In line with my beliefs since the very first makeup purchase ever, I believe in the power of concealer and that it should be used for most corrections, not foundation. Why cover up your nice-looking skin and semi-cover your society-says-not-as-nice-looking skin* when you could let it breathe and let your nice looking skin shine through and only cover the spots that society says really need the covering?
*Makeup, of course, is not necessary. Acne, of course, is not objectively bad or bad looking, but I admit I'm not 100% impervious to criticism about skin, so I'm a fan of covering up my acne. I'm also using prescription topical treatments and sunscreen. I've been learning about how the modern diet affects our health and acne so I'm also going to try to cut down on foods that cause it.
The first makeup I ever owned was an Almay concealer with salicylic acid to treat acne while covering it. Technically my mom bought it for me, and a few months later I figured out the shade wasn't really working for me. Since then I've tried tons of different concealers. That one was in a tube with a doe-foot applicator, I've tried cream concealers in palettes, I've tried click-pen concealers, squeeze tube concealers, crayon concealers, you name it. Personally, I like cream concealers for the face and liquid for the under-eye area, but I don't bother as much with the under-eye concealing. It's bothersome and sometimes painful, plus I want people to know that I am tired and stressed so they know not to mess with me. Cream concealers are often blendable in small areas without losing opacity, which is essential for spot concealing. Liquid concealers are much easier to use in thin layers for larger areas, like under the eyes.
Current concealer crushes:
MAC Studio Fix Concealer in NW20. LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS. I see a lot of people identify as NC in MAC shades, but let me tell you, I am NOOOOOOT warm-toned. At all. This is a serious, high-coverage cream concealer, very creamy, very blendy, really excellent. $19.
Hourglass Hidden Corrective Concealer in Vanilla LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS. It's a stick concealer, so it actually looks like a fancy lipstick, but it's soooooo nice. Again, very high coverage, very blendable. It's not as creamy as the MAC, so I like to blend this one out with a fingertip to warm it up before I use a brush for a super-smooth finish. I think the shade I got is a little light, but I always wear concealer under my foundation so it's not an issue for me. Oddly, though, I wear Pearl in the foundation range and Vanilla in the concealer- the Pearl concealer is WAY too dark and the Vanilla foundation is WAY too light. Funky. $32. (Christmas present.)
Hard Candy Glamoflauge concealer in Light. oKAY SO IT'S WALMART EXCLUSIVE and I'm really not about Walmart. One time Walmart was like, hey, we're gonna build a HUGE Walmart in your neighborhood, and my neighborhood REVOLTED and put up signs and protested the heck out of it, so they ended up making it less than half the size they had originally planned, but it's still a Walmart. That Walmart by my house doesn't sell Hard Candy, but the Walmart by my college does, so I finally got to try this concealer this year- it's awesome! Full coverage. It comes in a squeeze tube, though, which I don't love, just because I find cream concealers easier and less messy to work with. It also comes with a tiny concealer pencil, which I've never used because it's a different shade than the actual concealer. Also, if you aren't careful in application, it can leave a slight greyish cast on dark spots-- hyperpigmentation, under-eye bags, you know what I'm talking about. If you love liquid concealers, though, don't even bother with the Make Up For Ever stuff. This is like... the same thing. $7.
L'Oreal True Match Super-Blendable crayon concealer. Lovely! The creamiest concealer on this list. Truly, stunningly easy to blend, without losing opacity. Quite nice on both blemishes and under-eye darkness, although it does crease under eyes because it's so creamy so you'll need a setting powder with this one. Also, like the Hard Candy, it can leave a slight greyish cast on dark spots if you aren't careful. To avoid this, I like to apply an initial amount, blend that out with a brush, and then put a tiny bit more over the darkest area and just barely touch it with a smaller brush to blend it out. $7ish. The shade range is also a bit limited.
Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer. I've heard people say it's a dupe for YSL Touche Éclat and it's not, because I've swatched Touche Éclat in the store and it is NOT this pigmented. This stuff is absolutely my go-to for under-eye circles, it is super high coverage, super brightening, and it DOES NOT MOVE. It's in a click-pen so it's really easy to brush on and look so much more awake in about one minute. If you have under-eye circles I highly recommend this. Again, limited shade range, but it can also be used as a highlighter, so it's not totally useless if you can't make it work as a concealer!
Maybelline Master Conceal. I bought this in totally the wrong shade, because they run WAYYYYY light. I mean, unusably light. But I can tell you this is a very high coverage concealer. I mixed it with a little bit of MAC Face and Body which is a touch too dark for me, and it perfected the shade and bumped up the coverage so much more. It seems awesome, though, so maybe I'll get it in the proper shade one of these days and tell you how it is then.
I've here made a disgusting collage of me using these concealers. I have spared you the before images. The Hourglass, MAC and L'Oréal are all good for spot concealing, and the Hard Candy is good for that and for using over a larger area- I applied it all over my cheek there. I've used the Maybelline and Bobbi Brown under my eyes, as they work best there-- both in the sense that they perform better under my eyes than on my face, and that they perform better under my eyes than my other concealers.