The argument can be made that concealer isn’t so much skin care as it is a skin product, since its job is to literally conceal blemishes from the public eye. But until your skincare products reduce that blemish and heal it up, you’ll need the concealer — and one that carefully matches your skin tone — to hide the pimple or dark spot from sight.
And if you’re the type to say “Ha! I’m too manly for that. It’s makeup! I don’t care if I have a big pimple between my eyes. Concealer is for [redacted].” Well, congratulations on… being unmovable, or whatever you’re writing off as bravado. And nice pimple!
We don’t mean to imply that you have to cover up blemishes if you don’t want to. Embracing them is the most freeing thing of all. But there will perhaps come a single occasion or picture-packed day where you might want the concealer anyway, and it’s great to stay prepared with one at the ready. (Or a few at the ready, if your skin changes tones throughout the year.)
All of this aside, some concealers do also treat the blemish they’re covering up, but that’s not a necessity. What is more important is that you use some form of treatment and hydration atop the blemish, but ones that will allow for the concealer to blend in with ease. Secondly, it needs to stay put — no gradual dissipation throughout the day, no sweating away.
These 7 concealers are our favorites for the above reasons — and they also offer a variety of shades to cover each and every skin tone.
Fenty Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Concealer, $28
Rihanna’s Fenty is more or less responsible for setting the new standard in concealer skin tone offerings. With a whopping 50 tones available across its core concealers, Fenty is basically telling the competition that they need to do better — no more “3 shades to suit all types.”
NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, $31
The high-quality drugstore standby, NARS, offers 30 different shades, and its powdery undertone helps mattify the area around a blemish, so that it blends in more easily with the rest of your mug. (But it leaves your skin looking radiant, overall, hence its name.)
Sephora Collection Clear and Cover Acne treatment Cream Concealer with 2% Salicylic Acid, $14
14 tones, each for 14 bucks. Best of all, Sephora’s in-house product contains 2% salicylic acid to help unclog and decompress any pimples while it covers them up. One of the better low-cost options too, but also contains less liquid product compared to much of the competition. (Can’t win every category!)
Kosas Revealer Super Creamy + Brightening Concealer and Daytime Eye Cream, $28
One thing people often use concealer for is to mask dark circles and tired eyes — and Kosas’ formula contains both hydrating hyaluronic acid, skin-firming peptides, and stimulating caffeine to magnify the products’ benefit well beyond baseline coverage. On top of that, 28 skin tones comprise its collection of creamy, easily blended concealers.
Live Tinted Huestick Corrector, $24
This “concealer” isn’t like the rest, and that’s why it has amassed so many follows. The hero product from Live Tinted’s lineup targets hyperpigmentation of all types, especially pesky undereye circles. However, their unusual assortment of (mostly red-hued) colors might raise eyebrows.
The idea here is that these sticks go under your concealing product (especially if it’s a broader-use foundation or an eye-area concealer). The corrector stays put, and it neutralizes any discoloration that might hinder the concealer from giving you an evenly balanced finish. On top of that, the pop of reddish color can also be used on cheeks and eyelids, if you fancy a splash.
Dior Backstage Concealer, $29
This caffeinated concealer comes in 22 shades and helps boost eye-area circulation (and depuff any bags) while it conceals exhaustion. If it’s good enough for the models at any of Dior’s runways, then it works wonderfully for the rest of us, too. And it blends beautifully, as if we ever expected otherwise.
Bobbi Brown Skin Full Cover Concealer, $33
In terms of fan reviews, Bobbi Brown runs laps around the competition, and this concealer has full-day staying power despite wearing lightly. It comes in 23 shades, casting a wide net to garner all of these loving reviews — which, it’s worth noting, has led to 4.7 stars out of over 1,400 reviews on the very discerning sephora.com. Much of the competition hovers closer to 4 stars.
Photo via Chaunte Vaughn