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How to apply concealer like a pro: Tips and tricks for beginners

Step up your color-correcting technique with help from TODAY's resident style expert.
/ Source: TODAY

Concealer is one of those makeup bag staples that seems easy enough to use, but somehow baffles many of us. Whether you struggle with your color-correcting technique, aren't sure how to find the best product or simply need tips for covering up dark circles, you're not alone.

Mastering the art of concealing is easier than you might think, but it does take a bit of practice, so we enlisted the experts to help us step up our game. TODAY style expert Bobbie Thomas stopped by the studio with makeup artist Jordan Liberty to break down everything to know about this beauty basic.

Concealer brush 101

Want to conceal like a pro? Start by arming yourself with the right tools. There are plenty of concealer brushes at various price points, but if you're looking for a true workhorse, try picking up a double-ended concealer brush. (Thomas swears by this one from It Cosmetics so much, she even calls it a "magic wand!")

Double-ended concealer brushes work their magic with the help of two sides: a small end that's typically pointed and a bit dense, and another that's wider and fluffier.

When you're ready to spot treat a blemish, start by taking the smaller end of your brush and dot any areas you'd like to conceal. "Resist rubbing with your fingers. Twirl that brush to the (fluffier) side and just tap, tap, tap," Thomas suggested.

Otherwise known as stippling, this tapping process helps remove any excess product and softly blurs those dots away. Still have extra concealer? Go ahead and twirl and tap again.

Double concealing for dark circles

Under eye circles are one beauty issue we wish we could banish for good. Unfortunately, we can't permanently kick them to the curb, but we can do a pretty good job hiding them.

The key to covering up dark circles is a twofold process called double concealing that involves camouflaging the area first and then brightening it a bit. Double concealing is all about color correcting, and it starts with finding the right shade for your skin tone.

"Naturally, we want to go lighter when we're covering something dark, right? But then what happens? When you put a light concealer on it, it looks gray. It looks green. It looks unhealthy. You feel like it makes the under eye area look worse. You should actually go the opposite of what your natural inclination is and go darker," Liberty said.

Liberty suggested finding a concealer that's one or two shades darker than your skin tone and a second concealer that's a touch warmer:

  • Deeper skin tones: Look for a slightly orange concealer.
  • Midrange skin tones: Seek out a salmon tone.
  • Fair skin tones: Look for a peach-colored concealer.

When you're ready to cover up your dark circles, Liberty suggested the following double-concealing technique:

  1. Grab that trusty double-ended concealer brush and add a touch of the darker concealer wherever you notice dark circles — usually around the front and the back of the eye. "Not the center area, though. This is where, if you have bags, if you over conceal, it's going to make it look puffy," Liberty said.
  2. Next, add a touch of the lighter shade to brighten things up, and blend, blend, blend!
Best under-eye concealer and color correcting concealer

How to find the best concealer

Wouldn't it be great if you could find a concealer that matched your skin tone and your complexion concerns? Sadly, there's no one-size-fits-all product.

"There is no magic concealer that is the best. It's really about what color you choose and how apply it," Liberty said.

Even so, you can create the perfect concealer for you by custom blending a few different colors.

"You may just want to try picking up something that gives you flexibility with color. So buy two different colors. And it'll last you twice as long. So don't worry about investing in the two," Thomas said.

Concealer tips and tricks

Now that you've mastered the basics of concealer, you might be ready to step up your game a bit. Need some inspiration? Thomas and Liberty swear by these insider tricks to help you make the most of color correction makeup:

  • Add a touch of concealer around the mouth to keep your lipstick in place and nix those annoying dark shadows that can make you look like you're frowning.
  • Want concealer that lasts all day? After applying it, wait five minutes then set it with a touch of powder and a fluffy brush.
  • Apply a light concealer to the tops of your cheeks and the outside corner of the nose to visually add lift and light.