If I had to choose between foundation & concealer, the concealer would win hands down.... BUT it has to be a really flippin' good concealer!
Obviously foundation can be a girls (& guys) best friend and is brilliant at evening out skin-tone & perking up the complexion, but it doesn't really cut it when it comes to covering that festering, potentially boil-like blemish that decides to rear its' ugly head at the worst possible time. The problem I see too often with foundation is when people DO attempt to use it as concealer which leads to heavy, cakey, mask-like coverage that looks worse than the few blemishes showing through did in the first place!
A good concealer will cover that nasty no bother with one layer but can also double up as a foundation when buffed in lightly just where needed or, when mixed in with some face primer, to create your own more fluid foundation creation when you need to even out the whole face.
A good concealer needs to be;
1. Heavy in pigment (many pharmacy/drug store concealers tend to have low-pigment content to save on cost meaning they don't offer as opaque a coverage as is often needed)
2. Not too oily/greasy, and not too dry/powder heavy.
3. Long lasting, resisting sweat & a reasonable amount of oiliness (Waterproof is always a bonus)
4. Be reasonably priced! (I'm a firm believer in not over-paying for cosmetics which is why I tend to favour great quality pharmacy bought products & industry-professional products over high-end products which charge extortionate amounts for the brand name)
I have tried & tested a belly-load of different concealers over the years (both personally & professionally) and have whittled my favourites down to these guys below.....
|1. Ben Nye 'Cover-All Wheel' 2.Vichy 'Derma Blend' Cream Foundation Stick 3. Catrice 'Camouflage Cream' |
4. MAC 'Full Coverage' Foundation 5. MAC 'Studio Finish' Concealer.
1. Ben Nye 'Cover-All Wheel' ;
Ben Nye is an American theatrical makeup company which was founded by the renowned Hollywood film makeup artist Ben Nye in the 1960's.
It is known mainly by professionals and produces some of the best industry-quality products available today... and doesn't cost you an arm-&-a-leg to buy either!!
I use the 6 shade wheel in SK-100 (also available in SK-200, containing lighter shades)
It contains 10z. or 28gm of product & I was lucky enough to pick up my one in Londons' 'Charles Fox' Professional makeup supply store in the bargain bin for only £12.00.
It contains a selection of olive/yellow & pink shades with an almost white-cream shade in the centre. It's perfect for creating your own customised concealer shade and the deeper pink shade is quite decent at counteracting the blue/black colour of a tattoo. (Though Ben Nye does offer a specialised deeper red/pink shade for this purpose)
It is an extremely long-lasting, pigmented creamy concealer that will cover just about anything, and is very effective at colour-correcting thanks to the range of shades available. I have used it for tattoo cover as well as concealing the face and it works beautifully for both. I haven't found it to cake at all and even though it contains Petrolatum it even works well on skins prone to oiliness.
The shades are available individually as well as in smaller 4-shade wheels.
2. Vichy 'DermaBlend' Cream Stick Foundation ;
This fantastic stick-foundation/concealer contains a whopping 40% pigments (many drug store/pharmacy concealers contain less than 20%) and is described on the vichy website as being an
"expert camouflage foundation for moderate to severe skin flaws."
Even though it is described as a foundation, it was developed to cover more severe skin flaws such as dark circles, scars, acne, burns, vitiligo, angioma, blotchiness and rosacea, pigmentation disorders and post-operative lesions. It is suitable for the most sensitive of skins and I comfortably use it on my more nervous clients with great success.
The solid cream formula warms quickly on the skin and blends easily and seemlessly.
It is available is 7 shades which are a mixture of warm & cool with the lightest shade #11 Porcelain being comparable to a MAC NW10 & the darkest shade #17 Coffee being a decently deep brown shade. (I personally use #12 Opal - NC15/20)
What makes this a real keeper is that when set with the Vichy Dermablend Setting Powder it becomes completely waterproof! Even if you don't plan on having a dip in the pool with your concealer on, you can be confident that your sweat won't break through the coverage and getting caught out in a shower won't be such a makeup ordeal either!
This contains high sun protection of SPF35 so is brilliant for the summer & delicate sun-sensitive skin-types. Not ideal for flash photography... though I haven't found that it creates that dreaded 'flash back' in professional photographs. (This is apparently due to the high pigment content)
It comes in a 12gm stick and retails for about €20 - €22 here in Ireland. Vichy products are available from select pharmacies nationwide including Boots, Matt o'Flahertys etc.
3. Catrice 'Camouflage Cream' Concealer ;
This is the newest addition to my collection but it's been a long time since I have been this impressed by a products' performance considering the delectable price tag. Available for only €3.49 this little pot contains 3gr./.10oz. of product and seriously rivals other similar higher-end concealers. It is immediately reminiscent of the Makeup Forever Camouflage cream but for a fraction of the price. I've tried both and can honestly say that this Catrice offering is on equal footing with the MuFe version!
It has a lovely creamy texture that's not at all drying and offers high coverage that the website states can be made waterproof when set with powder.
Even though the German brand is so inexpensive, I have been hugely impressed with 90% of the products that's I've tried, and that's saying a lot! The downside to it being the type of brand that it is, is that the shade range is very limited at only 3 shades.
I use 010 Ivory which is a light neutral/yellow based shade, and it also comes in 020 Light Beige & 030 Rosy Beige.
Available from larger 'Penneys' and select pharmacies throughout Ireland.
4. MAC 'Studio Finish' Concealer ;
Probably the better known of my picks, the MAC Studio Finish concealer is a highly pigmented creamy concealer (the Catrice concealer acts very similar) that offers high coverage without caking or drying out the skin. It's perfect on oily, acne-prone skin and even though it is a creamy consistency, I have found that it lasts all day on any skin type when set with powder. It is also water-resistant.
It comes in an impressive 15 shades that range from the lightest NC15 (which is lighter than NC15 foundations - too light for my skin, I use NC20) to the darkest NW50, a deep dark warm brown.
Like the Vichy concealer, it also offers a high sun protection of SPF35 and again like the Vichy one, hasn't been a problem with 'flashing back' on camera. I comfortably use this when doing wedding makeups and the professional photographs support my confidence in its' use in photography. The problem though that I have come across is when these products (with SPF) are photographed with a harsh flash like an iPhone camera etc, this intense (non filtered) flash does often create that 'glowing white head' effect which often shows up on our Facebook feed on a Monday morning ..... so it's not always ideal for nights out on the 'razz'.
The concealer comes in a 7gr./.24oz. pot and retails for €17.50 in Ireland. Available from all Brown Thomas Department stores nationwide.
4. MAC 'Full Coverage' Foundation ;
This is a MAC Pro product, meaning that it is available only from a stand-alone store or a Pro store (in person) though it is available online from the MAC website, which does not deliver to Ireland :(
I have included this because it is almost identical to the 'Studio Finish' concealer in formula except for 2 ingredients... one being the SPF35 in the 'Studio Finish' which is not in the 'Full Coverage' and the other being a copolymer in the 'Studio Finish' ingredient list (pretty far down on the list) that 'Full Coverage' doesn't contain which marginally increases the concealers' wear-time, but the actual functionality of these two products is almost indistinguishable.
This photographs beautifully in professional photographs and is very adaptable on the skin. You can sheer it out to a light skin-like coverage with a wet-sponge or by mixing it with a primer, or it can be applied like a concealer for high opaque coverage.
This is available in 16 shades (used to be more but a few were discontinued) ranging from pure white up to NW50 and retails for €35.00 for 28gr./.99oz of product.
(It contains 4x the amount of product that the 'Studio Finish' concealer contains but for only twice the price!)
|Swatches from L-R; |
Vichy, Ben Nye, Cartice, 'Studio Finish', 'Full Coverage'
(The top row is in bright sun-light, the bottom row in dim lighting & the centre row in semi-shaded light)
And just to be a thorough as possible I did a crude tattoo covering with the 5 products on one of my leg tattoos (which I could photograph easily) to showcase their coverage. Each one received just one layer without being powdered.
(The Vichy one looks super dark on my pasty-white leg but is fine with most foundations on my darker face).
And that's it!
However as usual, I can't resist from adding a few 'honourable mentions' into the mix for fear of leaving anything out!
*Kryolan 'DermaColor' Camouflage Concealer; a great professional concealer that comes in single pots as well as mini & 'normal' sized palettes for an affordable price tag. Has a vast shade range of skin-like concealer shades as well as corrective shades. Can be a bit on the dry side though which can be difficult to manage & doesn't often work well with the general public.
*Revlon 'PhotoReady' Concealer stick; a great drug-store/pharmacy concealer that often sees the inside of my makeup bag. Very creamy & non drying, offers decent coverage but may not be quite opaque enough for more problematic skin concerns. Great product for regular blemishes though!
*Bobbi Brown 'Touch-up Stick' Concealer; This award-winner is another lovely concealer with a fantastic shade range that I often use on my own spotty mug on nights out etc. It is on the more greasy-end of creamy though so may not be suitable for more oily-prone skin types and it does hit the pocket a bit with an Irish price tag of about €25 for just 2.3gr of product.
*Barbera Daly for Tesco Concealer; This is an impressively highly pigmented creamy concealer that costs only about €5.00 for 1.6gr. Like the Revlon concealer, it may not be hard-core enough for stronger pigmentation etc. It only comes in 2 or 3 shades though, the packaging is uninspiring and it bugs me that the Tesco website classifies it (among other things) by gender, stating that it comes under 'female'. Not very P.C in todays society!
Anyhow, hope this helps.
Shopping for an effective concealer can be stressful (if for a specific problem) and also plain head-wrecking with all the choices available!
What are your favourite heavy duty concealers??