Having an A+ concealer in our makeup arsenal pretty much makes us feel like we can take on the world. We know a breakout of blemishes, bruise-like dark circles, and other instances of discoloration are normal and for the most part largely out of our control as mere human beings. (Hey, sometimes Netflix just sounds better than sleep or we mindlessly forget to pack our visor before heading to the beach.) However, that doesn't mean we always want to show them off. We're very much in favor of feeling comfortable enough to go bare-faced, but for those times when we want to look like a glistening circle-, zit-, and pigmentation-free version of ourselves, an effective concealer is the ultimate antidote. Better yet, we'd rather make it an affordable drugstore formula that will save us bank account–induced stress sweats. Because yes, they do exist, and we found 15 options coming in at $12 or less to prove it.
On account of the fact we blow through concealer almost as fast as laundry quarters or Starbucks gift cards, we just don't find it savvy—or necessary—to spend an arm, leg, and entire month's cocktail budget on a concealer we'll swipe and blend away to the last drop in 30 days' time. Among the sparkling, fluorescent aisles of your local drugstore or the enticing offerings on Amazon, you can find a healthy crop of amazing drugstore concealers with a knack for filtering away dark circles, covering (and preventing!) blemishes, and nixing any other annoying or unwanted skin woes.
Since there's a lot to wade through, we rolled up our sleeves so you wouldn't have to and located the 15 best drugstore-priced concealer sticks, pots, and liquids lurking in the magic waters of Amazon. Ahead, 15 formulas you can buy for $12 and under and which we personally entrust when it comes to curbing our own shadowy or acne-prone skin woes.
Skin Concern: Dark Circles
You might be surprised to know that I've talked to multiple celebrity makeup artists (who have access to the best and most expensive concealers on the market) who swear by this under-$10 formula from Maybelline. You can apply it anywhere on the face for flawless and even coverage, but it's especially profound at nixing dark circles and signs of fatigue around the eyes.
One of the trickiest debacles when it comes to finding a great concealer to banish dark circles is the hydration factor. Sorry, but many lesser concealers (both cheap and not!) are incredibly drying, and there's just nothing more obvious or unsightly than under-eyes that looked caked, cracked, or creased. That's why this hydration-infused concealer stick from Neutrogena is an absolute must, especially if you're under-eyes are perpetually sensitive or parched.
We applaud this concealer's super-blendable foundation counterpart for its excellent shade selection, coverage, and all-around complexion-perfecting perks, and this circle-transforming concealer is just as good when it comes to our high standards. It breezily improves the severity of tired-looking under-eyes—even on those days when you feel like you have bruises for eye scokets—while also bolstering brightness.
Even though you can use this affordable concealer anywhere on your face, I'm personally a big fan of swiping it forcefully under and around my eyes, which are often dark. It instantly masks (without looking cakey) the telltale signs of insomnia, or late-night Netflix binging, and I even tell people it's an exact dupe for another concealer (which shall remain nameless) about 10 times its price.
No matter how dark the circle, this silky, creamy, non-creasing drugstore concealer from Iman is one that's always at the top of our most-recommended list. It's easy to stash in your purse, and while it's especially great for targeting shadowy under-eyes, it does other signs of discoloration or blemishes just as much justice as well.
Skin Concern: Acne
Specifically designed to, you guessed it, hide your blemishes, this little stick magically adapts to your skin tone and is easy to target breakouts or other signs of skin fatigue in a travel-friendly dot-and-blend fashion we're very much on board with.
This drugstore concealer from Almay is one of the absolute best for those struggling with acne—whether it's that annoying unexpected visitor who pops up pre-date or a persistent cycle of breakouts. This salicylic acid–infused pick clears the air (and your face!) thanks to a mighty ingredient list designed to target blemishes both immediately and down the line. The calming coverage it offers soothes your skin in the interim.
One part acne medication, one part effective concealer, this drugstore-priced formulation is a saving grace for those suffering from an onslaught of blemishes. It provides reliable coverage that won't cake or crease on top of bumps, and it simultaneously helps treat and eliminate existing acne while the brand's hard-hitting Microclear technology works to prevent future flare-ups as well.
Within the drugstore realm, Covergirl increasingly impresses by adapting, launching, and reformulating its beloved formulas to feature clean, cruelty-free compositions. This featherlight concealer is a standout from the brand and effortlessly tackles blemishes so they appear virtually nonexistent.
A blemish-clearing concealer that costs less than a plain Americano in Los Angeles? Count us in. E.l.f. Cosmetics is one of the best beauty brands in the industry when it comes to top-tier and effective formulas that play nice with our precious paychecks. The soft, doe-foot applicator easily covers up redness and blemishes, and the concealer's composition is cruelty-free and vegan to boot.
Skin Concern: Unevenness and Discoloration
One of our biggest qualms when it comes to cheaper concealer formulas is blendability—or rather, a lack thereof. Regardless of how perfect the shade might be, if a formula is too thick or chalky, it's never going to look natural, which means it's automatically ruled out in our book. This magic little stick from Black Radiance, however, is one of the best that comes in stick form. It's an oil-free option that packs a maximum punch where covering discoloration is concerned with zero cake or creasing.
Brace yourself because this concealer is so great for filtering out discoloration and dullness, it can actually be used all over your face as a concealer-foundation hybrid. Plus, it's a mere $10, which gives you major bragging rights in terms of salvaging your bank account. It's also waterproof (thus great for all-year wear), and none of the 25 different shade options will transfer, fade, or flake.
Full disclosure: We've yet to meet a formula from Nyx Cosmetics that has let us down in any capacity. The formulas are so on par with prestige counterparts that we're always semi-convinced we've been secretly cast on a reboot of Punk'd. Nyx happens to have an arsenal of game-changing drugstore concealers on tap, but for pesky discoloration or redness that arises anywhere on our complexions, we reach for this full-coverage number. It's easy to apply and blend thanks to the soft, doe-foot applicator, and the brand recently added another 12 shades for some much-needed expansion.
One of the reasons we're often tempted to reach for pricier concealer formulas is their impressive skincare-meets-makeup ingredient lists. But this budget-friendly tube from Maybelline meets us in the middle. Not only does it provide instantaneous color and spot correction for all over the face (not to mention some under-eye help), but it also contains antioxidant powerhouse acetyl-c—a more durable form of vitamin C—to improve the appearance of our skin in the long run, too.
We have major appreciation and love for this foundation-meets-concealer elixir from Milani, which is available in a whopping 29 shades. (Psst! Venus Williams is also a fan of the brand.) From dark circles to redness and basically every other issue of pigmentation, we rely on this water- and sweat-resistant drugstore concealer for a flawless, airbrushed-like finish. Plus, it's ultra lightweight, which bodes well for any season when you want to appear or feel as fresh-faced as possible.