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Best concealer 2023: Banish blemishes, conceal dark circles and hide redness

Looking to give your skin the finishing touch? This is our pick of the best concealers, from pocket-money prices to premium treats

Concealer is the can’t-live-without sidekick to foundation – that little extra bit of insurance for our skin. Whether you like to team it with your base to create an all-over even finish, or just want to hide the odd blemish in a hurry, concealer saves the day in one quick dab, slick and blend.

But not everyone is content with their concealer. If the formula’s too dry, your skin can look caked and crusty. Too oily a formula wipes off within minutes. And let’s not even talk about the ones that gather in the lines of the face. Here’s our list of the only concealers you need to know about – taking in each one’s special qualities, and catering for all skin types and preferences. If you’re in the market for a new concealer, read on for the best of the best.

How to choose the best concealer for your skin

What factors should I think about when buying my concealer?

The first thing to consider is formula. If you have oily skin, the best formula to go for is oil-free, which will help to flatten the look of blemishes instead of accentuating them. If you have dry skin, opt for a creamy formula that will help to hydrate at the same time as concealing the problem. Aside from that, think about what you want to use your concealer for. A denser texture, for example, will work harder at hiding pigmentation, while a more fluid texture is ideal for thinner skin under the eyes.

How much should I spend?

The experts say you shouldn’t spend more on your concealer than you do on your foundation. A concealer is a supporting act, meant to either enhance your base or cover up and contour only selected areas of the face. While it’s important to buy the right one for your needs, this shouldn’t be where the majority of your budget goes.

What other things do I need to think about?

Think about application method: how do you prefer to apply your concealer, and in what circumstances will you be using it? If you like to get stuck in, you might choose a pot that you can dab your finger into. But an on-the-go girl may prefer a different approach, to keep mess (and bacteria transmission) to a minimum. If you’re a fan of precision, choose a concealer with a doe-foot applicator for hard-to-reach areas, which you can then blend with a brush.

How we test concealers

At Expert Reviews, we know that hands-on testing delivers the most complete overview of a product. As such, we personally test all of the concealers in the roundup, following the directions on the packaging.
We first note the formulation of the product – whether it’s a cream, gel or liquid – and use the concealer as directed, noting its effects in terms of reduction of under-eye circles, success in concealing spots, blemishes or hyperpigmentation, and effectiveness at highlighting areas of the face. We then wear the concealer over the course of a typical day and note any caking, flaking or dryness, and determine how long a single application of concealer lasts. We also note the fragrance, how comfortable the product feels on the skin – particularly on the delicate under-eye area – and the overall ease of use, including how much of the product is required to achieve the desired effect.

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The best concealers you can buy in 2023

1. Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer: Best concealer for dark circles

Price: £24 | Buy now from John Lewis & Partners

Nars’ brightening, skin-enhancing, smoothing liquid formula is so good that you could skip the foundation, and just apply it directly to the bits that need covering up. The doe-foot applicator makes it easy to pinpoint these areas, and every time you pull it out of the container there’s a generous amount of product to play with.

On that note, be warned that a little goes a long way – but once you’ve mastered how much you need for each application, the product blends beautifully into the skin. It will instantly brighten and even out any darkness that you might have under your eyes and won’t settle in creases. A must for those wanting high coverage, a flawless finish and lots of shade options.

Key details: Available in 15 shades.

2. Glossier Stretch Concealer: Best cream concealer

Price: £15 | Buy now from Glossier

The Glossier Stretch Concealer looks like your skin but better. Unlike most cream formulas, this lightweight concealer helps to blur blemishes without completely masking your face for an untraceable finish that looks fresh and natural on your skin. We found that the Stretch concealer didn’t cling to dry patches or give a cakey effect when building on areas that need a little extra coverage, or settle in fine lines around the eyes and mouth. It did a great job at staying put throughout the day but we’d advise setting the product with a sheer powder for extra insurance.

Since Glossier’s stretchy formula goes a long way, lightly swirl your finger in the pot before dabbing over the area you want to cover. The concealer’s nourishing blend of cocoa butter, avocado oil and jojoba oil will pair perfectly with dry skin types but it may prove too rich for combination to oily skin. Overall, this cruelty-free concealer is our go-to product for holiday makeup or a polished daytime look.

Key details: Available in twelve shades.

Buy now from Glossier

3. Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch concealer: Best concealer for range of shades

Price: £19 | Buy now from Boots

Gone are the days of struggling to find a shade of concealer that matches your skin and foundation. Rihanna’s makeup brand Fenty Beauty offers fifty (yes, fifty!) different shades of concealer to compliment its sister foundation, the Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Foundation. This creamy concealer is the solution to all skin concerns; dark circles, thread veins, acne marks and blemishes are gone in a flash after a couple of dabs.

A little goes a long way with this lightweight formula: so, lightly build the product over problem areas until you’re happy with the level of coverage — and don’t worry, the concealer won’t crease or give a cakey finish. Our thoughts? Rihanna’s onto a winning formula with her long-wearing Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch concealer.

Key details: Available in 50 shades.

Buy now from Boots

4. Collection Lasting Perfection: Best high coverage concealer

Price: £4 | Buy now from Boots

Collection’s Lasting Perfection concealer is a staple in many beauty bloggers makeup kits for good reason. The high coverage concealer gives a flawless finish without settling in fine lines or pores – like an Instagram filter for your face. The water resistant and transfer proof formula lasts up to sixteen hours and covers dark circles, blemishes and redness with ease. It can also be used to highlight down the bridge of the nose, cheekbones and the cupids bow for a sculpted look. For the best application, we’d recommend applying the liquid concealer with a damp beauty blender. This will make the product look smooth and natural on the skin.

Overall, Collection’s Lasting Perfection is perfect if you want a long-lasting and high coverage concealer on a budget. Our only bugbear is that darker skins aren’t catered for in the limited variety of colour options.

Key details: Available in five shades.

5. YSL Touche Éclat: Best highlighting concealer

Price: £26 | Buy now from Boots

This iconic illuminating formula has been a favourite of top makeup artists worldwide since its launch 25 years ago, and it’s particularly great for concealing under-eye circles and achieving a radiant finish. The light texture enables it to blend easily and quickly, and it’s the perfect highlighter when applied along the tops of the cheekbones thanks to clever brightening properties.

Apart from the impressive formula, the stand-out feature of this product is the click-pen applicator: simply press down on the top to release however much liquid you need into the built-in brush. It ensures there’s no wastage, and the sturdy lid that shuts with a loud, click to won’t come off in your handbag. It’s a neat, mess-free way to transport your concealer that many brands have since mimicked.

Key details: Available in nine shades.

6. Maybelline Fit Me Concealer: Best budget concealer

Price: £6 | Buy now from Argos

If Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer is outside of your budget, here’s its high-street counterpart. It offers the same handy doe-foot applicator for precision, and it makes skin look radiant while expertly concealing problem areas. The gel-based cover up uses lightweight pigments for your skin to shine through and there’s no nasty filler in the formula – like clogging oils or waxes. It’s fragrance-free and non-comedegnic, so it shouldn’t irritate sensitive skin, plus, it stays put for up to ten hours – which is ideal when you’re out all day and don’t have the handbag space to keep your foundation and powder at hand. Overall, for the price it’s a great, hard-working concealer. Just note that the liquid formula tends to clog around the lid after a while: this can cause messy application and product wastage.

Key specs: Available in four shades.

7. Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage: Best high-end concealer

Price: £29 | Buy now from Amazon

This clever concealer comes in a two-shade compact – one to match your skin’s depth of colour and the other to match the undertone. Choose the combination that’s closest to your skin tone, then blend the two colours together to create your perfect concealer finish. The idea might sound gimmicky, but it really works – just allow a little extra time to blend and apply. The formula itself is creamy – perfect for drier skins – and being non-comedogenic, it stays put. It’s high in coverage too, thanks to strong pigments.

It’s a shame that the recommended applicator brush is sold separately – for this price, you’d expect a mini version to be included – but any small, synthetic makeup concealer brush should be fine for applying this sophisticated, upmarket concealer.

Key details: Available in six shade combinations.

8. Revlon Photoready Concealer: Best concealer for spots and acne prone skin

Price: £5 | Buy now from Amazon

Revlon’s PhotoReady foundation has been championed many a time, but its concealing partner is just as brilliant. Not only is it more than capable of hiding redness, acne and dark circles, it adds a luminosity to your skin thanks to clever light-diffusing Photochromatic pigments.

Its oil-free, cream formula is perfect for acne prone skin, gliding over it easily without the pulling or clogging that you might expect from a cream concealer costing under £10. It comes in a convenient twist-up stick, and can be applied either directly with your finger or a brush. With five shades to choose from, you might just find your perfect match.

Key details: Available in five shades.

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