Here’s a post I’ve been meaning to write for ages yet putting off because it’s such a massive (to me) subject — correctors and concealers. Cosmetics companies frequently use the terms interchangeably.
I’m an expert in neither, but the fact that I have genetic dark undereye circles that are the envy of raccoons and pandas everywhere means I’ve spent my adult life in search of The Perfect Concealer. Let’s get this out of the way right now; ain’t no such thing. But I’ve tried a plethora of brands and formulas so will share what I’ve found. Actually, I just wanted to use the word “plethora.”
First, correctors aka neutralizers. These are not mysterious, although they can look pretty weird. As you might guess, they are to correct an unwanted color or tone. Remember the color wheel we all learned about in school?
Think opposites. If you have a red spot or area on your face you want to tone down, use red’s opposite color, green. Are your undereye circles blue-toned? An orange or peach shade will neutralize the darkness. Is your face sallow (yellow)? Purple is yellow’s opposite.
[A brief note about skin color — I am not a doctor, nurse, or any other health care professional, but if your skin color or tone changes, either suddenly or gradually, it could possibly be the symptom of an underlying condition such as jaundice, poor circulation, or something else. Always check with your health care provider if you’re concerned about your skin color.]
Resist the urge to go hog wild with correctors. You are not four years old with a new Dora the Explorer coloring book. Putting a few dabs of green on red spots, some yellow on undereye circles, and a wash of lavender over perceived sallowness will look like a hodgepodge. Pick one or two things you want to neutralize.
I have no experience with green or purple correctors. I get a red spot occasionally but cover it up with a skin-toned concealer. Here’s something simple from Maybelline if you’re so inclined.
If the color you want to neutralize is an overall tone, there are lotions such as this drugstore one from Eucerin:
I tried some peach-toned neutralizers/correctors on my undereye circles but found them too orange, and so tried several yellow-toned ones and they work better. Here are two I still have, Cover Everything Concealer in Corrective Yellow by e.l.f, and Hide the Blemish Concealer in #201 Neutraliser from Rimmel. The e.l.f. one was $2.00 at a big box store and the Rimmel was about $4.00 on sale at a drugstore.
As you can see, the e.l.f. one is a brighter yellow and the Rimmel is more beige but still yellow. I couldn’t photograph good swatches of these, nor the concealers further on in this post, because they don’t show up well on my skin. Which is rather the point! The Rimmel is a bit thicker than the other, and I consider both of them merely so-so, don’t think they do that much for my undereye circles.
I prefer to use concealer by itself most of the time, part of the trouble being that if one uses concealer on top of corrector, the products can look a bit thick or cakey. On older, crepey skin, that’s not good. Whichever product(s) you use, pat them on and blend them in gently, either with your finger or with a brush. Don’t pull or tug or rub, especially on thin undereye skin.
Concealers… sigh… I’ve tried so many. Creams, liquids, sticks, even a powder. I’ve tried drugstore brands and prestige brands. Here’s what currently resides in my stash:
As you can see, they’re not all exactly the same color. Some are lighter or darker, some are more pink or beige. My skin isn’t the same color all year long; although I wear sunscreen every day and try to avoid tanning, some happens. I use darker concealers in the summer and early fall, and lighter ones the rest of the year. Here are my impressions of these seven products.
1. Bare Minerals Multi-Tasking Concealer, Broad Spectrum SPF 20, color Bisque. Shown in center of photo. I got this one in a Bare Minerals sample pack at Ulta, and had never used a powder concealer. I found out why. Maybe it works well on younger and/or oilier skin, but on my older, somewhat dry skin, the powder seemed to emphasize every fine line. It was only so-so at covering up the undereye circles. I’m not going to toss it, though, will use it as a matte beige eyeshadow base!
2. Nyx Above & Beyond Full Coverage Concealer, color Light. Lower right of photo. This is a cream in a small pot that I tried on a whim because in general I like Nyx eye and lip products. Unfortunately, the cream is slightly dry, stiff, and tacky to the touch so I don’t care for the formula. Now that I’ve shown it in on the blog I’ll probably toss it.
3. Tarte Colored Clay (CC) Undereye Corrector, color Light-Medium. Shown in upper left. I bought this at Ulta based on glowing reviews, despite the price ($24 before being on sale and using a coupon). Can you say, “Buyer’s remorse”?? It’s all right but nothing special, and definitely not worth that price to me. I do like the flat compact — no mirror though — that it comes in, so I keep it in my travel bag.
4. Maybelline DreamLumi Touch Highlighting Concealer, color Radiant. Bottom of photo. This is the only liquid concealer in the bunch. You twist the bottom of the container which pushes the liquid, which you can see in the center, up into the brush on the top, then you dab that on, then blend it with your finger or the brush. I find this one awkward to use and its coverage only average. Plus there’s actually only a tiny amount of actual concealer, 1.5 ml/0.05 oz., and the brush gets icky if you don’t wash it after every use, which wastes more of the product. Toss.
Now we come to my favorites, the Cover Girl concealers. Good news/bad news. Good news is that two of these are my absolute faves when it comes to concealers and have been for years. Bad news is that they’ve been discontinued. Yes, that sound you hear is me weeping bitter tears.
5. Cover Girl & Olay Simply Ageless Eye Concealer, color #210 Light. Shown top center. If this little pot looks a bit ragged, there’s good reason. I’ve used this concealer more than any other, and I think this particular one is probably the third or fourth I bought, having used each one up and then restocking. It’s a solid cream but has swirls of Olay moisturizer in it and is very creamy, with excellent coverage. Since I liked this one so much, when I couldn’t find it any more I bought…
6. Cover Girl & Olay Concealer Balm stick, color #330 Light. Upper right of picture. Also works well and looks good but is not quite as creamy as the Simply Ageless. I’m going to use these two Cover Girl products until there is nothing left.
7. Cover Girl TruBlend FixStick Concealer, color Medium Light. Second from bottom. I went back to the fount of Cover Girl and picked this up recently; it’s a fairly new product. The crayon-like product twists up from the bottom and application is easy. However, it’s too dry for my undereye skin yet works well on blemishes and small sun spots.
So that’s my roundup. Sorry that my favorite one, the CG Simply Ageless cream, has been discontinued. I’ll keep searching for a good substitute. At least I know now that I want a cream and not a powder, liquid, or dry-ish crayon.