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Finding the "perfect" concealer can sometimes feel like a lifelong quest. Similar to mascara, concealer is a very personal thing, as far as makeup goes: One person’s holy grail might be too sheer (or too thick/creamy/dry) for someone else. The good news is, you don’t have to spend a ton of money to find a great concealer. In my (semi-professional) opinion, certain drugstore concealers have been known to outperform their prestige counterparts. That said, the best drugstore concealer for you will mainly depend on three things: the formula’s finish (dewy vs. matte), level of coverage (light, medium, or full), and wear time (which, in the drugstore arena, can go up to as long as 24 hours).
Ahead, you’ll find a selection of the best and most popular drugstore concealers in America, according to Redditors, YouTubers, Amazon reviewers, and beauty editors like myself — but first, some crucial concealer tips. Remember, the key to smooth, natural-looking concealer that doesn’t cake, flake, or pill all has to do with your skin care prep. So before applying your concealer (or foundation, for that matter), make sure you’ve properly moisturized your skin. If you plan on applying your concealer under your eyes, don’t forget to dab on some eye cream, as well. Also important: Be sure to let your moisturizer/eye cream fully absorb into your skin before moving onto concealer. And if you’re dealing with oily or "combination" skin, don’t underestimate the power of a good mattifying primer.
With that in mind, scroll on to find your perfect concealer match.
1. The Best-Selling Concealer In America
According to data from The Nielsen Company, the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser is the number-one best-selling concealer in America. (It’s also a two-time Allure Best Of Beauty award-winner). With its convenient sponge tip that provides a smooth, natural finish à la a Beauty Blender, it couldn’t be any easier to dab on. Other highlights: The full-coverage formula is quite creamy, so it shouldn’t crease or cake (if you notice any creasing upon application, just blend it in with your finger using a light, tapping motion), and you can use it as contour or highlighter, too. Also cool: This concealer contains Haloxyl, a peptide-based ingredient that may help promote firmer under-eyes, so it also acts as a treatment while doing its primary job of concealing. The shade range, while decent as far as drugstore concealers go, could definitely be expanded upon, but I do like that it includes a brightener (shade 160) and neutralizer (150) that can be used underneath concealer for even more coverage. Overall, if you’ve never tried this best-selling concealer before, it’s probably worth giving it a shot.
2. Longest Lasting Coverage
If wear time is the most important aspect of a concealer to you, pick up this NYX Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Contour Concealer. It claims to provide a whopping 24 hours of full, waterproof coverage, so it’s a great choice for people who are on-the-go for most of their day. (One Amazon reviewer reported that it lasted from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. in 104 degree weather.) Sold in 24 shades, it dries into a matte finish, has an angled, doe foot applicator, and is cruelty-free, like all NYX products. Try pairing it with the matching foundation from the brand’s Can’t Stop Won’t Stop line.
3. Best Under-$5 Concealer
Looking to spend less than $5? Then you can’t do much better than this e.l.f. Camo Concealer, which is both vegan and cruelty-free. Like the NYX concealer, it dries matte, provides full coverage, and has a doe foot applicator. And though you might not get NYX’s 24 hours of wear time, you’ll still get a pretty impressive 16 hours. The consistency, which the brand describes as "whipped," is relatively lightweight, considering the full-coverage formula. But be warned that you’ll want to work quickly with this concealer: It dries fast, and once it does, it’s not going to budge.
4. Best Concealer & Foundation In One
Get two products in one with this Milani Conceal + Perfect 2-in-1 Foundation + Concealer. It offers long-lasting, full coverage that doesn’t feel uncomfortably heavy, with a creamy formula that’s water resistant and easy to blend. Like all Milani products, this foundation/concealer is cruelty-free. And impressively, it comes in a range of 45 shades.
5. Best For Dry Skin
Okay, technically this isn’t a drugstore concealer — but, my fellow dry skin types will understand the struggle of trying to find a lightweight, moisturizing concealer when these days, everything seems to be heavy and matte. This concealer’s price point isn’t too bad, either: Though it’s not e.l.f-level cheap, it’s also not quite as expensive as most concealers you’d find at Sephora. Anyway: Onto what makes this concealer so great. Thanks to its creamy formula that’s infused with argan oil, jojoba esters, and vitamin E, it glides onto dry skin smoothly and doesn’t crease or cake. The formula only contains a handful of ingredients, most of which are naturally derived — and it’s also cruelty-free, vegan, and safe for both sensitive and acne-prone skin. Last but not least, CLOVE + HOLLOW is an independent, woman-owned brand — always worth supporting in my book.
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