kosas-concealer-lead.jpg

Whether you’re in need of some brightening after a subpar night’s sleep, you want to look extra flawless for a special occasion or you just constantly battle dark circles, under-eye concealer is a makeup must-have. No matter what type of beauty look you’re going for, finding the right product and nailing your application technique is the secret to bidding your bags farewell, for good. But what makes a great under-eye concealer? It’s “a pretty simple formula,” explains celebrity makeup artist Jeanine Lobell, who’s also the founder of Neen and Stila Cosmetics. You have to consider shade, texture and application style, she shares.

“First, focus on finding the right color,” Lobell explains, “which can depend on your primary issue.” Celebrity makeup artist and BareMinerals global makeup artist ambassador Kelsey Deenihan agrees, adding that everyone will need something different from their under-eye concealer. “Consider the amount of color correction you need or if you just want something to brighten,” she explains. “If you have dark circles, choose a concealer with a peach (for light to medium skin tones) or orange (medium to dark) undertones.”

Then, you have to look at the concealer’s texture. “The opaque concealer you use to cover a tattoo may not be the best choice to use for the under-eye,” explains Lancôme national makeup artist Alex Sanchez. “Most of us have under-eyes that tend to be dry and textured, so hydrating, creamy and blendable formulas are the most forgiving in this area,” he shares.

When it comes to application techniques, celebrity makeup artist Carolina Dali recommends starting with a well-primed base. “First make sure the under-eye area is moisturized,” she explains. “The concealer will blend and wear best on skin that’s hydrated,” she says, adding that you should “choose an eye cream that’s hydrating but not oily — too oily can be disastrous and create creasing.” After the eye cream, Dali suggests “using a concealer brush to apply concealer on the inner corner of the eyes and the under-eye area,” then “blend well using the concealer brush and your fingers, and set with a small powder brush and sheer loose powder.”

Best all-around concealers

Carolina Gonzalez, celebrity makeup artist and Armani Beauty Collective member, looks specifically for an under-eye concealer that is “creaseless, hydrating and buildable without looking heavy” — and this product is her holy grail. “Across the board it works for every skin type, age and also has a wide range of skin tones,” she explains. The concealer is also a favorite of celebrity makeup artist Valeria Ferreira, who notes that it works particularly well for drier skin types. “It is moisturizing and blends beautifully.”

“I personally prefer a highly pigmented cream that can be sheer in areas that require less coverage to avoid a cake vibe,” shares Lobell, who calls this concealer her all-time favorite option. “I look for the right shades to do what I need, but again, a flexible formula that I can layer, as needed.” When it comes to application tips, she suggests a brush, even if the product comes with a wand. “I have always been known for making my clients look like they have perfect skin — not packed on makeup — so this is something I have perfected,” she shares. “I find a tapered brush is more precise ... a very flat brush that is not huge helps me lay down the exact amount of product.”

This is Sanchez’s all-time favorite concealer. “It's a foundation and concealer hybrid that checks all the boxes for me,” he explains. It's a high-performance product with an inclusive shade range and a flexible built-in application wand, and Sanchez describes the application as “crease-free and fabulous.”

“The best thing about this concealer is that the formula is creamy enough for under-eyes but also works on your full face,” explains celebrity makeup artist Jenna Kristina, who calls this affordable option her “hands down” all-time favorite under-eye concealer. “It works perfectly on every age skin, including mature,” Kristina explains, and “doesn’t get crepey or sit in any lines.”

When it comes to what you should be looking for in a concealer, Dali recommends steering clear of concealers that are too thick or heavy, which “can actually have the opposite effect and attract more negative attention to the area, not to mention that it will crease rather quickly.” Instead, opt for a more lightweight option that can be built up. Her top pick is this lightweight concealer with a creamy, whipped texture. “It covers beautifully, wears for hours without needing a touch up, looks natural and doesn’t cake,” she raves.

When it comes to a top-tier concealer formula, “the texture and the longevity of the product is super important,” explains Ferreira. “I always look for good coverage but an ultra smooth finish that stays on all day,” she explains. “These characteristics are quite hard to find simultaneously, but they do exist!” One of her top picks is this luxe option — also a favorite of celebrity makeup artists Katie Mellinger and Katrina Klein.

Best concealers for dry skin

“It's all about the skin prep for the under-eye, and this is even more a priority with dry skin types,” explains Sanchez. “I always massage the eye contour generously with eye serum and then add eye cream before applying concealer,” he shares. “The massage gestures are not only pampering, but they are also great for deflating eye bags.” This brightening option is one of his favorites for those with dry skin. Another pro tip? “Allow the layer of eye cream to marinate and sink in,” Sanchez explains. “This plumps up, smooths and perfects the skin canvas for concealer.”  

Mellinger and Sanchez recommend this full coverage concealer for those with dry skin, and it’s also a favorite of Klein's, who describes this option as “very pigmented and buildable.” It simultaneously “looks like nothing under the eye and hides everything,” she explains. 

“This concealer is beautiful,” raves Deenihan. “Its glowy, skin-like finish blends into the skin perfectly,” making for a versatile product that you can wear on its own or alongside a tinted moisturizer or foundation. “The gel-mousse consistency ... will provide lightweight coverage without caking,” she explains, while “the hyaluronic acid helps with hydration and caffeine brightens.” Plus, the formulation boasts SPF 25. “The under-eye area is very delicate and we often forget to protect this area,” shares Deenihan.

When it comes to finding the right concealer for you, Klein recommends first looking at what you’re trying to fix or improve when it comes to your skin. So it only makes sense that for those with dry skin, a nourishing and skin care-rich formulation would make sense. This hydrating concealer, which she recommends, is brightening, smoothing and packed with 10% active skin care ingredients. 

Dali describes this concealer as having “excellent coverage that’s buildable.” At the same time, the formulation works to keep your “skin hydrated and fresh throughout the day.”

Whereas you might use a concealer that’s heavier or thicker for covering up a pimple, Klein prefers “to use a thinner, lightweight concealer under the eyes.” This creamy, buildable formula is packed with skin care ingredients like hyaluronic acid and peptides that work to keep your under-eye area hydrated, smooth and radiant throughout the day.

Best concealers for dark circles

A favorite of both Dali and Ferreira, this full coverage concealer really does give your skin an airbrushed look. The waterproof formula stays put all day, so you don’t have to worry about creasing, smudging or moving around. The custom applicator is perfect for the under-eye area and also for spot correction, which makes this a really versatile option if you’re hoping to find an effective all-in-on concealer.

“For high-contrast dark circles, you will need to color-correct the area first or else the color will bleed through the makeup,” shares Sanchez, who uses the analogy of wearing striped undergarments as compared to a nude-colored undergarment under white pants. No matter what, “that contrast will be seen,” he explains. “Apply these correctors strategically to that discoloration under your concealer and your concealer brightening payoff will be off the charts.”

“There’s nothing this concealer won’t cover,” shares Dali, who describes this versatile, multuse product as having “hands down the best coverage.” It's waterproof and sweat-resistant — just be sure to apply conservatively. “A little bit goes a long way,” she adds.

This vegan concealer from LYS Beauty is brightening, a breeze to blend and oh-so-full coverage. Mellinger recommends it specifically for those looking to target dark circles, though the doe-foot applicator and versatile formulation makes it a great option for spot concealing as well. 

If you’re really looking to target and eliminate dark circles, a concealer/color corrector hybrid product might be of interest. Ferreira loves this option from Chanel, which is available in four different shades. The light pink shade is probably best for those with light to medium skin, while the orangey apricot shade is best for those with medium to dark skin.

Deenihan recommends this cream concealer if you’re hoping to swipe away any dark circles or discoloration. It has “a natural finish but won’t settle into fine lines,” she explains.

Recommended by both Kristina and Klein, this buttery color corrector comes in an easy-to-use compact. The brand’s website includes a list of corresponding concealer and foundation shades for each Magic Vanish shade, so you have an idea of which color is right for your skin tone.

 Best concealers for mature skin

Dali is a fan of this concealer’s buildable coverage, and the fact that it “provides added hydration, which is very important for mature skin.” Once applied, “the final result looks natural, and the under-eye area looks brightened and refreshed,” she explains.  

“For mature skin, I reach for liquid formulas,” shares Deenihan. “This is a blendable, liquid formula, but it’s very hydrating, making it perfect for mature skin,” she explains. “Its medium to full coverage can camouflage any of your dark circle concerns.”

This hydrating concealer, recommended by Klein, is buildable and nourishing and boasts a noncomedogenic formula that’s great for those with sensitive or delicate skin. The radiant finish and skin care-esque ingredients (like squalane and vitamin E) help to provide mature skin with a brightening, plumping effect.

This new collection of creamy concealers from the French luxury brand boasts an easy-to-use pen packaging. “They are so moisturizing, velvety and have great coverage,” shares Ferreira. “I find the texture of these very good on mature skin.”

Klein recommends this lightweight concealer, which boasts a gel-based formula that’s hydrating, comfortable and long-lasting. The light to medium finish is perfect for avoiding cakiness or creasing, since you can start with a little bit of product and simply build it up as you need.

Best drugstore concealers

When it comes to what the pros look for in a concealer, Mellinger prioritizes a product with good coverage, a skin-like finish and the correct undertone. This full coverage liquid concealer is one of her and Sanchez’s top drugstore picks, checking all those boxes.

Whether you’re looking for a "true to your skin tone" concealer, a highlighting concealer or a color corrector that will blend seamlessly with your concealer of choice, Klein recommends this versatile product, which has been one of the drugstore’s most popular concealer options for years. The lightweight product is comfortable and buildable, and the brush-tip applicator is super convenient.

Sanchez calls this full coverage, waterproof concealer one of his top drugstore picks. Not only is the coverage as great as it claims to be, he explains, it’s also an easy-to-use, intuitive product for all types of makeup wearers.

If your under-eye area is in need of a caffeine boost, Klein recommends this 5-in-1 concealer. The formulation has a natural, buildable coverage that’s infused with caffeine and vitamin C for brightening and extra radiance. The antibacterial sponge is great for applying just the amount you need, even on the go.

Dali recommends this serum/concealer hybrid, the natural finish, medium-coverage sister to the brand’s HD Photogenic Liquid Concealer — which is more matte and full coverage. Its skin care-makeup formulation makes it a great option for those with drier under-eyes or sensitive, stressed skin.

Mellinger recommends this brightening concealer, which has been formulated specifically for darker skin tones in mind. The buildable coverage is blendable and buildable, and it won’t look ashy or cakey. The addition of ingredients like turmeric, cucumber extract and vitamins C and E are great for turning even the most tired of under-eyes into bright and radiant-looking skin.

Klein recommends this oil-free, noncomedogenic and nongreasy stick concealer. The unique core is packed with hydrating ingredients, which work alongside the outer ring of concealer for a smooth, natural-looking coverage that glides across your skin when applied.