Concealer 101

Here are the questions I get most often about concealers- a confusing (and often misused) makeup.

What is concealer?

It’s basically a more pigment-dense version of foundation used to hide small discolored areas around the eyes and face when foundation alone doesn’t offer enough coverage.

Can you use one concealer for face and under eyes?

Maybe, if your under eye circles aren’t too severe but concealers meant for under eyes have an orangey hue which counteracts the bluish tone most circles have so you wouldn’t want to use an under eye concealer on the face. I like Eve Pearl’s Salmon Concealer for dark circles, it’s creamy and has the right amount of orange to perfectly disguise darkness- it’s what I use daily. Concealer for the face is more yellow based and made to hide redness and discolorations so it could look chalky or weird around the eyes if you have a lot of darkness.


Do I need to use concealer?

Not if you don’t have any redness or areas of discoloration that a foundation can’t hide. Larger areas ( like melasma) would be covered with foundation (Dermablend is a good one for big time coverage.) Concealer is used for smaller areas like blemishes, old scars, or spotting. If you don’t have any of that (you’re lucky!), then you probably don’t need the added step. The less foundation and concealer you use, the more natural (and youthful) your complexion looks.

What concealers do you like?

Cle De Peau is one I invest in. Yes it’s expensive ($70) but the one I have now has lasted nearly 2 years. It’s thick but also creamy so it’s easy to blend. Another one that has impressed me so much that I’ve bought it in two shades for my kit is Miracle Skin Transformer’s Treat and Conceal which is basically liquid skin in a tube. It melts into the blemish or discoloration leaving it looking so natural that its unreal. I’ve found that it also doubles as a perfect eye shadow primer as well as anything else. Consistency is key so steer clear of those too creamy (Bobbi Brown- I can never get it to blend in) or too dry (Laura Mercier’s face duos- totally useless.)


Cle De Peau

How do I apply concealer?

Warming and blending it into the skin is key. Use a brush meant for concealer to apply, then lightly press the makeup into the skin with your fingers until it isn’t obvious anymore. Creasing can naturally occur into fine lines under the eyes so it’s especially important to blend there. The idea is to get the makeup to look like skin and not like makeup just sitting on top of your face.

Makeup Before and After: Saylee, Alison Raffaele, and Smashbox

Here’s gorgeous bride-to-be Saylee making my job as easy as it gets. For her wedding she wants a soft romantic look to match her fairytale caliber gown. She didn’t need much, just the basics- shimmer shadow, black liner, and pops of color to her lips and cheeks. Today I’ll highlight a few standouts that I recently started carrying in my kit and I don’t know how I ever did without them.

It’s just an ‘after’ since I forgot to snap a ‘before.’ It happens.

Click to enlarge

Hero Products Used:

Primer: Miracle Skin Transformer. Her skin is in great shape so I just wanted some light moisture and to even out her tone before her light foundation application.

Concealer: Alison Raffaele’s Concealer is as good as you’ve heard. This cult favorite is light with tons of natural looking pigment which works beautifully for both dark circles and blemishes. It’s also paraben free and without mineral oil and talc so it doesn’t slide or dry the skin making it perfect for both everyday use and photography. It’s truly one of the best concealers around.

Luminizer: Alison Raffaele Luminizer in Yellow which gives light and dimension to the face without any sort of shimmer. It’s a grown up highlighter and a worthwhile extra step for those who are serious about great looking skin. I find myself grabbing for it now instead of the highlighter I’ve used for years since it’s more versatile and photographs beautifully.

Eyes: Smashbox Limitless 15 Hour Wear Cream Shadow is a new classic. If you want your shadow to stay on all day, you have to layer powder shadows with a cream like this one. It’s really light which makes layering easy, and the long wearing formula intensifies and keeps shadow fresh hour after hour even on the oiliest lids. I used Topaz, a pinky neutral which I’ve found works great under any shadow, or even on its own.

I can’t come to your house to get you glammed up everyday, but you can use what the pros do to make your beauty routine easier and longer wearing.

My New Favorite Concealer: Miracle Skin Transformer Treat & Conceal

I can’t stop talking about my new favorite concealer: Miracle Skin Transformer Treat & Conceal. I bought it a month or so ago at Sephora while I was searching for the perfect BB Cream (I ended up buying Boscia’s btw), and was talked into it from the girl helping me since I was out of my Secret Concaler that I’ve used for years. She was enthusiastic and I was hungry, no match for her insistence for me to buy (not just try) this concealer that she was clearly nutty over. Her enthusiasm was a little contageous and because she just had a training on the line, her info was textbook sharp.

“It’s the most amazing concealer and like nothing else you’ve ever tried I swear” she insisted, “I can give you a sample, but you’ll just have to come back to buy it so just buy it now. I promise you’ll love it.”

I’m pretty jaded about these things so I grabbed her business card so I could give her the big ‘whatever’ when I came back to exchange this tube for the Mercier I really wanted.

Damn her though. She was right.

So the thing is this; it’s not *just* a concealer, oh no – it’s a naturally-derrived silicone-based, full coverage concealer that works to hide everything from dark circles to blemishes without any sort of settling or creasing. It doesn’t have a slip to it so it stays on the skin and doesn’t move while the silicone fills in fine lines around the eyes making them look less obvious. I even use it on my lids as a shadow primer where it has been keeping my shadows perfectly in tact. So it replaced the concealer I was using for my face, another for the eyes, and a lid primer all in one easy (and better looking) step.

It’s also filled with vitamins and stuff to protect and heal the skin and anti-inflamitories for calming so it has great skin benefits too.

I literally use the tiniest dab of it for my face, eyes, and lids so this tube will last well over a year (maybe two?) making the $36 price tag reasonable. If that’s out of range for what you typically spend for a concealer, grab a sample first at Sephora to make sure you love it (you will!) before you invest.

Side by Side: Vapour Beauty vs Stila Concealer

Are all stick concealers created equally? Not really, especially not when one is using organic ingredients to produce something nearly identical (and maybe even better) than what we’ve used for years. I wanted to do a side by side with Vapour Organic Beauty’s award winning Illusionist Concealer with Stila’s Cover Up Stick – one that’s been around for years. Vapour has been slowly developing a cult following with Makeup Artists who are looking to green up their kits and among Beauty Editors who are handing out awards to the line like crazy.

Buying makeup online can be a little intimidating since you obviously don’t get to try anything on first. They do have a sampling program that I bitched about HERE and although the samples were over packaged and under-scooped, I ultimately liked the formulas themselves. That, along with a 30 day return policy makes me feel good about taking a chance on a line I’ve never used. I’ll be reviewing a few things from the line in the coming weeks, but first let’s see how two stick concealers stack up against one another in a side by side challenge.

Stila Cover Up Stick in shade B, Vapour Organic Beauty Illusionist Concealer in 020, both their second lightest in shade range offerings.

Side by side- same look, packaging, and size.


Tone: Yellow.

Feel: Not luminous and a little drying – if you have dry skin, it might drag a little.

Cosmetics Database Safety Rating: 3

Wear Time: It stays put pretty well – doesn’t change color or slide.

First 3 Ingredients: Castor Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (a form of coconut oil), Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate (skin conditioning agent.)

Would I Buy it Again?: Maybe, for my kit but the formula is too heavy for what I personally wear.

Summary: While I don’t mind Stila’s concealer (and have bought it in the past) there’s nothing overly special about the formula which can be a little heavy, yellow, and hard to blend.

Color and consistency, Stila on the left – a little heavier and more yellow than Vapour.

Vapour Beauty:

Tone: Yellow undertones but not too yellow, so it blends nicely into the skin.

Feel: Creamy and easy to blend with a touch of luminosity.

Cosmetics Database Safety Rating: 2

Wear Time: Same as Stila and most concealers. It doesn’t budge.

First 3 Ingredients: Organic Sunflower Oil, Organic Beeswax, Castor Seed Oil.

Would I Buy It Again?: Yes, and will be getting a few more shades for my kit. I have a lot of clients who are undergoing chemo or have really sensitive skin so this will be especially nice to have on hand for them.

Summary: Illusionist is a great, creamy, concealer that gives all the coverage you need. The fact that it’s an organic formula just makes it all the more fantastic.

If you’re looking to lighten up on the amount of chemicals you’re using on your skin everyday check out Vapour Beauty, one of the few lines actually interested in both makeup quality and safe ingredients.

RMS Beauty: Pure, Organic Cosmetics

RMS Beauty is a concise, elegant, effective line of color developed by 20 year Makeup Artist veteran Rose-Marie Swift. She wanted to create a chemical-free makeup line using raw, organic, mineral-rich, food-grade ingredients to help heal the skin with Makeup Artist-approved results. The verdict? Kit-worthy basics that rev up the skin in a wonderfully natural way.

Un-cover Up:

It’s the only thing you need for dark circle-canceling coverage around the eyes, red blemish banishing, and overall skin-improving. I liked its creamy, easy to blend nature – it’s best suited for those who favor a tinted moisturizer, mineral foundation, or wear concealer alone. Dab it on and blend it only into the areas where your skin needs a little oomph.


lip2cheek is a pot of beautiful color that’s one of the first dual-purpose lip and cheek creams to actually flatter both. More sheer than dense, these luminous shades enhance the skin giving it a pretty flush of color.

I wasn’t sent their Living Luminizer, but it’s a best-seller – a glow-invoking cream without glitter or weight that gives skin a healthy glow. Based on what I’ve used from the line so far, it’s worth a buy.




Check em out online at RMS Beauty

Cle De Peau Has the Best Concealer

I’m not a label snob whatsoever. I’m as happy at Target as I am at Nordstrom. Ok, maybe Nordstrom is a bad example because it’s my Disney Land, but you get what I’m saying. My makeup reads the same way as my closet, some discount store, some department store, but all chosen for their performance-to-value ratio. There are some times though when a girl needs to splurge.

Cle de Peau is renowned for their concealer, a stick of pigment that disguises as well as it blends – the perfect balance when it comes to this sort of thing. Mine has lasted for so long (2 years +) the packaging has since changed, it still works great and smells fine so I’m riding it out a little longer. I’m using Beige, but wanted something a little lighter for blemishes and around my eyes so I just bought Ivory (below) their lightest offering of the 4 shades.

I’ve been using Beige as my spot concealer daily but now I’m using Ivory to conceal redness and take the tired look out from around my eyes. In place of my foundation, I use Beige with my fav brush for applying concealer, set it with some PureMatte and that’s it. It’s the ideal consistency and shade to use anywhere on the face, so why use a foundation over top of this perfect second skin? Think of it as a slimmer looking stick foundation.

Don’t feel like you have to buy two, I just didn’t get the right one for me on the first try. A good concealer is worth the investment and this one is a best seller for a reason. $70 is steep I realize, but if you’re using it as your eye concealer, foundation, and face concealer – the price isn’t as high as it seems.

I got mine at Barneys, but it’s also available at Neiman Marcus, Saks, Bergdrof, and Nordstrom.