Sunday, January 30, 2011
Concealer can be your best friend or your worst enemy, depending on how you apply it. Here's how to get it just right.
What are concealers for? Do I really need one? Why do they make all those funny coloured green, pink and lilac things? How can I cover circles without making it look worse than when I started? Simmer down. All will be revealed - and then I will show you how to conceal it all again!
One of the most common errors is in the selection of a colour. I personally suffer from dark shadows that have garnered comments like 'What happened to your eyes?' and 'Hang on, you've smudged something under your... oops, sorry, did you get in a fight?' It really gets the day off to a fantastic start I can tell you.
The problem those of us with really dark circles have is that we want to cover them completely, so we head straight for the lightest colour we can find. Wrong! The darker the circle, the darker the concealer should be. If you try to cover with something light, you'll have the end result of a muddy ashen smudge that's not much better than what you started with.
Always test the colour of a concealer OVER your foundation. If the effect is invisible, you have the correct shade. If you insist, you could drop one shade for dark circles but you will have to be much more cautious with your application. White rings under your eyes look just as bad as dark ones.
To keep things as natural as possible, apply your foundation first and then top up the cover on only the inner half of the under eye. This way if you have the beginnings of fine lines, you are not adding weight to the outer half and showing off the problem.
You will get the most natural cover with a brush. Any old lip brush will do the trick. You have much more control with a brush than you have with your fingers.
If you prefer to use your finger, opt for your ring finger, as it is weaker and will apply less pressure to the delicate skin.
If it starts to look too heavy, apply a tiny bit of your eyecream over the top to wash it down a bit.
You can mix the concealer, if it is too heavy, with some eyecream and make it a 'treatment' concealer.
Bags & puffiness
Puffs and bags are much harder to cover; it is far easier to draw attention away from them.
Again using a brush (once you have applied your foundation), paint a slightly lighter concealer into the dip under the bag. The best products for this have light-diffusing particles. The effect is that you want to bounce the shadow under the eye-bag away. Heavy concealer will always make bags look worse.
When you are desperate, you can resort to the make-up artists' trick of using a touch of haemorrhoid cream to reduce the swelling temporarily. Please only do this if you are in a state of desperation. It really works, but shouldn't be done often.
Red nose and cheeksIf you have ever tried a green colour corrector, you know that it usually looks worse then the red did! Sure it cancels out the red, but then your face looks like cement and you have to use an even heavier foundation to cover that up.
There is a little miracle product by Decleor called Perfecting Tint, which is a sheer green gel that you can apply both under and/or over the foundation. It also helps to thicken and strengthen the capillaries to make them less visible.
You can also try Shiseido's excellent Colour Control Stick which can be worn under, over or even without concealer or foundation.
If using a colour corrector, apply the smallest amount possible, then apply your foundation. Once that has set, once more apply the tiniest amount of the colour corrector. You will find the effect is much more natural when you do fine layers that if you try to do it all in one whack.
If not using a colour corrector, apply your foundation as per normal. Then, using a concealer that you've tested over the foundation, apply nearly dried concealer over the foundation in light patting strokes. You can achieve this by dabbing the concealer onto the heel of your hand until it is nearly dry, and then apply it to your face. The reasoning behind this is that if the product is too wet, you will remove any cover you have achieved with the foundation. Then reapply a bit of foundation in the same way.
Always work in layers when covering excess redness. It is better to stay in control than to pile it on. Once you have gotten the desired effect, rub your hands together really fast until you feel a build-up of heat. Then, press your hands over your cheeks for about 5 seconds. What you will achieve is the same effect as letting your makeup settle for a while before leaving the house. It will give you what you normally have to wait 30 to 45 minutes for naturally!
Tips from the catwalk
When you are truly desperate and puffy, haemorrhoid cream can be applied very thinly to the eye area to reduce extreme puffiness. It also helps with jawline contours and overall puffiness. This is not an everyday solution. This is for cases of emergency, but I don't know many make-up artists or models that don't carry a tube.
If a terrible spot arrives at exactly the wrong time (is there ever a right time?), don't fight nature and cake concealer all over it. Instead, use an eyeliner and turn it into a beauty mark. It is already raised slightly and looks extremely natural. Only your best friends will know.
Colour correctorsHere's a quick guide to colour corrector/enhancers so you get that all-important match:
Green: Cuts and tones down redness
Apricot: Brightens cooler skin tones
Peach: Brightens cooler skin tones
Rose: Lifts sallow complexions and gives a glow
Lilac: Cuts excess yellow in the skin and lifts sallow complexions
Blue: Takes down orangey skin tones, also corrects bad self-tan applications!
Bronze: Brightens and lifts nearly all skin tones. Gives a healthy sun-kissed look
Gold: Accentuates golden skin tones and suntans
Silver: Brightens cooler skins. Usually only done in the evening!
Yellow: Brightens warmer skin tones