It’s probably having teenage daughters, or maybe just because I’m getting older, but these days I am increasingly enjoying buying and trying make-up. I’ve always been a complete sucker for the idea of ‘hope in a jar’ – the excitement of lovely packaging and extravagant promises ….usually followed inevitably by a remarkably unchanged (but poorer) me in the mirror.
But hope, in a jar or not, springs eternal. Somewhere out there is the perfect product for me. I don’t wear a lot of make-up – just a bit of concealer on the dodgy bits, plus mascara and eyeliner, blusher if I’m looking pale and eyeshadow on Big Nights Out. I am hugely fussy, though, which has meant that the search for the best has lasted thirty-odd years so far and will doubtless go on until I’m in my dotage and my mobility scooter runs out of batteries.
To save you the relentless search, here are some concealers I’ve tried and tested recently. To me, concealers seem one of the hardest things to get right. You tend to either get perfect packaging, like YSL’s Touche Eclat, with a product which, for me, just draws attention to flaws, or a cement-like uber-foundation that chips off in unattractive lumps. Here are three which are all perform above the average:
While we were in New York last month, the girls and I made regular pilgrimages to Sephora, a store dedicated to nothing but the latest make-up. We tried to find brands that weren’t available in the UK, and I chanced upon the Perricone MD range. I had no idea who Dr Perricone is (I’ve since looked him up – he’s a proper doctor and a weight loss/skin/diet guru, who believes that ageing is not inevitable but is caused by cellular inflammation) but just liked the look of his ‘no make-up make-up’ range and the fact that there is no colour choice – one shade of everything works for everyone, apparently. It’s always so difficult to get the right shade for my skin that this no-brainer solution seemed, well, a no-brainer. I bought the concealer for a whopping $36 dollars. It smells nice, and the packaging (a mascara-like tube, with a wand inside) was good, though not like the quasi-medical bottle you’ll see on the website. Unfortunately the very peachy shade just isn’t me and I’m a bit baffled, really, about how this could possibly suit everyone. I must be missing something.
So, back in the UK, the hunt for a good concealer was still on. Next stop was good old Superdrug, which frankly lacks the glamour of Sephora or even a branch of Boots. However, it does stock a huge array of the cheap-to-reasonable end ranges of make-up, including things like Collection 2000 and Beauty UK, which I wouldn’t honestly look at if I didn’t have teenage daughters. The girls are not snobby at all about make-up ranges and will try anything. So I found myself with a Beauty UK conceal and correct tube, for all of £2.99. There are only three shades to choose from, and I took the middle ground. Ok, the packaging does not look high end (and Child Two’s concealer did leak in her make-up bag, which was not great) but the product is excellent – pasty enough to cover well but not too thick. It also lasts for ages and is pretty much a total bargain.
Finally, I couldn’t resist trying the Bare Minerals Stroke of Light concealer. I used to have the Bare Minerals powder foundation and it was lovely, but putting it on was a pain and I always ended up with powder all over the bedroom carpet – not ideal for a Hooverphobic housewife. Back in New York’s Sephora, though, we came across a handy little bag of Bare Minerals translucent Touch Up Veil with a cute little brush for $20, and that rekindled my enthusiasm for the brand. It was absolutely brilliant for mopping up the shine in the 32 degree NY heat. So I invested in the Stroke of Light after a nice Bare Minerals lady at John Lewis in Oxford Street gave me a quick tutorial. It’s great. Yes, it’s reminiscent of Touche Eclat, but for me it works a lot better and just seems like a gentle beam of sunlight on the eye area.