Concealers for men are our best friend right now, as we return to public spaces during the RMCO. We never thought we’d say it but heaven knows we’re scrambling to look decent again as we go back to conducting business in person after three months of being out of sight. This is especially true if you’re guilty of tossing skincare out the window in Q2, because… why bother when you could use a flattering filter on Zoom?

But be careful now. A 2017 study by the Royal Society Open Science Journal concluded that looking tired decreases people’s willingness to socialise with you. So there is a chance you could lose a deal if you’re perceived as having lower energy than your business rival. So what to do if you’ve committed the sin of neglecting your face and are now plagued with dark undereye circles (DUEC) and hyperpigmentation spots? We’re going to give you the latest facts on concealers for men, so pay close attention.

Why Not just use Eye Cream?

If your first instinct is to reach for some eye cream, you need to know that it is better for addressing issues like fine lines, wrinkles and puffiness. When it comes to DUEC, whether due to genetics or poor lifestyle choices (drinking, smoking and junk food, etc), you’ll need ingredients like vitamin C, caffeine and retinol (a 2016 study by The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology found). But even then, it will take months for improvements to show. Additionally, dark circles will never go away completely if they occur genetically.

Concealers for men too

If you’re not considering laser treatment to address this concern, applying concealers offer an immediate, albeit temporary, solution. After all, makeup has helped women look presentable at work for time immemorial. So why don’t we throw toxic masculinity aside for once and borrow this sensible solution from their beauty books instead? On top of that, a concealer’s function extends to masking blemishes and hiding hyperpigmentation, which could further enhance our appearance whether we’re in the boardroom or on a conference call on Zoom.

But before you rummage in your girlfriend’s makeup pouch prior to a boardroom meeting, you might want to consider getting a concealer of your own. Not only is rummaging through her pouch without her permission rude, you most likely will need a product that suits your skin type and tone. After all, concealers are not a “one size fits all” product. And there are now concealers specifically developed for men.

So where do we start? We speak with professional makeup artist Keith Bryant Lee, who shares some useful tips on picking out the right product for ourselves.

Consider concealers to temporarily mask imperfections like dark under eye rings and hyperpigmentation. Artwork: Ed Harland
Consider concealers to temporarily mask imperfections like dark under eye rings and hyperpigmentation. Artwork: Ed Harland
There are now concealers for men and foundations for men. What’s the difference between them?

Concealers are formulated with a thicker consistency and more pigments. They have various functions, but their primary job is to target blemishes, DUEC, and hyperpigmentation.

Foundation, as the name suggests, helps to build the base by creating an even skin tone for makeup to build on, if any. Because they generally have fewer pigments, their finish is sheerer compared to concealers, and their function is less targeted.

Can we use concealers on our bare skin, or do we need a whole makeup kit?

You can surely use it on its own. There’s no need for you to use a primer if you don’t want to spend extra cash. Although I’d recommend that you use it after your skincare routine as the tackiness from your sunscreen or moisturser helps a concealer to  adhere better to your skin. Just make sure it’s not too oily, as too much oil can cause the product to run.

There are so many formulas available, it’s confusing. what works for whom?

In theory, the general rule of thumb is as follows.

Concealer for men, Tom Ford. Photo: Tom Ford
Concealer For Men, Tom Ford. Photo: Tom Ford

Stick or pencil: Best for oily skin. It is drier so it adheres better to oily skin. Usually comes as a twist-to-dispense pen (above) or sharpen-able pencil.

Soft Matte Complete Concealer, Nars. Photo: Nars
Soft Matte Complete Concealer, Nars. Photo: Nars

Cream: Best for mature or drier skin. It generally contains more emollients that help to nourish and condition the skin. Usually comes in a pot (above) or tub.

Forever Skin Correct Concealer, Dior. Photo: Dior
Forever Skin Correct Concealer, Dior. Photo: Dior

Liquid: Best for normal skin. Despite that, it is a favourite format because it blends smoothly and gives a natural skin-like finish. Usually comes in a tube with a doe-foot applicator (above) or a twist-to-dispense pen.

However, through all my years as a professional makeup artist, I can honestly say that there’s no right or wrong when it comes to picking the right formula for your skin. What’s important is that you pick one that you’re most comfortable with.

How about picking the right shade, then? Is it true that you have to pick a lighter shade to mask one’s imperfections?

It’s not true. In fact, picking a lighter shade will highlight your area of concern. The best way is to pick a shade that’s closest to your skin tone as this allows the concealer to hide your imperfections while blending in seamlessly with the rest of your face.

If you’re not sure, head down to the store or counters and seek advice from the makeup advisors. They can further assess your skin tone to see if it falls in the “warm”, “cool” or “neutral” shade to help you with picking the right product.

Peter Philips, Dior's makeup maestro, applies makeup on a male model before a show. Photo: Dior Beauty
Peter Philips, Dior’s makeup maestro, applies makeup on a male model before a show. Photo: Dior Beauty
There are also numerous ways to apply makeup – from using brushes, blenders or merely your fingertips. What is best?

Again, there’s no right or wrong when it comes to this. However, I’m sure gentlemen will appreciate the easiest and most convenient way. So I’ll say using your fingers to dab and blend the product works just fine. Just remember to keep your hands clean so as to prevent bacterial contamination, which could lead to breakouts. And wash them right after to prevent yourself from staining anything you touch.

How much product is enough?

Trust me when I say that a little goes a long way.

Start with a small amount of product – it is almost always more than enough. And if it’s not, gradually build up till you’re satisfied with the finish.

Are setting products necessary?

If you foresee yourself being in a cool environment and all you want to do is to look presentable for a few hours, you could probably get away with skipping this step. This works for occasional instances like important meetings, business presentations, events, or even Zoom calls.

However, it is recommended to set concealers with loose powder if you’ll be running around all day in humid weather. Excess moisture, perspiration, humidity and sebum can cause the product to run. Powders help by absorbing excess moisture and oil.

Speaking of which, is there a way to prevent staining our good shirts?

Here are some sensible ways to reduce the risk of staining your clothes should you have concealer on:

– If you’re not going to be in a cool and dry environment, set your concealer with loose powder as it prevents the product from running.

– Dry yourself with towels or tissue, not your sleeves or collars.

– Always remove your makeup first before taking your clothes off when you reach home.


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