7 Tips For Buying Concealer If You're A Woman Of Color

No, you shouldn’t be buying anything a shade lighter than your skin tone.

Finding makeup to perfectly match your skin tone can be daunting. For women of color, we have to first make sure the desired brand produces makeup in our shade. Though there are some that do, many don’t, which often results in too light foundation and/or concealer that give the face an ashy effect.

And then there are times when you think you've found a shade that matches correctly under your bathroom lighting--but then you go out in the world and someone flashes a camera and you're left looking like a bootleg version of Casper in all of your tagged pictures. Not cute.

Recently, I spoke with Dior celebrity makeup artist Ricky Wilson, who enlightened me on the proper way to buy and wear concealer.

1. Understand Your Undertone

"Find something that can not only work underneath your eyes, but on your entire face. Don’t go too bright, especially for photo purposes, because it will show up in the image brighter.

You have to understand your undertone. Most women of color undertones are yellow and orange. If you’re yellow, you should go for something more golden, and if you’re red, you should go for something more orange-based. The easiest way to figure this out is by looking at your inner wrist and testing the concealer to see if the yellow,or red blends in with your skin. Whichever sticks out more and looks weird is the opposite."

2. You Only Need One Shade

"[For hyperpigmentation and multi-tone skin], I wouldn’t recommend buying two different shades. I think you could get away with one shade that matches your overall skin tone and having your foundation match the rest, or buy a duo concealer. Laura Mericer makes a good one."

3. Always Layer Concealer Over Eye Cream

"It’s really important to treat the skin underneath, especially when it comes to dark circles under the eyes. A lot of women of color do not put eye cream on, so the easiest way to make the concealer look more natural is to use an eye cream. It makes the concealer go on smoother and less cake-y."

4. Foundation THEN Concealer Is The Rule

"A lot of times women put concealer on first and then the foundation, but if you do that first, it’ll move the concealer around and you’ll have to go back and cover the blemish you tried to cover. Apply foundation first and then the concealer to pick up what the foundation didn’t. The only time I’d recommend to use concealer first would be if you were using a powder foundation."

5. Always Tap, Never Rub

"I usually use a beautyblender or a small concealer brush. When applying concealer, you want to tap and dap. If you rub, you’re not getting coverage; you’re just moving the product back and forth."

6. Use Eye Cream For Touch-Ups

"Concealer is something that shouldn’t be overly reapplied. Eye cream is a good way to reactivate concealer without adding more on because concealer doesn’t disappear--sometimes it just moves around. Move it back around with the eye cream. You can use your finger if you don’t have a sponge. If you do have to reapply, it’s good to reapply a liquid concealer because it’ll be a lot lighter in texture, or a brightening pen such as Dior Skinflash."

7. Puffy Under-Eyes Require A Darker Shade

"Puffiness under the eye isn’t the same as dark circles, if you have puffiness and you’re using a brightening concealer, it’ll make it look worse. Instead use a shade that’s a quarter shade darker to shrink the puffiness."


Thank you, Ricky, for shedding light on a topic I thought I knew so much about. If it weren’t for you, I’d still be buying concealer a shade lighter than my skin stone. (He also stopped me buying concealer sticks--liquid concealers are less oily.) The more you know!

  • So tell me, what kind of concealers do you use? Both texture and brand.
  • Also, any tips you can share would be greatly appreciated!