Hide dark circles and cover blemishes with the best concealers, designed to combat all manner of imperfections – whatever your skin type
Whether you need to disguise pesky dark under-eye circles or hide the mother of all blemishes, the best concealer is an absolute must for your make-up bag.
Rest assured that there’s a concealer out there to mimick eight hours’ of sleep, cover up breakouts or disguise redness, whatever your budget. So, what do you need to look to ensure you get your perfect makeup match?
‘Not all concealers are made equal and not all concealers will do everything,’ MAC Senior Artist and Glow Up judge Dominic Skinner explains. ‘Concealer is like a pair of shoes; you need different ones for different occasions. When choosing a concealer you need to ask yourself “what is it for?” and “where is it going?”. This will help you find your way through the forest of options.
‘For under-eyes you need something that will set, like the MAC ProLongwear Concealer. This means it won’t sit in the fine lines and won’t start lifting your mascara. Which is what causes panda eyes at the end of the night. You might also need a shade that’s more pink or coral than your skin tone as this will help to banish those dark circles.’ Of course, the best eye cream will also help to treat dark circles and bags.
‘To conceal blemishes you need to go for a concealer that has a more creamy texture,’ Dominic continues. ‘This will prevent the dry skin from around the blemish to crack and peel during the day. It’s best to go for one that is closest to your skin tone and I find that applying with fingers in a tapping motion works the best to camouflage the blemish completely.
‘For pigmentation and uneven skin tone, I recommend a liquid concealer as you can build up the coverage to a flawless finish. Plus, you can mix it into your regular liquid foundation to give it that extra red carpet finish. MAC’s Studio Fix 24 Hour Smoothwear Concealer is amazing, and a fashion week and award season staple in my kit.’
Best concealer brush
Although some people prefer to use the ‘wand’ or tip of their concealer, a brush is recommended in order to ensure that you make the most of the product and get a nice, even finish with equal coverage. Size-wise, we suggest something like Bobbi Brown’s Concealer Brush, or the classic MAC 195 Concealer Brush. Alternatively, pat concealer into the under eye area with your ring finger – it’ll fit perfectly into the inner corner of your eye socket and under the lash line.
Our pick of the best under-eye concealers will help you achieve that flawless look, no matter what kind of night you had. Ready to shop the best of them? Keep scrolling…
Best under-eye concealer:
Under-eye concealers are the best way to combat dark circles and disguise any signs of late nights or early mornings. For this delicate area, you want a concealer that's feather-light but durable enough to combat shadows and conceal those pesky lines. While on the hunt for a new concealer, look for products that are packed with moisturising properties. A truly indulgent formula will have vitamin A and D infusions to help fight the effects of dryness and encourage elasticity. An industry favourite, Laura Mercier's Secret Camoflauge completely hides dark circles and blemishes. The two different shades allow you to create your own custom shade and thus the perfect coverage.
Best concealer for dark circles: Technically a corrector, we know, but the power of this little cream pot is a firm favourite of so many in the office that we had to give it a mention. Colour matched to your skin tone as a concealer would be, the pink or peach formula perfectly neutralises any dark under-eye circles. The result? Seriously awake-looking eyes. It's no wonder the brand calls it one of their 'secrets of the universe'. Check out our before and after pictures if you don't believe us, and follow with Bobbi Brown's Creamy Concealer Kit to disguise the bisque or peach neutralising hues.
Best drugstore concealer: Super popular because of its lower price point, Collection's concealer has had endless positive reviews from customers, beauty bloggers and editors alike. Considering its affordable price tag, it's thick and covers spots and dark circles well, plus there's a lot in the tube for just four quid. Resist the temptation to dab the doe's foot applicator directly on to your face; instead, pop a little onto a clean finger, press into the blemish and blend slightly using a brush if you prefer.
Best concealer for dry skin:
Dry skin works well with most types of concealer, but the more nourishing the better as it won't cake or cling to dry patches, making them more noticeable. Glossier's Stretch Concealer ticks that exact box, with a creamy formula that has a glowy finish. It's a brilliant, buildable concealer that's particularly great for brightening the under-eye area.
Best concealer for acne:
Much like the best under eye concealer, this offering from MAC will even out your skin tone while covering any blemishes or redness. The only difference? You don't want the brightening effect when disguising a pesky spot as you'll only draw more attention to it. When you're aiming to hide redness or blemishes, you don't want to attract attention to the area. MAC's Pro Longwear Concealer is super lightweight and applies easily to any angry, raised areas easily before sinking into the skin. Use a pointed concealer brush to 'erase' any blemishes, before using the warmth of your (clean) fingers to gently blend the edges for subtle spot coverage.
Best concealer for spots:
There's no shame in spots; we all get them from time to time and they're just part and parcel of life. But equally, it's understandable if getting a giant, angry one makes you feel a bit self-conscious. Only a small speck of Kevyn Aucoin's Sensual Skin Finish is needed to cover up all manner of blemishes, and it can also be mixed with a little moisturiser to be worn as foundation. It's seriously versatile, and a cult classic for a reason.
Best concealer for oily skin:
Once you've found the best foundation for oily skin, your next port of call should be the right concealer to go with it. Oily skin types may think they need to avoid thicker cream or stick formulas, but there are some great new cream concealers on the market that can help you stay free from shine all day long. NARS' oil-free formula is every oily skin's dream with seriously magic coverage and staying power. The soft-focus finish blurs skin, lasts for hours without creasing or caking, plus the inclusion of peptides, vitamins A, C & E, and hyaluronic acid mean your skin gets a treat, too.
While it's important to prioritise a formula that sits comfortably on your skin, blurs imperfections and does all the other tricks, those with darker skin need to pay careful attention to the actual pigment of the concealer; avoid anything that looks greyish, reddish or ashy and make sure it doesn't oxidise or go lighter or darker throughout the day. LA Girl's Pro.conceal works all over for blemishes, dark circles and fine lines, but we’re mostly impressed by the serious range of shades on offer. There really is something for everyone, and for just a fiver it's a steal.
The hydrating formula in this creamy, medium coverage concealer prevents skin from drying out and doesn't go cakey after a few hours. Result.
If you suffer from dark under eye circles even when you're getting enough shut-eye, this is the formula for you. Ultra brightening and illuminating, it doubles up as a concealer and an illuminator. Genius.
This is a lifesaver for disguising pesky spots as it goes on creamy, but dries to a smudge-free finish that lasts all day. Great stuff.
You know those concealers that actually make your under eyes look worse due to their thick, heavy texture? This is definitely not one of those. Super lightweight with a creamy texture, this sinks into skin like a dream.
If you're looking for a lightweight, matte finish, give this beauty a whirl. The clever sponge tip is soft and flexible enough to target even those hardest to reach areas around the nose and mouth.