Whether it's a DM, email, or the topic of conversation in one of my group chats, I've lost count of the times that I've been asked what my favourite concealer is. I can list my top foundations, eyebrow products, and lipsticks, but my mind always goes blank when it comes to concealers.
To be completely honest, I have a major issue with the name. Concealing always suggests that there's an issue, a problem that needs fixing, something to be ashamed of. So I'm not really here for it. But I'm also aware that because I see concealers as an optional extra and not a necessity, I have the privilege of being able to say that.
I had acne on my forehead when I was a teenager, but those were pre-makeup days, so I wasn't aware that I could use makeup on my spots. This cleared up pretty quickly, and since then, I've only used concealer on my under-eyes to brighten things up around there.
But in an effort to ditch wearing a full face of foundation and have some concealer-only days, I thought I'd advance my concealer knowledge with a little experiment.
So you can see what I'm working with and for complete transparency, here's my bare face below with no foundation or concealer on. I've done my eye makeup and eyebrows, and I'm wearing a facial oil.
For all of the products I tested, I tried them with no foundation and used the concealer on my under-eyes and any dark spots or pigmentation I have. As I like a super-bright under-eye I also tested some of them in lighter shades on top of my foundation (I've mentioned when I've done so below).
The only time I wear a concealer-only face is when I'm heading to the airport or to my local shop. I use my fingers to blend some in around my eyes and on any dark spots. This concealer is made for this thanks to its sublime level of dewiness. It was such a joy to blend, as the formula is so creamy, and it managed to work on my under-eyes and anything else I wanted to cover.
I felt like a ripe little peach with this concealer, as it's so hydrating. It packs a punch when it comes to pigment, and I didn't even feel the fear of not having foundation on, as the coverage was so good. The formula is very thick, and as the applicator is quite large, it's easy to be heavy-handed with this one. But with a lighter touch, it's one that I'll keep going back to.
I had to do a post-application pause to acknowledge just how great this concealer is. We use the word innovative way too much, but it's warranted here. I was expecting this pencil to be a hot chalky mess, but instead, it gave me even coverage with applause-worthy precision.
Some of these concealer applicators are big, unnecessarily so, especially if you want to conceal something very small. With this mini miracle, I was able to dot it on where I needed it, but it also worked just as well on wider areas like my eyes.
Okay, this concealer is not here to play, and I'm not exaggerating. We are talking heavy-duty, "enough to cover my tattoos" kind of coverage. First, a caveat. The shades were a bit too warm and red in tone for my neutral/yellow complexion, but I fell in love with the coverage, and it settled down during the day.
It's as thick as a foundation but blends really well before drying down to a matte finish. I would have scored higher if it wasn't for the shade, but it's one of the best high-coverage concealer formulas out there.
My favourite word in internet speak is shooketh, which is defined as shocked or unfathomable. It's also now defined as the very first word that came to my mind when I applied this concealer. To be quite frank, I wanted to end the experiment after I tried this one. The coverage is excellent, but it's very delicate, so it looked like my skin but juicier and more even in tone. It blended seamlessly into my bare skin thanks to the lifelike shade and consistency.
Basically, this is everything a concealer is supposed to be, and I've not looked at my foundation in the same way ever since.
This is another one that I tried on top of my foundation but in a lighter shade. For under £10, this is one of the best drugstore concealers, as it stayed in place all day and had buildable coverage. It would work just as well if you were going without foundation and wanted a lighter look. I give it bonus points, as it didn't oxidise during the day.
Just like a whipped dessert, this concealer is thick and oh so creamy. It's very similar to a foundation in its texture, so it needed setting. I was expecting more coverage than it delivered, but it made it onto this list because it worked a treat on both a bare face and with foundation underneath.
So very, very soft. If there was ever an "I woke up like this" moment, then this is it. It had more of a liquid formula than I expected, which allowed it to blend in really well. Again, the shade was a bit too warm/red in tone, but I am all about the finish and the applicator.
When it comes to concealer application, I'm a big fan of using a sponge so that I have more control over where I apply the product. Also, some of the concealers I've used in the past really don't work out when you use your fingers. Think melted formulas, creasing, and just too much warmth.
This is not your average concealer, though. Not only did I invite my fingers to the application party, but it also gave the most seamless and airbrushed finish that lasted the entire day.
Talk about a flawless finish. This high-coverage concealer had the ability to brighten, lift my complexion, and cover some pigmentation on my cheeks. There's a reason why it's called Synchro, as that's exactly what it does. I spent most of the day looking in the mirror and reminding myself that I actually had product on. I've also told anyone who I come into contact with about it.
I have my reservations about drugstore makeup. While I'll happily stock up on all of the purse-friendly lip glosses and mascaras, I always get concerned about complexion products. It's mainly because I've been burned so badly in the past. I've suffered through my fair share of awful formulas and shade ranges, so I like to make my concealer purchases elsewhere.
So I was rather surprised by this tube of magic. It creased a little during the day, but it gave me one of the most natural-looking finishes from all of the concealers I tried. It looked like my under-eyes had been filtered. Consider me impressed.
This is the kind of concealer that you'd pack in your handbag after a heavy night—you know, the ones when you've been dancing all night, sweated off your makeup, and realise you need to get on the train to go home. Yes, I'm talking about the train with that awful lighting. So a quick concealer reapplication is in order.
This one's got your back, as it's got plenty to offer in the coverage department. It's £6, so you can afford to have one in your purse and one in your beauty cabinet.
I tried this one over my foundation, and I am impressed. It brightened up my under-eyes really well, as I went for a few shades lighter, and the consistency held up throughout the day. There were no creases (apart from the natural fine lines I have under my eyes), and most importantly, it didn't cake. It's become my new daily go-to for when I'm wearing a full face. If you're looking for a high-coverage concealer that stays put, this is it.
I put this concealer to work. I went to a meeting, had brunch, and even did yoga in it, and I could still see it on my face by the end of the day. The shade range is full of realistic tones, and the formula works with you. I used setting powder after I took this photo, and that increased the staying power and prevented any product from settling into lines.
This is pretty much the Louis Vuitton purse of concealers—a classic for a reason. It's one of the best concealers in the game because it just does what it's supposed to and then some. It works with your face instead of against it. There's no layer of product just sitting there on top of your skin, and it blends to perfection. With such a large number of shades, you really can't go wrong.
I've come to learn that there's a very fine line between a creamy concealer and one that's just too thick. Laura Mercier has mastered this balance with this undetectable formula. There are no harsh lines when blending in, and I was able to just use my fingers then head out. No mess, no stress. It's a keeper.
This is all you need for when life comes at you hard and fast. I'm talking break-ups, running for trains, too many hours in central heating, and those long, long nights of festive fun. It's basically an all-rounder. It's got tons of coverage, but as it's so concentrated, you can afford to use the tiniest amount to get the coverage you desire.
While there are so many great concealers out there, so many of them could masquerade as foundations, as they're so intense and heavy. What I adore about this one is its subtlety. It's not shouting in your face for attention, but it just fits into your complexion and, in turn, your life. Dramatic I know, but it's a seriously good concealer, and you need it in your life.
Only when it comes to makeup do I ever want to hear the word cakeless being uttered. This does exactly what it says on the very cute pencil-themed packaging. This is a cake-free product. I wore it throughout the day, and it stayed where I placed it and didn't settle in my fine lines (which many of its counterparts do). This one will be sticking around.
For foundation days, this concealer just makes me so happy. It's super smooth and creamy, so it's easy to apply (trust me—I've applied this on planes without much space or tools), and it brightens and stays in place all day without creating any annoying cracks. I find it pretty hydrating on my under-eyes, too.
I'm already a member of the All Hours family, as Yves Saint Laurent's All Hours Liquid Foundation (£32) is my "can't live without" product. So I was incredibly excited to try out her little sister. I tried this over the foundation in a lighter shade, and I am pleased to confirm that the family reunion went very well.
This concealer has incredible staying power and dries to a matte finish, but I still had plenty of time to blend it in before it dried. Not a single person likes it when brands exclaim that a product lasts all day and it doesn't. Well, this does.
So there we have it—a tour of every concealer you need to know, buy, and add to your makeup stash immediately. There's one for everyone in here, depending on what you're looking for on the concealer front.
I learned that while there are some genius formulations happening in this space, there's still work to be done on shade ranges. Many brands, believe it or not, only offer a handful of concealer shades. Others have incredible formulas, but the darker shades weren't realistic enough in regards to tone.
Now for the moment you've been waiting for. Digital drum roll, please… The concealers that have fought their way into my overstuffed makeup bag and are currently in heavy rotation are from Nudestix, RMS Beauty, Shiseido, and Fenty Beauty.