Whether you've had a late night and look sleep-deprived or have lingering dark under-eye circles, you have two options in the morning: You can reach for your trusty oversized sunglasses—or opt for something a little more practical like, you know, concealer. The makeup staple can pretty much be used to hide everything from blemishes and redness, and although it lives in the shadows of its all-star sister, foundation, this concentrated pigment is truly magical when used under the eye area.
And who better than professional makeup artists to help us rank the top concealers? These pros spend their days using various formulas in multiple shades and textures. They know what's up and can advise on which concealer to use for times when you need to fake those eight hours or sleep or neutralise dark circles. The best part is, a lot of them agree on the same ones, which only makes shopping for this multi-tasker even easier.
Keep scrolling to read on about the top six concealers these makeup artists agree on.
Kevyn Aucoin's versatile concealer is easily in every makeup artist's kit. Celebrity makeup artist Linda Hay chooses to use this for heavy coverage and fellow makeup artists Samuel Paul and Tym Shutchai Buacharern agree that a little bit of this pigment-packed concealer goes a long way.
"I love the colour range and the coverage that this product has," raves Tym. "It's buildable product, so you could go from sheer to full coverage with without looking cakey." Samuel's application technique is similar to Tym's, "Pat on with the index finger, which helps warm the concealer and melt into the skin." Tym adds, "The warmth from your fingers will give you a smooth finish."
Makeup artiste Fabiola notes that the colour range this product has makes it easy for anyone to find a match and Kristee Liu says that although she carries many concealers in her kit, she comes back to this one. "It has the ability to cover everything! It is versatile, blends easily and stays put all day. I like to use a round flat brush to apply and then use a wet Beautyblender to press it into the skin."
Linda Hay's application advice is essential given this concealer's thick consistency."Always apply moisturiser before applying concealer and be sure to blend it with your foundation. I use a small flat brush to apply and finish with my finger to make the perfect blend," she says.
If you're the low-maintenance type in the makeup department, then you'll love this easy-to-use dual-ended concealer. Celebrity makeup artist Tina Turnbow says that it is so foolproof, no extra tools are necessary. "It never fails to cover without looking cakey. I like the consistency and pigments. I dab on with the firm brush it comes with and then tap with my fingertips to blend and allow to sink in."
Linda Hay adds that this option is excellent for days when you don't need too heavy of coverage but still want to even out skin tone. Oh, and the highlighter tip is the quintessential finishing touch to look like you just slept for a full eight hours.
Two shades might look and sound intimidating, but the reliable results make this palette totally worth it. Celebrity makeup artist Pati Dubroff swears by this unique concealer. "This palette has two shades so no matter where on your face it's used, it will match impeccably," she says. "It also it stays put without looking dry." Makeup artist Vincent Oquendo notes that he likes to pair the cream formula with a luminous finish foundation for balance.
Makeup artist Vera Steimberg is also a fan of the two shade combo. "Layering the concealer on top of the neutraliser works really well. I tried it on different people and always works!" Makeup artist Lisa Aharon adds that the consistency of the formula lends versatility. "It's heavy enough to cover spots, bruises, and even tattoos in a pinch. Yet, it’s light enough to use under the eyes or as a sheer foundation," she says.
Steimberg applies the neutraliser before the concealer and advises: "Sometimes I add a little of moisturiser to thin it out." Aharon agrees and adds, "It will help you blend and distribute the product more evenly for that even and light coverage you desire."
While most artists all agree that this is a great product to use with a fluffy brush, Aharon has a two-option system depending on coverage needs. "This concealer works wonderfully with a brush. For smaller spots and more coverage, I like to pat it on with a small dense concealer brush and finish with a little translucent powder. Under the eyes, I’ll use something medium in size and a little fluffy."
If less is more sounds like your makeup philosophy, then look no further than this complement to Make Up For Ever's Ultra HD Foundation. Celebrity makeup artist Colby Smith swears by it. "The great thing about this concealer is that it gives coverage without the thickness. Less is more!" Makeup artist Julie Harris agrees, "I love it for under the eyes because they blend well and don't look cakey."
For application Colby is also about less is more, opting to use just a bit followed by optional powder. "My trick is to place the concealer in the little diagonal groove under the eye. By adding lightness and coverage to the dark area and leaving the outside of the eye clean, it allows you to pull the depth forward. This makes the under eye look smoother and brighter," he says. "Tap a little transparent powder on top for a more natural appearance."
When it comes to makeup for the average user, the easier it is to apply, the better. The shade selection is also a big part of what makes a concealer so great because, again, ease. Rita Ora's go-to MUA, celebrity makeup artist Kathy Jeung is a fan of this cult favourite, pointing out its foolproof usage. "This versatile concealer can give light to heavy coverage depending on how you apply it. Either way, you go, the results are long-lasting without any creasing or dryness," she says.
Makeup artist Kirin Bhatty loves that the name does it exactly what it says it will. "It melts into the skin, creating a flawless finish that feels good on the skin, and gives it a soft glow," she says. To up the glow-y factor, she uses a damp Beautyblender for application.
Celebrity makeup artist Gianpaolo Ceciliato calls the concealer's shade range "beautiful" and fellow celebrity makeup artist Tracey Levy adds, "There is a shade for everyone. The creamy formula can be sheer or built up to cover anything."
Gianpaolo adds that it's easy to blend, so novices have no excuse. "I use my fingertips for a natural light coverage or concealer brush for more coverage followed by powder." Makeup artist Sandra Ganzer echoes this by adding, "It's great applied straight from the tube and melted into the skin with your finger or a damp beauty blender. It couldn't be easier."
Selfie lovers will want to take a page out of makeup artist Michael Anthony's book because this compact concealer is way more than a space-saving luxe find. "It has a velvety texture and gives off medium to full coverage, which photographs incredibly natural," he says.
Celebrity makeup artist Quinn Murphy also notes that the coverage is gorgeous. "The colours are great for a realistic skin-like effect. It’s creamy and easy to apply, which gives good-looking coverage."
When it comes to application, either one of Michael's techniques makes buildable coverage easy. "I use this with a Beautyblender sponge or a fluffy brush so that I can build light layers to perfect a complexion or fix dark circles."
Did your favourite concealer make the list? Tell us in the comments!