Sometimes, you can follow every skincare rule in the book, but your complexion still repays you in the meanest of ways. You can try every hack to get rid of dark circles and call on all the clay masks to clear up blemishes, but it won’t mean you’ll get to enjoy a flawless complexion every single day.
This is where concealer comes in. Find a good one, and it’ll become your skincare hero in serious times of need. Whether it’s a late night-fuelled pair of eye bags or a sudden hormonal breakout, the best concealer will hide those imperfections for as long as it takes to get your great skin back on track.
These days, there are endless concealing options to try, from swipe-on sticks to creamy liquids and professional balms you can apply with a precise brush.
To help you cut through the concealing crowd, we’ve swatched, swiped and smeared an endless list of contenders to bring you the very best of the bunch.
Read on for the best concealers...
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Riffing on the way make-up artists use products for multiple purposes backstage, Dior’s extra-clever concealer can be used to prime and unify skin, as well as for covering blemishes. Featuring a core of soft-focus powder, it’s especially good for masking redness around the eyes, and for ensuring a smooth, neutral base for lipstick. Hard-working, indeed.
Fenty’s exemplary concealer will hide all traces of a late night. The matte liquid is easily buildable, so you can add an extra layer on sluggish Monday mornings. Plus, do we even need to mention the shade range?
Thanks to BareMinerals, you can mask an unwanted breakout while simultaneously helping it to heal. This spot-treatment-meets-concealer is formulated with salicylic acid to clear spots throughout the day, yet has a creamy, high-coverage finish that’ll cover almost anything.
If blemishes don’t bother you so much, but you’re still after a mineral formula, the brand’s BarePro Concealer has a thicker, creamier consistency that won’t cake under eyes or settle into fine lines.
If you’re looking for a real high-definition, completely opaque concealer that melts into skin without a trace, this one absolutely cannot be beaten. Apply the tiniest amount (don’t say we didn’t warn you) to dark circles and red blemishes, before gently blending out with a soft brush. It’s incredibly high coverage, yet your skin will still look like skin - no easy feat.
A hint: for a glowier finish, there’s now a dewier illuminating version, too.
One of the most well-loved concealers in history (and the best-selling concealer in the US), Nars’s classic doe-foot wand is still hard to beat when it comes to all-day coverage. It’s ideal for both bags and blemishes, and sinks into skin without doing that dry, cakey thing that nobody welcomes.
The oh-so-silky texture of Kevyn Aucoin's pot concealer will impress you first, but the way that just a single dot can obscure all imperfections without looking mask-like will seal the deal. The finished result is a lit-from-within complexion that's bound to earn you compliments. Blend using your fingers for an super-natural look.
Too Faced's Born This Way is what concealer dreams are made of. The satisfyingly creamy texture makes blending a total dream, with make-up obsessives all over the globe constantly raving about the buildable coverage too. Use a dampened Glory Blender to press it on for a natural finish that looks like your skin but better.
Just like a magic wand, this fades away under-eye circles and redness in the flick of a wrist. Similar to its foundation friend, it comes in myriad shades to suit all skin tones and doesn't settle into fine lines and creases. So no more worrying about your concealer becoming chalky throughout the day. Hooray!
YSL doesn't want you to use its original Touche Éclat as a concealer – after all, it was formulated to be used as a brightening highlighter (swipe it under your brow bone and along your cupid's bow to see what we mean).
However, the beauty gods have just answered our prayers and provided us with this creation: a more highly pigmented version of the iconic original, so you can conceal to your heart's content. Expect glowy, unified skin in a single stroke.
if sweaty commutes and unexpected showers often leave your make-up half-way down your face, turn to Mac's long-loved concealer. The pump applicator keeps things hygienic, while the fluid formula is ideal for applying with a fine brush or a sponge.
Best for on-the-go
If swipe-and-go appeal is a must for you, get your hands on one of Surratt’s stick concealers stat. They’re streamlined enough to slip into your bag, and creamy enough to be swiped under your eyes and blended easily with your ring finger. Perfect for those 5pm touch-ups.
Recently voted the best concealer ever by Reddit users, Elf’s 16-hour concealer is undoubtedly one of the most impressive out there – not to mention the fact that it’ll set you back just £5. It’s creamy, highly pigmented, and so easy to swipe on via the doe-foot applicator.