There are many things most men won’t admit too: extra-marital affairs (understandably), being a poor fighter (boardroom or back alley) and owning, wearing or even considering concealer.
Despite the latter being the most innocent of the lot, most guys would rather be caught trousers-down than seen dabbing a finger into a pot of make-up.
Yet, concealer has been a secret weapon of well-groomed men for decades, responsible for the fresh faces of just about every A-list actor, model and musician on the red carpet.
Instead of make-up, think of concealer as camouflage – a way of hiding annoying dark circles, redness, spots. And done right, no one even has to know. Here’s how.
What Is Concealer
Essentially a pigment in cream or liquid form, concealer is used to, well, ‘conceal’ any kind of imperfection on the face. A flare up of rosacea the night before a job interview? A colossal spot hours before a first date? Concealer can help it go unnoticed.
A quick pat under the eyes, a rub around the nostrils, a dab on angry ingrown hairs and they’re gone. It’s a quick, easy way to make sure you look like your best Instagram-ready self.
How To Choose Concealer
There are only a few types of concealer that you need to pay attention too: cream concealers, liquid concealers and stick concealers. Liquids and creams vary in ‘coverage’ (the opacity of the product) and are far more bendable than their stick counterparts. If dark circles, redness or small spots are bothering you, these two are the ones to opt for. Stick concealers are the heaviest and will often give full coverage, making them ideal for more severe blemishes and hyperpigmentation.
As well as what ails you, it’s important to consider your skin type when shopping for concealer. Oily skin, for example, requires something matte that can absorb grease without contributing to an even shinier face. For dry types, something hydrating will stop the product from sticking to flaking skin and appearing visible. After all, if others can see it, you’ve gone wrong.
As a general rule, if you want to brighten areas – such as dark under-eye circles or dark pigmentation – you should pick a concealer that is two shades lighter than your skin tone. For covering spots, however, you want to get as close to your current skin tone as possible, otherwise you’ll be drawing attention to the area.
Using concealer doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, getting a more handsome mug can be as simple as paint by numbers. Concealers with a green, purple or pink hue rely on colour theory to ‘correct’ discolouration – essentially using opposites on the colour wheel to cancel each other out. Don’t worry, while it looks odd going on, it blends right in.
Red skin: Use green corrector.
Sallow or yellow skin: Use lavender corrector.
Dark circles: Use salmon corrector.
Where To Put Concealer
You can put concealer on any area you need to (acne can happen in most places, after all) but under the eyes, around the nose and around the mouth are the most common areas of irritation. Don’t neglect the neck either – after shaving it can often come out in a bumpy red rash, which can be easily hidden.
How To Apply Concealer
Ignore brushes, sponges and any other tools the make-up industry might try to force into your hands. Fingers are all you need to apply concealer. The heat and natural oils on your (clean) digits are the perfect thing to melt the product into your skin. Apply it to your fingertip then press it into the skin, using your index finger in repeated dabbing motions to blot and blend.
The Best Concealer For Men
Best Concealer for Everything
Tom Ford Concealer For Men
One of the pioneers in make-up for men, Tom Ford’s concealer comes in a travel-friendly format that feels great and covers well. Helpfully, the sleek metal tube means you won’t mind leaving this out on the bathroom shelf, either. As with any stick format, make sure you moisturise before applying, that way blending doesn’t become an extreme sport.
Best Concealer For Dark Circles
Clinique Airbrush Concealer
Doing exactly what it says on the tin, the famous Airbrush Concealer by Clinique is the closest thing to photoshop for your face. The light-reflecting pigment allows it to brighten and illuminate sallow areas like under-eye shadows or the skin around your nose. The coverage is buildable, so start slow and work your way up. Remember, less is more.
Best Concealer For Spots
NARS Soft Matte Concealer
Legendary with professional groomers and make-up artists, NARS’ Soft Matte Concealer should be your go-to for spots. Able to absorb oil and soften the appearance of imperfections, the best thing about this concealer is that it lasts for hours, meaning you don’t have to sneak off to reapply it halfway through the day.
Best Concealer For Full Coverage
Shiseido Perfecting Stick Concealer
Discreet packaging makes Shiseido’s Perfecting Stick Concealer a solid option if you want your war paint to fly under the radar. As for the product itself, it’s easy to blend and ends up looking surprisingly natural for such full coverage. If heavy dark circles, rosacea or stubborn pigmentation plaque you, stick with this guy.
Best Concealer For Brightening
YSL Touche Eclat Illuminating Pen
Another icon in the concealer category, Touché Elcat by Yves Saint Laurent is a favourite thanks to its undetectable coverage and brilliant brightening qualities that make you look like you’ve had 10 hours sleep (even when you’ve only had two). This is a great middle-ground product if your shadows or redness are never too bad but could use some perfecting.
Best Concealer For All-Day Wear
Giorgio Armani Power Fabric Concealer
Already king of the double-breasted suit, Giorgio Armani didn’t call its concealer Power Fabric for nothing. The product feels like wearing a velvet balaclava, smoothing over any large pores and imperfections to give you a faultless face. The real ace here is that it lasts for ages, keeping its matte finish in place pretty much until you wash it off.
Best Concealer For Stressed Skin
Recipe For Men Concealer
Formulated specially to combat irritated skin, Recipe For Men’s concealer is loaded with a host of soothing vitamins to calm anything from shaving rash to inflammation. The creamy liquid allows you to build the coverage based on your issue, covering a host of problems in a quick minute.
Best Concealer For Dry Skin
La Mer The Concealer
Sure, it’s expensive (like four rounds of drinks expensive), but can you put a price on a hydrated complexion? Infused with La Mer’s famous miracle broth and antioxidants, this medium coverage stick is packed with skin-nourishing actives for a lit-from-within look.
Best Multi-Tasking Concealer
Glossier Stretch Concealer
If your skin just needs a little pep-up rather than a total overhaul, Glossier’s Stretch Concealer should be your go-to. The product melts into the skin, giving you a dewy, undetectable finish that just looks like you’ve had the best facial, without all the faff of going to a spa and sticking cucumber in your eyes.