A version of this story originally appeared on the Strategist U.S.
We ask a lot of the perfect under-eye concealer: It has to brighten, hide dark circles, blur fine lines and wrinkles, and ultimately, make us look less tired no matter how little sleep we may have gotten the night before. When it’s warmer, under-eye concealer can sometimes perfect a look based on a tinted moisturiser or just some SFP. Foundation just seems too full-on. We asked 15 experts to guide us to the heavy hitters that not only conceal but also colour-correct and even treat the delicate skin under your eyes. Below, find our experts’ favourites, which include full-coverage, medium-coverage, and lightweight options, as well as picks for mature skin and more.
Best overall under-eye concealer
The experts we spoke to raved about the cult-favourite Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer, with makeup artist Clara Rae calling it her “absolute favourite,” because while it is full coverage, it blends seamlessly into the skin. “Its velvety matte finish is perfect for concealing because it’s not too shiny, and it’s great for all skin types, from oily to mature.” Makeup artist Ernesto Casillas calls it a “go-to” for most of his clients due to the creamy liquid formula and the beautiful colour range. Hair and makeup designer Nadia Stacey — who won a BAFTA award for her work on The Favourite — adds that the “texture is wonderful to use and it has great staying power.” Both Casillas and Rae suggest applying the concealer to the under eye and letting it sit for about 30 seconds to one minute, before blending it out for maximum coverage.
An alternative full-coverage concealer is this one by Too Faced, which contributor Habiba Katsha said came recommended by some of her favorite beauty influencers (including Jackie Aina and Uche Natori). “When my favorites recommend me something, I listen,” she wrote. “[When] I applied the concealer for the first time, I was immediately impressed. As soon as the concealer touched my face I felt how creamy it was. I applied it to my chin, under-eye area, and right above my lips with the applicator brush, then let it sit for five minutes (another tip I picked up from Jackie) before dabbing it in with a beauty blender. I adored the shiny finish — think glowy rather than glittery.”
Best (less expensive) under-eye concealer
For a drugstore option that won’t break the bank, makeup artist Amber Amos suggests Maybelline, which she promises “mirrors some of the high-end brands for a fraction of the price.” She specifically loves that this one dries down to a matte finish, which is excellent for those with oilier skin types and for those who don’t like to set their concealer with powder. While the shade range isn’t quite as wide as other fancier lines on this list, these concealers are cheap enough that you could buy two tubes of them to blend to find your perfect shade. And since the full-coverage formula is also waterproof, these concealers have high staying power.
Strategist beauty writer Rio Viera-Newton recommends this £6 e.l.f concealer as a (much cheaper) dupe for the Fenty Pro Filt’r concealer. “[It’s] super-full-coverage, so any kind of under-eye darkness or hormonal spots immediately disappear when I buff it in with my Real Techniques concealer brush,” she says. “It’s also very matte, so it stays put all day long without having to powder or bake.”
Best long-wear under-eye concealer
While many under-eye concealers will fade by lunchtime, or at least your 3 p.m. coffee break, this one lasts at least eight hours, thanks to its water-resistant, transfer-resistant formula. According to makeup artist and author of The Complete Book of Makeup Lorin Cole, applying concealer, is “all about the art of blending.” M.A.C’s concealer is a staple in her kit for its blendability and long-wearing, matte finish. To doubly ensure it lasts all day, she suggests setting it with a bit of M.A.C’s Studio Fix Powder. Makeup artist Monika Crouch is also a fan because of the line’s “wonderful colour range,” which includes many different undertone shades to match various discolouration issues under the eyes.
Nars’ soft matte complete concealer is extremely long-lasting, according to makeup artist Alex Glynn. In fact, she says that some of her clients have reported that it stays put even by the morning following their appointment (not that she recommends sleeping in it) “I apply it with a flat concealer brush, then blend out with a damp beauty blender before setting with powder,” says Glynn. “It’s absolutely worth the price, as it simply does not crease.” Glynn also recommends Nars for their shade range; the soft matte concealer alone is available in 29 shades.
Best brightening under-eye concealer
If you struggle with dark under-eye circles, makeup artist Kornelija Slunjski suggests the “iconic” Yves Saint Laurent’s Touche Eclat All-Over Brightening Pen. She describes the coverage as sheer to medium, lightweight, but buildable. “This product really brightens and smooths your under eye with a luminous finish,” because the formula is infused with ultrafine micro-pearls that reflect light and minimise the appearance of dark circles. It is also infused with skin-nourishing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, Moroccan calendula extract, and Ruscus extract to deliver hydration and antioxidants to protect the delicate skin under the eye. For the same brightening effects, but with a full-coverage finish, makeup artist Miriam Nichterlein is a fan of Yves Saint Laurent’s Touche Eclat High-Cover Radiant Concealer, which she describes as being highly pigmented (and which offers a slightly broader shade range). “Once it sets, it doesn’t crease or move, so it’s great for people who tend to have their concealer crease around the eye.”
Best lightweight under-eye concealer
For an “everyday, glowy, buildable concealer,” Rae reaches for Glossier. Because of its slight shine and creamy texture, she suggests blending it into the skin with your fingers. You can also layer it for more coverage if needed by tapping more product on. And, because of its silky texture, “you can even use it instead of foundation or on top of your foundation,” without it ever looking cakey. Our own Rio also prefers to use it as an all-over tint for her going-out looks because not only is it “so glowy and creamy that it makes my skin look practically glasslike in photos, but it also “creates the most luminous, dewy base for the rest of my makeup.” Rae prefers to use a slightly lighter shade than her client’s skin tone to get a natural highlighted and sculpted look under the eye and on top of the cheekbones. She says that while it does work great on all skin types, “if you’re oily or want a matte look, I’d suggest setting it with translucent powder, as it does give the skin a definite glow.” And while Glossier has been criticised in the past for its limited shade range, they recently extended the line to include twelve different options.
Best medium-coverage under-eye concealer
A medium-coverage under-eye concealer is one that hides some discolouration but doesn’t necessarily cover scars or freckles. Slunjski loves this Laura Mercier option for how well it tows that middle line — with a “natural finish” and “weightless feel.” She says she finds it extremely easy to blend and personally uses it when she’s having a good skin day: “I apply a tinted moisturiser and this concealer on the areas that need coverage.” And due to the inclusion of silk powder and silica, there is a subtle “blurred effect” on the skin, which erases imperfections, fine lines, and wrinkles.
Best full-coverage under-eye concealer
“This is my favourite full-coverage, long-lasting concealer,” says makeup artist Lori Hamlin Penske, because “it covers dark circles and spots beautifully without appearing too heavy.” While the Cle de Peau is the most expensive on this list, Penske says it’s worth it for the beautiful finish and no-budge formula. As Strategist junior writer Chloe Annello explains, Cle de Peau is “the ‘Holy Grail’ of concealers” amongst beauty editors and made her dark circles vanish. However, because full-coverage concealers tend to be a bit drier, she says clients need to make sure their skin is fully hydrated before applying to prevent creasing.
Best under-eye concealer for mature skin
For those with mature skin or who want their concealer to treat as well as conceal, Rae recommends this product from IT Cosmetics, which she describes as being “a great long-wear, waterproof, good-for-your-skin, buildable concealer.” She also loves the broad colour range, as well as the creaseless, highly pigmented formula that “has a slight luminosity to it, which is fantastic for brightening under the eyes.” It’s packed with hyaluronic acid, peptides, collagen, antioxidants, and vitamins, which conceal texture, hide dark circles and discolouration, and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. And it will also gradually diminish fine lines and wrinkles from the inside out over time.
Best under-eye concealer with a wide colour range
No surprise here, but Fenty Beauty’s beloved concealers were also namedropped by two of the makeup artists we spoke to. “They have an amazing colour range, are long-wearing, and apply to the skin like butter,” says celebrity makeup artist Ashunta Sheriff-Kendricks, whose client roster includes Taraji P. Henson. Fenty’s wide range revolutionised the beauty industry when the line dropped, which now includes 50 different shades to choose from. Adds makeup artist Dusty Starks, who calls the concealer “creamy” and “buildable”: “I can thin it out or use it at full coverage, and it never cakes and still looks like skin.” While you can find your exact shade to apply to your under eye, Dusty also loves to work with the deeper tones in the line to contour and define other areas of the face. Bonus tip: Sheriff-Kendricks also told us that you don’t necessarily need to splurge on a fancy concealer brush to apply your makeup; most of the time, using your fingertips does the job.
Best vegan under-eye concealer
Lana G., who specialises in celebrity and wedding makeup, loves Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Away Concealer, which she says goes on smooth like a cream and is also paraben-free, mica-free, alcohol-free, gluten-free, and vegan. People also tend to appreciate the clever mechanism, where you click the pen to add product to the applicator sponge, ensuring you don’t use too much product all at once. And as for her preferred application process (right in line with our other experts), she suggests following these steps: “Moisturise the skin, then add eye cream around the dome of the eye, then concealer, then set with a very sheer powder.”
Best waterproof under-eye concealer
While some people prefer a light touch when it comes to concealers, others require something more substantial — whether that happens to be because you’re going to a big event (perhaps even your own wedding) or just for general Instagram purposes. If you need a concealer that won’t budge, Amos says that Benefit Cosmetics has got you covered. “It’s waterproof, self-setting, long-wearing, and full coverage,” she explains. And even though it is a high-performance product, it doesn’t cake, crack, or crease.
Best creamy under-eye concealer
“I love the extended range of colours, and the creamy texture allows you to build the coverage from a natural to medium finish,” says Amos. Flex Concealer is also vegan, cruelty-free, and fragrance-free, and is formulated without parabens and sulphates. The moisturising formula is especially great for those with dry skin and is infused with blue lotus and chamomile extract to calm and hydrate skin. And since their foundation line shares the same shade names as the concealers, finding your complimentary foundation shade should be a breeze.
Best under-eye corrector
Sometimes a concealer isn’t enough to cover serious dark circles, pigmentation, and redness. Casillas often reaches for Bobbi Brown’s Under Eye Corrector when he needs a concealer deep enough to correct under-eye circles. The correctors are designed to have both peachy and pink undertones — “perfect for canceling out blue or purple discolouration under the eyes.” While the corrector can be layered under concealer if you want extra coverage, Casillas finds that it can also be used on its own.
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