Should Concealer Be Lighter or Darker?

From your foundation to lipstick, it’s essential to find makeup products that will accentuate your natural features, not override them. However, as many people can attest to, finding the right makeup can be tricky, especially ones most suited for your skin type and tone.

Likewise, finding the right shade of concealer for your skin tone is a lot easier said than done, especially if you’re unsure whether they should be darker or lighter. Still, if you’re trying to achieve a perfect and flawless makeup look, concealers are a must.

With that said, continue reading to learn more about selecting the right shade of concealer for your skin tone, including whether it should be lighter or darker. 

What Is a Concealer? – An Overview

Before discussing whether your concealer should be lighter or darker, let’s first discuss what concealers are.

As the name suggests, concealers are makeup products designed to hide or conceal what you apply them on. In this case, they’re typically used to hide blemishes on the skin, such as dark circles, as well as red and dark spots.

Aside from hiding blemishes, you can also use concealers for contouring since they can help highlight specific areas on your face and give you a more striking appearance.

What is concealer
What is concealer? 

They are considered similar to foundations, but concealers tend to have a thicker consistency to better hide any imperfections on the skin.

In general, there are different types of concealers, each one designed to fit different skin types. The most common ones are:

Stick Concealer

Stick concealers typically have satin or matte finishes, and they offer longer-lasting staying power when applied. This type of concealer has a similar texture to lipsticks and is designed to work best with sensitive, dry, or normal skin.

Liquid Concealer

Liquid concealers offer more versatility to users since they can decide just how much coverage they want. In this case, you can add more layers until you get your desired results.

This type of concealer usually has a matte, satin, or shimmery finish, and it’s perfect for those with sensitive, oily, combination, or normal skin.

Cream Concealer

Cream concealers are ideal if you’re looking for something that offers medium to full coverage. It has a thicker consistency than liquid concealers so that you can enjoy better coverage with this concealer type.

Aside from this, it’s ideal for those with dry, normal, or sensitive skin, and you can usually find these with a cream or satin finish. 

Uses and Benefits of Concealers

Now that you know what concealers are, let’s take a look at some of their uses and benefits.

Blurs Any Fine Lines

One of the primary benefits of concealers is that they can help make fine lines less noticeable, giving users younger- and more flawless-looking skin. For this, it’s best to use a buildable concealer that can give you enough coverage.

Covers Up Dark Circles

Whether it’s from exhaustion or sleepless nights, dark circles can ruin that perfect makeup look you’re going for.

Fortunately, concealers, especially brightening concealers, can help hide these dark circles, making you look more awake and fresher. You can even combine it with some shimmery eyeshadow to give you a more radiant appearance.

Contours and Highlights

Aside from hiding blemishes and imperfections, you can also use concealers to highlight specific areas on your face to give you a more glowing appearance. You can also use them to add shadows and give your cheekbones a more defined and prominent appearance.

Primes the Lips and Eyelids

Concealers also serve as the perfect primer for your lips and eyelids, allowing you to have an even base for your eyeshadow and lipstick. As a result, you can apply them more smoothly and evenly, and they can also last longer when you use concealers as your lid and lip primer.

The Right Shade of Concealer: Should It Be Lighter or Darker?

So, should your concealer be darker or lighter? 

In this case, the general rule is that your concealer should be similar to your foundation’s shade – only one to two shades lighter. Going lighter than that can leave you looking paler than you actually are.

However, this isn’t really a one-size-fits-all answer since several other factors affect what shade of concealer you need. Because of this, it can be lighter or darker, depending on what you’re covering up, what you’re using it for, or what area you’re using it on. 

For example, if you’re trying to conceal dark circles under your eyes, it’s more recommended to go for a concealer one shade lighter than your foundation but with a warmer undertone. 

This is because the lighter shade will blend better with your foundation while the warmer undertone cancels out the bluish tones of dark circles. 

In contrast, if you’re trying to hide other types of blemishes, such as pimples, it’s generally better to go for a slightly darker shade to help block the pimple’s color.

On the other hand, it’s also a little different if you’re using your concealer for contouring. In this case, if you’re using it as a highlighter, it’s best to choose lighter shades to help reflect the light and brighten your face.

Likewise, suppose you’re using it for contouring. In that case, it’s best to choose a shade that’s around two shades darker than your natural skin tone to create a “shadow” and accentuate your features. Aside from this, it’s also suggested to go for shades with cooler undertones to help create that shadow.

Color-Correcting Concealers: What Are They?

Of course, aside from your standard concealers, you can also find color-correcting concealers on the market these days. While they can be a little daunting to use than your regular concealer, they can help you achieve that flawless makeup look you’ve always wanted.

So, what are color-correcting concealers? In this case, it uses the concept of complementary colors to cancel out any discolorations on your skin and even out your skin tone. 

In general, these types of concealers use five hues to address different issues. In this case, they are as follows:


Closer to your standard concealer, concealers with an orange undertone help nullify cooler undertones. Because of this, it’s best used for correcting dark circles and spots.


If your skin is looking a little red or blotchy from irritation, acne, or allergies, using a green color-correcting concealer can help neutralize the redness.


Like orange concealers, yellow color-correcting concealers can help cancel out the cooler undertones of dark circles. Aside from this, yellow also helps cancel out gray dullness, so your skin will look brighter with one.


On the other hand, purple concealers help cancel out orange and yellow hues, so if your foundation is a bit too warm, this can help tone it down. Moreover, it can also help bring back your skin’s glow by addressing paler complexions. 


If you have a darker skin tone, red concealers can help neutralize dark spots and blemishes on your skin, as well as any dark circles under your eyes.

Choosing the Right Concealer for Your Skin

With all that said, there are several other factors you need to consider when selecting the right concealer for your skin. In this case, here are some helpful tips you can keep in mind:

Check your skin type.

Aside from the shade, you’ll also need to consider what type of skin you have. In general, if you have oily skin, it’s best to avoid cream and stick concealers since they can make your skin oilier and even enhance large pores. 

In this case, liquid concealers can be better for oily skin, and they offer a high level of versatility and coverage for most skin types.

On the other hand, if you have dry skin, it’s better to avoid liquid and matte concealers since they can make your skin look drier, especially those with a matte texture. For dry skin, it would be better to go for a concealer with a solid texture to add more hydration to your skin.

Check your skin undertone. 

Besides skin type, we also need to distinguish skin undertones.

Your skin undertone is divided into 3 colors and is determined by the color of the blood vessels under the skin.

Check the blood vessels in the wrist under sunlight and determine the color as shown below:

  • Blue-violet veins: Cool tones
  • Blue veins: Warm tones
  • Veins with blend of both colors: Neutral tones

The tones will divide the type of concealer that is right for you.

  • Cool tones: Look for options with pink tones.
  • Warm tones: They will appear with warm yellow tones.
  • Neutral tones: The right color for you is a color in the middle that is not too yellow – not too pink. However, if your favorite brand does not have this color, you can choose a color for a warm tone. They help eliminate redness on the skin, so your skin will look more harmonious.

Consider how much coverage you need.

Similarly, you also need to consider just how much coverage you need to hide any blemishes. For example, suppose you’re only trying to cover up minor blemishes or just evening your skin. In that case, you’ll only need a concealer that offers light to medium coverage. 

However, if it’s something that’s tough to conceal, a concealer that offers more coverage can be the better option.

Identify what area you’re using it on.

In general, the concealer you use on your face and under your eyes tends to be different, especially in terms of what shades to use. In this case, you will want to get a product that’s around one shade lighter than your foundation when covering up blemishes under your eyes.

You can also rely on the destructive opposites of colors on the color wheel to find what you need. For example, to cover redness and rashes, you would use green or yellow based ; cover dark circles should use orange or yellow-orange based concealer, ..

On the other hand, you will want a concealer whose shade exactly matches your foundation when covering blemishes on your face. 

Decide on a formula.

Lastly, when it comes to choosing a concealer for your skin, another helpful tip you can do is to identify what type of formula you need. For example, if you want a product that stays on longer, so you don’t have to reapply it constantly, you will want a concealer that can do just that.

In some cases, there are even two-in-one formulas wherein a product serves both as a foundation and concealer in one. 

Similarly, if you’re prone to sweating, it might be best to go with a more waterproof formula so that your makeup look stays intact even under high temperatures.

Final Thoughts

Concealers are considered a staple in any makeup enthusiast’s makeup bag, as they help cover up any blemishes on your skin. As a result, you can achieve that flawless look you’ve always wanted.

However, finding the right shade can be tricky, especially if you can’t compare the shades yourself. With that said, hopefully, this guide has helped you learn more about picking the right concealer, including when it should be lighter or darker.


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