Friday, May 25, 2012

Pen Concealer Roundup: Givenchy Mister Light Instant Light Corrective Pen

Almost two years ago, I reviewed the Chanel Éclat Lumière Highlighter Face Pen (you can read the review here). I bought this in an effort to replace a Clinique concealer that I had been using for about ten years. Despite my lack of satisfaction over the pen-style's propensity to waste product (when you click and click and nothing comes out, then all of a sudden, product comes gushing out and becomes unstoppable) and my concerns about the brush being a harbinger of pimple-inducing microbes, I simply cannot live without one. I make an effort to combat the flaws of the design by clicking only once or twice and giving the product enough time to release into the brush. Then I wash the brush every so often. Product still gets wasted but I'll live with it until somebody can come up with something better.

I won't go into details about the texture and consistency of most of the products I'll be discussing as they're pretty much all the same. They're all liquid formulations. That means no wax. The Chanel Éclat Lumière Highlighter Face Pen comes in five shades and the shade Medium fulfills my needs.

Wanting to go back to Clinique to save a few dollars, I sought the Clinique Airbrush Concealer. This is apparently the new version of my old Clinique pen concealer but it only comes in three shades. Although the brand has several different concealer products, I was insistent on working with a pen so I picked up the Airbrush Concealer in Neutral-Fair. Color aside, I think that the Airbrush Concealer has the most coverage among all the pen concealers I've tried. It seems more or less at par with the Chanel Eclat Lumiere Highlighter Face Pen as far as performance goes but the shade I picked isn't quite right.

I spent some time at a YSL counter, thinking that the cult-favorite Touche Eclat would have something for me. I cannot possibly write this conclusively without having tried the Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat Radiant Touch pen. Despite the more generous 12-shade offering, I was not able to find anything that suited me. The YSL associate felt pretty confident that the number 3 shade Light Peach would work for me but it was far too dark. Number 2.5 Luminous Vanilla was too light. I did not want to have to mix up shades since that defeats the purpose of the pen. I wanted something that worked all by itself.

L-R: L'Oreal, Clinique Neutral Fair, YSL 2.5, YSL 3, Chanel Medium, Givenchy Mister Macaroon

Then I met Mister Light. I was at Sephora one morning. Armed with a swatch of my favorite Laura Mercier concealer, I hunted down every possibility. That's when I found the Givenchy Mister Light Instant Light Corrective Pen in Mister Macaroon. It was an almost perfect match.

Givenchy Mister Macaroon on left, Laura Mercier Secret Concealer on right

Why do I like this product over the others? First of all, the color is exactly what I need. I put it on and went to a Sephora associate to ask her if she thinks I had put on the right concealer product. She said that she could see nothing. As in where is the concealer? That, my friend, is exactly what you want from your concealer. That "what concealer?" look is the holy grail that we must all strive for. If you put something on and nobody can see it but all of a sudden you look like you slept for a glorious 8 hours last night, well, you have found the concealer for you.

Coming out of the tube, the Givenchy Mister Light Instant Light concealer looks just like every other concealer that I've tried. Much closer inspection will reveal light-reflective particles but this one isn't pearly like Burberry's. The shade corrects the darkness under my eyes when I don't get enough sleep and it doesn't look or feel heavy. It is possibly a little lighter than Chanel's in coverage and it is definitely less opaque than Clinique's. It's just right. At $33 a pop, it's a couple bucks cheaper than the other brands I tried.

I've noticed only one down-side to all the concealers I've tried. They all need retouching throughout the day. Perfection typically starts sliding off in about 4-6 hours so depending on the heat, humidity and your level of activity, it's worth it to look and see if you need to touch up. This isn't an issue that one can solve by putting on more product in the morning. I've been told that setting with powder can help prolong wear but I think that it messes up the effect so I try to avoid powder under the eye area. If using concealer in a pan, I would set with powder. With the pen-style liquid ones, I don't bother. I'd just retouch my concealer after midday.

A note on application: these pen-style concealers are designed to be applied straight from the brush but they still require blending. I've found that it's best to apply in small dots with as little product as possible in the beginning and then tap down with a finger to blend. If you have fine lines around the eye area, you may find that some subtle pressure will help the product not build into those lines. Just press a little bit into the area and add product little by little to the spots that need actual correcting. Applying the product on to the entire under-eye area negates the purpose of concealer. It's meant to lift those dark shadows out so just put it on where it's a little dark, until the entire area is of a more even color.

If using foundation. I've found that a proper brush is best for blending concealer in. Some MAC eye brushes have worked well for me, a 217 or a 234 if you want to lightly buff it in with small circular strokes. The more traditional type of concealer brush, which looks like a mini foundation brush, works well if you prefer to lightly brush the product on and blend. I am really enjoying the new Chanel concealer brush but I'm certain that there are less expensive ones that do the job as well.

I'm thrilled to have finally concluded this feature and to have found a product that I'm happy with. However, I continue to be on the lookout for great products. I'm giving the drugstore brands a go and I'm also working with some stick concealers now. So if Givenchy isn't quite right for you, I may have more suggestions in the future.

Just some of the products that I tried


  1. I love that you give tips on how to apply products in your reviews! that is super helpful, especially for product types that I personally haven't tried before. Thanks!

    1. You're welcome! I hope the tips help :)

  2. Hi, I have just discovered my fave Boot No 7 Instant Radiance shade 1 has been reformulated and warning but it is now much too pink!
    Like you, I've gone through many pens to find my shade...looks like the Givenchy ' Meringue' shade is very light too, not yellow or pink like most of them!
    I wondered if you have tried the Boot's one to compare?
    I'd be very grateful for any advice. Very best wishes. x

    1. I'm sorry to hear that they reformulated your shade :( but no, I haven't tried the Boots ones at all. Maybe have a look at the other shades of Givenchy? I would recommend looking at Clinique since their shades are too light on me and might work out better for you but I think they might be reformulating their concealers again. If you don't feel like going to a department store, some Ulta stores carry Clinique now. I wish I could be more help.

  3. so i decided to stray from my clinique one (same shade you got), but just ordered the ysl one literally 30 minutes ago. why didn't i see this first :( oh well..this will be next if ysl doesn't work (i did shade 2.5).

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  4. Hi! I just accidentally published a half-finished sentence :) But as I was saying, I'm glad my foundation reviews have been helpful. We probably wear the same shade across a variety of brands. The YSL 2.5 may yet work out for you, depending on the type of discoloration you're trying to conceal. But if it doesn't, definitely give Givenchy a shot.