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I like to think of concealer as the workhorse of your base. While its first job is to conceal imperfections like dark circles, breakouts, and acne scars, it’s flexible enough to give you even more benefits. “Concealer can be used to brighten the skin, camouflage loose brow hairs, help define brow shape, and more,” says Latisha Rankin, a celebrity makeup artist based in NYC.
When choosing the right formula, Rankin suggests keeping your lifestyle in mind. Work 12 hours a day and have no time for touch-ups? “Invest in a 24-hour concealer as the coverage will last longer and the texture is richer.” Tend to use concealer only in specific areas? “Go for a buildable, liquid formula that can give you a more natural finish.”
As for finding the right shade, Rankin says it should be fairly simple if you already know your foundation shade. “Your concealer shade should be one shade lighter than your foundation,” she says. Unsure of either? Simply swatch a few shades directly on your jawline. From there, determine the shade that blends in the best and go for one shade lighter than that.
Below, explore the best concealers for your most even complexion yet.
Best Overall: NARS Creamy Concealer
There’s a reason this concealer is a holy grail in Rankin’s kit. “Not only does it give your skin a natural and soft finish, but it’s also the easiest product to use with any beauty tool of your choice–fingertips included,” she says. Byrdie Editorial Director Faith Xue also swears by it for disguising the look of dark circles.
Most Popular: Tarte Shape Tape Concealer
You'd be hard-pressed to find this concealer off any "best of" lists for its category because people everywhere adore it, including Byrdie Senior Editor Hallie Gould. A cult favorite, you’ll find a ton of skin-loving ingredients inside—like plumping shea butter and brightening licorice root extract—to bring your complexion to a better place. Its iconic name is all thanks to its formula—it acts like tape to firm, lift, and smooth your skin.
Best Budget: NYX Professional Makeup Hi Definition Photo Concealer Wand
Fake a great night’s sleep with this mighty concealer. It masks everything from the slightest imperfection to overall redness. The handy wand also makes it easy to dab and blend—even on the go. And if you’re looking extra power, this formula also comes in color-correcting shades like brightening lavender and neutralizing green.
Best for Dark Circles: Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Dark Circle Concealer
It’s hard to pick a favorite perk when it comes to this concealer, a staple in the makeup bag of Byrdie Associate Editor Holly Rhue. From its pillow-soft, built-in applicator to the addition of anti-aging goji berry, it’s an all-around a winner. But, if I had to choose a standout benefit, it’d be how successfully the formula masks dark circles. While the concealer alone is enough to cover them up, those with severe dark circles can take it a step further and apply the Neutralizer shade first for maximum coverage.
Best for Breakouts: Almay Clear Complexion Concealer
Don’t just cover up your breakouts—heal them. This formula specifically handles angry blemishes, from full-blown zits to budding pimples. While FDA-approved salicylic acid targets the blemish head-on, chamomile and aloe soothe the area to prevent further irritation.
Best for Dark Spots: Black Up Radiance Concealer
Packed with peptides, this formula reduces puffiness and strengthens the skin around the eyes. Reviewers also rave that the luminous formula helps to give them a natural, well-rested glow. Our favorite part: The applicator pen makes it easy to dab and blend without double-dipping.
Best Waterproof: L'Oréal Infallible Full Wear Waterproof Concealer
Beat the heat, splash around, and get your workout in—all while looking flawless. With a high amount of coverage, you’ll be able to cover imperfections like redness, scars, and breakouts. Reviewers note that the formula dries quickly, so don’t forget to blend immediately after application.
Best Light Coverage: Glossier Stretch Concealer
If you need a hint of coverage, this much-talked-about concealer does the trick. Picking up a thin layer of product, warm it up between your fingertips and dab onto areas of concern. Big plus: This formula is buildable, so repeat the application step until you get the coverage you need.
Best Full Coverage: Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Instant Retouch Concealer
Like a filter in a bottle, this fan favorite provides a soft-focus, diffused finish that still looks and feels like your skin. Because the texture is rich, make sure to start small and build from there. Reviewers love using this formula as an eye primer—it helps to keep your shadow in place.
Best Splurge: Tom Ford EmotionProof Concealer
Despite being full coverage, reviewers love that this formula doesn’t cake or feel sticky. The texture is on the thinner side, so users found their end result looking more skin-like and natural, but with their imperfections and discoloration effectively evened out.
Best Longwear: MAC Studio Fix 24-Hour Smooth Wear Concealer
For concealer that stays put all day, Rankin looks to this oil-free formula for herself and for her clients. “It’s long-lasting, so when my clients are under hot lights or are hosting events, it’s perfect because it requires fewer touchups,” she says.
Best for Dry Skin: Too Faced Born This Way Super Coverage Multi-Use Concealer
The first thing I noticed after applying this hydrating concealer was how well it blended into the dry patches of my skin. It didn’t draw any attention to those spots but instead evened them out. Reviewers echo the same statement—one even reported that her under-eye stopped feeling and looking dry.