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Concealers can have many different functions, but let’s not forget that their OG intended duty is to camouflage any and every kind of imperfection, from dark circles to blemishes. Speaking of, a good concealer is arguably the most invaluable product for anyone battling breakouts. Yes, it’s important to address the root of the issue with the right skincare products, but let’s be real—those products take time to work. In the interim, concealer is your BFF, the easiest way to hide prominent pimples, fast.
The best options on the market have creamy textures that blend seamlessly into the skin while still offering plenty of coverage—and many even do double duty, infused with acne-fighting ingredients that deliver skin-friendly benefits.
Ahead, the best concealers for acne we reach for time and time again, plus some expert shopping tips from makeup artist and licensed esthetician Lynnette Cole.
Best Overall: IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Breakout Full-Coverage Concealer
Infused with anti-aging peptides and hydrolyzed collagen
Drying lotion and concealer in one
Can be drying for some
Is this a makeup product or a skin care treatment? Answer: both. On the makeup side of things, this hybrid formula offers full-coverage pigments that never crease or cake, effectively covering up all kinds of blemishes, including deep cystic ones and acne scars. On the skincare side, it touts acne-clearing sulfur and alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids, along with antibacterial tea tree and oil-absorbing clay, offering similar benefits as a drying lotion.
Coverage Level: Full | Finish: N/A | Shades: 1: Deep | Size: 0.35 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Budget: Maybelline Fit Me Concealer
Lightweight and breathable
Settles in creases
Oil- and wax-free, this formula doesn’t suffocate the skin. Instead, its translucent base and lightweight pigments ensure that your skin looks like skin. But make no mistake about it, it still offers plenty of coverage to hide all kinds of imperfections, pimples included. Bonus points for the fact that it’s non-comedogenic, meaning you don’t have to worry about (any more) clogged pores.
Coverage Level: Medium | Finish: Natural | Shades: 7; Light to Deep | Size: 0.23 oz. | Cruelty Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes
What Our Testers Say
"The product is blendable, has a medium coverage, and gives my under eyes a naturally bright appearance. Since my circles are on the darker side, I have to layer the product twice, but my under eyes don’t look thick at all." — Khera Alexander, Product Tester
Best Drugstore: Neutrogena SkinClearing Blemish Concealer
Infused with salicylic acid to combat acne vigorously
Fights acne and conceals
Hard to match to skin tone
Salicylic acid is undoubtedly one of the best acne-fighting ingredients there is; the beta-hydroxy acid dissolves oil, helping to unclog pores, and is especially choice for knocking out blackheads and whiteheads.Adding it to a concealer is a brilliant move, essentially ensuring this cover-up acts as a simultaneous spot treatment. We also like the built-in sponge tip applicator that helps blend in the cover perfectly.
Coverage Level: Light | Finish: Natural | Shades: 5; Light to Deep | Size: 10.05 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Dewy Finish: Kevyn Aucoin The Sensual Skin Enhancer
5-in-1 concealer, corrector, foundation, highlight, contour
Mimics the appearance of healthy skin
Hard to blend out
This concealer is a cult classic for good reason. It’s truly unlike any other concealer out there—insanely rich, insanely buttery, and insanely pigmented. It’s those attributes that make it ideal for using on top of blemishes, though it works equally well to knock out dark circles, redness, and more. Plus, because you only need a teeny tiny bit for complete coverage, one jar lasts you a very long time.
Coverage Level: Full | Finish: Luminous | Shades: 7; Light to Deep | Size: 1.6 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
What Our Testers Say
"My dark circles were completely erased with the tiniest amount of product, and once I set it with a touch of translucent powder, it stayed put all day." — Khera Alexander, Product Tester
Best Shade Range: Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Instant Retouch Concealer
Light and airy
Sure, finding a concealer shade that matches your skin tone is always important, but it’s even more imperative when you’re trying to camouflage breakouts. After all, the last thing you want is a noticeably discolored spot calling attention to what you’re trying to conceal. The only problem? Concealers are kinda notorious for coming in very limited shade options. Happily, that’s not the case with this pick from RiRi’s brand, which comes in a whopping 50 hues. Despite the medium-to-full coverage, it still feels light and airy on skin and is also long-wearing and crease-proof.
Coverage Level: Medium-to-Full | Finish: Matte | Shades: 50; Very Light to Very Deep | Size: 0.27 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best for Fair Skin: Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer SPF 25
Infused with SPF 25
Melts into skin without creasing
Change to formula
This beloved stick now comes in a dozen shades, including several paler tones perfect for those with fair complexions. Extra smooth and creamy, it delivers an airbrushed finish that will make even the peskiest pimples disappear instantly. The addition of SPF 25 is just an added bonus.
Coverage Level: Full | Finish: Seamless | Shades: 12; Light to Deep | Size: 0.17 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best for Medium Skin: Armani Beauty Power Fabric Concealer
Resists settling into fine lines
Time-releasing oils create smooth blending
Don’t be fooled by the thin consistency of this formula; it packs a surprising amount of coverage with just one swipe and has a flawless matte finish. It also contains time-released oils that help ensure it never cakes or creases but always feels comfortable and hydrating.
Coverage Level: Medium-to-Full | Finish: Matte | Shades: 20; Light to Deep | Size: 0.2 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best for Olive Skin: Tarte Shape Tape Concealer
Per the name, you’ve likely seen plenty of videos on social media of this being used to contour. And yes, it is in fact great for that, but we’d be remiss not to mention how well it actually conceals, too. The buttery texture seeps right into the skin and then stays put, hiding everything that needs hiding for hours on end. It comes in a nice array of 30 colors, including lots of options for those with olive complexions.
Coverage Level: Full | Finish: Natural | Shades: 30; Light to Deep | Size: 0.33 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: 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 for Dark Skin: BLK/OPL Flawless Perfecting Concealer
Helps makeup pigments pop
Doesn't blend well
Despite the fact that this only comes in five shades, three of those are geared towards deeper complexions, and all of them feature a unique shade-matching technology to further ensure seamless coverage. It’s also packed with skin-loving vitamins A, C, and E, and has a gorgeous velvety finish that tamps down the oily look of blemishes.
Coverage Level: Seamless | Finish: Matte | Shades: 5; Medium to Deep | Size: 0.12 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Multi-Tasking: PÜR 4-in-1 Sculpting Concealer
4-in-1: Covers, brightens, renews, sculpts
Infused with age-busting retinol
Hard to match skin tone
When it comes to multi-tasking products, Cole recommends this concealer that’s packed with skin-loving ingredients. “It not only helps to cover under eye dark circles and address and smooth the appearance of blemishes and skin imperfections, but it also has ingredients like encapsulated retinol, sodium hyaluronate, caffeine, and antioxidants and can help cover, brighten, plump, and correct while providing a natural skin-like finish,” she says. “Consider it your concealer and breakout rescue all-in-one.”
Coverage Level: Medium-to-Full | Finish: Lightweight | Shades: 16; Light to Deep | Size: 0.32 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Long-Wearing: Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer
Creamy in application
When you know it’s going to be a loooong day, reach for this formula. It delivers a ton of complete coverage (credit a high concentration of pigments) but won’t budge, smudge, or rub off no matter what (credit a waterproof technology). Plus, it’s oil-free and has a matte finish, which is always helpful when you’re talking about acne-prone skin.
Coverage Level: Full | Finish: Matte | Shades: 10; Light to Deep | Size: 0.5 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Unknown
Best Vegan: KVD Vegan Beauty Lock-It Concealer Crème
Very blendable and creamy
Can crease a bit
Snaps for this formula for being both vegan and cruelty-free, along with offering that "only one swipe needed" type of coverage. The brand's Hydra-Boost complex ensures it’s nice and moisturizing, and it also has brightening pigments, perfect for erasing the look of blemishes. Its carefully tapered applicator tip is ideal for precise dotting, too. Overall, it's a great concealer for camo-ing anything and everything; Kat Von D herself even uses it to cover up tats.
Coverage Level: Full | Finish: Matte | Shades: 13; Light to Deep | Size: 0.22 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
What to Look For in a Concealer for Acne
Lightweight and Non-Comedogenic
When it comes to concealing acne, Cole recommends choosing a formula that is lightweight in texture and feel—heavy formulas may only further exacerbate acne. Non-comedogenic formulas are best, as they won’t clog pores and cause more breakouts.
Concealers are meant to camouflage blemishes, dark circles, and dark marks, not highlight them. That said, Cole says to find a formula that blends into your skin evenly and looks natural against your skin tone. The goal is to look like you’re not wearing concealer at all.
Cole also suggests looking for a multi-tasking formula packed with ingredients to provide additional skincare benefits as it conceals. Her recs include antioxidants, which boost collagen production, brighten and fade hyperpigmentation and dark marks (including those left behind from past breakouts), and protect the skin against environmental stressors and free radical damage, as well as hydrating ingredients, like sodium hyaluronate. Of course, acne-fighting and oil-controlling ingredients like tea tree oil are also a plus.
What does concealer do?
Concealer is typically used to cover blemishes, targeted spots, or under-eye circles, but you can also use it as a highlighter, contour, shadow primer, or to clean up your brow area after you’ve filled in your arches.
Should I apply my concealer before or after foundation?
This depends on what you’re working to conceal. While concealer can be applied either under or over foundation when covering under-eye circles, we recommend using concealer over a layer of foundation when hiding blemishes or spots.
Can I apply concealer with my fingers?
You can, and fun fact: Your body’s natural heat can actually help to warm up the product so that it spreads evenly over your skin. Make sure to blend it out well so that the product doesn’t leave behind any telltale lines.
Kornhauser A, Coelho SG, Hearing VJ. Applications of hydroxy acids: classification, mechanisms, and photoactivity. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2010;3:135-142. doi:10.2147/CCID.S9042