reviews: concealer


Once upon a very long time ago, I had a favourite concealer.

It was discontinued.

I had another.

It, too, was “disappeared” by its makers. Like any other omnipotent deity or creative power: complete control over one’s creation, including its destruction. What can us poor humble mortals do?

Another long-term favourite, more recently but still many years ago: Lancôme Effacernes in the lightest shade, PORCELAINE I (this has different names in different places; from time to time, there are lighter Asia-exclusives, but often not cool-toned enough for those of a ginger persuasion). Two issues, neither of them minor:
(a) company ethics
(b) colour match to my skin.

Next one: Clarins stick concealer, in 00 (I think: lightest shade, anyway). Lovely stuff. Then the China-and-animal-testing issue appeared. Cue sad face as another concealer bites the proverbial dust.

Why do I need a concealer anyway?

Well, on most of my skin, unless I’m being particularly neurotic, there’s no need. On the rare occasion that breakouts happen, I leave them severely alone and don’t cover them up, as decades’ experience has taught me that works better (or rather, I tell myself this every time and from time to time I still persist in putting on makeup and then regret it, kick myself, and promise myself not to be a silly girl again). On irritation, no makeup on top and back to basic minimal skincare anyway (I’m good and rigorous on this, to be fair to myself).

But my skin is very thin, especially in some areas like the eyelids. Without a bit of covering-up, you see every blood-vessel (and my eyes, if I close the lids: hilarious trick when I was a small kid, to entertain other small kids in that classic small-kid gross-out way). There’s blue and purple bits. Usually some red and pink too, and the shades of old freckles. Even behind glasses, this can look at best tired and somewhat sickly. At worst, like the more unappealing specimens of male genital skin. (Some male genitalia can be very pretty, winsome, and irresistibly attractive. Same for any skin areas and body parts, on any individual, of any sort. But let’s not digress into other bodily areas. We’re talking about concealer, and its application to normally publicly visible body parts.)

So: concealing it is.

Also sometimes applied to the under-eye area, when I get the classic dark circles from insufficient sleep, but I’ve been a lot better over the last while at getting enough sleep. Partly thanks to putting my foot down at work, partly thanks to The Beloved putting his foot down at home (he needs as much sleep as I do, but his natural inclination is to go to bed earlier), and partly thanks to some semi-compulsory anti-bullying consultant counselling we had at work. Turns out those colleagues who take pride in being up, awake, working, and sending out emails at all hours of the night—11 p.m., 1 a.m., 4 a.m.—are Bad People. Or, not entirely Good. Assuming people to be up and working at such times = presumptuous, inconsiderate, rude, selfish. Assuming they’ll answer you immediately, and being peeved when they don’t = selfish and rude. Being snarky about people not being up when you are, about them sleeping more, about them not answering emails at such times (or showing any evidence of reading them then) = a form of workplace harassment.

Nice one, consultants.

I had a jolly good conversation about this with my friend The Elfin One over a leisurely lunch the other day. She adds something which would at least be consoling, if not smug-making: such late-night behaviour can be passive-aggressive. Covering up for not having done enough work during the day, not having finished a project on schedule, not having worked efficiently and with concentration. She added that some companies have policies against overtime for this reason. Well, that made me feel relieved. Though I work in a field where there is no such thing as paid overtime, and where there are deadlines coming out at you from many directions at once (many of them outside your immediate workplace).

However: this year’s been successful so far in its progressive experiment. First, in not reading work emails after a certain time, and not at the weekend. Second, in not responding immediately; especially if this is the last reading of the evening or the first one of the morning. Third, in educating others on my emailing policies, emphasizing the physical-and-mental-health aspects and how they in turn make me a better little worker-bee (rather than slagging off colleagues for being soul-sucking evils).

Sharing the information above with others: may it help you be a better, slicker, smoother cog in The Machine get more sleep and be healthier and happier.

And, of course, helping you to be more bright-eyed and bushy-tailed; with less need for concealers and brighteners; thus saving money on cosmetics and hey! bonus!! also making other people around you happier as they don’t have to see your giant eye-bags. The sight or them, even just out of the corner of an eye, can ruin a moment. Would you want to be responsible for such glitches in someone else’s otherwise-perfect day? Do you want to ruin someone’s day? Do you not care, which is at least as bad? No, of course not. So don’t expose discoloured eyelids and grotty bags to other people. Through whatever combination of sleep and cosmetics.

Born with eye bags and dark shadows? You’re still responsible for inflicting them on others. But, seriously now: that’s often genetic. Not much you can do. Apart from, yes you guessed it: concealers.

Time for some giant, nearly life-size, close-up photos of my arm!


2013-07-16 13.16.29

Visible pores!!
And some other normal irregularities in texture: human, unphotoshopped, and proud.

My arm is actually a fairly good colour- match for my head, thanks to the power of sunscreen, antioxidants, hats, and clothing. Yes, I am that colour (two other pictures in slightly different lighting at end of review).

The shades above are the lightest ones for each range.

This post is dedicated to other pale people, especially fellow-gingers: I hope it helps you out too. Yes, there are some products out there that are the right colour for us. Message to companies, especially greedy Big Business: humans exist in a wide range of different colours. You lost much of the ginger business years ago; lost, if you ever had it; at least, those of us with eyes in our heads and no desire to disguise our natural colouring. This was a major gripe when I was living in Ireland, where (due to this being a smaller market) there was a limited range of shades available, from greige to orange. Yes, that’s right: for Ireland. Home of some of the palest people on earth, and also, like anywhere else on the planet, of people of every colour under the rainbow.

*punches beautymegacorps on the nose*

It’s heartening that over the last few years Irish people have finally started complaining, aesthetics have started to move away from the Oompa-Loompa permatan, and there seems to be some reduction in the social pressure to be a different colour from what nature intended. On all these, see for example how has evolved in the last five years.

I’m just not buying stuff from certain companies any more, until they sort out their colour-prejudice act. This happens to work out as also acting in solidarity with people of darker-coloured skin, who suffer the same insults to skintone from the same companies. Though let’s be honest and practical: with most of The Greatest Gingerist Offenders, I’d not be buying from them anyway because of their ethics, and, um, because if they have nothing that matches the colour I am, why would I buy from them? Like shops or brands that don’t sell things in your size, or in cuts and colours that suit you (another bane for us gingers, depending on the vagaries of fashion; black is of course always dependable and usually there, somewhere).

Some smaller indie businesses are guilty too, though; just because a company has good ethics for animals, plants, and planet doesn’t necessarily mean they’re favourable to, say, ginger people. Or people with skin sensitivities. Or, indeed, human beings.

Ah, the joy of rants. Always a good excuse for a nice cooling drink. Maybe even necessary: some drinks just aren’t as good unless you’ve got all hot and bothered first…

How to pickle a ginger: 60 ml dark rum + ginger beer + lime (squeezed and wedged). Repeat until "The Dark And Stormy" is equally applicable to both the drink and the drinker.

How to pickle a ginger:
1. 60 ml dark rum + ginger beer + lime (squeezed and wedged).
2. Apply to ginger person.
3. Repeat until “The Dark And Stormy” epithet transfers from the drinker to the drink.

All of the above are not tested on animals; they tick various other boxes on the ingredients being derived from sustainably-grown plants and so on and so forth (much organic agriculture going on, no derainforesting orang-utan-abusing palm oil, etc.).

All were applied on top of moisturiser and sunscreen (see notepad, the usual regulars there).

All are easily removed using oil; tested using meadowfoam seed oil.

The Nvey Eco and Vapour ones are creamy-waxy solids. The Silk Naturals one is a loose powder. Alima make one that’s very similar.


This cost a lot of money and, as you can see above, is a disappointment.

Texture: too dry, chalky, dulling. Yet when you have a look at the ingredient list, it doesn’t exactly look like a picnic for use as a more standard face-concealer, like on zits; I’d be very hesitant if I were oilier and/or more zit-prone.

Colour: badly off. Too dark, also with too much yellow, grey, and brown in the shade. See photo at end of post for just how heinous this was (taken in different lighting). Only three shades available, and all are in the slightly-yellowed mid-beige range.

On the other hand, two pros:

  • no irritation
  • colour didn’t oxidise

INGREDIENTS: Carthamus Tinctorius (Organic Safflower) Seed Oil*, Ricinus Communis (Organic Castor) Seed Oil*, Cetyl Alcohol , Cera Alba (Organic Beeswax)*, Simmondsia Chinensis (Organic Jojoba) Seed Oil*, Copernicia Cerifera (Organic Carnauba Wax)*, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Benzyl Alcohol (and) Salicylic Acid (and) Sorbic Acid, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed Oil, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C), Glycerin. May Contain +/-: CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), CI 77492, CI 77491, CI 77499, CI 77019 (Mica). *Certified Organic Ingredient

COST: AUD29.95 / $$$$$ for 0.11oz/3g

Available from various places. Here in Canada, sometimes stocked in pricy yummymummygranolabunny e-emporia, but they’ve all been out of stock of any given product I’ve been looking for—the lightest shade, the product itself, or not stocking it at all—for months and months. One can buy directly from Nvey Eco (Australia), YMMV on shipping-charges and customs duties. (I love the Nvey Eco cake eyeliner so much that I would pay through the nose for it; different story there).

Manufacturer’s information from Nvey Eco


Good texture, creamy but light. Slightly light-reflecting, without being shiny or actively glowy. Coverage is light: this might be good news (subtlety, airbrushed humanoid effect) or bad news (need more for more effect, use it up fast). Easily blended. Really nice shade: on the pinker side, and good on blue shady bits between inner corner of eye and nose, and down to the undereye area next to nose. Beautiful creamy texture. No oxidising. One of my two regulars, and I’d buy it again.

Nice range of shades, too:

vapour organics illusionist concealer

Two issues, both resolvable:
(1) the staying power isn’t great, doesn’t stay on well all day: fades and glides off. Can be assisted by a light dusting on top with any setting powder (ex. Silk Naturals Perfecting Powder).
(2) on a warmer sweatier and/or oilier day, needs to be set with a little powder on top. Otherwise, on eyelids, it’ll crease.

One minus: I have to be careful with this on skin elsewhere on my face. Can’t wear it around my nose or mouth: rapid irritation; that area is the most irritation-prone on my face. Around the eyes, it’s OK but I’m applying it on top of moisturisers and sunscreen. I’ve had issues with frankincense in face products before; the other ingredients have (individually or in finished products) been OK on my skin thus far.

Didn’t like it originally, but gave it a fair go, and tested under various conditions. It can be rendered usable, I reckon I like it now, and will certainly use it up.

INGREDIENTS: Organic/Bio Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Oil, Organic/Bio Cera Alba (Beeswax), Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Silica, Essential Oils & Natural Fruit Essences, Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E), Boswellia Serrata (Frankincense)*, Organic/Bio Ocimum Sanctum (Tulsi/Holy Basil), Organic/Bio Nelumbo Nucifera (Lotus Flowers) [+/-: Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, 77492, 77499), Mica (CI 77019)] *Wildcrafted

COST: USD22.00 for 0.11oz/3.11g

Stocked by various Canadian etailers and by American ones who ship here, but not always in the right shade; which may add to one’s searching efforts, and to cost and time.

Manufacturer’s information from Vapour Organic Beauty


I got this as it looked a bit like a replacement for Bobbi Brown’s stick foundation: once upon a very long time ago, it was a lovely foundation. It was then—you guessed it—reformulated. At least twice. Rendered more unusable each time. Then there was the China issues with Estee Lauder Corp. Other reason for getting this: in case I could use it as a concealer too, if it happened to be the same shade as the Illusionist concealer, as it works out cheaper. As you can see from the image above, it wasn’t the right shade. It’s darker and more peachy-orange. Nice texture and so on, but sadly, if it’s the wrong colour on my skin it’s no damn use to me.

This was the lightest shade available, and again, there’s a decent range:

vapour organic atmosphere luminous foundation

The company do another foundations too, for assorted skin-types (allegedly) but especially for more combination to oily skins:

vapour organic atmosphere soft focus foundation

And there’s the Stratus Instant Skin Perfectors, in Soft Focus and, um, I guess the other one is just “not” or “we’re just going to be delicate and draw a discreet veil over your visage.” No, I don’t like their verbiage; and yes, I have zero respect and many a guffaw for Kimberly Snyder. Second-hand misread ignorant baloney combined with vapid silliness and celebrity detox? ROFL.

If you don’t get it, go look up “poo lady” and/or “Ben Goldacre.”

Unfortunately, it was people like that and the No More Dirty Looks blog that actively dissuaded me from trying Vapour stuff for blinking ages. Witness the power of advertising.

INGREDIENTS: Organic/Bio Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Oil, Organic/Bio Cera Alba (Beeswax), Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Silica, Essential Oils & Natural Fruit Essences, Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E), Boswellia Serrata (Frankincense)*, Organic/Bio Ocimum Sanctum (Tulsi/Holy Basil), Organic/Bio Nelumbo Nucifera (Lotus Flowers) [+/-: Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, 77492, 77499), Mica (CI 77019)] *Wildcrafted

COST: USD40.00 for 0.40 oz/11.33g

Same comment as for the concealer: not always that easy to obtain the right shade, you may need to look around if your skin’s not in the statistically more common mid-beige range.

Manufacturer’s information from Vapour Organic Beauty


This is the winner, if there has to be a winner; my main regular. It’s slightly more fiddly and slower to apply this, as compared to the Vapour stick then a light powdering on top. Can also use this one as a concealer anywhere. Applied very lightly with an Eco Tools eyeshadow brush, good eye-area concealer. Simply makes skin look like skin. No irritation, no oxidising and colour changes, stays on, doesn’t slip and slide off, doesn’t crease. Just does the job.

One issue, resolvable: can be drying if used alone, especially in the undereye area. I’m applying this on top of quite a moist lip sunscreen (BurnOut, which is heavy on the oils (safflower, hemp, jojoba), waxes (beeswax, carnauba), and shea butter). Seems to work out.

silk naturals sleep in a jar concealer

They also have a solid stick cream concealer, but the lightest shade in that was a disaster on me, too dark (and a similar shade to the Nvey Eco one, as far as I recall). I recycled it by giving it away.

INGREDIENTS: Mica, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, silk powder, silica, magnesium stearate, boron nitride, iron oxides

COST: USD6.50 for 0.35oz/10g
Samples: USD0.99

Manufacturer’s information from Silk Naturals



Very like the Silk Naturals in shade, texture, feel, and finish; but more expensive (over 8x the price; maybe because of the prettier container and packaging).

Best match for pale blue ginger skin: Porcelain

alima concealer

INGREDIENTS: Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Zinc Oxide (CI 77947) Mica (CI 77019). May contain [+/-]: Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499).

COST: USD14.00 for .08 oz/2.5 g
Samples: USD1.50

Manufacturer’s information from Alima Pure


Yes, the name is foolish and irritating. And it’s another of these stupid NMDL-promoted things. Not tried, but two issues on paper:
(1) the issue of the “proprietary essential oil blend” which rules it right out of my book;
(2) it’s very expensive.


Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Oil*, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Cera Alba (Beeswax)*, Silica, Castor Isostearate Beeswax Succi- nate **, Mica (CI 77019), Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil (and) Organic Aloe Barbadenis (Aloe) Extract, Lysine, Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E), Proprietary Essential Oil blend, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea)*, Roman Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile)** [+/-: Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, 77492, 77499)] *Certified Organic, **Eco-cert

COST: USD38.00 for 10 g
Samples: USD1.50

Nice range of colours, by the looks of things:

Screen Shot 2013-07-17 at 11.16.37 AM

lightest shade, far left = 0 pale ivory

Some other reasons why I don’t want to try this stuff, no not even putting $1.50 their way for a sample: I disapprove of this sort of thing very, very, very strongly. To the point of irritation. Brings me out in hives:

Screen Shot 2013-07-17 at 11.04.31 AM

company description, c/o Spirit Beauty Lounge.
Brand bio short version on the Narcissist page adds: “[…] to create handcrafted natural makeup with unsurpassed quality and a high performance look that’s pure as a saint, but sexy as sin.”

Manufacturer’s information from W3LL People

(More and worse marketeering fantasy and codswallop at end of post.)


in slightly different lighting:

arm with concealer swatches

Swatches, left to right:
Silk Naturals Sleep in a Jar / Extra Light Peach
(far left: a swatch of that, fully blended, which has completely melted into skin–aaaah, nice)
Vapour Organic Beauty Atmosphere Luminous Foundation / 090
Vapour Organic Beauty Illusionist Concealer / 000
Nvey Eco Erase Concealer / Neutral yes, that’s the brown one at the end 😦


Verbatim, straight from the horse’s mouth. Carries all the usual health warnings.

Changing the face of makeup for good.

We understand our skin absorbs 60-80% of what we put on it. This simple fact drives our mission to create innovative cosmetics using extraordinary quality, integrity and purity to achieve beautiful aesthetic results outside and healthy results inside. This mindful approach to beauty is powered by 3 core principles: Advanced Performance, Premium Natural & Organic Ingredients, and Social Responsibility.

W3LL PEOPLE super-natural makeup is designed specifically for the modern woman who demands authenticity, simplicity, and quality—but not willing to compromise on convenience and performance.

Hippie tested. Diva approved.

Our makeup ingredient quality and purity are unmatched, but what’s truly stunning is it’s performance. W Magazine didn’t name us one of the six best new makeup brands by accident. You’ll see W3LL PEOPLE is not just a brand with good intentions, but a brand relentless in delivering flawless coverage, genius colors, and extraordinary performance. We trust you’ll appreciate our special kind of natural fierceness, wether you thought you were a natural lover, or not.

An uncommonly beautiful trio.

Meet W3LL PEOPLE™ (pronounced well people). We’re a supernatural makeup brand created by longtime friends who care not only about the way that you look, but they way that you live. Our dynamic trio is comprised of a Makeup Guru: Shirley Pinkson, Cosmetic Dermatologist: Reneé Snyder M.D., and Treehugger: James Walker. This beauty dream team successfully combines the best of artistry, technology, and social responsibility in a cosmetic of unsurpassed quality. Our exacting standards ensure that you’ll enjoy a makeup product with unprecedented elegance and performance that you know is clean, healthy even beneficial for your skin. Join us change the face of makeup for good!

See also (but first, make sure you have a bucket handy and a stiff revivifying tonic—preferably with gin too—for after):

  • our blog (this is an insult to blogs, blogging, and bloggers: it’s straight-up PR self-pubvertising)
  • our press


  1. dermatology habif

    Today, I went to the beachfront with my children.
    I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She placed the shell to
    her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it
    pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is
    completely off topic but I had to tell someone!

  2. Julia

    YOU ARE A LIFESAVER! I’m extremely pale & cool toned like you, and only willing/able to use ‘natural’ products. I’m not a ginger sadly, I’m brunette (though I look like a natural one when I dyed my hair), but my mum was a full on ginger w/ huge light coloured freckles all over but a warm skin tone. My dad had olive skin & blond hair. And somehow I’m even paler than my mum and completely lacking in warmth. I don’t tan at all, I just burn & get a ton of small, DARK freckles (VERY difficult to cover with concealer/foundation). Now that I’m older and need makeup, I’m so frustrated by the fact that I can’t find matches. I also have incredibly dry skin so powders are generally out.

    Anyway, this post and the swatches really helped me. I also have some tips for you. 1. Vapour’s pink primer helps to tone down overly yellow foundation. 2. If you can find a good tone match that is just too dark, mix in white highlighter (I like Tata Harper). I do this with Gressa foundation in shade #2 which is by far the best tone match I’ve found so far but at least 3 shades too dark. I also do it with Vapour 100 which is less warm than 90 but still 2 shades too dark. I found the 00 concealer a decent match, and might try using it as a foundation if it’s cooler than 000 which it should be. Still too dark though.

    Thanks again! Btw I can send you a pic of Gressa’s lightest 4 shades swatched on my arm (which is identical to my face bc I have avoided direct sun completely for over 15yrs).

    • gingerama

      I’m currently using and happy with Kat Von D lock-it concealer crème; and for range of colours and minimalist formulation (bare minimum of necessary functional ingredients, no extra frills), nothing on the market beats Silk Naturals. Tip: use their HD cream or powder foundation as a concealer, but applied using different tools and techniques for different areas. The Vapour concealers and foundation in the original post above caused irritation, alas, and I would need to look at ingredients of any other newer products before even testing them on my skin. I don’t buy Tata Harper as all of her products contain known irritants on my skin.
      (Please note that the post that we’re discussing is from 5 years ago.)

      Gressa sounds interesting and good, albeit very expensive and will be even more so with shipping to Canada. Thanks for sharing your knowledge of it!

      Information about it for other readers:
      USD62.00 for 15 ml
      Ingredients of their minimalist corrective serum foundation: Cold Pressed Brassica oleracea (Broccoli) Seed Oil, Coconut Alkanes (and) Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, L-Lysine on Sericite (Mica [CI 77019] and Lauroyl Lysine), Silicon dioxide (Silica), GRESSA Healing ComplexTM: *Silybum marianum (Milk Thistle) Seed Extract, *Azadirachta indica (Neem) Extract,*Equisetum arvense (Horsetail) Extract, *Melissa officianalis (Lemon Balm) Extract, *Berberis vulgaris (Barberry) Extract, *Hippophae rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) Seed Extract, *Sambucus nigra (Elder Flower) Extract, *Momordica charantia (Bitter Melon) Extract, Glycyrrhiza glabra (Licorice Root) Extract, [+/- Titanium Dioxide CI 77891, Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Tocopherol (Vitamin E) Extract]. *Ingredients from Organic farming.

      • gingerama

        p.s. another one I used a while back: FACE Atelier. Canadian.
        Foundations of many shades inc. blue-black-brown, red-brown, red, yellow, and white adjusters:
        Cruelt-free, vegan, unscented.
        $1 samples
        $36 for 20 ml

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