Should Concealer Be Lighter Than Foundation?

Concealer is one of those products that can be life-changing — but only when applied correctly. To get the most out of your concealer and achieve a flawless finish, you need to ensure that it’s the right shade.

Many people make the mistake of using a concealer that’s too dark or too light, which can give the skin an unnatural look. So, should concealer be lighter than foundation? What’s the best way to choose the right color of concealer? Keep reading to find out.

Should Concealer Be Lighter Than Foundation?

Choosing the best shade of concealer depends on where you’re going to be applying it. If you want to brighten up the under-eye area, select a concealer that’s one shade lighter than your foundation. For covering blemishes, match your concealer to your foundation.

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How Do You Know What Shade Of Concealer To Get?

Now that you know the basic rule of thumb — under-eyes can be lighter, everywhere else should match your foundation — you might be wondering how to put this into practice. After all, there are so many concealer shades out there. So let’s break it down a little bit further.

 For Under-Eyes

nars radiant creamy concealer

Some people have dark circles more pronounced than others. If you don’t have dark circles, you can follow one of these two rules:

If you have warm undertones, use a yellow-toned concealer. You want to avoid choosing a very light color that can give your under eyes an ashy look.

  • If you don’t want to get the brightening effect, use a concealer with the same shade as your foundation.

Swatch the colors in natural light in front of a window. The colors might look different under artificial store lights, so it’s important to see how they look in natural light.

Get a sample if available and apply the concealer on your jawline. After blending the concealer, the shade that disappears into your skin is going to be your exact shade match. Start from this particular shade and go ONE shade lighter for your under-eye concealer to get the brightening effect.

For the under eyes, never choose a concealer shade that’s darker than your foundation. Using a dark concealer can make your eyes appear smaller and deeper.

Pro Tip: Avoid choosing a dark concealer shade as it might cause your under eyes to look orange.

dark circles under eyes

If you have very dark under-eyes, you might consider using a color corrector before applying concealer. A color corrector is a product that neutralizes the skin tone so that the concealer can go on smoothly and evenly.

You can reduce darkness by using a peach color corrector first. Blend it out well, and then go in with your concealer. You can use a concealer that’s one shade lighter than your foundation to get the brightening effect. Or, you can use a concealer with the same shade as your foundation to even out the skin tone.

 To Conceal Blemishes

bobbi brown concealer

If you have blemishes, you can choose a concealer that’s the same shade as your foundation. Use a small precise brush to apply the concealer and blend it gently by patting it with your fingers. Avoid rubbing the concealer as this can move the product around.

To cover more pronounced pimples, you can use a concealer that’s one shade darker, which can help make the pimple less noticeable. After, you can use a concealer with the same shade as your foundation to even out the skin tone.

 To Reduce Redness

nyx green concealer

You can use a green-tinted color corrector if you have redness before applying concealer. The color corrector will cancel out the redness, and then you can apply a concealer with the same shade as your foundation on top.

Pro Tip: Remember that not everyone needs to use color correctors. If your regular concealer is doing an excellent job of covering the redness, there’s no need to add an extra step to your makeup routine.

To Hide Skin Discoloration

becca peachy color corrector

Skin discoloration includes hyperpigmentation, dark spots, and scars. To cover these up, you can use a peachy-toned color corrector. Blend it out well, and then go in with your concealer. Use a concealer with the same shade as your foundation to even out the skin tone.

Pro Tip: To get the most coverage, let your concealer sit before blending. Then, use a damp makeup sponge to blend the product into the skin.

Read More: Concealer Vs BB Cream

What shade of concealer should I use for dark circles

How Many Shades Lighter Should Concealer Be For Highlighting?

nyx contour and highlight stick

You can use concealers to highlight and contour the face. Choose a lightweight formula that can blend effortlessly into the skin to get a flawless look. Avoid using thick concealers as they might separate during the day.

For highlighting, choose a concealer that’s one or two shades lighter than your foundation. Apply the concealer to the areas you want to highlight, such as under the eyes, on the center of the forehead, the brow bone, and the chin.

For contouring, choose a concealer that’s one or two shades darker than your foundation. Use a small contour brush to blend it gently into the skin. You can contour the sides of your nose, under your cheekbones, jawline, and on the top of your forehead.

Read More: Concealer Vs Highlighter

How Do I Know If My Concealer Is Too Light?

nyx concealer

If your concealer is too light, it can give you a ghostly appearance, and it might still appear too obvious even after you’ve blended it out.

A concealer that’s too light can look ashy or chalky on the skin, and it can also highlight any fine lines and wrinkles you have.

To avoid this, always test the colors in natural light. You can also ask for a sample if available. Test the concealer on your jawline. If it disappears into your skin, it’s the right shade that matches your skin tone. Go ONLY one shade lighter for an under-eye concealer for a brightening effect.

tarte shape tape concealer

For example, if you have light skin with warm undertones and use the Tarte shape tape concealer, the shade ‘8B porcelain beige‘ might look very light on you. This shade has a pink undertone, making your under eyes look very ashy. Opt for a yellow-toned shade suitable for light skin instead, such as ‘20S light sand‘ or ‘27S light-medium sand‘, depending on how light your skin tone is.

Should Concealer Be Warm Or Cool?

l'oreal true match concealer

The undertone of your concealer should match the undertone of your skin and, obviously, your foundation. Choose a concealer with a pink hue if you have a cool undertone. If you have a warm undertone, go for a concealer with a yellow undertone.

If you have warm undertones and you use a pink-toned concealer, it can make you look washed out. The same goes for using a yellow-toned concealer if you have cool undertones.

To find out if you have a cool or warm undertone, take a look at the veins on your wrist. If they appear blue or purple, then you have cool undertones. If they look green, then you have warm undertones.

For example, the Tarte shape tape concealer is available in 35 shades. The shade names containing the word ‘beige’ have a cool undertone.

tarte concealers

If you have ‘very fair skin with pink undertones,’ you might try the shade ‘8B porcelain beige‘.

If you have fair skin with neutral undertones, you might try the shade ‘12N fair neutral ‘.

For light skin with yellow undertones, the shade ’20S light sand’ might be a good choice.

If you have warm undertones, avoid choosing any shade with’ beige’ on the label.

Final Thoughts

LA Pro concealers

Choosing the right color of concealer can be tricky. But once you find the perfect shade that matches your skin tone, it can make a difference in your makeup routine.

Remember to test the colors in natural light and ask for a sample if available. Test the concealer on your jawline to see if it disappears into your skin.

The color that disappears and blends perfectly into your jawline is your exact shade match. Choose this shade for the concealer that needs to be used on your blemishes. You can also use this shade under your eyes or go one shade lighter to get the brightening effect. It’s all a personal preference as some people like to get a brighter look under the eyes while others don’t.

For contouring, choose a concealer that’s one or two shades darker than your foundation. Use a small brush to blend it gently into the skin. You can contour the sides of your nose, under your cheekbones, jawline, and on the top of your forehead.

Don’t forget to also match the undertone of your concealer to the undertone of your skin. This will ensure that your makeup looks natural.

I hope this guide helped you choose the right concealer color for your skin tone. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below!

Do you have any tips on choosing the right color of concealer? Please share them in the comments too!

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Claire is a beauty enthusiast and lover of all things makeup. Her blog is a resource for makeup tips and tricks, product reviews and beauty tutorials.

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