Tuesday 26 September 2017

Cover Story: Best concealers

Pictured, clockwise from top left: Benefit Confessions of a Concealaholic; Chanel Lift Lumiere Smoothing and Rejuvenating Eye Contour Concealer; Clinique Airbrush Concealer; Dr Hauschka Concealer; Clarins Concealer Stick
Pictured, clockwise from top left: Benefit Confessions of a Concealaholic; Chanel Lift Lumiere Smoothing and Rejuvenating Eye Contour Concealer; Clinique Airbrush Concealer; Dr Hauschka Concealer; Clarins Concealer Stick

For most of us, the wearing of make-up is about appearing improved rather than painted. So, an item that will induce comments along the lines that we look indefinably good, or well-rested, is a welcome addition to the make-up bag. A good concealer can work wonders in terms of erasing imperfections and dark shadows and, as we get older, it can make the complexion seem more even. Which makes it surprising how many of us skip this simple step, one that’s not just for the spotty or the sleep-deprived.

Admittedly, there is an abundance of dud concealers out there. Stray too far into light-reflecting ingredients and you’re in danger of panda-eyes in reverse, with big white rings in place of tired-looking dark shadows. Further, in our trials, many proved cakey, chalky and actually drew attention to the very imperfections they promised to conceal. Matching your concealer to your skintone is crucial, particularly if you’re dabbing it over foundation, while those who favour a fresh-faced look, and use concealer without foundation, don’t want to look blotchy. So choose carefully and remember that the product you pick is as personal as the flaws it seeks to fade away.

BEST OVERALL

Benefit Confessions of a Concealaholic, €39.50, Brown Thomas and Debenhams nationwide; Clerys, Arnotts; larger Boots; selected pharmacies Not as gimmicky as it looks, this cute compendium holds six products: That Gal, a brightening face primer; Face Boi-ing, an industrial-strength concealer in two shades; Eye Bright, an instant eye-brightener, Lemon Aid, a colourcorrecting eyelid primer; Erase Paste, a brightening camouflage for eyes; two proper brushes, and instructions on each item. For concealer addicts and innocents alike. “I used the Erase Paste most, as it conceals the darkest of circles and nastiest of spots,” said a panellist, “but the Eye Bright really makes a difference, too, and I used everything without ever looking overloaded. Love the packaging, love the product.”

BEST FOR THE BARE-FACED

Dr Hauschka Concealer, €12.50, selected department stores, health-food stores and pharmacies nationwide Even those who eschew full make-up can accommodate concealer, as a few dabs in the right places can even out the skin without lending a made-up look. The concealer must be light, however, and well-matched in colour. This product’s thin texture and sheer finish proved a hit. “The consistency is mousse-like, like a light foundation,” a panellist said. “It is good for covering imperfections, but you have to blend fast, as it dries quickly.”

BEST BRIGHTENING

Chanel Lift Lumiere Smoothing and Rejuvenating Eye Contour Concealer, €39, Chanel counters nationwide Best-suited to dryer or more mature skin types, this proved a hit with those who particularly wanted their dark shadows erased, without making the eye area look dry, or caked with concealer. One tiny pump worked wonders, lending an even, illuminated effect. “I got comments about how well-rested I looked on more than one occasion while wearing this,” said one panellist, “and I was highly pregnant and exhausted at the time, so that was some achievement.”

BEST COVER STICK

Clarins Concealer Stick, €21, Clarins counters nationwide Of all the stick concealers we tried, this proved the most popular, as well as the most capable of making panellists forget the pancake-like products they used in their teens. A classic, lipstick-like product, the concealer itself is impressively smooth and smoothing, and very handy to throw into a handbag for touch-ups. “I liked the consistency of this handy-size pen.” one panellist said. “It is quite moisturising, but not heavy or mask-like, and it blends effortlessly with foundation or a bare face.” BEST BRUSH-ON Clinique Airbrush Concealer, €24.50, Clinique counters nationwide Selling itself as a highlighting as well as a concealing product, this impressed with its ability to brighten without lightening too much. The nylon, twist-up brush also allows for a clean and easy application, even for those who don’t rate their make-up skills. “This really brightened up the under-eye, but doesn’t lend that panda look,” said a panellist. “It goes on smoothly and blends well.” Sarah Caden

Email thepanel@independent.ie

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