Concealer Pencils for The Pathetically Pale


You know what’s the worst? When your concealer fades halfway through the day (or night), and you have to try to fix it in a poorly-lit office bathroom (or bar bathroom) — with, what, a tube of goo and a brush? NOPE, JE REFUSE. So over the last little while, I’ve been hunting down a more convenient option : concealer pencils, or (oh whaaaat) eyeliners that function as such. LET’S LOOK.

e.l.f. Lock On Gel Liner : Too yellow for my skintone, but wears like a mofo (I had to scrub off the arm swatch of this one). Performs pretty well when used on face, depending on what you’re using it with/over — I have best results when I tap/twist it onto bare skin. It’s a teeny bit tougher to get it to apply over foundation. This one isn’t automatic, so you’d have to have a sharpener handy, but it does have a smudger on the opposite end. Alas, not currently on e.l.f.’s site, and BeautyJoint has the product ($3.25 for 035oz) but this shade seems to be out of stock at the moment. Booooooo.

Rimmel Exaggerate Waterproof Eye Definer, In The Nude : Automatic / no sharpening needed; consistency is much like the e.l.f. (like many gel liners, it’s very dense, harder to blend out or diffuse, and did not wash off easily). If you’re a medium-light skintone, this may be GREAT for you. It’s just a bit too dark for me, but at least the hue is less yellow. $7.50 at BeautyJoint for .009oz.

NYX Wonder Pencil, Light : This is a highlighter/concealer pencil (and not automatic, so you’ll need a sharpener), rather than an eyeliner, so the consistency is accordingly thinner, softer, more blendable. However, it also disappears FAST. Even when applied over foundation and set with powder, it does a vanishing act after just an hour or two. The “Light” shade is porcelain pale — actually too light to be a suitable concealer — but I still use it as a browbone highlight or to help neaten my eyeliner. $4.49 for .04oz at Ulta.

NYX Wonder Pencil, Medium : Light was TOO light, and of course Medium is just a tad too dark and warm-toned to be a perfect match for my face, but it’s workable in a pinch. Same inconveniences as Light : requires a sharpener, doesn’t wear for long. $4.49 for .04oz at Ulta.

NARS Larger Than Life Eyeliner, Rue Bonaparte : ALMOST HG. I’ve had two of these at all times for the last couple years — one with my makeup stash, and one in my bag for touchups. The consistency is a tad more blendable than the e.l.f. or Rimmel eyeliners, but the wear on my oily face skin still isn’t perfect. However, it’s a pretty close match for my skintone, it’s easy to get non-obvious spot coverage by tapping/twisting it, and it’s an auto pencil so no sharpening required. Of course it’s also the most expensive of the bunch at $26 for .02oz (at Ulta).

Urban Decay 24/7 Concealer Pencil, FBI : These are obvs a much fatter pencil (more like a chunky crayon), and the product itself is a relatively thin/soft/slippy cream. Requires sharpening, and the fatter point makes them fine for drawing on a big smear then blending it out, but less optimal for on-the-go touch-ups or spot-concealing. Wear is just okay for me — 4-5 hours later I generally need to reapply. FBI is a similar shade to the NARS eye pencil above, but a bit more yellow, which means it’s not a perfect match for my skin. If they released their extant shade collection in a skinnier auto pencil, I’d definitely pick up lighter and peachier DEA to try. $20 for .12oz at Ulta.

Urban Decay 24/7 Concealer Pencil, NSA : Too dark and too yellow for my skin, what was I thinking, etc. Consistency and application and wear are same as for FBI, tone would be probably great for someone with medium-light warm-toned skin, but way way wrong for me. $20 for .12oz at Ulta.

SWATCHES : Top to bottom in the same order as pencil photo and text descriptions. In cooler light, warmer light, and then again with the right-hand edge of the smear blended out with a finger :

(You can right-click and select “open image in new tab” if you need to see this huger.)

As you can see, the e.l.f. and Rimmel eyeliners (the two top swatches) are much more resistant to blending out; the NARS eyeliner is more workable in that regard. The actual concealer pencils — particularly the UD ones — are far softer and more blendable, but then they also don’t “set” as well (if at all) and thus don’t last as long. Eh, everything’s a trade off. UNTIL I FIND THE PERFECT ONE.

WHAT IF I’M NOT PATHETICALLY PALE? If you have a medium to dark skin tone and want to try an eyeliner as concealer, I’m seeing a few possibilities on BeautyJoint — though most of them seem to be mid to deep matte browns, and not a lot in the “approximately a medium flesh tone” range. LA Girl’s Endless Auto Eyeliner is $2.00 and comes in “Dark Brown” and “Light Brown.” Kleancolor Retractable Waterproof Lip & Eye Liner is $1.75 and comes in Cafe, Coffee, Cocoa, Chocolate, Brown, Dark Brown, Medium Brown, and Brown Cafe. (!!!) Jordana’s 5-Inch Pencil ($1.73, non-auto) comes in seven different medium-to-deep brown shades. City Color has an Inner Rim Auto Liner for $2.99 which only comes in one shade of tan-ish whose true tone is impossible to discern. Kana Automatic Eyeliner Pencils ($2.99) come in medium and deep brown. Wet N Wild Color Icon Kohl ($1.48) comes in a buff shade. And … you get the idea. There might be something that works great for you! I can tell you that it takes a lot of trying (and failing), but at $1-3 a pop, that’s not too painful an experiment.

How ’bout you? Got a solution for on-the-go concealer touch-ups? Fave product? Tell us!