensure that your bright eyes last all day.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Whether it’s from acne marks or rosacea, Butterfield finds that more often than not, a good tinted moisturizer will hide facial redness with minimal effort. But, if the problem is super-severe, concealer might be necessary. Butterfield suggests using Make Up For Ever Camouflage Cream Pot in #17. Yes, it’s green, but try not to be alarmed by the color: The minty hue will actually cancel out the red — as long as you don’t overdo it.

First, remove any makeup you’re wearing. Then, take an extremely small amount of the concealer and apply it only where you need it. Follow up with moisturizer.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Large Pores
Ruiz believes the best approach to targeting large pores isn’t with concealer at all. He suggests using a primer (he swears by Laura Mercier Foundation Primer) and a tinted moisturizer (his pick: Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20 Sunscreen) to smooth out the skin and reduce their appearance.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Fine Lines
Concealer isn’t for fine lines, either. The more of it you put on them, the more you exasperate the area and accentuate the problem. But, don’t worry, there are filler products that will help smooth them out, at least temporarily. Butterfield loves Talika Skin Retouch. “This magic fluid fills in all the little lines…without leaving any type of residue,” she says. “It simply disappears into the skin, leaving it bright, smooth, and ready for foundation.”
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Continuing with the concealer-less concealing endeavors, you’ll need to take a different approach with dullness, as well. To make skin glow, Butterfield suggests using two different foundations: one the color of your skin tone and one darker. “This will bring natural-looking dimension to your face, which ultimately banishes dullness,” she says.

Pick a lightweight and water-based product, like NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation. Start by applying the lighter shade all over your face, starting from the middle. Then, take a damp sponge and lightly apply the darker shade underneath your cheekbones, temples, on the forehead close to the hairline, and anywhere else where the sun would naturally hit, being sure to blend well. “If you want to kick up the radiance even more, finish off your skin with a spritz of The Organic Pharmacy's Herbal Toner,” says Butterfield. “This multitasking spray will both brighten the skin and set your makeup in one fell swoop, leaving you glowing.”

Ruiz adds that dullness is really a question of skin care, and often the result of dryness. He suggests exfoliating once or twice a week to brighten your face.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Makeup Mistakes
Concealer (plus a good brush) can also be used to fix things if you happen to fudge up your makeup. In this case, Butterfield says the brush is more important to your success than the product itself. She suggests a wide brush with tightly packed hairs or fibers, like Antonym #5.

Load the brush with concealer and “reverse the line” on the outside of the lips, eyes, or wherever you made the mistake or just need a little cleanup. “The best way to achieve a truly clean line is to drag your concealer brush along your lip line with pressure, erasing the naughty lipstick along the way,” she explains. “Finish up with a little translucent powder, and you're makeup-sin-free!”
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
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