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Concealer-Only Base Review With Photos

I Felt Self-Conscious With a Concealer-Only Base but Wouldn't Go Back to Foundation

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I have to be honest - the no-makeup makeup trend initially got my back up. There's nothing more jarring than watching people with seemingly perfect skin, filters and fillers take to social media to encourage minimal makeup.

Because for the uninitiated, the no-makeup makeup trend doesn't actually involve no makeup . . . it actually means applying minimal makeup so that you look like you're not wearing make up. Tutorials will show that the no-makeup makeup trend prides itself on using a lightweight, concealer-only base, with the belief that it provides more coverage without looking or feeling heavy.

Influencers like Steph Hui, Samantha Harvey and Elise Morgan have tried and loved the concealer-only base. But, as someone with scarring, hyperpigmentation and textured skin, the idea of stripping back my makeup base to a measly concealer wasn't one I thought would be for me.

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However, I'm all about optimising my time, and figured that spending a good chunk of my morning on makeup when I could be getting a few extra minutes of sleep was something I was no longer prepared to do. That said, I also don't want to go makeup-free on my office days, so last week I decided to try the concealer-only base for myself. And while I can't say I instantly embraced it, I'm glad I've tried it, because now I don't see myself going back to foundation any time soon.

How I Tested the Concealer-Only Base

I chose to try this experiment on an office day, as I wanted to see how my base would last with travel, British weather, and a day of meetings, eating and working. I was out from 8am until 10pm, and the results weren't half as bad as I thought they'd be.

How I Applied My Concealer-Only Base

I usually use a skin tint or a lightweight foundation, rotating between the Fenty Beauty Eaze Drop Blurring Skin Tint (£27) and SAIE's Glowy Super Skin Foundation (£34). With just enough coverage and a blurring yet glowy effect, over the years I've come to love these products and they make me feel confident in my skin. Finding a concealer that would match this coverage and finish wasn't going to be easy - and in my mind it felt like it might be impossible. But I was soon proved wrong.

Instead, on the test day, I prepped my skin with my usual skincare routine, before using the e.l.f. Power Grip Primer (£10), focusing on the areas that I'd be applying my concealer, the SAIE Hydrabeam Sheer Brightening Under Eye Concealer (£21) - under my eyes, chin, and my T-Zone. I blended with a beauty blender which I dampened with the Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray Vitamin C (£24.20). I continued with the rest of my makeup routine, using the Morphe 2 Sun and Done Smooth-Gliding Bronzer Stick (£12), SAIE's Dew Blush (£20) and the Fenty Beauty Invisimatte Instant Blotting and Setting Powder (£25), topped with a spritz of the Urban setting spray.

After completing my makeup, it felt . . . incomplete and unsurprisingly light. Not reaching for a foundation after applying my concealer felt wrong to be honest, I was so used to my usual makeup routine, but it saved so much time, and I managed to leave early enough to get coffee for my commute, so that's a huge tick for me.

How My Concealer-Only Base Looked at 10am

Yes, I felt like my makeup was unfinished, but after taking a selfie, I looked airbrushed and glowy - love that! My base survived the morning commute, across the Overground and two packed Underground tubes, and by this point I reckon the 'glow' is a most likely thin layer of sweat, but my makeup hasn't moved at all. A powder top-up would be great but I wanted to see how far I can push it and really trial if I'd be happy with just a concealer base.

How My Concealer Only Base Looked at 3pm

By the late afternoon I was glad my blush had lasted, there's still a natural flush to my cheeks which nicely contrasts with my ever-lasting bright under eyes - a huge thanks to my concealer. My T-Zone went on an oil-frenzy but that's no surprise from my combination skin.

I had been keeping my head down all morning, scared that my makeup had melted off, leaving me looking haggard, but I was pleasantly surprised.

How My Concealer-Only Base Looked at 10pm

I made it home by 10pm after a full day of work and a big dinner with some friends, consisting of calamari, pizza, fruity cocktails and frequent gulps of water, so I wasn't expecting my makeup to have lasted this long, or at all. While I can't say there's much concealer left, I don't look as haggard as I usually would.

By the end of the day, my foundation has a tendency to accentuate my smile lines, feel heavy and muddy in my pores and fade to a grey shade after hours of re-applying powder, but I faced none of that. I didn't feel grubby or desperate to wash my face, I still felt as fresh as I did in the morning, which is a nice change.

Final Verdict

Did I feel self-conscious with a limited base? Absolutely! I was dying to liberally apply the concealer all over my face. I practically hid the acne scarring on my cheeks behind my hair, and I think a few dots of product to conceal those wouldn't have hurt. But it was the idea of letting my skin breathe that really won me over.

The concealer-only base was a liberating experience that I don't think I'll give up, especially as we head into spring and summer. Don't get me wrong, a decent concealer and a gripping primer is a must, and made a huge difference to how long my look lasted. But I was complimented for how natural, clear and glowy my skin looked, more than I have ever been when wearing a full face of makeup.

Although I would've rolled my eyes at it before, I kind of like the no makeup-makeup trend now. I made it my own and trying it out encouraged me to be realistic and face the true look of my skin. What I loved was that the concealer gently and subtly enhanced my complexion it so I don't look like I spent the night before crying myself to sleep over Netflix's One Day . . . I digress.

Don't let the flawless-skinned celebrities and influencers make you think trying out the concealer-only base isn't for you. Because actually, it's about being comfortable in your own skin and using makeup to enhance your natural beauty, not hide it.

Lauren Gordon is the editorial coordinator at POPSUGAR UK, where she creates lifestyle and identity content. Lauren has a degree in journalism from University of the Arts London and previously worked as a showbiz and TV reporter at The Mirror US. Lauren specialises in pop culture, hair and beauty, focusing on trends, sharing in-depth tutorials, and highlighting hidden gems in the beauty industry.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Lauren Gordon
Fenty Beauty Eaze Drop Blurring Skin Tint
from boots.com
Buy Now
SAIE's Glowy Super Skin Foundation
from cultbeauty.co.uk
Buy Now
e.l.f. Power Grip Primer
from superdrug.com
Buy Now
SAIE Hydrabeam Sheer Brightening Under Eye Concealer
from cultbeauty.co.uk
Buy Now
Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray Vitamin C
from sephora.co.uk
Buy Now
Morphe 2 Sun and Done Smooth-Gliding Bronzer Stick
from uk.morphe.com
Buy Now
SAIE's Dew Blush - Chilly
from cultbeauty.co.uk
Buy Now
Fenty Beauty Invisimatte Instant Blotting and Setting Powder
from fentybeauty.com
Buy Now

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