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10 best concealers for men that banish blemishes and deliver a fresh-faced glow

Sales of male cosmetics are on the up – these are the formulas you should be investing in

Lee Kynaston
Thursday 30 September 2021 15:44 BST
<p>We tested products applied via roller balls, brushes and sponges </p>

We tested products applied via roller balls, brushes and sponges

Forget your face scrub, eye creams and anti-ageing moisturiser – when it comes to male grooming, make-up is where it’s at right now. So popular is the trend that a recent survey by YouGov revealed one in 20 men now routinely wear make-up, while British male cosmetics brand War Paint recently opened the world’s first men’s make-up store on London’s Carnaby Street.

Of all the products available, though, it’s concealer that’s probably the most useful. Easy to apply, it’s perfect for disguising dark circles, hiding blemishes and camouflaging scars, razor nicks and other imperfections.

“A concealer is also a useful last step to hide evidence of a heavy night or brighten skin to create a wide-awake look,” says make-up artist Luke Stephens, who has painted the faces of everyone from Olly Alexander to James Haskell.

When choosing a concealer he suggests opting for a colour as close to your natural skintone as possible (many brands now have online tools to help you pick the right shade). “If used under the eye it should be a teeny bit lighter but not too light or you’ll look like you’ve been wearing ski goggles,” he says. Bear in mind, too, that you might need a slightly lighter tone in the winter when skin is less tanned.

As for application, Stephens suggests blending with a clean fingertip, using a tapping motion and not being too scared to apply a decent amount. “All too often men – and women for that matter – apply a tiny dot of product and then blend it to nothing so it has zero effect. Be a bit bold when putting it on,” he says. “If it doesn’t look right, it comes right off easily enough.”

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Now all you need to do is find the right concealer for you. Luckily, we’ve road-tested the best ones specifically aimed at men to make that task a bit easier.

How we tested

In the name of consistency – and to get a proper comparison –  we tested concealers labelled “light”. Texture is also important, as you’ll want something not too dry and not too liquid, and this is a factor we’ve considered in our reviews.

The best men’s concealers for 2021 are:

  • Best overall – Boy de Chanel concealer: £35, Chanel.com
  • Best value for money – Altr London face fix: £16.99, Altrlondon.com
  • Best multifunctional concealer – Shake Up cosmetics eye eye captain:£16.75, Amazon.co.uk 
  • Best luxury concealer – Tom Ford for men concealer: £34, Mrporter.com
  • Best British-made concealer – War Paint concealer: £18, Johnlewis.com 
  • Best for blemishes – Recipe For Men anti-blemish coverstick: £18, Lookfantastic.com
  • Best for beginners – MMUK Man concealer trio for men: £27.50, Mensmake-up.co.uk
  • Best for brightening skin – Benny Hancock corrective pen concealer: £18, Bennyhancock.com
  • Best for ease of application – Shiseido men targeted pencil concealer: £28.05, Escentual.com
  • Best brush pen – Givenchy Mister instant corrective pen: £21.65, Escentual.com

Boy de Chanel concealer

chanel .jpg

Best: Overall

Rating: 10/10

One of the stars of Chanel’s cosmetic range aimed at men, the Boy de Chanel stick concealer is small, discreet and comes in a whopping eight different shades – from light to deep plus – so there’s pretty much one for every skin tone. It has a great, non-cakey texture, offers a matte finish and blends really well. Its staying power was particularly impressive. Applied in the morning it was still doing its job well into the evening. It’s not the cheapest option, for sure, but for performance, ease of use and shade choice, it easily topped our trial.

  1. £35 from Chanel.com
Prices may vary
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Altr London face fix

altr .jpg

Best: Value for money

Rating: 9/10

One of the first British brands to launch a concealer aimed specifically at men, Altr’s founder Alex Doyle created the brand as a response to his own skincare problems with acne and eczema – and his personal insight shows. Smooth and creamy, the company’s bestselling face fix is available in four shades (from light to dark), offers excellent coverage and is easy to apply with a fingertip or sponge. As a bonus, it’s formulated with oil-absorbing China clay, so it provides a flawless matte finish and comes in a pocket-sized recyclable tin. What really impressed us though was the size: there’s a whopping 15g of product, making it fantastic value for money.

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Shakeup Cosmetics eye eye captain

eye eye .jpg

Best: Multifunctional concealer

Rating: 8/10

Not only does Shake Up Cosmetics’s under-eye concealer have the best name of any of the products we tried (it made us smile anyway) it also has a raft of benefits the others don’t. As well as disguising dark circles, it’s designed to moisturise the eye area, reduce puffiness, boost microcirculation and, because it features an SPF25 sunscreen, help protect the delicate eye area from sun-induced fine lines and wrinkles. Think of it as the king of eye creams. A rollerball delivery system makes application easy but be aware: the “light” shade was a little darker than some of the others we tried.

  1. £16 from Amazon.co.uk
Prices may vary
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Tom Ford for men concealer

TOM FORD .jpg

Best: Luxury concealer

Rating: 9/10

Looking like a slimline lipstick and housed in a metallic brown case barely the length of a cigarette, this is one of the dinkiest, most stylish (it’s Tom Ford remember) and most portable of all the concealers we tried. It has a smooth, creamy texture and blends seamlessly into skin. It doesn’t come in the biggest range of shades (just light, medium and deep) but it didn’t cake and lasted well on the skin.

  1. £34 from Mrporter.com
Prices may vary
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War Paint concealer

war paint .jpg

Best: British-made concealer

Rating: 8/10

One of the hero products from the brand that has really fired up the make-up for men trend in the UK, War Paint’s cream-based concealer glides on and offers great coverage. Although we were worried the light one we tested might be too dark for us, it blended in beautifully, offering a fantastic level of concealment. Apply with a fingertip or try using the special face sponge (£6, Warpaintformen.com). Five shades are available and there’s a handy online “shade finder” tool on their website to help you choose the right one for you. One drawback, however, is that the pot design doesn’t make it the easiest to apply.

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Recipe For Men anti-blemish coverstick

recipe for men .jpg

Best: For blemishes

Rating: 8/10

Concealers are great for covering spots but this clever one from cult Swedish skincare brand Recipe For Men treats them too, thanks to a dermatologically approved formulation that includes zit-busting salicylic acid and calming bisabolol. Light, non-oily, waterproof and gentle enough for everyday use, it also offers good coverage and a matte finish. With a YouGov survey revealing that 13 per cent of men who wear make-up do so to hide blemishes, a lot of guys are going to want this in their grooming kit.

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MMUK Man concealer trio​​ for men

MMUK .jpg

Best: For beginners

Rating: 9/10

One of the trickiest things about concealers is getting the colour right – especially if you’re buying online and are taking a guess. This clever pot from men’s make-up experts MMUK removes much of that risk by featuring three similar but slightly different hues which can be used separately or mixed to provide exactly the right shade for you. There are five different trios to choose from, so you’ll definitely find the perfect tone, and a pot will see you through the whole year – from summer, when skin is tanned, to winter, when it’s paler. Genius.

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Benny Hancock corrective pen concealer

benny .jpg

Best: For brightening skin

Rating: 8/10

This is less a straightforward concealer and more of a skin enhancer, designed to soften lines, minimise shadows and generally brighten your face, as well as conceal imperfections – which is what you might expect given that the guy behind it is a pro make-up artist. We found it particularly good for under-eye dark circles and its liquid formula and brush pen delivery system (you push the button at the bottom of the tube to deliver the product) allows you to “paint” over imperfections. It’s available in four shades.

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Shiseido men targeted pencil concealer

Shiseido.jpg

Best: For ease of application

Rating: 9/10

The newest of the concealers we tried, Shiseido Men’s target pencil concealer can be applied directly to the skin and blended with a finger. Though there are currently just three shades and nothing for darker skintones, we found it blended well and was long-lasting. One of the simpler concealers to apply, it’s pretty good value for money, too, offering a fairly generous 4.3g of product – nearly twice as much as similarly priced premium concealers.

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Givenchy mister instant corrective pen

givenchy.jpg

Best: Brush pen

Rating: 7/10

One of the largest and heaviest of the products we tried, we reckon this unisex product from Givenchy is more for your bathroom than coat pocket. Similar to the Benny Hancock one in that it’s a brush applicator (except you twist the base to produce the concealer) it offers good coverage and is available in four colours. The only downside is that it has a barely perceptible sparkle, which adds brightness but might be off-putting if a barely-there matte finish is what you’re after.

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The verdict: Concealers for men

Though Boy de Chanel’s concealer ticks all the boxes when it comes to the perfect concealer for men (great performance, excellent choice of shades and easy to apply) we were mightily impressed by the value-for-money Altr London face fix and MMUK Man’s concealer trio for men, which offers the most bespoke colour option and allows you to create a concealer that’s as unique as your skin is.

Voucher codes

For the latest offers on skincare and cosmetics, try the links below:

From Kiehl’s to Fenty, these are the best men’s skincare brands for every skin type and concern

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