Oh concealers, how I love thee so! Color correcters are essentially concealers, but this post is speaking specifically about skin tone concealers used for hiding blemishes, dark spots, etc. post color correcting. A concealer can legit change your makeup game; but there is a learning curve.
So what should you know about concealers? Well, they come in two textures - liquid or cream- and a variety of formulas. Concealers can be water based, silicone based, or oil based and the consistency of the products can range from a thin to thick. For example, Sephora's proprietary brand has a thick concealer, that although it is a liquid, it performs very closely to that of a cream concealer. Likewise, you can have a cream concealer with a very thin consistency that performs like a liquid when applied to the skin. The thicker the product, the fuller the coverage is typically.
Conventionally, one would color correct then conceal, then apply foundation. As noted in my previous post, however, if the person has little to no problem areas, or if the foundation is full coverage, you can color correct and conceal after. You would have to be spot on about the concealer you use for the conceal-after technique because, from experience, it can throw off the foundation if there are too many patches of a inexact concealer color. I prefer the conceal-first technique when covering hyper-pigmentation/or discoloration.
Concealer is also used to highlight. Highlighting is a technique used to bring forward certain aspects of the face by placing a lighter product on the area. The thicker the product used to highlight the more blending is required. The lighter the shade of the concealer, in contrast to the person's skin tone, the more blending (and adjusting) is required. All in all, it is better to probably just use one or two shades lighter than the client's skin tone to highlight. If you want to achieve a mega bright highlight then use a warm toned concealer over your base highlighting concealer to add extra dimension. For example, I can use Toast by LA Girl to highlight then add pops of Fawn (also by LA Girl) to really accentuate the area. Why not just use Fawn? Because Fawn on it's own might leave the area looking too bright in contrast to my actual skin tone.
When do you highlight? There are currently two techniques that people use but its dependent on the client's skin. For example, if a client has great skin and needs little to no color correcting, then you can get away with priming the skin, setting the highlighted and contoured areas, and then going over the whole face with foundation. This is an advanced technique and requires some serious blending know-how. Alternatively, and more conventionally, highlighting is done after the foundation is applied. Some artist skip this step altogether and used different shades of foundation to achieve the highlighted and contoured look; but again, that technique is not for the faint of heart and requires serious blending. We will get to that when we discuss foundation.
What should you have in your kit? From personal experience, I've hoarded many a concealer for the ranges in shade. However, my favorite liquid concealers are actually from LA Girl Cosmetics. The line has a wide array of different shades and because the formula isn't super thick, you can easily place it under foundation for clients with wider swaths of hyperpigmentation. For cream concealers, I love Black Opal concealers for deeper skin tones, but brands like BH Cosmetics has cream concealer palettes that anyone can use and it covers a good range of skin tones.