I used to wear makeup every day of my life. When I was in high school, I remember saying something about how I'd rather perish than leave the house without foundation. Back then, makeup was somewhat of a security blanket. After all, if I was forced to face the world as I really was, people would see me for me, blemishes and all. It was a terrifying thought to a 16-year-old kid with spiking hormones and issues with acne.
As I grew older, my dedication to foundation and makeup faltered—whether it was because I was slowly growing more confident, or I was just too lazy to put on foundation every day, I can't tell. Either way, by the time I was in my mid-20s, makeup became something I saved for things like dates or job interviews.
Of course, it helped that my skin was finally cooperating. I'm by no means suggesting you have to cover your face, regardless of whether or not you have breakouts. That decision is yours. But for me, I wanted to get some coverage while I got to the bottom of why I was breaking out in the first place.
In this scramble, I found my soulmate, Charlotte Tilbury, that is. I’d known her before, of course—her K.I.S.S.I.N.G. lipsticks had long been my favorite on the market, particularly the “Bitch Perfect” shade (and not just because of the name). Turns out, at one point in previous years I’d also purchased her Retoucher concealer despite so rarely wearing makeup—and, at the time, I had no idea I’d found the best concealer I was ever going to try.
Pros + Cons
- Natural, dewy finish
- Creamy texture
- Users complain coverage can be poor
- Limited shade range
The Bottom Line
The Charlotte Tilbury Retoucher Concealer is a staple in my makeup routine. It's lightweight enough for everyday use, doesn't settle into fine lines, and gives me enough coverage to feel confident in my skin.
Charlotte Tilbury The Retoucher Concealer
Best for: Concealing imperfections
Star Rating: 4.7/5
Active ingredients: Squalane, fermented black tea, lipo-siliconic compound
Potential allergens: Silicones
Shade Range: 10 shades from 1-Fairest to 10-Dark
What's Included: Product only
About the brand: Charlotte Tilbury is one of the world's top celebrity and runway makeup artists. She founded her eponymous beauty brand, Charlotte Tilbury Beauty, in 2013. The award-winning brand specializes in makeup and skincare designed to compliment all skin types and tones.
About My Skin
Most of my consistent breakouts had subsided by my early 20s, and by the time I was 26, I hadn’t had a breakout in years. Of course, things change: I’m older now, and breakouts are becoming a slightly more regular thing. Though it’s likely due to a mix of stress and hormones, I haven’t been able to pinpoint the exact reason. And so, I’ve felt the need to come up with more of a makeup routine. Honestly, I did feel myself reverting to my 16-year-old ways, terrified to go outside without hiding my face because god forbid anyone sees my acne.
How to Apply
The Charlotte Tilbury Retoucher is slightly different than your traditional concealer. Instead of applying it with a wand, you apply the product directly to your skin from the brush tip, just like a pen. To apply, twist the bottom of the product (you'll be able to see a little bit of the concealer on the brush), and then apply directly to the areas you want to cover. Then, use your fingers or a damp beauty blender to blend the product into your skin.
And since that brush tip is directly touching your skin, Charlotte Tilbury recommends that you wash it once a week with gentle soap and water to get rid of any nasties like bacteria and dirt.
It was like angels were singing the first time I put it on my skin. I didn’t bother to apply foundation and instead painted the concealer over my skin and then blended it with my fingers. It melted into my skin seamlessly but remained hydrating enough to not dry out over the blemishes. The product buildable, so I could put more on the darker spots and less on the lighter ones if I wanted to. The formula boasts squalane, fermented black tea (which is rich in vitamins), and a compound specifically meant to fill in any skin grooves while covering bumps and breakouts. It smooths the skin in such a way that my breakouts look virtually invisible.
It melted into my skin seamlessly, but remained hydrating enough to not dry out over the blemishes.
After using the concealer for about two months and though a few blemishes popped up here and there during that time, the Retoucher has not once made anything worse (or left me with clogged pores). Other concealers I’ve tried have done this, so the difference is quite noticeable. Additionally, as someone who has grown to hate the feeling of having anything on their face—anything more than moisturizer makes me feel uncomfortable—this product is light enough that you don’t even notice it.
While getting to the bottom of why I’m suddenly breaking out is a priority, it’s a huge help knowing there is a product out there that helps in the meantime—and that makes my skin look like itself again.
The Charlotte Tilbury Retoucher fits right in the middle of the road as far as pricing is concerned. At $35, it's not as inexpensive as a drugstore brand, but it's not up there with the luxury options like Tom Ford or Clé de Peau. Would I buy it again? Yes. It feels great on the skin, doesn't make me break out, and conceals what I want hidden. My only negative is that the shade range does leave a lot to be desired. I hope that Charlotte Tilbury will add more shades in the future.
Similar Products: You have options
Yves Saint Laurent Touché Éclat All-Over Brightening Concealer Pen: This is the concealer pen that launched YSL Beauty into the stratosphere. This cult-classic product rings in at $38 and boasts 14 shades designed to brighten and illuminate your skin.
Givenchy Mister Light Instant Light Corrective Pen: This corrective pen is designed not only to conceal imperfections but to bring tired skin back to life. It has a soothing, liquidy texture that melts into the skin, and at $38, it's around the same price as the Charlotte Tilbury option.
If I had to rate this product on a scale of 1-5, I'd give it a solid 4.7. I only took off points for the shade range, but otherwise, the Charlotte Tilbury Retoucher does exactly as it promises. It hydrates, decreases fine lines, doesn't cause any breakouts (for me, that is), and has just the right amount of coverage. If you're looking for a new concealer this is truly a great option.