For most of us, concealer is one of the most important parts of our makeup routine. Concealer is so versatile that you can use it for just about anything–covering up blemishes, evening out your skin tone, hiding dark circles under your eyes, even covering up scars and tattoos. Most brands offer a concealer for just about every skin tone, making it easy for everyone to enjoy the benefits.

When you go shopping for concealer, your first instinct might be to look for a product that matches your skin color exactly. After all, you don’t want a concealer that stands out or looks like smears of paint across your face. But you might be surprised to learn that your ideal concealer shouldn’t match your skin tone exactly. Applying makeup is like an art–and it takes a lot of subtle hues and minor differences to get it right.

Why Should Your Concealer be Lighter Than Your Foundation?

If you apply foundation before applying your concealer, your concealer should never match your skin tone exactly. Applying concealer after your foundation creates a layering effect. If your concealer is the same hue, it’ll stand out instead of blending in with your skin. You might find yourself trying to apply more foundation to cover it up–or even wiping it all off and starting over.

For this reason, choose a concealer that’s one or two shades lighter than your skin tone. You don’t want anything too light, as that will stand out even with the foundation. But a concealer that’s just a shade or two lighter will blend in with the foundation and leave your skin looking smooth and even.

Certain base colors can also show through the foundation, creating a noticeable difference. Most women should avoid concealers that are noticeably pink, peach, or rose-colored. At first glance, these colors might appear to give you a healthy blush–but once you try them on, you’ll find that they don’t blend well with your foundation. Light-skinned women can benefit from yellow-based concealers, while orange-based concealers are perfect for dark-skinned women.

What if I Don’t Use Foundation?

If you don’t use foundation on a regular basis, choose a concealer that’s closer to your skin tone. Without the layering effect, the concealer is less likely to stand out. Most of us won’t find a concealer that matches our skin tone exactly, as everyone’s skin has subtle differences in tones. But a good concealer can be applied and smoothed across your skin for a seamless effect.

As you shop for concealers, experiment with different types to find the perfect product for your skin. From liquids to sticks to compacts, there’s a concealer for every skin type and facial area. If you’re just starting out, you can read tips on beauty websites. But no one’s skin is exactly alike, so in the end, you’ll have to find what works for you.

About The Author: Makeup artist Sandy Taylor is from Vancouver BC, Canada. She has been in the makeup and cosmetics industry for well over a decade. Her love for makeup started when she was only 14 years old. She loves writing and teaching others on doing makeup. Check out her website, Foundation Fairy, for more professional tips and tricks to up your makeup skills.

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