Hot on the heels of raving about my new favourite concealer—an incredible £54 formula from Japanese beauty brand Clé de Peau Beauté that boasts major coverage, a luminous finish and serious staying power—I'm changing tacks entirely to talk about my love of affordable beauty products. Yes, it might seem a little contradictory, but what can I say? As a beauty editor, I get access to some of the most premium products in the business, but money doesn't always talk. In fact, on a number of occasions, I've been left distinctly underwhelmed by some of the more eye-wateringly expensive products that I've tried, which is why I'm always keen to find affordable options that deliver on performance. I've already covered cheap moisturisers, serums and perfumes that are just as good as their more expensive counterparts, but now I'm turning my attention to makeup: concealer, more specifically.
Concealer is my #1 makeup bag staple, so you can trust me when I say I've tried them all. From the crazy-expensive to the cheap as chips, I leave no stone unturned in my quest for coverage. Thankfully, this means I have a whole host of favourites for your concealing needs. Whether it's disguising blemishes, brightening the under-eyes or evening out your skin tone, I've got plenty of recommendations to get the job done. Keep scrolling to shop some of my favourite concealers and their more affordable dupes.
One of the best-selling concealers in America (in fact, one is sold every 12 seconds stateside), the Tarte Shape Tape Contour Concealer is a full-coverage, matte formula that covers everything without leaving your skin looking dull.
Actually, I think £20 is a reasonable price to pay for such a great product, but there is a dupe if you're looking for something cheaper. The beauty community went wild when Makeup Revolution launched its Conceal & Define Concealer. It is similarly full coverage, long-wearing and has an equally great doe-foot applicator. Plus, it's just £4.
A cult classic in its own right, there was a time when I'd only wear MAC Pro Longwear Concealer. It has a liquidy consistency and can be built up easily from medium to full coverage. Plus there have been many times when I've used it as a foundation when I've forgotten my usual base product. Basically, it's a great all-rounder.
Recently, though, I came across affordable beauty brand L.A. Girl. This £5 concealer really reminded me of my MAC favourite. It has a similarly lightweight texture that can be layered up, it comes in a wide range of shades, and it doesn't budge once you've applied it. I have to say, it's a new favourite.
One of the most iconic concealers in beauty history, YSL's Touche Éclat is worn by everyone from Meghan Markle to Rosie Huntington-Whiteley thanks to its hybrid highlighter-concealer formula. This isn't something I'll reach for when I want to cover up blemishes or redness, but it's amazing at brightening under-eyes and adding luminosity to the skin.
Similarly glowy is Maybelline's Instant Anti-Age Eraser, which magics away the appearance of under-eye darkness and even soothes puffiness when you're extra tired. It has slightly more coverage than the YSL, too, so it also works well on redness.
The most expensive concealer on the list comes courtesy of luxury skincare brand La Mer. I have to say, it boasts a beautiful creamy formula that melts into your skin for a natural finish, and makes light work of covering up everything from blemishes to fine lines without looking cakey.
Although this dupe from Wet n Wild might not be as silky soft in texture, this concealer costs only £4, and the reason I consider it to be a dupe is the dewy finish it delivers on the skin. Both concealers do an amazing job of concealing without ever making pores look clogged or skin look flaky.
I absolutely love Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer and am never without a tube in my makeup bag. In fact, ask any beauty editor and I'm pretty sure you'll find it in their stash. It has a luminous finish that looks natural without being overly dewy, and it works double-duty to diffuse light where you have darkness while camouflaging breakouts and pigmentation with ease.
Maybelline's Fit Me Concealer also has a wonderfully lightweight base that allows your skin to shine through where you want it to. It never looks heavy on the skin, and again, it can be used to brighten tired-looking skin as well as cover where you want it to.
Trust me on this one. I know that these two concealers look totally different, but I'm a big fan of both, and they basically do the same thing. The Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer is a makeup artist favourite thanks to the way that you can use it on its own as a high-coverage concealer, or it can be mixed with moisturiser for more of a lightweight skin-tint effect.
L'Oréal Paris's Infallible More Than Concealer is just as versatile. You can apply it straight from the supersize doe-foot applicator as a full coverage concealer or mix a bit with your moisturiser for a quick foundation. Plus, both products work well as natural-looking highlighters and contour colours if you get a shade lighter or darker than your usual skin tone.
More power to you if you're happy to embrace your skin whatever the weather, but when my acne is at its height, I want coverage. Urban Decay Naked Skin Complete Coverage Concealer is brilliant, as it conceals everything without looking like you've got much on your skin at all. In fact, it has a surprisingly hydrating formula, which I think is how it manages to look fresh all day.
While not quite as lightweight in texture, the cult Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer provides just as much coverage at just a fraction of the price. The thing I love most about it is that it honestly stays put for as long as you need it to, so there's no need to touch things up throughout the day.
When I want a brightening concealer, Hourglass Veil Retouching Fluid is one of my favourites. It's light as water, has a serum-like texture and is enriched with hyaluronic acid to actually hydrate the skin throughout the day. It's also great at refreshing your complexion throughout the day when your skin needs a pick-me-up.
Bourjois Radiance Reveal Concealer is also packed with hyaluronic acid as well as glacier water for a similarly lightweight, refreshing feel. Again, you can use this to rehydrate and brighten skin throughout the day, and the quality of the formula really belies its £8 price tag.