We know that it’s what’s on the inside that counts. We also know that sometimes a swipe of make-up goes a long way to helping us look and feel our best. Whether you’re going full glam or for a barely-there, light foundation and mascara combo, the right concealer can make you look like you’ve had good eight hours of sleep and are not, in fact, on your third coffee before 10 am (trust us, we’ve been there).
The cosmetics aisle can seem like a giant question mark from full coverage, budge-proof formulas to hydrating skincare hybrids. With so many options, where do you start?
Enter: The Recommended. Like you, we wanted answers, so we spoke to leading make-up artists from either side of the Atlantic and got their take on what to look out for (and importantly, what to avoid) when shopping for a new concealer. Armed with their expert insight, we took to the web and found what we think are the best concealers for all eventualities.
Jump to the best concealers:
- Best all-rounder: NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer
- Best under eye concealer: Maybelline Instant Anti Age Erase
- Best budget concealer: Maybelline Fit Me! Concealer
- Best for blemishes: e.l.f. 16hr Camo Concealer
- Best full coverage concealer: L’Oreal Paris Infallible 24H More Than Concealer
- Best cruelty-free concealer: Tarte Shape Tape
- Best hydrating concealer: NYX Professional Makeup Bare With Me Concealer Serum
- Best vegan concealer: ILIA True Skin Serum Concealer
- Best long-lasting concealer: Dior Forever Skin Concealer
- Best brightening concealer: Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat
Our make-up experts
Our beauty experts, Courtney Housner and Jaz Crush, are seasoned pros with extensive industry experience both in the UK and stateside.
Courtney Housner is an LA-based make-up artist and hairstylist who has worked extensively in the entertainment industry and has previously given us the inside scoop on what to look for when shopping for the best hair straighteners and the best hair curlers for your hair. Courtney has styled some of the industry’s most famous faces, namely Gabrielle Ryan and Maddison Bailey, and has an impressive editorial portfolio with her work frequently featuring in ELLE, GQ, and Vogue, to name a few.
Jaz Crush is quickly becoming one of London’s most in-demand make-up artists. Affiliated with the prestigious Bobbi Brown studio, Jaz’s work makes appearances at both private client events and star-studded red carpets, with Jaz most recently creating Rose Ayling-Elllis’ BAFTA make-up look. Jaz has shared her wisdom with us before at The Recommended, giving her top tips for finding the best foundations and the best make-up brushes.
What should you look for when buying concealer?
When asked what to look for when shopping for a concealer, Courtney emphasised the importance of finding the right shade for you. She told us that “first and foremost, people should look for the correct shade. I’m a one to two shades lighter than your natural skin tone type of girl”. Courtney added, “when I can see the ring of concealer in a flash kickback in a photo, that’s too light, after all, concealer is to conceal and not draw attention to what you’re hiding, you feel me?”.
Jaz told us that “there are three main factors to consider when buying a concealer: coverage, texture, and colour”. To cover blemishes and pigmentation, “you should endeavour to choose a shade that matches the skin on your face,” preferably with a “slightly more matte and full coverage formula”. However, for the under eyes, Jaz recommends “a more hydrating texture for the thinner skin in that area”. She also suggests “going one shade lighter than your foundation or even finding an undertone of pink or peach to give colour correction on dark circles. “
What should you avoid when looking for concealer?
In terms of what to avoid when purchasing a concealer, Courtney tells us to “avoid concealers that are too slippery or too thick. It needs to be the right consistency. Thick concealers and slippery concealers, equal creasing. There’s a happy medium I promise”.
Jaz advises against “going too bright underneath the eyes,” telling us that “although you might think the brighter the concealer, the more it will lift dark circles, it can actually have the opposite effect”. She advises us to “choose a concealer no more than one shade lighter than your skin tone for the most natural lifted look”.
Which is the best concealer?
When asked for her best concealer recommendations, Courtney called out a few products. She told us, “my favourite concealers are Tarte Shape Tape – I use it for red carpets all the time, and it photographs well. It works well on all skin types/tones. It’s stunning. ILIA True Skin Serum Concealer is also a favourite of mine. It’s my personal go-to for myself. It’s smooth, it’s clean, it’s pigmented, it’s lovely. Lastly, Dior Forever Skin Correct Concealer is incredible! It is new to my kit, and I use it constantly! The consistency is perfection, the coverage is even better, AND it lasts all day long”.
Jaz gave her vote to the NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer, telling us, “I find this offers amazing coverage on spots and pigmentation whilst being creamy enough for the delicate eye area! A brilliant all-rounder, in my opinion!”.
The best concealers
Best all-rounder: NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer
Covers all bases
Called out by our expert Jaz for its excellent coverage offering and creamy consistency, this product promises to be the perfect one-stop-shop for both blemishes and the under eyes.
Working to achieve weightless coverage without compromising on a natural look, the NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer promises to blur, camouflage, and smooth imperfections and achieve an airbrushed look. This product claims to last all day without settling into pores and fine lines, while the vitamin-enriched formula promises to deliver antioxidant protection.
Best under eye concealer: Maybelline Instant Anti Age Erase
For a lifted look
A cult favourite of beauty lovers everywhere, Maybelline’s Instant Age Rewind under eye concealer promises to conceal dark circles for a brighter, lifted look.
This under-eye concealer promises flawless coverage to erase under-eye circles without settling into fine lines and wrinkles for a smoother, brighter eye contour. Enriched with goji berry, this product works to combat signs of ageing while providing long-lasting brightening coverage.
Best budget concealer: Maybelline Fit Me! Concealer
Promising to deliver breathable, bendable coverage, this concealer claims to give natural-looking, long-lasting coverage while going easy on the purse strings.
Equipped with a cushioned wand applicator, the Maybelline Fit Me! Concealer uses a gel-like formula to hide imperfections while promising even, lightweight coverage. Fragrance-free and dermatologist-tested, this product is buildable, offering tailored coverage without the dreaded cakey look.
Best for blemishes: e.l.f. 16hr Camo Concealer
To banish blemishes
Promising high coverage, 16-hour wear, the e.l.f Camo Concealer delivers on Jaz’s recommendation of a matte finish when concealing blemishes.
Suitable for all skin types, this concealer comes equipped with a large doe-foot applicator for easy application and a highly pigmented formula that promises to seamlessly camouflage imperfections. Its oil balancing promises to leave a soft matte finish that won’t settle into fine lines or irritate oily, acne-prone skin.
Best full coverage concealer: L’Oreal Paris Infallible 24H More Than Concealer
Lightweight and long-lasting
This concealer claims to deliver super pigmented, full coverage without looking heavy on the skin. Fancying itself as ‘more than a concealer’, it can also be used to contour and highlight the face.
This full-coverage concealer has been designed to have an ultra-bendable formula that dries to a natural matte finish for a natural look. Promising to camouflage everything from hyperpigmentation to dark circles, it swears not to settle into fine lines, and its doe foot applicator works to enable precise application and even coverage.
Best cruelty-free concealer: Tarte Shape Tape
Kind, conscious coverage
A red carpet staple for our expert Courtney, Tarte Shape works well on all skin types and tones and offers impressive coverage and subtle radiance in a cruelty-free, vegan formula.
Courtney calls this concealer ‘stunning’, and it has certainly attained cult status in the beauty industry. Offering a full cover formula and natural matte finish, this cruelty-free concealer promises 16 hours of crease-proof wear and its ‘tape technology’ promises to smooth and blur imperfections.
Best hydrating concealer: NYX Professional Makeup Bare With Me Concealer Serum
Blending make-up with skincare
Combining skincare benefits with cosmetic coverage, this concealer-serum hybrid promises up to 24 hours of hydration while camouflaging imperfections.
This concealer has taken TikTok by storm, offering natural-looking, lightweight medium coverage. Drying to a natural satin finish, it’s suitable for use on blemishes and under the eyes and a blend of green tea and tremella mushroom work to boost radiance.
Best vegan concealer: ILIA True Skin Serum Concealer
For long-lasting benefits
The ILIA True Skin Serum Concealer is a personal favourite of our expert Courtney who loves its smooth texture, pigmentation and clean ingredients.
A concealer infused with skincare benefits, this product brightens tone with its vitamin C infused formula to improve the appearance of skin over time and encourage collagen production. Promising to blend seamlessly under the eyes and over imperfections, the creaseless formula claims to never look cakey and instead provides a natural-looking, lightweight medium coverage.
Best long-lasting concealer: Dior Forever Skin Concealer
For serious staying power
This concealer comes recommended by our expert Courtney, who says, “the consistency is perfection, the coverage is even better, AND it lasts all day long”.
A staple in Courtney’s kit, the Dior Forever Skin Concealer is buildable for 24-hour wear and is enriched with floral extracts that work to leave the skin feeling hydrated, moisturised and refined. This creamy concealer is suitable for use anywhere on the face and is available in 30 shades.
Best brightening concealer: Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat
An iconic product in the beauty world, this product is adored by beauty enthusiasts the world over for its promise of seamless camouflage and radiant finish.
Yves Saint Laurent’s Touche Éclat is formulated with an anti-fatigue complex and works to diminish the appearance of dark circles and imperfections. It’s powered by caffeine, calendula extract, and vitamin E for energised, nourished skin.
Want to read more expert-recommended beauty product round-ups? Check out our Cosmetics page for a full list of recommendations, including our list of the best mascaras, the best eyeshadow palettes and the best foundations – all recommended by professional make-up artists – and check out our guide to the best value beauty advent calendars of 2022.