We don't know about you, but some aspects of the holiday season make us feel a bit Scrooge-y in nature. Disturbingly long shopping lines would be one such example, and chapped, red, impossibly sensitive skin would be another. Sure, we can avoid a mile-long line at the grocery thanks to our handy laptop and beckoning duvet cover (thank you, online shopping), but tackling stubborn and sensitive skin is another beast entirely. So naturally, we took the only reasonable course of action and called in four celebrity makeup artists to help us with the dilemma.
Our question: What are the best concealers for sensitive skin?
Since it's part of their job to work with actresses, models, and singers with virtually every skin type, we couldn't think of anyone better suited to advise. After all, our skin isn't just sensitive this time of year; it can also veer oily, dry… and don't even get us started on dark circles and breakouts. To cover each and every base, our experts shared not only their favorite concealers for sensitive skin but plenty of other tips and tricks as well.
Keep reading for the nine best concealers for sensitive skin that will play fairy godmother to even the most irritated of complexions this season.
Fan: celebrity makeup artist Sir John
Clients: Beyoncé, Joan Smalls, and Karlie Kloss
"If you have redness from sensitive skin, this concealer is the dream because it's incredibly neutralizing," explains Sir John. "During this time of year, it's very common to have redness from things like broken capillaries around the nose and along the cheeks—that's when you want to go with a product with cooler undertones like Urban Decay's. If you're looking to conceal red, sensitive skin, this is my number one recommendation."
If your sensitive skin is looking for an extra hit of hydration, Sir John also shares that he likes this more nourishing pick from MAC: "It's my favorite for sensitive skin. It's really hydrating, calming, and comforting and works really well for dry skin types, as well. But it's not oily! It has this great whipped texture and never creases. If you know you're going to be outside and exposing your skin to the wind and cold this winter—for instance, if you're going skiing—this would be my recommendation."
Conversely, if you're prone to grease and oil, Sir John suggests looking for a concealer formula that's a bit on the drier side but can still offer full coverage to conceal any redness.
"If you have oily skin and are acne-prone, I would recommend going old-school and trying Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage ($35). It has a drier texture, so it won't deposit any excess oil or product into your pores. However, that being said, you never want to dehydrate the eye area—even if you have oily skin! You'll actually want to over-hydrate before applying a concealer that has a drier consistency like this one."
Additionally, Sir John tells us he never recommends a pressed powder to set concealer. Instead, he swears by a loose, translucent powder. A good rule of thumb: If you can't blow on the powder without it going everywhere, don't use it around the eye. His suggestion (which he actually discovered via Khloé Kardashian during a trip to Dubai) is Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Microfinishing Loose Powder ($36). According to Sir John, it works on virtually every skin tone and never imparts annoying flashback.
To lock it all in, he loves the MAC 224 Tapered Blending Brush ($32).
"I have 12 of them," he laughs. It's this big, fluffy brush that looks like an eye shadow brush, but it's the best for applying concealer if you're looking for an airbrushed finish. I recommend saving traditional concealer brushes, which can tug, for applying cream eye shadow and touching up the concealer around the lips. But if want to give yourself a beautiful, airbrushed, concealer look, always use the 224."
His parting tip: Hold it at the very end. "It's like an artist—if you look at a painter, they'll always hold their brushes farther down on the brush, which aids fluidity."
Fan: celebrity makeup artist Emma Day
Clients: Maisie Williams, Ella Purnell, and Olivia Culpo
"The main thing about this concealer is that it offers incredible coverage. Stressed, broken-out skin can be hard to cover in a way that looks natural—not cakey—but this full-coverage one has great staying power and will never irritate skin that's already super sensitive."
Thanks to its incredible coverage, this cult-classic concealer from Clé de Peau Beauté is another favorite of Day's. Here's her go-to application technique: "On myself, I'll just use clean fingers and pat it on (never wipe the concealer across as it will take off the product). Then, I simply set it with a transparent powder. For those with acne or sensitive skin, I recommend Jurlique Rose Silk Finishing Powder ($29) or Dermablend Loose Setting Powder ($27). When I'm working with clients, I'll use the Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage Concealer Brush ($26) instead of my fingers."
For maximum coverage (not to mention a super-stellar shade range), Day suggests this creamy option from Make Up For Ever. Matte, oil-free, long-lasting, and waterproof, it's great for camouflaging pigmentation from sensitivity and, truth be told, can be used anywhere on the body.
Fan: celebrity makeup artist Vincent Oquendo
Clients: Laura Harrier, Priyanka Chopra, and Elsa Hosk
"The texture of this concealer by EX1 is what makes it a great option for sensitive skin. It has great coverage, but since it's not overly creamy, it will never clog pores. I love the velvety texture, which covers blemishes and helps hide dark circles without looking caked on," says Oquendo.
"For the application, I like to use a soft, medium-sized eye shadow brush to buff the product on the skin. A brush that is too firm might deposit too much product and can also irritate sensitive skin."
Fan: celebrity makeup artist Lucy Halperin
Clients: Delilah Belle Hamlin, Mia Wasikowska, and Kate Mara
"I feel most concealers work on all types of skin, but you do have to be aware of dryness and texture if you're concerned about sensitivity. I really love this palette by Bobbi Brown as it has shades for all skin types and colors. Plus, it's an essential as the skin changes with the seasons," says Halperin.
For perfect application, Halperin suggests using your finger (just make sure they're clean!) so that the warmth of the skin and the precise size of the fingertip can get into every area that needs coverage without becoming overloaded with product.
"I also love this foundation stick by Hourglass for sensitive skin. It has a great creamy texture yet is full-coverage enough to use a concealer," Halperin shares.
"A trick I like to use with concealer is to combine it with a great primer, and I love Ren Perfect Canvas Skin Finishing Serum ($55). You just need a drop around the eye area, and it will work in lieu of powder to help the concealer adhere to the skin. Plus, you'll never have to worry about your makeup creasing throughout the day."
Next up: how to cure that stubborn dry skin around your nose, according to experts.