Hide dark circles and cover blemishes with the best concealer, designed to combat all manner of imperfections
Whether you want to disguise pesky dark under-eye circles or hide the mother of all blemishes, the best concealer is an absolute must to have stashed in your make-up bag.
Rest assured that there’s one out there to help you fake the look eight hours of sleep, cover up breakouts or disguise redness, regardless of your budget. But first, a few expert need-to-knows to ensure you get your perfect make-up match.
‘Not all concealers are made equal and not all of them will do everything,’ MAC’s Global Senior Artist and BBC Glow Up judge Dominic Skinner tells us. ‘Concealers are like pairs of shoes; you need different ones for different occasions. When choosing one 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.
You’ll also need to think about the type of finish you like best – matte, dewy, or demi-matte for something creamy that falls between the two.
Best concealers 2022:
- Best for dark circles: Rose Inc Softlight Luminous Hydrating Concealer, £23 | Space NK
- Best high street option: Maybelline Instant Anti Age Eraser Concealer, £8.99 | Lookfantastic
- Best long-wearing: MAC Pro Longwear Concealer, £22 | Lookfantastic
- Best for dry skin: Glossier Stretch Concealer, £15 | Glossier
- Best for doing-it-all: Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage Concealer Duo, £28 | Space NK
- Best for angry red blemishes: bareMinerals Original Liquid Mineral Concealer, £24 | John Lewis
- Best for spots: NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer, £24 | Cult Beauty
- Best for dehydrated skin: Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Concealer, £34.50 | Lookfantastic
- Best for mature skin: Charlotte Tilbury Magic Away Liquid Concealer, £24 | Charlotte Tilbury
- Most purse-friendly: NYX Professional Makeup Born To Glow Radiant Concealer, £9 | Cult Beauty
- Best for full-coverage: Huda Beauty Overachiever Concealer, £24 | Cult Beauty
- Best for covering it all up: Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Concealer, £19 | Boots
- Best for brightening under the eyes: IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye Illumination, £25 | Cult Beauty
- Most skin-loving: Shiseido Synchro Skin Self-Refreshing Concealer, £30 | SpaceNK
Finding the best concealer for dark circles
‘For under-eyes you need something that will set, like the MAC Pro Longwear Concealer, £22. This means it won’t sit in fine lines and won’t start lifting your mascara – which is what causes panda eyes at the end of the night,” Dominic explains.
‘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 can also help to improve the look of dark circles and bags as well as providing a good base for your concealer of choice.
Something to note is that dark circles under the eyes are very often hereditary, so you’re not going to get rid of them completely. However, Zoë Taylor, make-up artist for Chanel, suggests facial massage before applying your concealer. ‘Lazy lymphatic drainage can really emphasise the problem, she explains. ‘Facial exercises are a huge part of any skincare routine, but don’t underestimate how much this can help with lymphatic drainage.’
She also says that: ‘Using one under the eyes is all about the light layering of products.’ She recommends colour correcting, then applying your foundation, before topping with your concealer. And blend each one into the skin with a very soft, fluffy brush.
And her final tip? Highlighter. ‘Applied with the tip of my finger and patted into the outer corners of my under eye, this is a great distraction from any of the fine lines in this area too.’
Choosing the best concealer for acne and blemishes
‘To conceal blemishes you need to go for one 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 skin pigmentation and uneven skin tone, I recommend a liquid one 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, £19.50, is amazing, and a fashion week and award season staple in my kit.’ Pair it with a great hyperpigmentation treatment for maximum results.
What about the best concealer brushes?
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 Concealer Brush, £25.50, or the classic MAC 195 Brush, £16.50. Alternatively, pat it into the under eye area using your ring finger – it’ll fit perfectly into the inner corner of your eye socket and under the lash line.
Concealer vs colour corrector
Colour correctors work incredibly well alongside your concealer; as the name suggests they colour correct rather than completely cover up. So for example, if you have blue or purple under your eyes, it’s useful to use a peachy, orange-toned corrector before your concealer.
On the other hand, if you have a seriously angry red blemish, then a green-tone colour corrector will take down some of that tell-tale inflamed pinkish tone before you cover up.