Linda Morton at Greasepaint knows a bit about concealers. A make-up artist who's worked for TV and films like The Fifth Element, she says the best concealers are, "smooth and creamy. They blend better, are easier on fragile skin around the eye and won't crease or cake."
The award-winning Prescriptives Virtual Skin Concealer (pounds 13) has fantastic coverage, colour, texture, finish, the works. "I wouldn't have thought anything would disguise fine lines," says Linda agog. "But this does."
Another wow was Trish McEvoy Protective Shield (pounds 14), which covers everything and doesn't crease. The excellent Christian Dior's Hydrating Concealer (pounds 15) is Linda's personal favourite while we both carry Yves Saint Laurent's Touche Eclat (pounds 18.50). The quick-fix for a host of skin sins, this golden pen dispenses light-reflecting concealer where you need it, when you need it. It doesn't cover very dark circles, however; it was never meant to.
Ultima II's concealer (pounds 10) is amazing value for money, as are both Revlon Colourstay (pounds 5.95) and Age Defying Stick (pounds 6.95). The best of the cheapies? Yardley's Powder Cream Concealer - tremendous performance for an obscene pounds 3.99.
Nars concealer (pounds 13.50) looks dry but feels soft and covers exceptionally well. Bobbi Brown Essentials Foundation Stick (pounds 26) is an all-in-one with light yet full coverage. Both need to be "set" with powder. Estee Lauder's Disappear (pounds 13.50) offers a lovely medium cover. Newcomer Club Monaco's concealer (pounds 10) gives light to medium cover and a delighted satiny finish. MAC Concealer (pounds 7.50) covers brilliantly, but if you use too much and you'll crease. Elizabeth Arden's Perfect Covering Concealer (pounds 12.50) is a handful. "Once it's on, it's on," says Linda.
Natural Colour Protective Creme Concealer from Aveda (pounds 11) covers well, feels great and came in a mirrored compact but its oily texture tended to crease. A bit oily, too, was Helena Rubinstein's Concealer Stick (pounds 14) but, as Linda put it, "it's good for the odd blemish on the nose".
The losers? Chanel's Concealer dove for cracks in the skin straight away. The Body Shop's Cover & Block SPF 15 is crusty and very smelly. Clinique's Advanced Concealer (pounds 11) creased alarmingly and their Soft Concealer (pounds 11) dried too quickly. Clinique's Quick Concealer (pounds 10.50) covered well but had a spongey wand - which Linda hates. "Put a wand on a spot and you could pass bacteria into the whole bottle." Yeeech.
Concealers aren't for everyone. Eat well, get plenty of sleep, drink litres of water, gulp down lots of fresh air, never grow old and you'll probably never need one.