I don't talk about concealer too much on this blog. It has less to do with the fact that I have decent skin and more to do with the fact that I don't try new ones very often. It's just hard to top the Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer's coverage or the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer's flexibility. And I have a "fair, cool yellow" match in both lines! Why stray?
Sephora had their VIB sale earlier this month, though, and I heard the siren's call of this new Makeup Forever Ultra HD Concealer. Touted as "invisible coverage" that will give you "instant under eye perfection," I knew I wanted to test this product out on the Underye Circles of Doom.
The Makeup Forever Ultra HD Concealer is a liquid concealer housed in a small squeeze tube with a tiny nozzle. I've heard a few people complaining that it's hard to control how much product you dispense, but I had no problem getting the ittiest bittiest smidge out of the tube; I just gave it a very gentle, quick squeeze. I like that this packaging is simple, but effective, and relatively sanitary. At $27 for 0.23 fluid ounces of product, it's on par price-wise with the aforementioned NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer and many other high end options.
Natural light on top, flash on the bottom. From left to right: Makeup Forever Ultra HD Concealer in Y21, NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly, Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer in Fair Neutral, Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer in Sx01.
I was told that this color range ran lighter than it looks on the website, and sure enough, Y21 (the lightest yellow-based shade) is one of the absolute palest concealers I've ever seen, if not THE palest. I will note, however, that its undertones look a bit more neutral than truly yellow to me, which I think makes the shades it's swatched against seem much darker by comparison. Regardless, I did have a shade match.
I also liked the texture of this product when I first felt it: it's an extremely thin liquid with plenty of slip. I figured it would be weightless and blendable.
The actual performance of this concealer, however, left much to be desired. I patted this on my undereye area and was miffed when I realized...it wasn't covering much of anything. It softened the area a bit and added shine, but if you have very dark undereye circles and you're not getting a lot of actual coverage from a product, shining a spotlight on the area is not optimal. You can see this in the before and after picture above: my undereye area is still dark, but now it looks slightly softer (good) and ashier (nooooooo).
Because it didn't do much for my undereyes, I decided to try blotting it on the two red cheek blemishes that were still somewhat visible through my foundation. Bad idea: the glowiness of this foundation bounced back tons of light, magnifying the imperfections. Those spots actually look white in the after photo. Now, this is marketed specifically as an undereye product, so it'd be a little uncouth to knock it for being worthless on blemishes. But it is disappointing that I couldn't find an alternate use for the product.
I tried applying this product with both a brush and my fingers, and neither seemed to alter the coverage or the finish.
You know what else is disappointing? The performance. This product dries very quickly. That's a trait I sometimes enjoy in a blemish concealer, since I don't want it rubbing off of my face. In an undereye concealer, however, it can emphasize fine lines and make the product harder to work with.
I was able to blend it over my undereye circles with relative ease, and I didn't fuss too much when some product settled in to my fine lines after about 15 minutes, since that happens with just about every concealer on the market. When I went to tap the product out of my lines, though, it would. not. budge. So each time I tested this stuff, I spent the day with blatantly shiny lines under my eyes. The one upside here is that the product is weightless, so at least I didn't have to feel those lines all day.
Oh, and hey, let's talk about that shade range again.
I mentioned I was a little miffed about the shade range when I first started testing this product, and a few people asked, "Why? You're so pale! I thought it running light would be a good thing?" Well, yes, I'm glad there's a shade for me. And I like that they separate undertones clearly: shades starting with a Y have a yellow undertone, shades starting with an R have a pink undertone.
But there are only 5 yellow shades and 5 pink shades, and the range runs light, and the darkest shade is described as being for "tan" skintones. Are you catching my drift? Are you seeing the issue here? If you aren't, go on ahead and do a Google image search for "Makeup Forever Ultra HD Concealer swatches." I'll wait.
What the sweet fuck is this shade range?! I regularly complain about shade ranges stopping at "white girl tan," but this takes it to a whole new level; this is whiter than monster truck rallies, pumpkin spice lattes, and New Hampshire.
Yes, there is room left for expansion--the red-based shades jump from R32 to R40, for instance--but why should we have to wait for people of color to be represented? It's an annoying trend in the US cosmetics market right now: base products are released with a small shade range, and anybody darker than about NW35/NC35 on a MAC scale has to pester the company to release deeper shades. Launching a product too early and forcing an already under-represented chunk of your consumer base to wait, nay, beg for a shade option is ridiculous. Creator Dany Sanz has been in the industry for decades, the brand is sold in numerous countries, and the Makeup Forever HD foundation range is decently broad. There's no excuse. Just wait a few months and release the product when more of the population is represented.
I like the feel and packaging of this concealer, but my praise stops there. As an underye corrector, it's far below standards, and it doesn't function as a blemish concealer, either. Unless you have the most barely-there undereye circles known to mankind and you're on the light shade of the skintone spectrum and you don't have fine lines under or around your eyes, give this one a pass.
RATING: 1 out of 5
This product is available at Sephora.com.