I Have Dark Under-Eye Circles—These Are the Only 11 Concealers That Work for Me
If I had to use only one makeup product for the rest of my life, I would choose concealer every single time. As someone who is prone to acne scarring, has chronic dark circles, and spends a lot of time trying to minimize her uneven skin tone, it's safe to say I rely heavily on concealer. Considering I don't really wear foundation, I use concealer in a myriad of ways. Not only does it disguise my under-eye bags, eradicate any signs of breakouts, and cover up any redness, but it also works to even out my skin in a way that just leaves me feeling better about myself.
In fact, I believe concealer to be so good that I'm not really sure any of us would ever need to buy foundation again if we just knew which formulas to look out for. Like most us, I like for my makeup to look natural and for my base products to leave my skin looking like mine, just a bit better. It's for this exact reason that nine times out of 10, I prefer to apply concealer just in the areas I need it rather than coat my entire face with a layer of foundation.
And while I hate for my foundation (when I opt for it) to be heavy-duty or full-coverage, I firmly believe that all good concealers should be exactly that. I want my concealer to hide whatever I want it to hide, but I also like it to have a skin-like finish, avoid creasing and be easy to apply. That's not so much to ask, is it?
Turns out it really is. In fact, I've tried every concealer that has ever come my way as a beauty editor (of which there have been hundreds), and I can safely say there are only 11 full-coverage concealer formulas that I feel confident enough to recommend to those with intense dark circles and uneven skin tone like myself. So to prove to you just how good these concealers are, I've snapped myself in every single one—no primer, no foundation, no other base products at all in fact, just concealer. Keep scrolling to discover the 11 best full-coverage concealers I've ever used.
1. Nars Soft Matte Complete Concealer
Shannon wearing Nars Soft Matte Complete Concealer.
Although this concealer has a matte finish, it manages to look impressively skin-like. In a handy pot, it's super easy to apply—just stick your finger in and dab the creamy formula into the areas you need it most. Not only does it work a treat at covering up angry, red spots, but it also does a stand-up job at disguising dark circles. If you have dry skin, you might benefit from a layer of moisturiser underneath to help give it some slip, but other than that I have no critique. It's just excellent. It's so good, in fact, that I've bought it four times, and I'll continue to do so forever more.
2. Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer
Shannon wearing Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer.
You might be surprised to learn that the iconic Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer doesn't feature on this list. Although I adore the hydrating, creamy, skin-like finish, I personally think this stuff is better. Its creamy nature doesn't make it quite as full-coverage or as long-lasting as the aforementioned Nars Soft Matte, but the creamy formula stretches far (making it the perfect alternative to a full face of foundation), and it does a truly outstanding job at evening out skin tone.
3. Ilia True Skin Serum Concealer Stick
Shannon wearing Ilia True Skin Serum Concealer Stick.
Despite the fact that Ilia's True Skin Serum Concealer is new to my collection, I've used it every single day since having it. In all honesty, I'm not sure I ever want to be without it again. Formulated with impressive skincare ingredients, it has a skin-like, natural-looking finish that puts every other concealer out there to shame. Is it the most full-coverage I've ever used? No, but that's the beauty of it. My dark circles and red zits are visibly reduced, though, leaving my complexion looking happy, healthy and glowing.
4. Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer
Shannon wearing Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer.
I've said it once before, but I'll say it again: When it comes to this concealer, you don't really need it. At $75, it's the very definition of an unnecessary luxury purchase. However, it's so good that I would consider it irresponsible to leave it off this list. The closest thing on this list that I can liken it to would be Nars Soft Matte Complete Concealer, but this stuff is a little bit creamier and less drying on the skin. I know models and makeup artists who swear by it for covering up under-eye bags during fashion month for the simple fact that it really is the best. Can you get similar results for a fraction of the price? You better believe it. But if you have the money to spend, this is a good way to spend it.
5. Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Flawless Wear Concealer
Shannon wearing Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Flawless Wear Concealer.
I'm not a fan of Estée Lauder's iconic Double Wear foundation—I find it too full-coverage and mattifying on the skin. This concealer, however, is stunning. In place of foundation, I swipe the doe foot liberally under my eyes, around my nose, and in any areas of unwanted redness for an impressively even-looking complexion in a matter of seconds. If I needed a concealer to last all day and all night without any major need for reapplication, I'd reach for this.
6. Nyx Professional Makeup Bare With Me Concealer Serum
Shannon wearing Nyx Professional Makeup Bare With Me Concealer Serum.
Another stellar budget buy, this stuff is beautiful. Ideal for no-makeup makeup days, it has a serum-like finish that leaves skin looking hydrated and plump. (Dry skin is to be avoided when it comes to concealer application, particularly if you want to steer clear of patching and creasing.) Formulated with cica, it helps to take down redness while it works to disguise everything else without leaving any greasy-looking "glow" behind.
7. KVD Beauty Good Apple Lightweight Full-Coverage Concealer
Shannon wearing KVD Beauty Good Apple Lightweight Full-Coverage Concealer.
I couldn't believe how much I loved this concealer when I first tried it. KVD Beauty is not a brand I'd typically go for. Known for its avant-garde looks and full-coverage formulas, I assumed it would be far too cakey for me, but my gosh was I wrong. Just the smallest of dabs will have it covering up everything in its tracks. Once applied to the skin, the cream formula transforms into a malleable putty that quite literally disguises everything it touches.
8. Benefit Boi-ing Cakeless Concealer
Shannon wearing Benefit Boi-ing Cakeless Concealer.
An oldie but a goodie, Boi-ing has been in my rotation since I was a teenager. In fact, it was the first concealer I ever fell in love with thanks to its ability to eradicate every trace of my dark circles. Over the years, the formula has changed somewhat (originally I used the balm-like version that came in a compact), but it's just gotten better and better. Another concealer that is ideal for applying only where you need it on non-foundation days, it gives the illusion of airbrushed skin without any of the usual telltale signs you're wearing makeup.
9. Jillian Dempsey Spot Stick Concealer
Shannon wearing Jillian Dempsey Spot Stick Concealer.
A warning: If you have dry skin, you'll probably hate this stuff. However, if you have oily skin or have just applied a fresh layer of hydration, it is absolute perfection. Its high-coverage, precise nature makes it an absolute winner for covering up spots. While you might want something a little easier to blend for under-eye circles and bags, when you wake up to an angry zit, this is the makeup product you want on hand.
10. Charlotte Tilbury Beautiful Skin Radiant Concealer
Shannon wearing Charlotte Tilbury Beautiful Skin Radiant Concealer.
I'll admit it took me a few weeks to try this after getting my hands on it. Historically, I'm not a big lover of Charlotte Tilbury's base products. However, given the fact I adore this concealer's sister product, Beautiful Skin Hydrating Foundation, and after I saw several beauty editors raving about its high-coverage formula, I thought I'd give it a go. Needless to say, it was love at first swipe. It's nourishing and glow-boosting in a way that doesn't leave you longing for powder. Truly skin-like, it disguises uneven tone and dark circles without covering them up completely, meaning it will never leave your complexion looking flat.
11. Tarte Shape Tape Concealer
Photo:@SHANNONLAWLOR FOR WHO WHAT WEAR
Shannon wearing Tarte Shape Tape Contour Concealer.
I've been clinging on to a tube of this since about 2013, when every beauty YouTuber out there voted it their number one concealer. A few months ago, I was sent a new one (which was a miracle because mine was disgustingly out of date and totally unusable), and I've rediscovered my love for it all over again. It's creamy, blendable, full-coverage, and beautifully pore-blurring. If you've never had the joy of using Shape Tape, consider 2023 your year.
This post originally appeared on Who What Wear UK.
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