What works when you’re 20 usually doesn’t work when you’re 40—whether it’s your food choices, your ability to rebound from a hangover (enter the two-day recovery!) or how you apply your makeup. When it comes to cover up, our needs shift over our lifetime. The formula you used to cover your teenage breakouts is decidedly not the one you want to layer beneath your 30-something eyes to disguise your baby/work/social life-induced sleep depravation.
The good news? Thanks to major innovations in the concealer department, simply adjusting your approach to the shifting needs of your skin can have you looking vibrant, no matter your decade. We asked Sandy Linter, celebrity makeup artist and Lancôme’s Beauty At Every Age Expert (who is incidentally looking damn good at 65) for her best concealer-blending tips for skin of every age.
QUIZ: Does Your Skin Look Older Than it Should?
Concealer in Your 20s
Late nights up studying, working or out on the town with friends can often cause the undereye darkness or breakouts that this age group is most often reaching for concealer to cover. “Lucky 20-somethings can use a thick, rich concealer as lavishly as needed,” says Linter, who suggests stick concealer. Free of wrinkles at this time in your life, you can enjoy the benefits of full coverage without having to worry about makeup settling into fine lines. You may even opt to skip foundation and only use concealer where needed, says Linter, who adds that choosing a shade too light is the most common mistake among this age group. Pick a color just slightly lighter than your tone, pat down with your fingertips, and dust with a light application of powder to set.
Vapour Illusionist Perfecting Concealer, $22Dry plant oils combine with mineral pigments for color that blends seamlessly. Anti-inflammatory frankincense, antioxidant tulsi and moisturizing lotus provide soothing skincare benefits.Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer, $70One of the most legendary concealers of all time, Cle de Peau’s creamy stick offers rich and lasting coverage unlike any other.
MORE: Find the Perfect Foundation
Concealer in Your 30s
The delicate skin around the eyes gets a bit drier in the 30s, and a gentle change in contour can make your eye makeup more susceptible to smudging now. “Use a waterproof concealer, and always apply it on top of eye cream,” advises Linter. When applying your concealer, use a small brush to deposit the right amount of product so as not to apply too thickly, and then pat softly with your ring finger to blend. Building coverage in thinly layered applications is the way to go if you need more cover-up. And to keep the area hydrated all day, only oily skin types should use a powder to set concealer, says Linter.
Lancôme Effacernes Waterproof Protective Undereye Concealer, $30With a natural finish, this tube concealer evens skin tone, covers dark circles and softens the look of fine lines around eyes.It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye, $24Containing vitamins K, A, C, E and collagen, this concealer combats undereye puffiness and discoloration while strengthening skin. “Neutral medium” works for 70 percent of skin tones.
MORE: Brighten and Smooth Uneven Skintone
Concealer in Your 40s
Fine lines and wrinkles can begin to set in more deeply around the eyes, so now is the time to ensure that your concealer enhances your skin and doesn’t cake into crevices that inadvertently have you looking older. “Skin is much drier around the eyes in the 40s, so you must choose for texture first and then coverage second with a thinner wand concealer,” says Linter. The more liquid consistency of a wand design blends concealer over fine lines more forgivingly than a heavier stick or waterproof formula that may settle. Sponge tips help apply the right amount of product, though the popular brush heads of today help blend better.
Physicians Formula Super BB All-in-One Beauty Balm Concealer SPF 30, $12.95White willow bark extract provides natural exfoliation and delivers a brightening effect, while encapsulated glycerin and fruit extracts firm fine lines and wrinkles with moisture.Becca Radiant Skin Creamy Concealer, $32A nutrient-rich complex of jojoba, mimosa and sunflower plants gives this click-pen concealer a light touch and effortless ability to blend. Antioxidant vitamin E enhances moisture retention that improves the look of fine lines.
MORE: Makeup Tips to Turn Back the Clock
Concealer in Yours 50s and Beyond
While hot flashes are most commonly associated with menopause, changes in skin are just as common a side effect. The drop in estrogen levels during this time can cause skin to thin, feel crepey and turn dry and itchy. Heavy concealers can overwhelm skin this age and look particularly obvious if not carefully blended. Linter recommends having your foundation do all the work if possible, and to only use a super hydrating concealer if necessary. “If you apply concealer, steer clear of laugh lines and concentrate on the inner corner of eyes and around the nose to brighten up without making you look older,” she instructs. You may also want to mix your concealer with a smidge of eye cream for an even more hydrating treatment.
Christopher Drummond Beauty Concealer, $23Filled with pH-balanced distilled water, natural vitamin E and essential oils like rosewood, lavender and jojoba seed, this hydrating formula glides lightly over skin to conceal while moisturizing.
This product is available on our sister site, BeautySage, where we only sell products proven to work!
Per-fekt Eye Perfection Gel, $45The refreshing gel texture of this concealer stays suspended over fine lines with hyaluronic microspheres and pepties that help firm and moisturize skin and stimulate the production of collagen.