Finally, a guide to understanding concealers once and for all

This week’s Healthy-ish Podcast, ‘Concealer can be used for more than covering your pimples, people’ is all about the tips and tricks for getting a flawless, natural-looking complexion in a flash.

In this week’s Healthy-ish beauty-themed podcast we’re talking all things concealer. Host Felicity Harley quizzes Beauty Editor Kelsey Ferencak on the best way to apply, the tips and tricks for colour correcting and the best buys from budget to baller.

Q: So, many of us often think of a concealer being dab-it-on-your-blemishes and you’re good to go, but there is so much more we can do with it. Let’s start at the beginning: what should we look for when choosing a concealer?

A: There’s a handful of things you should look for when choosing a concealer. The first thing is to select the right shade – and this should be different for the concealer you’re using under your eyes and for concealer you’re using on blemishes. Concealer under your eyes should be lighter than your foundation or skin tone because you generally want to brighten dark circles and shadowing, while the concealer you use for spots should be as close to your foundation or skin tone as possible because you’re trying to hide redness or dark spots. You don’t want it to be too light though, as then it will stand out – just one to two shades.

Then there’s the texture – personally, I prefer liquid as it’s easy to apply and blend but this also depends on the look you want and the foundation formula you use. I use liquid foundation so it works seamlessly with my makeup.

When it comes to texture, think about your skin – if you’re oily a powder or cream may be better than a liquid that might crease and fade, whereas if you’re dry a liquid would be a better option.

Then there’s the formula – do you want it to be full-coverage and long-lasting? Do you prefer something that’s lightweight and buildable? Or something that’s hydrating and natural-looking? These are always in the name, so do some research come up with a bit of list and then go in store and test them out.

Q: Can you mix it with moisturiser? Foundation? Should you put it on before or after foundation – so much confusion. Talk me through how to actually use it.

A: You can definitely mix it with moisturiser. When I don’t want to look like I’m wearing makeup but I need something I will blend some concealer into my moisturiser and just tap it into my skin where needed.

OK so ‘concealer or foundation first’ has been searched 39.1 million times on Google, so your confusion is valid! The general consensus is foundation first – it’s literally in the name. Building or applying your ‘foundation’ helps to even out your complexion, reduce discoloration and prevents you from moving or wiping away concealer and then lets you apply concealer in a more targeted way. If you do it the other way – so concealer first, you’ll kind of end up wasting product (and time) and you can’t really judge where or how much to use. After that, you can powder over the top if you like, to set it in place.

Q: Concealer for eyes – what’s the best way to apply?

A: I think it depends on what you’re trying to do. If you’re wanting to disguise puffiness and brighten dark circles it’s best to apply in an upside down triangle shape rather than sweeping directly under the eye. This works with light and shadow to brighten your eye and your face.

If you don’t have much puffiness or darkness, I follow a method a makeup artist once taught me which is to apply from the inner corner of the eyes and lightly blend outward with my finger. For a lighter wash, use the small tapered end of a beauty blender and dab into skin.

You can also use concealer on your eyes as a highlighter – apply along the brow bone, to the top of the lash line and the inner corner and dab with your ring finger.

Q: How can we use concealer on our lips?

A: I would only do this if your lips are super hydrated and smooth – so make sure you prep them with a scrub beforehand. There’s nothing worse than flakey lips covered in makeup.

You can use it to help make your lipstick pop and prevent it from bleeding by tracing along the lip line and skin with a fine-tip brush. You can also use it to again, create shadow and light to make your pout appear plumper. Fill in the middle of both your top and bottom lips, blend in to your lips with your fingers and then apply gloss or lipstick.

Q: You can buy a concealer with certain tinges – green, yellow etc – what’s your advice when using these?

A: Yes, so these are colour-correcting products. Peachy tones work to counteract blue undertones under the eyes, green is for redness – rosacea or breakouts, yellow is good for evening skin tone all over the face. These neutralise any discoloration and can be used instead or in tandem with concealer.

Q: What’s your take on using a concealer on your body?

A: I’ve never used it – if you want to use it follow the same rules as we’ve discussed and it’d be worth setting with a spray to prevent it from smudging or getting on your clothes/furniture.

Our picks:

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Concealer $66 at Sephora

YSL Touche Eclat from $34.99 at Chemist Warehouse

Tarte Shape Tape Contour Concealer $42 at Sephora

Ere Perez Arnica Concealer $36 at Nourished Life

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser $19.95 at Priceline

NYX Professional Makeup Colour Correcting Concealer Palette $20.08 at Amazon

All products featured in this article are selected by our editors, who don’t play favourites. If you buy something, we may get a cut of the sale.