Ask any woman: what's the one beauty product you'd take to a desert island (aside from sunscreen) if you had to choose ? The answer at 25 is mascara. At 50 it's concealer. It's the feel-good solution we believe makes the evidence of age and sun damage vanish stat. Here's the bad news. One single concealer can never camouflage dark circles, brown spots, and redness around the nose, adult zits and post-surgery or post- dermatological procedure bruising. We have way too much going on to think a single roll-up stick or wand in a skin tone shade can do it all. You really need seven kinds and a concealer brush to accurately apply product and blend it seamlessly into the skin. The Bobbi Brown Concealer Brush ($25 bobbibrowncosmetics.com) is excellent. Be sure to wash your concealer brushes after every use and reserve them for a specific purpose.
TO HIDE DARK UNDER EYE CIRCLES: To cover very dark discolorations at the inner eyes and sweeping under them, you need tinted concealer in an orangey or pinky shade. Bobbi Brown Corrector ($22 ,bobbibrowncosmetics.com) comes in a range to work with any skin tone. Orangey/ peach shades counteract blue/purple circles, pinky/bisque shades counteract brownish ones.
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FOR BRIGHTENING TIRED EYES: Concealer is not the antidote here. Apply a shimmery highlighter like Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat Radiant Touch Highlighter ($40, sephora.com) at the inner eye corners. You can use it right over your usual inner/ under eye concealer or foundation and as a touch up later.
TO HIDE BROWN SPOTS: You need a truly opaque cream that will cover excess pigment, stick to the skin and be transfer-resistant. Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer ($30, sephora.com) is matte, oil-free, and water-proof and comes in twelve shades. Dot it over brown spots on your neck and chest; it won't come off on clothes.
TO HIDE REDNESS AROUND THE NOSE: Use a primer or pore minimizer first to ensure a smooth texture. You don't want concealer grabbing on flakes or exaggerating pores. Dr. Brandt Pores No More Refiner ($45, sephora.com) makes an ideal base for Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage ($ 28, sephora.com). Use a flat concealer brush to feather the edges into your foundation, tinted moisturizer or bare skin.
TO COVER BROKEN CAPILLARIES: Use a pencil concealer like Shiseido The Makeup Corrector Pencil ($17, sephora.com) on one or two random fine red lines where the skin is flat and smooth- like your cheeks or chin. To hide larger spider veins and redness in the surrounding area us a matte, full coverage cream stick like Cle de Peau Beaute Concealer ($70, saksfifthavenue.com). Pricey but worth the splurge.
TO HIDE ADULT BREAKOUTS: Stay away from medicated concealers designed for teens. They're way too drying for us. Choose Bobbi Brown Face Touch Up Stick ($23, sephora.com) a slim portable in 20 skin-matching shades that slips in your bag or pocket for non-cakey redos.
TO HIDE POST-OP BRUISING: You need a medical grade, full-coverage concealer that comes with its own setting powder. It seals the cream and locks it in place so it doesn't come off on your cell phone or slide off during the day. Skip the so-called "corrective" shades of green, yellow, and lavender that claim to counteract discolorations. You'll look like you're ready for an autopsy! Your bruises themselves start out purple and then fade to green and then yellow over a two week period. Of course wait for your doctor to give the OK before applying any makeup - no matter what your friends say. CM-Beauty by Covermark Coverstick ($15, cm-beauty.com) and Dermablend Smooth Indulgence Concealer ($21, dermablend.com) will get you back to work after a lift or eye job.
TO COVER ROSACEA: You need a gentle, non-irritating cover up that can work over a broad area like Clinique Redness Solutions Instant Relief Mineral Pressed Powder ($32.50, sephora.com). The lightweight texture and yellow tint neutralizes excess ruddiness.
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