If blemishes and dark circles are pulling your confidence down, then it might be time to invest in some camouflage – makeup camouflage, that is. We’ve asked the experts how to find the best concealer for men, from colour matching and formulas to the correct application methods.
What Is Concealer?
‘Concealer is a slightly heavier consistency make up formulated to cover up any imperfections like spots, dark circles or other problems to help give a perfect looking complexion,’ says men’s hair and makeup artist, Luke Benson.
‘It’s a skin product, similar to foundation, but with a higher coverage or colour pay off,’ adds Melanie Baress, an MUA and makeup expert at ByTerry. ‘This makes it perfect for targeted concealing and correcting.’
What Are The Benefits Of Using Concealer?
The biggest benefit of concealer is in the product’s name itself – it’s a great item to have on hand for concealing any blemishes. ‘Concealer is a good product for you if you want to use something to camouflage specific concerns and not mask your entire face,’ says Simone Otis, a makeup expert at 19/99 Beauty. ‘It’s the right product for detailed, buildable and subtle coverage.’
Melanie also highlights the multi-functionality of concealer. ‘They give exceptional coverage, and are typically used to target things like under-eye circles, blemishes and pigmentation,’ she says. ‘However, as they are generally the same colour as your skin, you can use them as a foundation by dotting on the face and blending it into skin – they’re exceptionally multi-functional and great for touch ups when you’re on the go.’
How Does Concealer For Men Differ From Women’s?
As is the case with all makeup products, concealer isn’t a gendered product – but some concealers might feel more comfortable to use depending on how used to using them you are. ‘There is a range of concealers out there,’ says Luke. ‘Some may be a bit heavier and more matte, but the general idea is the same and with the same end goal and application.’
‘More often than not, products sold for men tend to have a matte or natural finish, which give an undetectable look when applied,’ adds Melanie.
The main thing to focus on when it comes to concealer is your skin type, not your gender, emphasises Simone. ‘The best way to go about choosing a concealer would be to go by the skin concern,’ she says. ‘For example if the area you want to conceal is very dry you would experiment with concealers that are more hydrating.’
Tips For Colour Matching
Test It Out
Trying to see what works for you in-store? ‘Test a bit of the colour on the wrist, and check the blend,’ recommends Luke. ‘If you’re unsure on where to start, go for a lighter shade and build up with darker tones. You can also get matched professionally at a make up counter, if you’re still not sure.’
Check The Undertones
Undertone is everything when it comes to colour matching, says Melanie. ‘If the formula is going to be worn under the eyes, it’s good to go for pink, peach undertones as this will help to colour correct and warm up dark circles,’ she explains. ‘You can then still use these undertones on the rest of the face for concealing blemishes, as the colour will be subtle. I would avoid going too light with your concealer to brighten your undereye, as this can end up looking ashy, obvious and unflattering.
‘But if you want to use the concealer to cover acne or blemishes, then you could choose a shade with more yellow, olive, golden undertones as these will colour correct the redness,’ she adds.
See An Expert
As Luke mentioned, if in doubt, seek out an expert. ‘Colour matching is best done in person with a beauty advisor from a brand,’ says Simone. ‘To get the best results, you want to get some advice from an expert who knows the ins and outs of colour correction and covering up.’
Tips For Applying Concealer
Fingers vs Brushes
‘Some concealers come as a stick that you can dab onto your face and then work in by tapping with the finger tip,’ explains Luke. ‘I like to use a soft concealer brush as I find the blend is much easier and gives a more natural finish, but beginners will maybe find the fingers easier.’
Use A Light Touch
‘If you love a natural, no-makeup look, then concealer can be a great way to subtly correct without looking like you’ve put loads of makeup on,’ suggests Melanie. ‘After applying your skincare, use a small fluffy brush and apply concealer on any areas that you want to perfect, such a blemishes or areas of redness. The key is to go light handed and just take down the imperfections slightly.
‘Over the past few years there has been social media trends where concealer is applied heavily under the eyes in a V-shape,’ she continues. ‘While this can open and brighten the face, it’s not something you have to do – it’s just another option, and one I would say is good if you love to wear a lot of makeup.’
For The Eyes
‘When applying concealer under the eyes, apply initially to the inner corner, near the tear duct and then with a small fluffy brush blend outwards around the under eye,’ advises Melanie. ‘The idea is to have the most amount of product in the inner corner of the eye as this is the area which tends to be the darkest and it can take a lot of makeup here. The rest of the undereye should have a light amount of concealer so it doesn’t become heavy and fall into fine lines. You can even smile while you apply concealer and avoid areas where there are fine lines to ensure a fresh longwearing look.’
‘For blemishes, simply dot a small amount on the blemish and blend with a dabbing motion, you can then reapply again just to ensure it’s covered,’ says Melanie. ‘I would then recommend powdering immediately.’
Use Two Shades Of Concealer
‘A tip for those advanced makeup users is to choose two concealer shades – one that is your best match and one that is slightly darker,’ recommends Simone. ‘Use the lighter one on the inner corners of the eyes and sweep that around and under the eyes, blending it out to about just halfway under the eye area, then use the slightly darker shade to blend from where you stopped to the outer corners of the undereye area. No one is truly one colour and using this technique gives you coverage that looks less obvious and seamless.’
Set Your Face
Once applied, you can use a setting powder or spray to keep your makeup in place, says Simone. ‘For a final layer I use a setting powder to keep the makeup from creasing and smudging off,’ she says. ‘Setting powder is different than a face powder – setting powder is meant for detailed work (meaning its just for small areas and not for all over the face) and usually has a bit of density and grip to it, while still giving you a transparent finish. Again, the trick is to just apply a very thin layer to set the product in place whether that’s under the eyes, over a blemish or on an area of discolouration.’
What To Look Out For When Shopping Concealer For Men
‘Look at what works for you price point wise and make sure the colour range options are enough for your skin tone,’ advises Luke. ‘For men’s concealer, I’d suggest looking for something that is matte with no shimmer, so it looks as natural as possible.’
And what about the consistency of our concealer? ‘Generally, any formula that is thick and creamy will give a higher level of coverage, so this is perfect if you want to conceal high colour blemishes, birthmarks, tattoos or pigmentation,’ highlights Melanie. ‘In contrast, concealers that are more liquid are great to use under the eyes as a lightweight formula sits better on the delicate undereye area, without caking.
‘If your skin is dry or you’re mostly using the concealer on the undereye, I would recommend using a hydrating, skincare-based formula,’ she adds. ‘I would also recommend using a skincare formula if your skin is mature or sensitive. If you’re skin is oily and you find product moves or doesn’t last throughout the day, then a longer wearing formula that has oil control will be a good choice, so look for formulas with film formers or silica.’
Attitudes Towards Men Using Makeup
Men’s makeup has become a lot more mainstream in recent years, but some are still hesitant to use it. We asked our experts what their take on conversation is: ‘I think there always will be some stigma, but I’m really keen to challenge that,’ says Luke. ‘The more that male talent and celebs are seen wearing makeup, then the more it will filter down to the general public and hopefully be seen as “allowed”. There are more brands bringing out men’s specific ranges too which can only help remove the stigma. I’m here to tell you that the male celebs you see absolutely use these products!’
‘Makeup is a great tool for anyone who wants to use it,’ adds Simone. ‘Whether I’m working with men or women, I have always used skincare and makeup to help them look and feel their best – sometimes more makeup, sometimes less. No one needs makeup, it’s more of a personal choice. I like to think of it as an option and a tool for expression, but also something that gives you a sense of confidence and control of how you are perceived in a given situation. So, for a man who might want to feel like his best for an event or a meeting, why not use makeup to add a bit of camouflage or colour to amplify or distract just the way women do?’
The Best Concealers For Men
Featured image: Warren, Unsplash