To say that I am a fan of concealer would be something of an understatement—I'm borderline obsessed with it. In fact, if I had to throw out all of my other makeup items and only use one for the rest of my life then it would be concealer. "But wait, what about mascara?" I can hear the eyelash aficionados wailing. Honestly, I can take it or leave it, but a good concealer can totally transform the way I feel about my face that day. And whilst I'm sure that my love of concealer is in part down to the fact that I have acne-prone skin, I'm either dealing with active breakouts or the scarring and pigmentation left behind by old spots—there is something amazing about the way that the right concealer can cover, brighten, illuminate and even skin tone. It's just so damn versatile.
The concealer in question is the Tarte Shape Tape Contour Concealer (£23) which, until fairly recently, was only available stateside. Thankfully, though, Tarte now ships to the UK, which means it was easy for me to get my hands on a tube. In case you haven't heard of them, Tarte are an American beauty brand that I remember U.S. beauty bloggers going crazy for. But it clearly isn't just the beauty community that they're a hit with—Tarte is America's #1 concealer brand. Period. That means the brand sells more concealers than any other beauty brand, and it's the Shape Tape formula that comes in at the top spot.
So what exactly makes it so good? Well, it's been spotted in the vanity of makeup mogul Kim Kardashian West, with People revealing her to be a fan. Actress Shay Mitchell is also a huge fan: "This [concealer] is something that I live by," Mitchell told Cosmopolitan. "I use the shade medium and I use it as my concealer every day to cover all the spots that I have. I like to apply it before my foundation, so I have a clean slate to work from."
And it isn't just the A-list that love this concealer either—there's no shortage of real people who swear by it. At the time of writing this, the Tarte website had almost 14,000 customer reviews with an average rating of 4.8 stars out of 5. "It hides dark eye circles like a pro," says Meghan M. Reviewer Mel claims "This is the best concealer since concealer has been developed. Seriously. I'm 48 and my eyes don't look like crepe paper with this one!" High praise indeed.
As you can see from the before photo, pregnancy hormones have not been kind to my skin lately. While I experienced a little of that rumoured pregnancy glow during the second trimester, the breakouts have well and truly come out to play as I enter my final few weeks. Despite this, I tend to veer away from totally full coverage concealers for fear that they will look cakey and unnatural on my skin, so I was definitely dubious about using the Tarte concealer, especially as it's also described as having a matte finish.
I have to say, though, that this concealer really is worth the hype. Yes, it is full coverage (and great if there are areas of your skin that you're looking to cover up), but thanks to a formula enriched with mango seed and shea butter, it manages to mesh naturally with the skin and provides a subtle, luminous finish. In fact, I really wouldn't describe this as a matte concealer at all. I found it best applied with a Beautyblender (as I find is the case with most liquid concealers), but once it was on, I was really impressed with how it stuck around all day—even under my eyes and around my nose which is where I find concealer tends to fade first on me. (Oh, and FYI, I'm in shade 20S Light Sand.)
Yes, this concealer might sell a tube every 12 seconds worldwide, but I can totally see why.