Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Make Up Basics: Concealers and Correctors

In this part of the Make Up Basics series, we'll be venturing into the world of concealers and correctors which for most people is a pretty essential part of the whole make up experience.

Concealer does exactly what its name suggests, conceals.  As with pretty much every other make up product, concealers come in powder, liquid and cream formulations with varying degrees of pigmentation and shades as well as a multitude of packaging designs.

Concealers are generally more pigmented versions of foundations and more often than not has a more creamy consistency so as to apply the most colour and blend seamlessly into the skin.  The goal is to hide imperfections yet having it still look natural.

Here are some basic guidelines to help you select concealers based on your needs:
  • For under eye circles : Try to go a shade or two lighter than your skin tone or foundation shade so as to add a brightening effect and make your eyes look more awake, fresh and less fatigued.
  • For overall cover ups : You'll want your concealer to match your skin tone and foundation perfectly so it blends in seamlessly into your skin.  Applying a lighter concealer onto pimples for instance will only draw more attention to the area instead of hiding it.
  • For highlighting : Concealers are often also use to highlight.  Similar to covering up under eye circles, choose a couple shades lighter than your skin tone and foundation and apply on the areas of your face where you want to bring out your features.

Correctors can be a little daunting to dabble in but with a bit of know how and understanding of the different shades of correctors (and some practice), it is a task anyone can master.  Generally foundation and concealers are sufficient to achieve that flawless complexion finish but in the event of more intense discolourations, we'll apply a corrector to neutralize the spot or area before our concealer application.

Since correctors are typically non-skin colour matching, here's a general guideline to the colours you might come across when looking for correctors:

  • Peach/Salmon/Bisque/Light Pink/Orange : This is possibly the most commonly used type of corrector as it helps to alleviate dark under eye circles.  Light and medium skintones can opt for light to medium versions of peach, salmon and bisque while darker complexions can benefit from orange-toned correctors.  In some cases, it can also be used to help neutralize bruises, tattoos, hyperpigmentation, acne scars, birthmarks and dark spots.
  • Green/Mint : Another common corrector color is green which is used to cancel out redness such as acne, blemishes, vascular birthmarks and broken capillaries.
  • Lavender : Lavender neutralizes yellow tones such as recovering bruises as well as brighten dull and sallow complexions.
  • Blue : For those with fair skin, blue can help add a little radiance to the complexion.  It is also used to tone down orange tones caused by overtanning or bronzing.
  • Yellow : Similar to peach/salmon/bisque correctors, yellow correctors cancel out purple/blue discolourations.  When applied on eyelids for instance, it provides a neutralized base to apply eyeshadow.  Yellow also provides a brightening effect and is commonly used to brighten up the under eye area as well as overall radiance.

If you're familiar with the concept of colour wheels, having one handy on your computer (they are available for free online and easily searchable via Google Images) or a physical print out of it helps determine which corrector colours to use.  Always keep in mind that colours on opposite ends of the colour wheel work best to cancel each other out.  If the colour wheel is a bit confusing to use, the simplified guide above is more than sufficient as reference.

Different Types of Correctors

When it comes to concealers and correctors, always remember that less is more.  If you've chosen the right formula and shade for yourself, there is no need to pile on the product.  Don't forget to set your concealer with a powder to avoid creasing and to keep product in place.

  • Brush : Brushes with densely packed brush hairs are ideal for concealer application.  If you're using a flat concealer brush, pat the product lightly on the area you want to conceal and use light short strokes to blend out the edges.  With rounder types of concealer brushes, stipple the product onto the areas you're working with and gently buff out the edges to blend.
  • Fingers : Clean fingers are great tools for applying concealer because the warmth from your fingers helps the product to smooth on easily.  Tap the product on the desired areas and blend the edges.
  • Sponges : Beauty sponges can also be used for application.  Dampen your sponge and apply similarly as you would your with your fingers.

  • Concealers and correctors can be applied before or after foundation.  Applying concealers and corrector after foundation usually results in having to use less product than application prior to foundation.
  • Correctors are usually applied before concealers to neutralize the colour of imperfections (discolourations) in the area of application.  This allows concealers to perform seamlessly an efficiently in cases of severe discolouration.
  • When applying cream correctors and concealers on top of powder foundation, spritz a refresher mist (not a setting/finishing mist/spray) to dampen the skin before application.
  • Brushes with synthetic bristles are excellent for applying liquid and cream versions of correctors and concealers as they tend to soak up less (if any) product, which means you won't be wasting a lot of the product getting absorbed by the brush hairs.
  • Natural hair brushes are usually more porous and therefore allows for some product absorption.  Dampen the brush to help with blending and lessen product absorption by brush hairs.

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