Welcome to Deep Reviews—your one-stop destination to discover the absolute best products and brands the beauty industry has to offer. The Who What Wear staffers you already know and trust will research, test, and review the market's most sought-after and buzzed-about products to see which formulas (of the hundreds up for consideration) are truly worth your hard-earned money and attention. You can expect honest, completely uncensored feedback and no-BS recommendations our hard-to-please testers endorse without reservations.
The majority of our Deep Reviews will feature our editors' honest, ultra-hot takes on entire product categories or multiple products from a particular beauty brand, but every so often, we'll sprinkle in a special single-product format called Honestly, I Love It. As the name suggests, these reviews will hone in on one standout beauty formula our editors quite literally can't shut up about. This time around, I'm highlighting the Makeup by Mario SurrealSkin Awakening Concealer ($29)
Falling in love with makeup and beauty comes at a price. And for once, I'm not complaining about the actual cost of products. I'm complaining about how much more time it takes me to get ready in the mornings after discovering a new product. I went from going barefaced to evening events in college to wearing a full face of makeup multiple times a week, and now my time spent in front of the mirror has quadrupled.
I blame TikTok for this drastic shift. There are just too many tips and tricks for enhancing your beauty, and it feels wrong to add them to my Favorites folder without testing them out. Note to self: Maybe not every product needs to be bought and tested. But I'm fully convinced that this one does. I started my search for products that help me cut corners in my very lengthy makeup routine, and low and behold, Makeup by Mario has changed the game with the new self-setting SurrealSkin Awakening Concealer ($29).
Concealer has become one of the most crucial parts of my routine (after blush, of course). As someone with hollow under-eyes and dark circles, I gravitate toward concealers with enough coverage to make me look alive even on those days when I got minimal sleep the night before. And while this step is crucial, I actually dread it. Blending alone adds about five minutes to my process, but I also have to set aside time to let the product set after application to avoid creasing. So when I heard that the SurrealSkin Concealer was self-setting, I was sold. No need for baking or powder application? Three words: next-day shipping, please.
What was the process for creating this self-setting formula?
Mario Dedivanovic: I wanted to create a multiuse formula that was both self-setting and worked harmoniously with powder. The minimalist wanting to cut down on the number of makeup steps can benefit from the self-setting aspect, but anyone looking to bake for an extra-refined finish can set with powder.
What makes this product different from the others on the market?
What makes it most unique is the amount of lift and brightness you get from such a small amount of concealer. It instantly gives an awakened appearance.
What do you think is the biggest mistake people make when applying concealer?
Applying too much. Using more concealer than is needed can accentuate fine lines, cause creasing, and look unnatural. A little amount of SurrealSkin Awakening Concealer goes a long way while still brightening, blurring, and lifting.
This product is going viral for its coverage. Do you have any application tips for beginners?
Start by prepping skin with your favorite eye cream, then dab a small amount of concealer under the eyes and pat it in with the F5 Brush for the most natural, seamless application. The formula is medium coverage and buildable, so layer more if needed.
Admittedly, I went down a rabbit hole of reviews and read that because of its self-setting properties, the concealer dries pretty quickly. I took this into account during application and blended it out with a brush before going in with a beauty blender to blur any harsh lines. I'm pretty heavy-handed, but I took Dedivanovic's advice and only put a little bit of concealer on the inner parts of my under-eyes. Although it does dry fast, the product is still easy to blend and extremely buildable. Usually, if I don't put setting powder on immediately after my concealer, I experience creasing in minutes, but for the first time ever, that didn't happen. Creasing is the ultimate enemy, so I'm absolutely sold on this product.
I look so much more refreshed, my under-eyes are smooth, and I didn't even have to endure the three-minute waiting period with white powder on my face. If that's not a major win, I don't know what is. To really put this concealer to the test, I braved NYC's 90-degree heat to see how it would hold up. While I did experience a little bit of creasing, it was not nearly as bad as I expected. I didn't have to pat my face down or clean up any dripping product, which is rare in this sweltering hot weather, so I'd say this definitely passed the vibe check.
Warning: I'm about to be that person who tells you this product lives up to the hype. Its purpose is to give you that awakened look, which is all I ever want, and it does just that. All of the other ingredients are a bonus. The doe-foot applicator is the perfect size for precise application, making it so easy to use. My concealers are typically three to four shades lighter than my foundation shade, but I went a little bit darker just to see if I'd still experience that brightening effect. There are 22 shades, and I opted for shade 420, which gave me that brighter look without being too light. You can really see the de-puffing elements in action, a result of the caffeine. It's nice to know that when caffeine isn't spilling out of my mug, it's sitting under my eyes to ensure that I look alive.
It's rare that I leave the house without setting powder on, especially in the summer, but I'll do anything for real results. I wore this concealer with and without powder to see if there were any visible differences. My makeup definitely lasted a bit longer without creases when I set it with powder, but the difference wasn't extreme. This truly all comes down to preference. I prefer a more matte finish under my eyes, so powder will always be the solution for me. But if you like to have that natural glow, there's really no need to set or bake when wearing this concealer.
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