As a mom of three kids under six years old, the past few months have been filled with dance parties, hiking adventures, weekend beach trips, and many sleepless nights. Although—let’s face it—even if I’m not up with my kids, I’m most likely staying up late binge-watching Arrested Development.
Because of this, concealer has become my secret ingredient for the recipe of motherhood. I keep the majority of my makeup light and natural during the day, but I rely on my concealer to cover, highlight, brighten, lift and camouflage to make me look fresh and, you know, alive. The trick is finding the right one for the right occasion.
When I’m purchasing a new concealer, I look at the formula, level of coverage, longevity, and price point. Whether you have permanent dark circles or a string of late nights, concealers vary in their level of coverage, so if you’re going to buy one, you want to make sure it works. I tried six of the buzziest formulas on the market to determine which one works best for tired mom eyes. Keep reading for the concealers you’ll want to make room for in your makeup bag, and maybe even your diaper bag for a quick touch-up.
About My Skin
I have combination skin and opt for a natural makeup look. I rely on concealer to look less tired and cover-up breakouts, especially in my chin area. My biggest skincare concern is undereye circles, which seem to worsen exponentially, even when I am rested. I drink decent amounts of water, have a multi-step skincare routine, and my kids are mostly on a sleep schedule. Still, sometimes I need a good concealer to hide the effects of many sleepless nights over the past few years. My ideal concealer camouflages my undereye circles without looking cakey and makes me look awake and ready to take on the day.
Kosas Revealer Concealer
Kosas is one of the most innovative brands on the market today, from the formulas to its on-point packing. I have used Concealer Revealer since its launch in early 2020 and continue to use it daily. One time, my toddler casually tossed my beloved Kosas tube into the toilet, and I immediately opened my Sephora app and placed another order. This creamy and light concealer has great coverage and still creates a natural, skin-like look.
I use it as my everyday concealer to camouflage under-eye circles and look more alert. This is an excellent option if you want to brighten and even out your skin tone but don’t necessarily want a full face of coverage.
I particularly love that this formula is a makeup product with skincare benefits. While ingredients like caffeine and pink algae extract brightens the skin, arnica creates a soothing effect, and hyaluronic acid plumps the skin. After I use this concealer, my skin looks better and dewier. I usually never need to follow up with the foundation regularly. Concealer Revealer comes in 28 shades, and the brand offers a shade finder to help you find one that best works with your skin tone.
Glossier Stretch Concealer
I use the Glossier Stretch Concealer as a spot treatment for breakouts and light coverage for under my eyes. Although it offers light coverage initially, it is buildable and blends beautifully. When I want more coverage, I can easily layer this formula without worrying about creasing. At $18, I love that it's affordable and it lasts. I've had mine for over six months and still have plenty of product left.
I like to warm the concealer by rubbing it between my fingertips and applying it lightly where I need more coverage. It feels smooth on the skin, and you'll almost forget you have any makeup on. Ingredients like beeswax and microcrystalline wax give the concealer an elastic consistency, so it doesn't feel stiff, while avocado and jojoba oil prevents moisture loss.
Tarte Shape Tape Concealer
Tarte Shape Tape has held a permanent place in my makeup bag for years. This is the concealer I used when my six-year-old didn't fall asleep until midnight, my four-year-old had a bad dream and ended up in my bed, and my 17-month old baby decides he no longer needs sleep. I use this product when I need some serious assistance. The formula accurately claims 16 hours of wear, visible smoothness, and brightens the undereye area.
It's infused with shea butter to help retain the skin's elasticity, licorice root to brighten the appearance of dark circles, and mango butter to help moisturize. With a wide range of 35 shades, you are likely to find a color that works with your skin tone. The larger applicator allows you to apply more product at a time and then blend accordingly to cover dark spots and blemishes.
Dior Forever Skin Correct Concealer
When I first applied the Dior Forever Skin Correct Concealer, I noticed that my skin had a velvet-like finish and looked refreshed. This is my "stayed up late working, and the baby woke up at 5 am" concealer, and it works wonders. It offers 24-hour wear and buildable coverage. The concealer hides under-eye circles and helps with zits without settling into skin lines.
It also photographs well, so I don't need to worry about getting that ghost look with flash photography. My only qualm is that the price is on the steeper side, but bright, refreshed skin is worth it. With a range of 30 shades, you can find your shade based on your skin undertones. I use shade 2 in Warm Olive.
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Away Concealer
This concealer is equal parts full-coverage and long-lasting, and it's great for color correction and spot treatments. Persian silk tree bark extract reduces the appearance of crow's feet, dark circles, and puffiness. Extract of wild indigo helps enhance luminosity and add brightness to the under-eye area.
While there are a lot of pros to this concealer, it has one considerable major flaw. Although the applicator is a soft sponge designed to hug the under-eye area for a flawless application, the sponge absorbs much of the product. It takes many clicks for the product to come out, and I find a lot of it gets wasted.
Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer
The Nars concealer is a cult-favorite product, so I had to find out for myself if it lived up to the hype. The formula is medium-coverage, and a little goes a long way. It’s become my go-to concealer for a full face of makeup. I also used it recently to conceal a very stubborn zit, and it worked like magic. One downside is that it can look thick if you apply too much.
I have repurchased it several times and have experimented with different shades before finally landing on Praline, my go-to for medium skin with olive undertones. I recommend starting with the mini for $13 if you’re experimenting with finding your perfect shade.
The Nars concealer blends well and does not crease, even after sweating and momming on a hot summer day. In addition to great coverage, the formula has a botanical blend of magnolia bark extract, grapeseed extract, and vitamin E to help hydrate and reduce redness. With over 12,000 reviews on Sephora and an overall rating of four stars, it’s worth a shot.
- Best budget: At $18, Glossier Stretch Concealer, conceals and brightens in the most cost-effective way possible.
- Best multitasker: If you’re looking for a light and creamy concealer with skincare benefits, choose Kosas Concealer Revealer.
- Best splurge: With a velvet-like finish and 24-hour wear, Dior Forever Skin Correct Concealer is worth the investment.
- Best full coverage: The internet loves Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer for a good reason: It provides a full-coverage look without appearing or feeling too heavy.
As beautiful and aesthetically pleasing a product is, in the end, it’s about how well it works and does it deliver on its claims. With a great concealer, any sleeplessness that transpired from the previous night disappears, and all that is left is flawless skin and a mom who is maybe ten minutes late for Kindergarten drop-off.