Types of Concealer

Have you looked at the concealer options at the makeup counter lately?  It’s enough to make your head spin!  There are different formulas and even different colors to choose from.  How do you know which one to use?  No worries, my friends, I’ve got your covered on the different types of concealer—no pun intended.  After you read this, you’ll know which type to buy for your specific needs and some great tips to help you apply it. 


Types of Concealers

The type of concealer that is best for you depends on how you’re using it.  If you’re trying to hide a pimple, then you want a heavily pigmented concealer, and one that doesn’t have light reflecting particles because they draw attention to the area.  For dark circles under your eyes, you want a lightweight concealer that is hydrating to pamper your skin.  These types of concealer often have light reflecting particles, which makes sense because this is one area that you want to highlight if you use a highlighter. 

How to Use Concealer

Concealer is meant to be used on small areas of your face, e. g., under your eyes, to cover a blemish or scar, or around your nose.  It’s not meant to cover your entire face. 
If you need light coverage, use concealer under your foundation.  For more coverage, use foundation first and concealer over it.  If you use a powder foundation like I usually do, always apply concealer before the powder.  Applying concealer over powder can lead to streaks. 
Generally, you want a concealer that is one or two shades lighter than your skin tone.  This will correct dark areas without making it look too light.  If you get tan in the summer, this means that you’ll probably want a different shade of concealer for summer and winter, regardless of the type of concealer that you use. 
If you do use a concealer, use a foundation over or under it for a flawless look.  Using concealer alone will make you look like you’re wearing makeup in spots unless you have a flawless complexion and can match your skin tone perfectly. 

Which Type of Concealer Do You Need?

The best concealer for you depends on your skin problems.  Women with dry skin shouldn’t use a liquid because the matte finish will make dryness worse.  Women with oily skin or large pores should avoid a stick or cream concealer because these formulas are heavy and can clog pores and make the skin shinier. 

Types of Concealer

When you’re shopping for concealer, keep in mind what your problem areas are.  Do you have to cover blemishes?  Under eye circles?  A scar?  You’ll probably need two different kinds of concealer to correct your complexion if you have two or more types of blemishes often. 
You may also need the same type of concealer in two shades.  If you have dark circles under your eyes, you’ll want a shade or two lighter than your skin tone.  You may need a product a shade darker for other blemishes. 

Pencil Concealer

Pencil concealers are usually cream based products that are designed for small blemishes.  They also work great on your waterline to open up your eyes, and they especially make you look well rested when used on your water line.  You can also use them highlight the inner corners of your eyes or to lift your brows by lining just under them.  
One to try is NYX Wonder Pencils.

Pen Concealers

Pen concealers have a sheer forumla for light coverage and have a brush for application.  They are luminous, so they reflect light, making them perfect for under eye circles.  They also work well to highlight parts of your face. 
Ones to try are Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat and Maybelline New York Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer

Liquid Concealer

Liquid is the best type of concealer for most skin tyes except very dry.  You can build up coverage, so it’s great for light and full coverage.  You can find it in matte, shimmer, and satin in different brands.  Matte finishes are less likely to migrate in to lines throughout the day.  It also lasts longer than a satin finish, but a satin finish can give a more natural look.  Shimmery liquid concealer is best for under the eyes.  It’s easy to apply and can be applied using a wand applicator, concealer brush, or your fingertips.  Many women prefer this type of concealer because it doesn’t cause breakouts and doesn’t cake up on your skin. 
Ones to try are MAC Select Cover Up or Maybelline New York Fit Me.

Stick Concealer

Stick concealers are best for dry, normal, or sensitive skin.  Like with a liquid, you can build it from medium to full coverage.  It’s also available in a matte or satin finish.   They are almost solid like a lipstick and are rich in pigment.  This type of concealer can be dotted on the skin or swiped on then blended.  To blend, use your finger or a concealer brush to feather the edges of the product.  Once you have it blended, set it with loose powder for longer wear. 
This type of concealer is great for under eye circles or for discoloration around the nose or mouth.  Although it works to hide acne blemishes well, it’s thick formula can clog pores and make acne worse. 
Ones to try are Max Factor Erace Cover Up Stick and Yves Saint Laurent Multi Action Concealer.

Cream Concealer

Cream concealer is best for dry, normal, or combination skin.  It’s available in creamy and satin finishes and provides medium to full coverage.  It’s usually found in a compact or small pot.  Since it’s so thick, it’s best for severe discolorations and under eye circles. 
Because it’s so thick, you have to be careful blending it or it can look unnatural on your skin.  It’s best to use a concealer brush, sponge applicator or your finger to dot the product on your face and then use a tool to blend it.  Set it with loose powder for more staying power. 
Ones to try are CoverGirl & Olay Simply Ageless Concealer and NYX Cosmetics Concealer Jar.

Cream-to-Powder Concealer

Cream to powder concealer is best for dry, normal, or combination skin.  It’s available in a powdery or matte finish, and it’s buildable from light to medium coverage.  It’s easy to apply because it glides across your skin.  You can use a concealer brush or your fingers to apply it. 
Since it’s a powder, it can slip in to fine lines and wrinkles after a few hours, which can accentuate them.  It has more staying powder because it’s a powder, but most women with find lines tend to avoid this type of concealer. 
If you are covering dry, flakey skin, the powder can emphasize dry patches.  It can also make breakouts worse, so use caution if you are prone to breakouts. 

Color Correcting Concealer

You’ll probably see colored concealers in the store.  Generally, these are only used when flesh toned concealer don’t provide enough coverage.  If you do use a color correcting concealer, always wear foundation over the concealer to neutralize the color. 
  • Lavender corrects yellow shades in your skin
  • Green corrects redness
  • Pink corrects a blue tone on skin
  • Orange corrects deep purple, gray, or blue on skin
  • Yellow corrects deep purple or scarring
Get all of them in one compact.  Try the NYX Color Correcting Palette.

Tips for Applying Concealer


  • If you have dry skin, use a moisturizer before using concealer. 

  • Use a brush, sponge, or your finger to dab concealer on to your skin.  Then blend the edges until you can’t see any lines. 

  • Set your concealer by dusting it with powder.  If you use a matte finish concealer, you might need to skip this tip. 

  • Medium to dark discolorations will need a more pigmented concealer like a cream or stick. 

  • If you are using concealer for your under eyes, use a radiant or shimmer finish to highlight the area.

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