How We Tested
Hi, I’m Jessica, the lifestyle writer and resident beauty expert at Reviewed. When I was in high school, I dealt with cystic acne that left behind hyperpigmentation and uneven texture. Because of this, I often reached for full-coverage foundations and concealers that could essentially make my face a blank canvas for any other makeup I wanted to apply. Now that my skin tone and texture have evened out, I find myself instead searching for concealers that can blend well with my skin even on days where I don’t want to wear much makeup at all, which is increasingly more often as I get more confident with my skin. For this reason, it’s important to me that any concealer I have in my makeup collection is versatile enough to cover everything I want gone for a full glam look or to just cancel out some redness on my cheeks or darkness under my eyes on “no-makeup makeup” days.
Once I narrowed down the field to my five favorites, I recruited a panel of testers with a variety of skin colors and concealer needs to home in on our top recs.
Putting together a list of popular, highly reviewed concealers that our readers could fall in love with was a field day for me. I combed through articles, my YouTube watch history, and the best-seller pages and pared it down to 31 concealers (yes, that is actually a curtailed list).
With the help of Reviewed senior scientist Julia MacDougall, we designed our testing in three rounds with eliminations after round two. First, I dabbed up and down my arm with a red marker and painted each concealer over one of the dots to see how well it might cover a blemish. What I learned: None of the concealers could completely mask a bright red dot, and they all faded the same amount on my arm. (What can I say, not all our tests are winners.) Because of this, I didn’t disqualify any concealers and went onto round two.
At this stage, I put each concealer under my eyes to see how well it concealed darkness, how evenly and easily it blended across this delicate area of skin, and how well it stayed throughout the day. After scoring the concealers on Julia’s calibrated rubric, I had a better idea of which ones may be worthy of our Best Overall and Best Value spots. I selected a final five for round three, where I did my full makeup routine with each one. I’m no makeup artist, but this meant setting down each one with powder to see how it meshed with other products and layering on my everyday staples like brush and bronzer.
Beyond what the concealer looks like, we heavily weighted the shade range each concealer comes in. If it only came in 10 shades, points were docked. If it came in 30 shades but 25 of them were light or medium and only five were deeper, points were docked. We also paid attention to whether or not the shades had different undertones (warm, neutral, and cool) and how easy it was to shade match yourself when buying online.
In addition, because not everyone reading this will have my skin type or tone—normal-to-dry fair skin with neutral undertones—I enlisted the help of four panelists who tried the top four concealers and answered questions, just like I did, about the following attributes:
Application: How easy was it to apply the concealer? How would you rate the comfort and functionality of the applicator?
Coverage: How many swipes or how much concealer did it take to fully conceal what you wanted to cover?
Wear: How does the concealer hold up when you go through your normal makeup routine? Did the concealer stay on and stay effective throughout the day? How comfortable was it to wear the concealer throughout the day?
Shade range: How would you rate the range of skin tones that this concealer comes in? Did the concealer shade you picked online match the shade that you received?
What Should You Know About Concealers
When you’re looking for a concealer, keep in mind where and why you want to use it—under your eyes, on blemishes, to accentuate the high points of your face, or even all over your face like foundation—and how much coverage you want. If you’re like me and you want a concealer that can do it all, and look great doing it, you’ve come to the right place. In my mind, the right concealer is versatile enough to blend smoothly over your under-eye area without settling into fine lines as well as cover up a pimple without clinging to any dry patches around it. It should also blend seamlessly for a skin-like finish, regardless of how much coverage it offers. If you want a thin layer of coverage that lets your skin show through or if you want to create a blank canvas, a great concealer can rock both without looking unnatural.
Concealers also come in two formula types: liquid, which are more common and typically come in a tube with a doe-foot applicator, and cream, which are thicker and come in a pot for dabbing onto skin with a finger or a sponge applicator or brush (though you can use those with liquid, too). You tend to get more coverage and a faster application process with a liquid concealer, but a cream is great for anyone who prefers lighter coverage that’s built up with each dab instead of having to swipe it on and quickly blend before it dries.
Additionally, you can find concealers specifically for color correcting in both cream and liquid forms. These come in colors like green, yellow, and pink, depending on what you want to correct. We opted not to test these, as they are usually layered before your foundation or flesh-toned concealer anyway.
Other Concealers We Tested
More Concealer Options
The Neutrogena Healthy Skin Radiant Cream Concealer (available at Target) clung to dry patches that I didn’t know I had and only looked decent on my skin from far away.
The Wet n Wild Photo Focus Concealer (available at Target) has an incredibly limited shade range of just 14, majority being light colors. The applicator felt dry on the skin and didn’t hold a lot of product.
The Milani Cosmetics Conceal + Perfect Longwear Concealer (available at Target) looked dry on my skin, clung to patches as I tried to blend it out, and faded away throughout the day.
The Maybelline Fit Me Concealer (available at Target) offers light to medium coverage that looks fine on the skin, but has a scarce shade range of just 18. Still, I liked the Fit Me better than the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser (available at Target), which comes in a tube with a sponge-tipped applicator that the product comes through, making application messier and seemingly less hygienic.
The Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place Flawless Wear Concealer (available at Sephora) was not a standout in any of our tests. It faded throughout the day, took a little more concealer to cover everything, has an unimpressive shade range of 22.
Both the E.L.F. Cosmetics Hydrating Camo Concealer (available at Target) and the E.L.F. Cosmetics 16HR Camo Concealer (available at Target) felt heavy and looked dry on my skin, though the Hydrating Camo was a tad better.
The Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Ultra Longwear Concealer (available at Sephora) creased right away and settled into all of my fine lines—hardly “flawless.”
The It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Concealing Pot (available at It Cosmetics) required me to dip into the pot several times to get light coverage that barely faded my under-eye circles.
The MAC Cosmetics Studio Finish SPF 35 Concealer (available at MAC Cosmetics) has light coverage that settled into fine lines and wears off within hours.
The RMS Beauty Un Cover-Up Concealer (available at Sephora) certainly was lightweight (as promised), but that meant it didn’t cover anything despite multiple layers. It was also too emollient to stay in place.
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We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.