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When it comes to applying a full face of makeup, concealer is essential. Going on after foundation and before setting powder, its number one job is to cover under-eye circles, pimples, dark spots, and scars. But masking blemishes is far from the only thing concealer does.
Byrdie Researched & Approved
The Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer offers impressive coverage, versatility, and a healthy glow, making it our favorite product. For a budget-friendly option, consider the NYX Professional Makeup HD Photogenic Concealer Wand, which offers color correctors in addition to a wide array of shades.
Concealer can also be used as a cream highlighter, whether on the bridge of your nose, lower forehead, brow bone, cupid's bow, upper cheekbones, or chin. With multiple uses in mind, celebrity makeup artist Erika La' Pearl explains, "You want a concealer to give the skin a bit of brightness while eliminating any dark circles, concealing redness, and covering up any dullness on the face."
We conducted hours of research on the best concealers, gathering tips and recommendations from makeup pros, and beauty editors. For this roundup, we considered dozens of concealers evaluating each on coverage, finish, range of shades, color-correction, and ease of application.
Ahead, the best concealers for every skin type and tone.
Best Overall: Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer
Long-wear formula doesn't crease
Mini size available
Who else recommends it? Self, Good Housekeeping, and Today all picked the Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer.
What do buyers say? 12,500+ Sephora reviewers rated this product 4.3 stars or above.
While there are many stellar options on the market, Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer is a reigning champion. Dubbed the best by makeup artists and beauty fanatics alike, the award-winning formula does everything from contouring and highlighting to color-correcting.
"Not only does it give your skin a natural and soft finish," says former Byrdie Editorial Director Faith Xue, "but it's also the easiest product to use with any beauty tool of your choice—fingertips included."
Thanks to skin-loving botanicals, a tone-balancing mineral powder, and tiny light diffusers, this all-star concealer does an amazing job covering dark circles, correcting redness, and hiding blemishes for up to 16 hours. We also like that it comes in a mini size.
Key Ingredients: Botanical blend, mineral powder | Shades: 30 shades | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No
What Our Testers Say
"Everything I wanted to be covered was covered. I noticed my skin looked glowier, which is a nod to the radiant aspect of the formula. The concealer held up all day and didn’t crease on me." — Ashley Rebecca, Product Tester
Best Budget: NYX Professional Makeup HD Photogenic Concealer Wand
May sting eyes
Some people say NYX HD Studio is a budget-friendly dupe for Nars, and we're here for it. The medium-coverage, emollient-rich formula comes in 22 shades, including a few color-correctors, like neutralizing pastel green and skin-boosting shimmery lavender.
Key Ingredients: Glycerin, silica, aloe | Shades: 22 shades | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best Drugstore: Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Dark Circle Concealer
Goji berry has youth-boosting properties
Cap can get messy
Since its 2010 launch, Maybelline's Instant Age Rewind Eraser has been a shining star in the drugstore aisle. Byrdie Senior Editor Holly Rhue loves its clickable pen, pillow-soft applicator sponge. Reviews note this reliable formula makes for an all-around winning concealer.
Key Ingredients: Glycerin, goji berry | Shades: 17 shades | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No
Best Splurge: Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer SPF 25
Hydrating botanicals leave a cushiony finish
Anti-crease and caking formula
From the high-end beauty counter, we're big fans of Clé de Peau Beauté's concealer stick. The multi-tasking, long-wear formula boosts radiance and conceals while hydrating the skin and preventing photoaging with SPF 25. The texture is beyond soft for a cushiony finish that doesn't crack or dry out.
Key Ingredients: Titanium dioxide, green tea extract, chestnut extract | Shades: 12 shades | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No
Best Crease-Free: Tarte Shape Tape Concealer
Long-wear formula contains licorice root to prevent creasing
Shea and mango butter add hydration
It can be tough to achieve a totally crease-free finish, especially under the eyes, but Tarte Shape Tape is up for the task. Available in 25 shades, makeup artist Sophia Nawabi says she'd recommend this moisturizing waterproof concealer to people of all skin tones. Plus, she adds, "A little bit goes a long way," as the product is easy to manipulate with fingers for a smooth application.
Key Ingredients: Shea butter, mango butter, licorice root | Shades: 35 colors | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No
What Our Testers Say
“The biggest takeaway from wearing shape tape is how my skin looked lifted immediately after applying, and the fact I was able to use it to highlight my features, too, was a big win in my opinion.” — Ashley Rebecca, Product Tester
Best Long-Wear: L'Oréal Paris Infallible Full Wear Waterproof Concealer
Long-wear formula contains silica and glycerin for a smooth finish
Dries very quickly
When it comes to affordable long-wear makeup, L'Oréal's Infallible line is tough to beat. This waterproof concealer covers blemishes with ease and lasts for up to 24 hours. Just a heads up—it dries super fast, so make sure to blend it immediately.
Key Ingredients: Glycerin, silica, copolymers | Shades: 25 shades | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No
Best Waterproof: Kevyn Aucoin The Sensual Skin Enhancer
Jojoba oil provides hydration
Can get cakey without primer
With a formula that contains jojoba oil for hydration and honey to help calm inflamed skin, this Kevyn Aucoin concealer also boasts a blend of mineral oils to make it reliably waterproof. Nick Lujan, Education Director for Kevyn Aucoin Beauty explains this concealer is easy to manipulate and use in various ways. "I can apply it full-coverage or adjust the coverage by blending it with primer to make it sheer."
Key Ingredients: Mineral oil, jojoba oil, honey | Shades: 16 shades | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No
Best Matte: Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Instant Retouch Concealer
Formula diffuses light for a soft matte finish
Glycerin attracts moisture to skin providing shine-free hydration
We stand behind Fenty Pro Filt'r for those who prefer a shine-free finish. We love how this formula uses glycerin to attract hydration in skin without a heavy, oily texture. In addition, the formula is sweat-resistant, offers full-coverage, and glides on smooth with a soft-focus matte finish.
Key Ingredients: Glycerin, centella asiatica (cica) | Shades: 50 shades | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best Buildable: Glossier Stretch Concealer
Cocoa butter, beeswax, and jojoba add hydration
Not dry or cakey
From the brand known for its no-makeup makeup, Glossier's Stretch Concealer was designed for those averse to dry, creasy, cakey formulas. It contains beeswax, cocoa butter, and jojoba oil which make it easy to layer. The dewy finish adds dimension so you can build on coverage as needed.
Key Ingredients: Beeswax, jojoba oil, cocoa butter | Shades: 12 shades | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best for Dry Skin: Catrice Cosmetics True Skin High Cover Concealer
Hyaluronic acid adds hydration to formula
Limited shade range
Folks with dry complexions should reach for Catrice's True Skin Concealer, which contains hyaluronic acid. Celebrity makeup artist Robert Sesnek explains hyaluronic acid "helps the formula maintain its moisture levels, making the concealer feel like a second skin."
Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid | Shades: 15 shades | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best for Blemishes: Almay Clear Complexion Concealer
Salicylic acid helps clear pimples
Aloe helps reduce redness
Limited shade range
Almay Clear Complexion has your back in the battle against breakouts. Not only does this clever concealer cover blemishes, but thanks to salicylic acid and aloe, it also helps clear them while soothing irritation.
Key Ingredients: Salicylic acid, aloe, talc | Shades: 6 shades | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best K-Beauty: MISSHA M Magic Cushion SPF50+/PA+++
Witch hazel and niacinamide offer excellent hydrating benefits
Contains SPF 50
Limited shade range
Korean cosmetics companies are known for a skincare-first approach to makeup. With this in mind, Missha's Magic Cushion not only covers and conceals but also hydrates and smooths while enhancing your complexion and protecting it with SPF 50. The inclusion of niacinamide in the formula dials up the hydration, while also protecting the skin barrier and providing a soft, cushiony finish.
Key Ingredients: Bamboo water, witch hazel, niacinamide | Shades: 4 shades | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No
Best Shade Range: Pat McGrath Labs Skin Fetish Sublime Perfection Concealer
Diverse shade range
Hyaluronic acid and ceramides add hydration
Formula diffuses light
The best range of shades isn't necessarily the most shades. What we appreciate about Pat McGrath's Sublime Perfection is that the colors reflect a diverse range of skin tones. A mainstay of celebrity makeup artists, this ultra-smooth concealer covers, boosts radiance, blurs, and diffuses light with a radiant matte finish.
Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, ceramides | Shades: 36 shades | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best for Highlighting/Contouring: Beauty Bakerie Instabake 3 in 1 Concealer
Silica creates a blurring effect
Botanical extracts add hydration
Diverse shade range
Beauty Bakerie offers incredible products for shaping and contouring in shades for every skin tone. Their concealer matches a range of contour colors and highlight hues, while its texture-blurring formula makes it easy to add dimension.
Key Ingredients: Silica, talc, cassava extract | Shades: 18 shades | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best Pen: YSL Touche Éclat All-Over Brightening Concealer Pen
Hyaluronic acid and vitamin E add hydration
Launching in 1992 as one of the first color-correcting products with light-reflecting pigments, YSL Touche Éclat has been a fan favorite for nearly three decades. A couple of clicks from this sheer hydrating concealer pen allows for precise and easy application. Hyaluronic acid, vitamin E add hydration to the formula which makes blending a cinch.
Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, vitamin E | Shades: 14 shades | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No
Best Stick: Dermablend Quick Fix Concealer Stick
Easy to blend
Limited shade range
Not ideal for highlighting
Containing high-performance pigments, Dermablend Quick Fix is a portable concealer designed to cover pimples, birthmarks, dark circles, and sun spots. The formula is packed with hydrating ingredients including allantoin and beeswax for easy blendability,
Key Ingredients: Beeswax, kaolin, allantoin | Shades: 8 shades | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best No-Makeup Coverage: Merit The Minimalist Perfecting Complexion Stick
Sea daffodil extract helps diminish the appearance of dark spots
Fatty acids help condition skin
Sheer coverage provides a natural look
Coverage isn't as long lasting as other formulas
The Minimalist Perfecting Complexion Stick is an ideal light to medium coverage option, providing breathable coverage for a no-makeup look. The formula is made with a blend of fatty acids to lock in skin moisture without triggering acne. Sea daffodil extract helps diminish the appearance of dark spots and pigmentation to heal skin while providing coverage.
Key Ingredients: Sea daffodil extract, fatty acids | Shades: 20 shades | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best for Melanin Rich Skin : Ami Colé Skin-Enhancing Concealer
Baobab seed extract and pumpkin seed extract nourish and hydrate skin
Formula designed to cover hyper pigmentation
Some reviewers note product may cling to dry patches
A cult botanical favorite, Ami Colé is a brand to obsess over. The concealer, designed as an evolution of the brand's beloved Skin-Enhancing Tint, offers medium, buildable coverage in 12 shades designed specifically to match undertones in melanin-rich skin. Active naturals like baobab seed extract, pumpkin seed extract, and hibiscus extract add hydration to the formula for a buttery-smooth application and satin finish.
Key Ingredients: Baobab seed extract, pumpkin seed extract | Shades: 12 shades | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Our best overall pick is Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer, which is available in 30 shades. The beloved award-winning formula covers, corrects, conceals, and contours while diffusing light and leaving a soft, natural finish that lasts up to 16 hours. For a more affordable option, consider NYX HD Studio Photogenic Concealer, a medium-coverage formula that does an impressive job covering and color-correcting.
Meet the Expert
- Celebrity makeup artist Erika La' Pearl, who works closely with Cardi B.
- Nick Lujan, Makeup artist and Director of Artistry and Education at Kevyn Aucoin Beauty.
- Makeup artist Sophia Nawabi with experience in bridal makeup.
- Celebrity makeup artist Robert Sesnek, who has worked with talent such as Vanessa Hudgens.
What to Look For
The most important consideration is the shade, so be sure to view the colors on an untinted screen when shopping online. In most cases, you should opt for a concealer that's one to two shades lighter than your foundation. However, celebrity makeup artist Robert Sesnek says, "If you're using concealer for blemishes, I recommend matching it to your foundation."
Celebrity makeup artist Erika La' Pearl adds, "With the right shade of concealer—undertones are also super important when picking the right shade—along with your perfect foundation match, you can really achieve that seamless look."
Depending on what you're trying to achieve, the undertone for your concealer might be different than your foundation. For instance, if you have olive skin, your foundation might have neutral undertones, while your concealer may have peach undertones to correct for dark circles.
Like foundation, concealers offer different finishes, including matte, radiant, natural, and soft, as well as varying levels of coverage (sheer, medium, and full). "I personally like a moisturizing fuller-coverage concealer, as it can be sheered down or built up depending on your concerns," says Sesnek.
Most concealers come in lip gloss-style tubes with doe-foot applicators. This makes it easy to apply with precision while keeping things relatively sanitary. Concealer sticks, on the other hand, twist up and swipe on like lipstick.
Then there are little pots, along with clickable pens that deposit liquid through a sponge or a small brush. This is mostly a matter of preference, and in any case, you can always use a concealer brush or a makeup sponge to apply and blend the product.
What does concealer do?
A better question is, what doesn't concealer do? The main purpose of this makeup mainstay is to cover blemishes, such as pimples, scars, and dark under-eye circles. Additionally, you can use concealer to color-correct for things like hyperpigmentation and general redness. People also use it for highlighting and contouring.
"I love using concealers to spot-cover, color-correct, as a base for eyeshadow, and sometimes to highlight and contour the features," Lujan tells Byrdie.
How do you apply concealer?
The proper way to apply concealer depends on the formulation and what you're trying to achieve. Having said that, it should generally be applied after foundation. Using the included applicator, your fingers, or a makeup brush, apply the cream or liquid anywhere you want to conceal or highlight. "If you feel it's a bit dry under the eyes, I would mix it with an eye cream," says Nawabi.
Next, get to work blending. Sesnek recommends tapping it out with your fingers first and then using a sponge for a seamless finish. Lastly, Lujan says, "You can always set it with a little loose setting powder to adjust the level of radiance."
Where can you use concealer?
You can use concealer nearly anywhere. In addition to the more obvious blemishes and under-eye circles, you can apply it to your eyelids as a shadow primer, around the nose as a color-corrector, or around the eyebrows to achieve a clean line. People also often use lighter shades for highlighting the nose, chin, cupid's bow, and brow bone and deeper tones for contouring the cheekbones, upper forehead, and neck.
Why Trust Byrdie
Theresa Holland is a freelance copywriter specializing in cosmetics. For this story, she interviewed four makeup artists for product recommendations and insight into formulations and proper application. Before making her final selections, she looked at the reviews, key specs, and ingredients lists of a wide variety of concealers. These recommendations, in concert with our own testing insights determined the top-rated products included in this roundup.
The 20 best concealers, according to makeup artists. Self. https://www.self.com/story/best-concealers
15 best concealers to disguise blemishes, dark circles and more. Good Housekeeping. https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/beauty-products/g2458/best-concealers-reviews
11 hydrating concealers makeup artists swear by for dry skin. Today. https://www.today.com/shop/best-concealer-dry-skin-t248416
Lu J, Cong T, Wen X, et al. Salicylic acid treats acne vulgaris by suppressing AMPK/SREBP1 pathway in sebocytes. Exp Dermatol. 2019;28(7):786-794. doi:10.1111/exd.13934