Concealer is a heavy-lifting wonder product in the makeup world. When applied correctly, it can help even out the skin tone and blur or completely hide imperfections. But this Holy Grail must-have isn’t a one size fits all affair. Depending on the look you’re attempting to achieve and any underlying skin woes you may have, you’ll want to ensure you’re picking the right tool for the job.
Buying Guide for Concealers
Why buy concealer?
Within the makeup world, it can seem confusing to purchase concealer when products like foundation are also intended to even out skin tone or blur imperfections. But the reality is that a good concealer works to change how light plays with your skin by subtly adjusting pigments. This means that someone with dark circles might struggle to hide them by using foundation alone. But by also incorporating a concealer that’s in the right shade range for your skin tone, you can camouflage dark circles for a flawless finish.
What should you consider when shopping for concealer?
- Purpose: Not all concealers are created equal. For example, if you’re struggling with hyperpigmentation, then a complexion match concealer isn’t going to do the trick. This is when you want a color corrector concealer such as one that’s purple, green, orange (sometimes also listed as red), or yellow. Depending on your undertones, the right color corrector will even out your skin tone and serve as a solid base for applying foundation. By contrast, if you’re contouring or even engaging in the hidden eyeliner trend, you’ll want a concealer that’s closer to your actual skin tone.
- Formula: Like foundation, concealers come in various formulas. The most popular options tend to be creams as they offer the most versatility; they can mask blemishes or dark circles and provide contour. But you can also find liquid or powder concealers. If you have particularly dry skin, you might like liquid concealers. On the flip side, powder concealer could be helpful if your skin is constantly oily.
- Shade Match: When you cover complexion makeup, shade matching is critical. Usually, with concealers, you’re encouraged not to go any lighter than about two shades from your true skin tone. Going too light—especially if you’re using a concealer in the under-eye area—will create a weird ghost-like effect that looks neither believable nor ideal.
- Durability: The last thing you want is a concealer that can’t last as long as you need it to. But depending on your goals, you also might not want a heavy-duty concealer either. Consider your goals. If you’re trying to make it through an eight-hour day where you might be sweating and very active, a heavy-duty concealer makes sense. Meanwhile, if you’re a fan of the “no-makeup” makeup look, a light-textured concealer is a better bet.
- Additional Features: While not necessary, some features can be value-added benefits that might influence your purchasing decision. For example, some concealers are designed with skin-friendly ingredients like hyaluronic acid or vitamin E. Meanwhile, other concealers might come with built-in blending sponges, which makes for a convenient and travel-friendly solution.
Why is creasing bad?
In general, creasing and makeup applications go together like oil and water. Creasing is a dead giveaway that you’re wearing makeup and can also mean that you’ve picked the wrong product or used too much of it. If you’re using concealer to manage the under-eye area or as a base for eyeshadow placement (a trick that can make colors appear more vibrant and last longer), you’re going to want to look for concealers that are marketed as no-crease. That’s because these specific areas on the face naturally have creases thanks to the folds in your eyelid or if you smile and your under-eye skin crinkles.
Our Picks for the Best Concealers for Flawless Skin
Pros: Not everyone enjoys having to hunt for a brush or sponge when it’s time to blend out their concealer. Maybelline makes life easy by offering this concealer which comes with a built-in sponge. If you’re up on your TikTok makeup challenges, you know that this product has been getting some love. This pick promises to hide dark circles, minimize redness, and brighten dull skin while infusing haloxyl to improve the look of skin with time.
Cons: If you’re shopping directly through Amazon, you might find the available shade range for this product a bit lackluster as compared to other brands. Meanwhile, although you could use this concealer anywhere on your face, the smaller applicator design really means it’s best reserved for the eyes, which might not appeal to more liberal concealer users.
Bottom Line: Banish tired eyes in favor of a youthful appearance thanks to this hydrating concealer. Its built-in sponge makes application a snap. It’s ideal for under the eyes, but it might not work as well for contouring.
Pros: NYX Cosmetics is a brand that puts diversity at the center of its product strategy. And this Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Contour Concealer is no different. With a fairly large shade range, more than half are dedicated to medium through deep-to-dark skin tones, which is how it should be. Since this is intended for contour, it’s a long-wear matte-finish concealer that’s meant for blending and defining your features.
Cons: Depending on your makeup goals, this may or may not be a con: this is a full-coverage concealer. So, in most cases, that means you’ll want to pair it with a full-coverage or at least a buildable medium-coverage foundation since this would be too heavy to pair with a tinted moisturizer or sheer finish foundation.
Bottom Line: No one in the skin tone family is left on the sidelines with this solid full-coverage contour concealer from NYX Cosmetics. However, some people may find that this product is a bit too heavy. And depending on your skin type, while it’s intended not to crease, you may still experience that.
Pros: Heavy makeup looks have a place in the beauty space, but not everyone wants to feel like they’re wearing several layers of makeup when they head out the door. If you’re more low-key, you’ll appreciate this lighter concealer from Maybelline. For those that prefer a natural look, this oil-free concealer promises not to clog your pores and still give you a flawless (but not heavy) finish.
Cons: Once again, Maybelline’s product offering on Amazon leaves much to be desired in terms of shade range. Considering the intent behind the Fit Me collection and the full range depth that’s actually available, offering just 13 colors on Amazon that virtually stop around the medium-to-deep area is disappointing.
Bottom Line: If you don’t want to wear a heavy face full of makeup, Maybelline’s Fit Me Natural Coverage Liquid Concealer is a solid option that still blurs imperfections but won’t clog your pores. However, consider hitting up a drugstore first, as their offerings on Amazon in terms of shade range leave much to be desired.
Pros: If you’re genuinely going to embrace the idea of concealers, then you also need some color correctors in your life. This is a commendable option from NYX Cosmetics that offers a variety of the most popular color correctors—green, lavender, yellow, and light orange to beige hues. The format lends itself to being a great starter palette for a budding MUA’s kit.
Cons: If we’re specifically looking at this particular palette, it lacks a bolder orange which is usually needed to color correct on medium-to-deep through dark skin tones. But to be fair, the brand does offer concealer palettes that are skin tone specific and do incorporate that essential orange color.
Bottom Line: For a modest price, you can get an all-in-one color-correcting concealer palette with a cream finish that’s great for budget makeup lovers as well as beginner MUAs. While MUAs will still want to stock up on the other colors in this specific product category, you’ll be off to a great start.
Pros: If you spend time in the makeup space on social media, you likely know that the Camo Concealer from e.l.f. is often touted as a wallet-friendly dupe for Tarte’s Shape Tape. If you’re into serious coverage that won’t crease, you genuinely can’t go wrong with the Camo Concealer. From 16 hours of wear to a promise that it won’t crease or slide, it’s in it for the long haul.
Cons: As often tends to be a problem with major beauty brands that migrate to Amazon, they don’t always make the complete shade range of specific products available. While Camo Concealer has 26 shades in the full range, the Amazon product page lacks that availability.
Bottom Line: If your wallet looks at you like you’re crazy when you head to Sephora for Tarte’s Shape Tape, then the e.l.f. Camo Contour is a solid alternative. Along with 16 hours of wear, a massive doe foot applicator, and a budge-proof, crease-proof formula, you can’t beat the price. However, you might need to find an alternate place to shop depending on which shade is your match, as it might not be available on Amazon.
Even if you’re not a big makeup person, concealer should be in your arsenal. It can perk up your eyes when you pull an all-nighter and hide blemishes like that popped pimple from last week. Just be sure to pick a shade that complements rather than highlights those imperfections.