When buying concealer, do you go lighter or darker than your skin tone?

Have you ever walked past a mirror outside of your home and gasped? It’s not hard to fall victim to applying seemingly perfect makeup only to get a glimpse of it in natural light to discover a dreaded makeup line or badly concealed blemish.

Unless you’re a professional, it can be difficult to have makeup that appears both flawless as well as natural, but don’t despair! However challenging it may appear, selecting and applying makeup like concealer that highlights natural beauty while extinguishing flaws can be achieved with a little bit of know how.

After foundation, concealer can set the stage for the rest of your makeup routine and either prevent or contribute to an amateur makeup finish.

So when buying concealer, do you go lighter or darker than your skin tone? While most makeup artists suggest going 1-2 shades lighter than your own skin tone, The more detailed answer to choosing whether to go lighter or darker with concealer depends on what you want to achieve. Not only does concealer conceal blemishes, but it can also be used to brighten and highlight certain areas. Concealer needs may also differ with the seasons because of changing skin tones.

So, lighter or darker when buying concealer?

So exactly what shade of concealer do you need to buy? Well, buying one correct shade is a bit impossible since most likely your skin may need several types of coverage for several different problems and makeup tricks you’d like to try. Here are some of the skin issues and goals you may wish to cover as well as what type of shades to purchase:

1. Blemishes and redness

Pimples, zits, rosacea. You name it, we all hate it. Thank goodness for the powers of makeup when our face is anything but confident. While considering concealer for such issues, it’s time to go back to art class and think about the color wheel. when trying to reduce a color on the skin, you should look for the color that is directly opposite of the undesired color.

For instance, inflamed blemishes and redness are often reduces by using green tones–the opposite of red. Simply dab a bit on, but be careful not to apply too much to avoid a thick layer or too much green. What looks worse than an exposed blemish is a poorly hidden one.

If you have other redness or blemishes that may not be quite as inflamed, rather than going lighter or darker, you should reach for a concealer that is the same tone as your skin to help blend and disguise mild redness. Some experts even mix concealers that contain green tones as well as the tones from their own skin to create a more natural look and avoid visible green. Most likely you may want to cover the green with a bit of natural skin tone to achieve perfect color correcting.

2. Dark under eye circles

It happens to the best of us. We’re up late and suddenly it’s morning and our under eyes are just not keeping up with our morning routine. Concealing dark under eyes can be difficult since not all under eyes are created equal. For relatively mild discoloration, it’s recommended to try and match your skin tone as closely as possible which will help smooth out the discoloration into your natural skin tone, but if you’ve had one rough night and that doesn’t work, you may have to break out the big color guns.

If you tend to have more blueish shades under your eyes, you may want to reach for more orange and peach tones. On the other hand, if you tend to have more reddish tones, think back to the color wheel and reach for more greenish and yellow tones. Once you’ve applied the color correcting shade, then simply dab a bit of concealer closer to your skin tone directly on top for an instantly more energetic face.

Highlighting and brightening

Skin goes through a cycle and as we age, this skin cycle tends to slow down which can decrease youthful, vibrant skin. Even if you’re young, there are certain times when your skin just doesn’t pop. Luckily concealer can help with that. Because of the extensive choices in concealer shades on the market, you can easily create a dewy and fresh glow by knowing where to apply concealer to highlight or brighten the skin.

Concealer can be used to give the illusion of high cheekbones, a smaller nose, and even larger eyes. To achieve these highlighting techniques, makeup artists suggest choosing a shade 1-2 times lighter than your natural shade and apply it in natural light. Think about where the light naturally hits your face and place the concealer in areas you want highlighted–for instance, applying it just below the brow can enlarge the eyes and help sculpt brows.

When brightening, experts suggest using concealers that are more pinkish in tone, but that also depends on your natural skin tone. While pinks are advised for most, you may want to check out the color wheel one more time especially if you already have pink tones in your skin.

So how do I find my skin tone?

It’s nearly impossible to just pick up a concealer and simply know if it’s the right shade based on sight alone. Our eyes can easily deceive us when it comes to lighting and color. Fortunately, there are some tried and true tests to find your skin tone. First and foremost, find natural light. Your bathroom light is not the same light on the street, in the office, or at a restaurant. Go to a window and actually look at your skin. If you don’t do this, it will be evident to everyone that not only are you wearing makeup, but you’re wearing the wrong shade. After checking out natural light, consider the following tips:

1. Check out your veins

Under natural light, look at your wrists. If your veins appear blueish or purple, you probably have cool tones with hints of pink and red. If your veins look more green, you probably have warm tones with hints of yellow and peach. If it’s difficult to tell, you most likely have neutral tones.

2. Grab something white or think accessories

Another way to assess your tone is by finding something stark white. Put on a bright white shirt and look at your skin next to it. You can also consider jewelry. If you feel you’re skin is more complimented by silver, you’re probably on the cool side while if you’re more of a gold person, you likely have warm tones.

3. Get a pro to match your shade

If you have the time, it’s nice to have someone else do the work. Getting a professional to help determine your match is easier than gambling, and you can actually see the makeup applied right on your skin without opening your wallet. Employees at a cosmetics counter are eager to help and will often apply different shades and encourage you to look at them in natural light. There’s no cost and you can be confident your skin is matched perfectly.

When I know my shade, what about concealer?

Now that you know what skin tone you have, you’re more equipped to lean towards concealer with your individual tones and go from there to determine what you’re actually using the concealer for. Keep in mind you should probably have more than one shade of concealer including a close match to your skin, a shade 1-2 times lighter than your skin, and possibly a color correcting shade like yellow or green. Remember that many times you will be using more than one concealer at a time to achieve ultimate concealing, highlighting, or contouring capabilities.

So instead of gasping at an unsightly makeup line or blemish that is shouting its presence to the world when you encounter light other than your bathroom, be confident that you’re armed with the knowledge of knowing your shade and choosing the correct concealer. Concealer is a must have for both everyday skin issues as well as temporary issues, so it’s a definite must in your makeup bag.

Reading material

After this article you know everything about concealer and whether or not you should go lighter or darker than skin tone. Do you want to find out more about concealer? Then simply click on the links below and start reading and learning!
Concealer creasing. What is it, and how to stop it?
Concealer can help you with this


Here are some of my favorite beauty products

Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it helpful in your journey to creating the look you want. Here are some products that I use as a beauty addict that I hope you’ll also find helpful. These are affiliate links, so if you do decide to use any of them, I’ll earn a commission. But in all honesty, these are the exact products that I recommend to even friends and family.

Makeup brushes: I always try to find products that are great at what they do, but also are affordable for the majority of people. I really like the Real Technique Cruelty Free sculpting set. I think those are some of the internet’s most beloved affordable brush sets and that is for a reason. Not only that… My friends, family and I myself also like them a lot! Check them out and see for yourself.

Primer: A good primer can make a great difference in creating the look you want. Primers function as a base that makes or breaks your foundation application and that’s why you need a good one! Now, I know that not all skin types are the same, so that’s why I want to recommend a primer to you that’s good for all skin types. It’s the Too Faced Hangover primer and it is infused with coconut water which soothes your skin and is really hydrating. Using this primer long-term will make your foundation application and promotes skin elasticity!

Foundation: Have you found “the one” yes? Now, I’m not talking about your prince charming… I’m talking about the foundation that works best for you! If not, I hope I can help you. I have helped a lot of people along my way of becoming a true makeup addict and found that the MAC Studio Radiance Face & Body Radiant Sheer Foundation works with a lot of skin types and has 30 shades which make it almost impossible not to find your shade! Besides that, it’s a foundation that is natural and truly undetectable on your skin.

Thanks again for reading!