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How to Choose a Concealer Shade for Your Skin Tone

Color-matching your face products perfectly will help you get a seamless and undetectable makeup look.
November 06, 2023

Finding makeup that perfectly matches your complexion has gotten easier in the past decade with more offerings and innovations on the market (not to mention digital shade matching tools), but it can still be hard, especially if you’re a makeup novice. And if too much choice tends to overwhelm you, narrowing down the best options from an abundance of products can be a downright headache.

Concealer is particularly tough because, like foundation, your color match can change with the seasons (and your skin tone). But there’s no denying that once you find a concealer that’s spot on (no pun intended), you’ll be hooked — adding concealer to even the simplest makeup routine can upgrade your look.

If you’re struggling with how to choose a concealer shade for your skin tone, you’ve come to the right place. Ahead, we share tips on how to find the right concealer shade based on your unique needs.

How Do I Know My Concealer Shade?

Like foundation, finding the right concealer shade will depend on your skin tone and undertone. Your undertone is the color that sit under the surface of your skin and unlike your skin tone, they don’t change as you tan. 

An easy way to determine your undertone is to look at the color of your veins at your wrist: If your veins appear bluish or purple you have a cool undertone, if your veins look green you have a warm undertone, and if your veins appear to be a mix of both, you likely have a neutral undertone. If you have a warm undertone, you’ll want to use a concealer with coordinating undertones, and the same goes for skin with a cool undertone. This applies whether you’re choosing an exact match or a darker shade to create shadows for contour. 

Once you’ve narrowed down your undertone, it’ll be easier to find concealer that will work for you. Many brands will list their concealer shades with letters N, W or C to denote that they're either a neutral, warm or cool shade, which makes it much easier to narrow down your options. L’Oréal Paris True Match Eye Cream in a Concealer, 0.5% Hyaluronic Acid comes in 14 shades that each specify whether they have cool, neutral, or warm undertones so you don’t have to play the guessing game.

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How Do I Choose the Correct Concealer?

Now that you know your skin tone family and undertone and you’re ready to use a virtual concealer shade finder or swipe some swatches in person, take these tips into account so that you get a good concealer shade match every time.


1. Match Your Foundation

If you plan to use concealer to cover any blemishes that are peeking out from under your foundation, the best way to choose a shade that will blend seamlessly is to use your foundation as a guide. In this case, your concealer should perfectly match your skin tone and not be either darker or lighter. Either bring the bottle of foundation with you to the store or find your shade on the shelf to compare. Oftentimes, you can find a coordinating concealer and foundation, like the L’Oréal Paris 24 Hour Fresh Wear Foundation in Espresso and L’Oréal Paris Infallible Full Wear Concealer up to 24H Full Coverage in Espresso.

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2. Use Natural Lighting

It’s easy to think a concealer is a perfect match when holding it up to your complexion in the store — only to walk outside and realize it’s totally off. To find a shade that’s true to your skin tone, use natural lighting as your guide. Back in the day we used to swatch the shade on the back of our hands and pop outside, holding it up to our faces to make sure it’s a match. These days, stores have testers and tools that allow you to swatch a concealer directly onto your face and neck so that you can test and compare your options. Try it near a window if possible or go outside to check out the result. 

We recommend always testing a few concealer shades and purchasing at least two since your skin tone will likely change with the seasons, and because you may need concealer to perform other tasks besides covering up blemishes.

3. Customize It by the Area

Concealer can be used to brighten the under-eye area and create the illusion of well-rested eyes. When picking a concealer shade for this, look for a color that’s one to two shades lighter than your skin tone. To make your life easier, stick with a concealer from the same range as your blemish concealer. This way, you can start at your exact match, and move two shades away to find your brightening concealer.

If you want to contour with concealer, you’ll need a shade that’s slightly darker than your skin tone — specifically, one to two shades darker. This will help create those natural-looking shadows you’re after. Again, it’s a good idea to choose a concealer from the same collection as your blemish concealer.

If you’re on the hunt for a concealer for mature skin, try the L'Oréal True Match Radiant Serum Concealer, which is formulated with hydrating ingredients and won’t settle into lines. Think of it as an eye cream and eye concealer in one. 

4. Let the Color Wheel Be Your Guide

Aside from disguising blemishes and contouring, the right concealer can also be used to correct discolorations such as dark circles and redness. How to pick the right one goes back to the color wheel you may have learned about in elementary school.

For redness, reach for a green concealer. If you think about the color wheel, you’ll recognize that green is across from red, making it the perfect shade to neutralize redness caused by blemishes and blotchiness. For blue and purple areas, yellow concealer should be your go-to. It will hide blue and purple skin that comes from broken capillaries and age spots. to disguise dark circles and dark spots, an orange-hued color is just what you need. Reach for a peach, bisque, or orange concealer. 

We rely on the L’Oréal Paris True Match Color-Correcting Crayon to get the job done. Use peach for fair to light skin tones, bisque for light to medium skin tones, and orange for medium to dark and deep skin tones.

Should Concealer Be Lighter Or Darker Than Foundation?

As we mentioned, the shade you choose for your concealer should be based on what you’re using it for. Generally speaking, it’s better to go one shade lighter than one shade darker if you’re looking to conceal blemishes and the area under your eyes. Anything darker than your foundation will only make those areas more noticeable.


Photo Credit: Chaunte Vaughn

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