Want clear sparkling skin? Do a great cover-up job and your worst sins need never show up on your face. Whether it's a dab under the eyes, a cover-up for thread veins on the cheeks, or the only way to hide a spot, there comes a time in every woman's life, special occasion or not, when only a great concealer will do.
And before you get started, remember these words of wisdom from the professionals:
• Don't expect one concealer to cover everything.
• 'You can't use the same concealer on your eyes that you would for a spot,' explains top make-up artist Ariane Poole.
• 'A concealer for the eye area needs a creamier, more moisturising consistency that moves with your skin so it won't dry out and enhance fine lines even more; spots and blemishes need a drier product that stays in place and ideally has anti-bacterial properties.'
• If you do try using one product for everything, you could find that an undereye concealer may aggravate a spot, and an anti-bacterial concealer used around the eyes may cause sensitivity. So either decide on your target area - or buy two.
PERFECTING UNDER-EYE COVER
• Take time to find the right colour for your skin.
'It's a common misconception that if you have dark circles you need to use a really pale colour to compensate,' says make-up artist Ariane Poole. 'Too light can emphasise the area you're trying to hide, and end up making skin look grey and ashen instead. Light-reflective concealers that lighten dark circles by reflecting the light, such as Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat (£20; from department stores)
, are great, as long as you don't overdo it.
• Ariane's hot tips:
for very dark and black skins, Lancôme
for very fair, and Estée Lauder
for medium, olive skin tones.
• The best way to apply concealer
under and around the eyes is with a very fine brush or a clean cotton bud, then blend it on to the skin by dabbing it into place with a clean finger. Remember, you're trying to conceal something, so you need to leave a fine layer of the product on your skin - but only put it where you need it.
• Pat - don't rub - it on
or you'll need to add more and more until it starts to look heavy and caked, which only emphasises fine lines and wrinkles.
• 'Lower your chin on to your chest and look up into a mirror while applying,' says Ariane. 'All the Hollywood actresses do it this way. Dark circles look worse while you're applying the concealer, but it really works because you only put it where you need it, and so use a lot less in the long run.'
MAKE SPOTS AND BLEMISHES DISAPPEAR
• If you wear foundation,
always apply concealer over spots and blemishes afterwards, not before. Too much make-up on the skin is ageing, and this way you only use what you need and so use a lot less.
• If you don't wear foundation,
you will get a more flawless, but natural-looking finish if you use a tiny bit of concealer on a brush (like an artist) just to paint out minor blemishes or marks.
• If a spot or blemish is red
(such as thread veins or a birthmark), add a tiny bit of green concealer first to take down the redness (but not too much or else it will look grey), dab a small bit of covering concealer on top, then dust over a little translucent powder.
• Less is more.
'Often too much concealer on a spot may make it look even worse than nothing at all,' says Ariane. 'Practise in natural daylight - and with the right equipment.'
• To help dry out the spot quicker,
you may prefer to use a specific spot concealer with anti-bacterial ingredients; try The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil Cover Stick (£3.95)
. However, don't apply straight from the tube or you may risk infecting the product. Place it on the back of your hand instead, then apply to the spot with a cotton bud, which you can throw away when you're finished.
• Birthmarks and pigmentation spots
need a thicker concealer to cover them well. Again the best application is achieved using a fine brush (try Clinique's Concealer Brush, £8.50
). Only cover the areas required - blending the edges away so there are no obvious demarcation lines. Products such as Supercover
have been specifically designed to cover pigmentation marks.