The process one must go through to discover the right product to conceal imperfections in a natural-looking way can often seem like a burden. You have probably tried multiple brands and different types of concealing products, with little luck. If you resonate with this, keep reading, knowing a little more about these products and their characteristics is the key to finding the best corrector for your needs. You will discover that concealing products are a welcomed addition in any makeup bag, regardless of your makeup style.

A good color corrector will be key in helping you achieve any look, whether it be a more drastic and glamorous evening look, or a more natural, no-makeup daytime look. In the United States, you will find varying textures, tones, brands and prices. Because of the large selection of products, the task of finding the perfect concealer can sometimes be quite overwhelming. To help you out, we have filled this guide with all of the information you will need in order to find the best concealer for you.

Key Facts

  • Concealers are cosmetic tools used to cover camouflage imperfections of the skin, such as rosacea, blemishes, sun spots or dark circles.
  • There are multiple factors to consider when choosing a concealer. Make sure to keep in mind your skin tone, skin type, the imperfections you’re looking to neutralize and your desired level of coverage.
  • In order to achieve optimal and natural-looking coverage, you will need more than just a good concealer product. Prepping the skin before makeup application and using the product correctly will ultimately determine the outcome.

Ranking: The best correctors on the U.S. market

In North America, you’ll find a cast selection of cosmetic products. This is also the case with concealers. There is an enormous variety of brands, textures, tones, and prices, which can easily disorient any shopper. To make your search easier, we have selected the best concealers on the market. Make sure to note their characteristics and features, this will help you determine what it is that you’re looking for in a concealer product.

No. 1: Maybelline Concealer

This concealer by Maybelline has a super-concentrated formula infused with goji berry and haloxyl to instantly brighten and illuminate the area underneath the eyes. This special eye concealer features a micro-corrector applicator sponge that applies evenly and smoothly to erase dark circles and fine lines with ultimate precision. It reveals a radiant and refreshed eye area in no time for a fresh and illuminated eye makeup look that will last all day and into long nights.

The Instant Age and Dark Circles Treatment Concealer for under-eye coverage are available in 18 different shades; ivory, fair, light, sand, medium, honey, golden, hazelnut, caramel, deep bronze, light honey and more. The haloxyl present helps reduce signs of fine lines, blemishes, redness and dark circles for radiant, well-rested and refreshed looking eyes. To remove, simply use Garnier Micellar water to gently remove the makeup at night and as a facial cleanser in the morning to prep the skin for maximum results.

No. 2: NYX – Cosmetics Concealer

This concealer provides studio ready coverage, able to provide medium coverage for larger areas of the face. It comes in 15 different shades to tackle dark to fair skin complexions, red skin, blemishes, and uneven tones. It is infused with hydrators and various skin conditioning agents that will leave the skin feeling, light, clean and smooth. It has a non-comedogenic formula that makes it perfect for acne-prone skin and those with easily clogged pores. It has an easy wand applicator that makes for effortless application and blending.

A buildable and easily-blendable, this product by NYX is great to complement other face powders and facial products to create a flawless look. Paired with NYX’s setting powder will provide you with maximum concealer power. This concealer effectively covers red pimples and other facial inflammation without leaving any undesired green colors or tones like many other conventional concealers.

No. 3: Maybelline – Fit Me Liquid Concealer

With 12 different shades, this oil-free concealer matches any skin tone to deliver a more even complexion with a naturally flawless finish. The oil-free formula is breathable for more natural-looking coverage that won’t clog your pores or feel heavy on your skin. The Maybelline Fit Me Liquid Concealer provides coverage for a range of skin colors from fair to cocoa. It can be used for redness control, blemish coverage and under the eye concealer for a smooth finish.

This smooth foundation is manufactured with an easy to apply wand. The soft fibers on the end of the wand pick up just the perfect amount of concealer for easy application into even the most difficult to reach places. It effectively covers dark circles and won’t leave a false sheer look. It’s not sticky or thick, but won’t dry and leave creases, especially in areas with more fine lines. Consumers have raved about the diversity of this concealer, some even using it as an extra filler for the eyebrows.

No. 4: L’Oreal Paris Concealer

This concealer by L’Oreal Paris is more than just a concealer. This product offers full-on coverage for the whole face, all day long. The extra-large application provides full coverage in just one stroke for a flawless matte finish. The waterproof formula won’t smudge, transfer, fade or flake, ensuring a perfect look that is locked in all day, no matter the conditions. It has a creamy texture that is non-greasy and easy to apply. With this product, a little goes a long way.

This concealer comes in various shades, allowing you to choose the tone that best matches your skin to effectively conceal imperfections. L’Oreal suggests buying two different shades. One concealer that is 1-2 shades deeper to contour, and one that is 1-2 shades lighter to highlight and brighten. This concealer cream minimizes redness, scars and works great to cover pimples. It can also be used on the body to minimize the appearance of stretch marks, veins, and bruises.

No. 5: BareMinerals Concealer

BareMinerals has created a concealer that is silky-smooth and provides complete coverage for even the toughest of skins. It’s combined concealer and serum formula instantly reduces the appearance of dark circles, discoloration and other imperfections for a beautifully even-toned complexion. Because of its light-reflective properties, it highlights as well as color corrects. This concealer works wonders under the eyes, on the nose, chin, and forehead.

Blend it with any beauty blender, cover and complement it with powder and you’ll have great coverage that doesn’t look cakey or crack. BareMinerals has created a high-quality concealer that comes in a .2 fl oz bottle at a price that everyone can afford. You only need to apply a little for it to work it’s magic, making it last longer than other traditional concealer products. Although it pairs well with other foundations, this concealer can also be used alone as your one-stop-shop foundation.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about concealing products

When looking to purchase the best concealer for your needs, it will be critical that you consider it’s main characteristics. Looking at things like texture, tone, coverage, and mode of application will be key to helping you get the best product for you.

Concealers help you hide and lessen expression lines and dark circles.
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To help you better understand what to look for, this next section covers everything you need to know about concealers. We have also included answers to the most frequently asked questions among buyers.

What is a concealer exactly?

A concealer or color corrector, is a type of cosmetic product used to mask dark circles, age spots, large pores, and other small blemishes and imperfections of the skin. It is similar to foundation, however, it is much thicker and it works by blending the imperfection into the surrounding skin tone. These great masking powers also help you achieve a smooth and even complexion.

What are the benefits of using a good concealer?

Color correctors are essential tools when trying to achieve an even and smooth-looking complexion.

  • They hide dark circles, whether they are blush, brown or purple in color.
  • They hide the bluish-black veins that sometimes appear underneath the eyes.
  • They help neutralize redness, pimples and acne scars.
  • They help hide freckles and age spots.
  • They can be used to highlight certain areas, such as the tear ducts or under the eyebrows.
  • They help improve the appearance of the skin, making it look smooth and flawless by hiding large pores.
Katy ClucasMakeup Artist

“Concealers are highly pigmented flesh-toned cosmetics used to cover spots, blemishes, and dark under-eye circles. It is thicker than a foundation and designed in different textures and shades to cover specific problem areas. Make sure to know your needs in order to get the best product for you.”

Which concealer provides best coverage: liquid, creamy, or stick?

For starters, stick products have the heaviest texture, they are usually the ones that offer the most coverage. These types of products work best on young, firm and moisturized skin. When used on wrinkled and/or dehydrated skin, the product accumulates in the folds and dry patches of the skin making the product noticeable. You can prevent this from happening by using the right amount of product and by setting your concealer in with pressed powder.

Cream concealers will work well for you if you have dry or combination skin. However, sometimes cream concealers can also crease or “cake” when work for long hours or too much product is used. Nonetheless, you can still find very creamy and correctors that come with an ultralight texture and offer great coverage – without accumulating in wrinkle crevices or expression lines — making them great for mature skins by seemingly filling in deep imperfections.

Liquid color correctors are the most versatile products. They are easy to apply, spread and because they set quickly their coverage is buildable. It is perfect for normal, oily or combination skin. This type of concealer offers medium to light coverage and can be used to spruce the appearance of more mature skins. Liquid concealers come in various finishes such as matte, dey, and stain. Finally, we should mention these products are the least likely to clog pores.

Esha SaxenaMakeup Artist

“Choosing your concealer mainly depends on what works for your skin type and concerns. So, before you head out to buy a concealer, make sure you know exactly what you’re looking for.”

A good rule of thumb is that stick concealers work best on oilier complexions, while liquid or creamy products are better suited for dry skin.

How do I choose the best color of concealer for my skin tone?

You will soon realize that even within one brand, you can find concealers of different colors and consistencies to meet the varying needs of consumers. Keep in mind that if you’re looking to correct multiple types of imperfections, you will likely need more than one product. The several consistencies and shades available work to hide different types of flaws. For instance, beige shades work as basic correctors. Choose a product that is one shade lighter than your base.

If the product is too light it won’t blend with your base, which will make your makeup look very artificial. Beige correctors conceal light to moderate cases of age spots, rosacea, and dark circles. Moreover, if on the other hand, you’re looking to correct brown moons around the eyes, opt for orange to beige color-correctors. If the rings around your eyes are purple, pink or salmon color-corrector will give you best results.

We should clarify that color-correcting products (not skin-toned) are actually considered pre-correctors. Meaning, they must be used with a beige corrector in order to properly neutralize and cover imperfections of the skin in a naturally-looking way. If non-skin toned pre-correctors are used without a neutralizing beige shade, the blue, green, etc. will come through and ultimately ruin the final product.

Concealer products are used to hide and correct imperfections of the skin.
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Each color-correcting shade is used to work on a specific issue:

  • Green: It is used to conceal and neutralize redness, irritations and red spots.
  • Yellow: It is used to disguises purple or blue dark circles. It hides faint spots, bruises and varicose-like purple veins.
  • Salmon to orange: It is used to cover severe dark circles, dark spots, sunspots and freckles.
  • Pink: It is used to hide green veins, and it can also be used to give pale skin a healthy and warm appearance.
  • White to neutral: This is used if you don’t have specific problems you want to treat. It can be used to highlight tear ducts and the area beneath the brow arch, among others.
  • Blue to purple: It is used to mute any yellow undertones of the skin. By providing shade to yellowish or orange skin tones, it helps brighten the face.
  • Beige: It is used to cover mild and basic imperfections such as blemishes and large pores. It must also be used in combination with any color corrector to neutralize the shade.

The following table is a visual representation of the different functions of each color corrector:

Tone/Color Use
Beige Meant to cover slight imperfections if used alone. The most appropriate use for this shade is to cover areas of the face that have already been treated with color-correcting shades or simple imperfections such as dilated pores.
White This shade is not used to conceal, quite the opposite, it is used to illuminate specific areas such as the tear duct, underneath the brow arch, above the cheekbones and Cupid’s bow (mid-upper lip).
Green Neutralizes redness and any red granites.
Lilac/Blue It neutralizes jaundiced looking skin (yellowish) while giving it luminosity.
Salmon/Orange Ideal for treating brown circles, sun spots, brown birthmarks, and freckles.
Yellow Disguises blue circles and violet veins.
Pink Gives a healthy look to very pale skins and helps hide green veins.

How to apply concealer for best results?

The first step in achieving the best and most natural results is choosing the right shade for your skin and concerns. However, even the best products on the market will not work as intended if they’re not applied correctly. You can use concealing products before or after primer, just avoid layering too much and too many products, especially over dark circles, it can make the makeup cake and look fake.

When applying concealer, it’s always advised to defuse and blend the product onto the skin with the tip of the ring and little finger. Since these are our weakest fingers, they apply the right amount of pressure to the most sensitives of skins. Using these fingers allows us to gently apply the product onto the skin without causing damage to sensitive areas.

When using concealer, you can use your fingertips, sponges or different types of brushes to apply and blend the product. All options work well if used correctly. For starters you must know how to layer the product, beginning with primer and all the makeup that follows. Understanding this concept will be the key to achieving optimum results.

Last but not least, keep in mind that the most common mistakes people make when using correctors are that they try to blend and extend the product by dragging it or rubbing it in. This will result in a product having the opposite of your desired effect. The concealer will accumulate around any flaws and uneven areas, making them much more noticeable.

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Keep in mind that for concealer products to work best, the skin must be clean and moisturized. Therefore, a proper concealer application begins with your skin-care routine.

For example, start to correct circles around the eyes by moisturizing and nourishing the contour of this area, let the cream absorb well before applying any corrector product.

What are the most common mistakes when using concealers?

Next, we list the most common mistakes people make when using correcting products:

  • Applying concealing products on uncleansed skin. If you skip the important step of cleaning and hydrating your face, grit and dirt residue will build up. This will not only ruin your makeup by making it look sloppy, but it can also compromise the health of your skin as your pores get clogged up with bacteria.
  • Not treating and moisturizing the skin prior to applying correctors. When the product is applied to dry or untreated skin, it will crack and dry out the skin even more. It also means that the product will actually highlight pre-existing wrinkles and expression lines.
  • Working with the wrong shade for your skin tone and concerns. This will ruin your makeup. If you use a shade that is too light, it will give you a washed-out look, or the “panda bear” look – this happens when dark circles are left with a white-ish halo that doesn’t look natural.
  • Using excessive amounts of product. If you have a heavy hand when applying concealing products, you will end up accentuating any imperfections. Moreover, if the makeup is not set properly, your makeup will end up cracking and caking.
  • Using the wrong color-correcting shade for a specific problem. For example, using a light beige tone to neutralize a brown spot or birthmark. In this case, you actually should be using an orange or deep salmon color to achieve best results.
  • Using the same corrector color and tone for everything. As touched upon before, each color of concealer has its own specific function and it will only work to neutralize a particular imperfection.
  • Using concealer as primer and spreading it all over the face. When you cover areas of the face that don’t need correcting — aside from possibly clogging your pores and unbalancing the chemistry of your skin — you take away the natural lights and shadows of your complexion. This doesn’t look very natural or fresh.
  • Applying thick corrector to wrinkles around the eyes, or crow’s feet. Avoid using these products around the eye area on more mature skins. Remember that when heavy products are used on wrinkles it causes the opposite of the intended effect, often making wrinkles much more noticeable.

As with everything, there is always a right and a wrong way of doing things. In the table below, check out the right and wrong way of using concealer products:

Wrong Right
Not cleaning the face prior to applying product. Properly washing the face and neck before product application.
Not moisturizing or treating the skin prior to beginning makeup application. Applying moisturizing lotion on the face and neck. Using eye cream specifically designed for this sensitive area and allowing these products to set.
Choosing a concealer that is way too light for the skin tone and base color. Choosing a concealer not more than 1 or 2 shades lighter than your base makeup and making sure it blends evenly with the base color.
Blending the product by rubbing it into any imperfections. Diffuse and blend with small stokes or with gentle taps. Make sure to set the product without dragging the product around.
Applying and diffusing product onto the skin with the index finger. Using the tip of the ring finger to set the product, this is the weakest finger, which allows for using the perfect amount of pressure when tapping the product onto sensitive skin.
Using the same corrector for every type of issue and imperfection. Choosing different shades of concealer according to what you’re trying to treat. You will need different shades to treat dark circles depending on whether they are browner or violet, also, the presence of redness and different shades in spots will require specific color-correcting products.

Should concealer be applied before or after using primer?

The truth is that there is no set rule regarding the order of application of these two products. You will find as many makeup artists that use concealer before setting the base with primer, as you will find professionals that like to use it later in the makeup routine.

Some concealers have built-in active ingredients that help treat blemishes.
(Source: Domnitsky: 95772398/123rf.com)

You will determine what works best for you. The only important thing to keep in mind is that dark circles should only be treated with correctors and not with primer or base makeup. Using too much product on these areas will cause the product to cake, which will make the dark circles even more noticeable.

Who should refrain from using concealer products?

As always, those who experience skin allergies, dermatitis (inflammation of the skin) or easily irritated skin, should always consult a dermatologist before using any new cosmetic, that includes concealers. Nonetheless, we should note that you will find a plethora of hypoallergenic products made for sensitive skins in the American market. The ingredients in this type of products are safe and should not cause irritation or allergic reactions for the most part.

Furthermore, some dermatologists highly recommend the use of concealers made with active ingredients that treat and improve the appearance of these permanent skin conditions:

  • Acne
  • Rosacea and coupe-rose (both are diseases that flush the skin)
  • Psoriasis (a disease characterized by red spots and silvery scales that appear on the skin)
  • Vitiligo (loss of pigmentation in the skin – it produces white spots all over)
  • Scars

How is concealer used to hide rosacea and coupe-rose?

Both of these diseases manifest by blushing the skin of the face, which means the symptoms (redness) are best neutralized by green color-correcting concealers. Keep in mind that even though the intense green color will fade as you blend it in — there will still be a greenish hue to your skin when you first apply the product — you must cover it with a skin-tone corrector that is a shade or two lighter than your base face powder.

If you have multiple things to correct about your complexion, make sure to first neutralize the overall redness of the face, you can then proceed to cover any other imperfections such as dark circles, spots, and pimples, etc. When you’re done smoothing out and correcting your complexion, all you have to do is set it by applying your base or primer to the entire face — avoiding the area under the eyes.

What types of concealers are there and which one is the right one for me?

According to the texture of the product, it can be divided into one of these four categories:

  • Cream Concealer
  • Liquid Concealer
  • Pencil Corrector
  • Stick Concealer

Cream Concealer

Cream concealers offer good and even coverage which is buildable, ranging from medium to full. These come with different finishes and are relatively easy to apply. Their formula and consistency make them great to cover a more-or-less extensive surface of the face. They are used to treat discolorations of the skin and are usually available in various shades and colors such as beige, pink, orange, blue/mauve, yellow, green and white. The product will be more or less effective depending on the richness of its pigments.

Sometimes, cream concealers tend to crease when worn for long hours or when used incorrectly i.e: using too much product. However, when used properly, these products create a natural finish. Cream concealers are ideal for normal, combination, and dry skin. For best diffusion and blending, remember to apply the product with the tip of the ring finger. Lastly, make sure to set your makeup with pressed powder — this not only makes your makeup last much longer — it also works to manage and control any oil and shine.

Liquid Concealer

Liquid concealers are the most versatile products. They work great on normal, oily or combination skin. Moreover, both young and mature skins benefit from their moisturizing capabilities. This helps prevent makeup from cracking and thus, lessening the risk of highlighting wrinkles and fine lines.

These products are easy to apply and they provide buildable coverage, which ranges from light to medium. They are also great compliments to use with color-correcting tints and creams. For instance, if you have a brown birthmark you want to treat, you can use an orange color-correcting concealer to shade and blur the imperfection. However, you must then apply the beige liquid corrector on top to neutralize the different tones on your skin.

This presentation of correcting products is easy to apply and spread, however, there is a tendency for users to apply too much product if used with the brush it usually comes with. A good practice is to clean off any excess product on the container or on the back of your hand before applying it to the face. Last but not least, keep in mind that liquid concealers come in various finishes such as matte, dewy, and satin.

Corrector Pencil

Correctors which come in pencil form are designed to allow for a more localized and specific application. These products are ideal for covering small and simple imperfections. Their texture is that of a soft pencil and they do a very good job at hiding and correcting mild imperfections.

Correcting pencils can be used at the beginning of the makeup application or to make last-minute corrections and touch-ups to your makeup. These are very practical products; their size and shape make them very portable and easy to carry in any purse or toiletry bag.

Concealer Stick

These products offer the highest level of coverage thanks to their very dense composition – this makes them a great choice for oiler and younger skins. They come in stick form and can be applied directly onto trouble areas. Even when applying it directly onto the skin you should still use the gentle tapping we have mentioned throughout this guide, or use a makeup brush to gently blend the product for a more natural look.

This product is not recommended for mature skin with deep wrinkles. Because these products tend to be so dense, it ends up piling in the folds of the skin, cracking and accentuating the appearance of wrinkles, expression and fine lines. This type of concealer provides buildable coverage that goes from medium to robust. Keep in mind that these products also can also set in different, providing either a satin or powdery matte finish. It will depend on the product you choose.

Cream Liquid Pencil Stick
Texture Creamy, light and moisturizing action. Ultralight. Very moisturizing capabilities. Mild thickness, crayon like shape. Very dense, low moisturizing capabilities.
Coverage Medium to high Medium High Very high – Provides the greatest coverage.
Skin type Combination, normal, and dry skin. Suited for both young and mature skin types. All skin types, unless it’s being used to correct localized imperfections. Ideal for younger and oilier skin types.

Purchase Criteria

By now, you should have a better idea of what the ideal tone and texture of concealer for your skin type and specific needs. However, we want to leave you with one last set of criteria to consider before choosing you product. We believe keeping the following in mind will be a crucial step in making the best possible purchase.

  • Skin Type
  • Skin Maturity
  • Desired Coverage
  • Price
  • Tones
  • Allergens
  • Certifications

Skin Type

Keep in mind that all skin types need different care, for instance, combination or normal skin tends to absorb concealer products well, so using an oilier and creamier product is not recommended. While dry skin, on the other hand, will have difficulties absorbing moisture, meaning you should opt for a liquid or light and creamy presentation of concealer. Last but not least, for younger and oilier skin types, concealer sticks will work best.

Skin Maturity

The age of your skin will have an influence on which product will work best. For example, when using correctors on younger skin, pretty much all textures of these products work, even the very dense and heavy ones. When looking to treat mature skin however, liquid concealers will be a much better choice over stick concealers.

Desired Coverage

Making sure to consider the degree of coverage you desire will help you decide which format will best suit your needs. Remember that stick and pencil correctors tend to provide the most coverage. Their heavier and thicker texture makes them appropriate for covering deep and significant imperfections. Creamy products also provide great coverage, while liquid products, which are the lightest in texture, provide the least amount of coverage.

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Did you know that in order to fully cover dark circles you should apply two layers of concealer? First apply a very thin layer of color-correcting concealer, wait for it to set and then add an equally thin layer of a skin-tone corrector.

You must ensure that both layers are super light and thin. Keep in mind that using too much product when trying to cover dark circles is a mistake that can ruin your makeup by leaving you with an unnatural and artificial look.

Price

The price of these products will vary depending on its presentation, formula, and brand. Correcting pencils are usually the most expensive presentation of concealers. However, these may still be a good deal since they are often used in much smaller quantities. When comparing creams, liquid and stick foundations, we don’t find a significant difference in price. However, you will notice the cost will vary greatly from one brand to another.

Tone

There are a few different things to consider when choosing the tone these types of products. For instance, the beige shades should be chosen according to the skin and base makeup color.

As we have mentioned throughout this article, color-correcting products should be chosen according to the imperfection you wish to correct.

Allergens

People who suffer from skin diseases, allergies, sensitivities or irritations should always choose hypoallergenic cosmetic products to prevent any adverse and potentially dangerous reactions. If you’re still unsure regarding which is the best product for your condition, always consult with your doctor or dermatologist.

Certifications

Even though in the United States products are not required to meet any standards or regulations, brands that don’t test on animals and make their products with all-natural ingredients are always proud of this and will generally have a stamp that certifies this added value.

Summary

Concealers are makeup tools that people tend to overlook and not invest in, however, by now you know they are actually crucial components to achieving a flawless complexion. In order for you to make the best use of these products, we have given you all of the information you will need to choose the right concealer for your complexion. Remember that they are used for various purposes like covering dark circles, blemishes and even to highlight areas of your face.

Because concealers come in different colors and consistencies depending on what they are meant for, it can be easy to make a mistake when buying or applying these products. For this reason, we have given you all the best tips regarding the application and process of choosing these products. It is our hope it will help you avoid making mistakes when trying to conceal any little bothersome imperfections.

Tell us about your experiences using concealers and let us know what you liked best about this guide. As always, if you found any of this information useful, don’t forget to share it with friends!

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