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Have you ever used the wrong concealer shade? Listen, we've all been there. We’ve all used that too pale under-eye concealer that somehow makes dark circles look worse. Or a too-dark concealer glaringly sits atop your pimple as if to say, "Hey world, look right here!" Yes, when concealer goes wrong, it goes really wrong. And 99.9% of the time, it goes wrong because you are wearing the wrong shade for your skin tone.
Simply put, skin tone is the color of the top layer of your skin. Skin color is based on the amount of melanin (or pigment) you produce and ranges from fair to dark. If your skin is pale, you may have a fair skin tone. If your skin is more on the beige side, you may have a medium skin tone. If you have olive skin, you may have a warm skin tone. If you have caramel-colored skin, you may have a tan skin tone, and if you have deep pigment, your skin tone may be dark.
Your undertone is the color hue underneath the surface of your skin, commonly identified as warm, cool, and neutral.
There are several ways to help quickly find your undertone. Here are some of our favorites:
• Vein test: Look at the color of your wrist veins under natural light. Greenish-looking veins suggest a warm undertone, blue or purplish-looking veins indicate a cool undertone, and if your veins match your skin color, you most likely have a neutral undertone.
• White t-shirt test: Hold a white shirt (or even a white piece of paper) up to your face. If your skin looks yellow, that suggests a warm undertone. If your skin looks pink or rosy, that indicates a cool undertone, and if you feel like the white compliments your face without looking washed out, your undertone is probably neutral.
• Silver or gold jewelry test: Hold a piece of jewelry up to your face. If the gold jewelry looks better against your skin, your undertone is most likely warm, and if silver jewelry is your preference, your undertone is most likely cool. If they both look great, your undertone is probably neutral.
The rule of thumb for picking your concealer shade is based on your foundation shade. Beauty experts advise that everyone should have two shades of concealer in their arsenal, one lighter and one darker since daily sun exposure means your skin tone shifts slightly all the time. Plus, makeup artists use multiple shades of concealer for different end effects. Find your perfect foundation shade here.
Pro-tip: Concealer is used to help cover imperfections, not even skin tone, so it’s best to apply foundation first.
When it comes to the best concealer for acne and acne scars, Maybelline MUA Grace Lee recommends using "a slightly darker concealer when covering blemishes to block out the color of the pimple. After, use a lighter concealer or one that matches your skin tone to blend the two."
To conceal dark under-eye circles, choose one shade lighter than your foundation shade match. Learn more about the best concealers for dark circles.
For highlighting and contouring, choose a concealer shade that's 1-2 shades lighter or darker than your foundation shade match. "To use a concealer as a highlighter, you can simply apply the lighter concealer shade where you naturally want to highlight," says Lee. "For example, top of cheekbones, under the brow bone, middle of the forehead, bridge of nose and chin. Laugh lines are also popular to highlight. Applying a lighter concealer on top of the laugh lines helps the lines appear less prominent." For contouring, apply a darker concealer and shade areas that you want to appear more sculpted. For example, under the cheekbones, under the jawline, along the hairline, and around the forehead. Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Concealer Treatment is our go-to for both!
The ideal color-correction concealer is chosen based on your skin concerns. A color-correcting concealer guide suggests that green concealer is the best concealer for acne because it helps combat redness associated with blemishes, pimples, and red spots. Try Maybelline New York’s Cover Stick Shade 09, a green concealer for redness.
Yellow concealer helps neutralize dark circles and imperfections. Try Maybelline New York’s Cover Stick Shade 08, a yellow undertone concealer for dark circles.
The best way to choose a concealer shade online is to use our Foundation Shade Finder tool. It recommends your perfect foundation and concealer shade match based on your skin tone and undertones!
Maybelline New York offers a variety of concealers like sponge-tip concealer, doe-foot concealer, and dip-in concealer, so whether you’re looking to cover blemishes, age spots, or dark circles, we have a formula for you!
Pro-tip: If you're using concealer underneath a face mask, try Super Stay Full Coverage, Long Lasting Concealer, which is smudge and transfer-resistant!