by Alexandra Nicole Nuralam

The Best Ways to Apply Concealer, According to A Makeup Artist

Image via @skinfluent

Concealer is the one product that many women can’t live without. Used correctly, it can brighten dull skin, cover up breakouts and conceal dark under-eye circles. In fact, many even skip foundation in favour of concealer. But while the type of concealer you use is important, the way you apply it is even more so.

Want to get the best out of your concealer? We asked for tips from Singapore-based makeup artist Ying Cui Wong (@yyingcui). Read on for her foolproof guide on how to apply concealer — your dark circles and blemishes will thank us later!

Should we apply concealer before or after foundation? 

Ah, there’s always been a debate about this. I would say that there is no hard and fast rule — whatever works best for you. I find that applying concealer first is more forgiving, especially if you don’t have the right shade to conceal your blemishes (or when you’re using a colour corrector) because when you apply foundation after, it is easier to achieve a more even complexion. However, if you are looking to use less product overall and to give your skin a chance to breathe, go with foundation as your first step. It will provide some coverage over the target area before you lay on a concealer of the same shade.

Are there any easy ways to choose the right concealer? 

We all want to find a formula that blends like a dream but sets fast so it does not budge throughout the day. Something that does not sit on top of the skin and make us look cakey, is hydrating enough but does not crease after just a few hours of wear. The key to selecting the right concealer for you is knowing your skin typeit depends on your skin type.

If you are concerned about dryness and creasing, test the product in the crook of your elbow to see how it lasts over a long day. If your skin tends to produce too much sebum, especially on or around the eye area, the best way to find out is to test it on the area itself. You can also introduce an eye primer so the above issues wouldn’t bother you.

What are the best ways to conceal:

Dark, under-eye circles? 

For fairer skin tones, under-eye circles tend to be a greenish-grey hue. Use a concealer with a salmon-pink hue or one with an orange undertone to correct it. For darker skin tones, under-eye circles are usually purplish-grey, so use an orange colour corrector or a matte orange lipstick to colour correct before applying your foundation.


Use a concealer with a lighter shade and apply it directly underneath the eye bag, and then a slightly darker concealer on the eye bag. It’s a visual trick that contours the under-eye. It creates the illusion of lift, just like you would with a pearly highlight on your cheekbones. Using a lighter shade underneath a puffy area can lift the surrounding skin, while a darker hue on top of the eye bag can help recede any ballooned creases.


Applying a mint-green colour corrector will help to cancel out any redness. You can also go for a full coverage concealer that matches your skin tone exactly. Do account for oxidation — you need to observe how your product looks throughout the day.

Active breakouts?

If it’s a pimple that has popped and you have to wear makeup (I’d suggest skipping makeup for at least half a day usually), what you can do is to dry out the area with some translucent powder and/or powder foundation. This way, your concealer will not slip n slide during application. Remember to use a full-coverage one.

If it’s a fresh pimple, it is usually a little bumpy so what I suggest is to dot a darker concealer or foundation — with decent coverage — over the top. This helps to flatten the bump and then you can layer on your usual foundation shade over afterwards. This is a great trick, even for filming 4K video footage!

Acne scars & pock marks?

Do the opposite of an unpopped pimple. Fill the concave area with a very light shade of concealer that doesn’t smudge or move easily, then layer your foundation on as per normal. This gives the illusion of smoother skin.

“A universal rule to remember: dabbing concealer on with a brush or sponge increases coverage, blending it on and out will do the opposite!”

What are some of the most common concealer mistakes people make?

The first is using a shade that is too light to cover their blemishes — and this ends up putting a huge spotlight on the blemish! The second is not factoring in how the product oxidises on your skin.

Any tips on fixing concealer that looks too cakey? 

It really depends on the formula of your concealer, but I would suggest using some setting spray to help it to set in a bit. If all else fails, take a baby wet wipe and rub bit by bit, just to get some of it off. Of course, make sure the final look is still seamless. Makeup shouldn’t be stressful; it’s not like getting a tattoo so you can wipe it off anytime and redo it! A good concealer will allow you to layer over, again and again, especially if you accidentally removed too much.

What are your all-time favourite products?

My all-time favourite concealer also happens to be my all-time favourite foundation, I kid you not. The NARS Soft Matte Complete Foundation (SGD62) has excellent coverage, is transfer-proof, lightweight and suitable for all skin types. Plus, it doesn’t oxidise and stays fresh, even after a very long outdoor shoot! They also have a concealer version, which I recommend as well. A little goes such a long way with this formula.

For dry skin and under-eyes

Givenchy Teint Couture Everwear 24H Radiant Concealer, SGD52
Urban Decay Stay Naked Correcting Concealer, SGD40

For normal & combination skin

Shu Uemura Unlimited Breathable Lasting Concealer, SGD46
NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, SGD46

For oily skin

NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer, SGD46
MAC Cosmetics Studio Finish SPF35 Concealer, SGD21