I Tried the Viral Concealer Lips Look and My Millennial Soul Is Quaking

POPSUGAR Photography | Hannah Baxter
POPSUGAR Photography | Hannah Baxter
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I'll admit it right now, I've never been a fan of nude lipsticks. As someone with devastatingly pale lips already, omitting color from my mouth is the equivalent of cosplaying as a sickly Victorian child. I look unwell, to say the least. But I'm also a committed beauty trend tester, and now that Sofia Richie Grainge has revived the pasty pout of the early '00s via her recent concealer lips tutorial, it seemed like a fine time to revisit the Y2K staple and see if I could make the look work for my complexion.

Luckily 2023's concealer lips rendition isn't as drastic as it was 20 years ago. Rather than going after a monochrome pale effect a la the decade's most iconic pop stars, this take is a bit more subtle, and significantly more flattering. Maybe that's why #concealerlips already has 66.8 million TikTok views and counting.

Blending the concealer in an ombré effect is proving popular among the beauty set, as is pairing concealer-laden lips with a hefty dose of gloss. The application is also much softer, which is a relief and a far cry from simply smearing too-thick concealer across my 14-year-old mouth and hoping for the best. Still, I was hesitant to make my super pale lips even lighter for fear of looking entirely washed out. Unless you were searching for a high fashion editorial look, I doubted the technique would work for me for every day. Armed with plenty of millennial skepticism, I decided there was only one way to find out.

Concealer Lips Prep

POPSUGAR Photography | Hannah Baxter

The first rule of successful concealer application: You can't apply the formula to dry skin. You'd just be asking for flakey patches to pop up halfway through the day. Just as you would prep your complexion, I applied a nourishing lip balm, Vertly Lip Butter ($20), to banish any lingering dehydration prior to testing out the look. Once it sat for about ten minutes, I used the Renée Rouleau Reusable Cleansing Cloth ($14.50) and warm water to gently scrub away the balm and remove any dead skin (which is becoming much more common now that the weather in NYC is freezing). Lips freshly buffed and moisturized, it was time to try the first concealer lips look.

Testing Ombré Concealer Lips

I decided to try the subtler ombré lips option first as it felt less drastic. This utilizes a small dot of concealer in the middle of your upper and lower lips over a slightly more pigmented neutral lip and blending it towards the outer corners of your mouth. Apparently, some beauty creators believe this can also help make your lips appear more plump. Color theory, baby: you gotta love it.

After my lip prep was complete, I swiped on a thin layer of Clé de Peau Lip Glorifier in Neutral Pink ($47) for a barely perceptible hint of color. Then I tapped a fingertip-sized dot of Revlon ColorStay Skin Awaken 5-in-1 Concealer ($13), which is a lightweight formula with a super creamy finish. I grabbed a clean Sigma Blending Brush ($17) and lightly tapped the concealer to blend in the middle, and then stippled the brush and concealer outwards to achieve the ombré faded look.

POPSUGAR Photography | Hannah Baxter

Because my lips are already so light, and the Lip Glorifier isn't a very pigmented color, the effect wasn't super noticeable. I will admit, however, that my pout did look slightly plumper than with just my bare lips alone, so for someone who is more into that neutral lip look, this might be a worthwhile technique. I was also pleased that my mouth didn't feel too dried out, nor did the concealer settle into any lip lines. The hydrating formula plus the moisturizing lip prep is likely to thank for that.

Testing Extra Glossy Concealer Lips

Next it was time to jump in, lips first, and embrace all-over concealer. I decided to switch to a slightly thinner formula, the Glossier Stretch Balm Concealer ($22), and use marginally less product overall. Once again I tapped the concealer onto my top and bottom lips and used my blending brush to apply the formula all over my lips. Working the product into the corners of my mouth was tough since that area is perpetually dry in the colder weather, but I added an extra layer of Eucerin Urea Repair Replenishing Skin Relief Face Cream ($30) and that solved the flakiness issue.

I used a Q-Tip dipped in Bioderma Micellar Water ($19) to clean up around the edges of my lips and ensure that the application looked crisp and purposeful, rather than I just mistakenly applied my chin concealer too high. Then I added a generous coat of Squish Jelly Lip Gloss ($14) to achieve that ultra shiny look, and voila, my lips looked straight out of a 2003 music video.

POPSUGAR Photography | Hannah Baxter

The Verdict on Concealer Lips

Admittedly, I'm still not the biggest fan of pale lips in general — a bright coral red mouth is one of my biggest beauty joys — but for someone who is searching and still hasn't found their perfect nude lipstick, this concealer hack isn't a bad way to go. The glossy option is particularly pretty, but both styles were fairly easy to achieve all things considered. Just take the time to adequately prep your lips, reach for a hydrating concealer, and embrace your inner Y2K goddess for all your upcoming holiday parties.