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11 best concealers for brightening dark circles and covering blemishes

Two beauty experts put dozens of concealers to the test to see which came out on top

Lauren Cunningham,Sidra Imtiaz
Monday 22 January 2024 14:17 GMT
Our testers considered the price, performance and ingredients of each concealer
Our testers considered the price, performance and ingredients of each concealer (The Independent)
Our Top Picks

Even fans of minimal make-up looks are sure to reach for a great concealer – and there’s certainly a whole host to choose from. Being one of the most basic products in any make-up kit, a huge number of beauty brands are stocked full of options, so, trying to work out which concealer will be best for you isn’t always the easiest task.

Luckily, that’s where we come in. Our team of beauty experts dedicate their time to trying almost every product you can think of, from moisturisers for dry skin to the trending Laura Mercier real flawless foundation, and, this time around, we tackled concealers. We swiped, blended and buffed more than a dozen options, in a bid to find out which ones are the best.

When opting for a concealer, it’s important to understand what you want the product to do. Are you looking to mask dark under-eye circles with a lightweight boost of brighter colour? Are you hoping it will cover up redness and even out your skin tone? Or are you after a product that will hide acne marks?

Of course, some formulas will do all of the above, but most are best suited to a specific task, with the amount of coverage they offer and the colour you opt for being two key components. When looking to brighten, you’ll want to reach for a shade or two lighter than your actual skin tone, or foundation if you wear it. When looking to conceal and cover, thicker formulas will be your go-to option.

Keep scrolling to see which brands made it onto our best concealer review and why.

How we tested the best concealers

Our duo of testers tried a wide range of concealers (Lauren Cunningham and Sidra Imtiaz)

Two testers took on the task of finding the best concealers, looking at price, performance and the ingredients list to determine which brands truly are the best. Keep reading to see which concealers made the cut.

The best concealers for 2024 are:

  • Best concealer overall – Nars radiant creamy concealer: £20.80,
  • Best budget concealer – Max Factor miracle pure concealer: From £2.48,
  • Best concealer for full coverage – Tarte shape tape concealer: £32.76,
  • Best concealer for under eyes – Ilia true skin serum concealer: £30,
  • Best concealer for mature skin – Milk Makeup future fluid all over cream concealer: £13,

Nars radiant creamy concealer

Nars concealer
  • Best: Concealer overall
  • Key ingredients: Magnolia bark extract, grape seed extract and vitamin E
  • Number of shades available: 30
  • Shades tested: Medium deep 1.5, sucre d’orge
  • Size: 6ml
  • Why we love it
    • Colour correcting
    • Diverse undertones
    • Hydrating, buildable formula
    • Luminous finish
    • Lasts all day
  • Take note
    • Doe foot applicator slightly too small for covering larger areas

This concealer is a cult classic and, after trialling it for the past few weeks, I can see why. Similar to a traditional concealer, this one covers blemishes and discolouration. However, the real point of difference is in the colour-correcting properties. The formula has a brightening quality that makes a visible difference, without merely heavily masking imperfections. This was particularly notable for my dark circles, which usually require me to use a colour corrector before going in with a concealer.

The 30 shades have been created with undertones for brown skin kept in mind – other brands, even those with expansive shade ranges, can often miss the mark on this. I’ve used a sheer wash of this for everyday wear, and layered the buildable formula for special occasions, with both approaches working well. The concealer is also hydrating, meaning it doesn’t sit in dry patches or crease in lines under the eyes. My skin was left looking healthy and radiant with an even tone, and the dewy finish lasted all day. Sidra Imtiaz

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Max Factor miracle pure concealer

Max Factor miracle pure concealer-indybest
  • Best: Budget concealer
  • Key ingredients: Vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, peptides
  • Number of shades available: 8
  • Shade tested: Shade 2
  • Size: 7.8ml
  • Why we love it
    • Aims to brighten and hydrate
  • Take note
    • Poor shade range
    • Not the best coverage, compared with some other options

Max Factor is a household name for a reason. This formula includes an impressive blend of vitamin C, hyaluronic acid and peptides, all of which work to brighten, hydrate and improve the health of the skin. While it’s much more lightweight than some of the other options we’ve reviewed, it does work to blur under-eye bags and any redness on the face, leaving a dewy finish. It’s not the best at covering blemishes or spots, so it’s best for fans of minimalist make-up.

The biggest downfall is that it only comes in eight shades, which I’d love to see expanded soon. But if your shade is included in the list, and you’re after a bargain beauty buy, you’re in luck. Lauren Cunningham

  1. £2 from
Prices may vary
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Huda Beauty #fauxfilter luminous matte liquid concealer

Huda Beauty #fauxfilter luminous matte liquid concealer-indybest
  • Best: All-rounder concealer
  • Key ingredients: Sweet almond oil, vitamin E
  • Number of shades available: 29
  • Shade tested: 2.7, coconut flakes
  • Size: 9ml
  • Why we love it
    • Non-cakey
    • High coverage
    • Plenty of shades

Huda Beauty’s founder, Huda Kattan, is famous for creating snatched make-up looks, completely concealing under-eye bags and lightening up the area to add dimension. It’s no surprise then that this concealer does exactly that, without looking cakey.

Being a great all-rounder, it’s also thick enough to help hide blemishes, although, I would recommend two different shades for this: a lighter option for brightening and a skin tone match for concealing. Remember to never apply the doe foot directly to any spot.

As it comes in a squat bottle, there’s no need to dig around the container trying to get the product out, either. LC

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Tarte shape tape concealer

Tarte shape tape concealer-indybest
  • Best: Concealer for full coverage
  • Key ingredients: Shea butter, mango butter, liquorice root
  • Number of shades available: 38
  • Shade tested: 37G, medium tan golden
  • Size: 10ml
  • Why we love it
    • Full, seamless coverage
    • Lasts all day
    • A little goes a long way
    • Vegan
    • Diverse shade range
  • Take note
    • Slightly drying

I’ve lost count of how many tubes I’ve gone through over this Tarte concealer. My South Asian skin is genetically predisposed to blemishes, pigmentation and dark under-eye circles, so a full-coverage concealer is a must-have in my beauty arsenal. When it comes to this product, the thick doe-foot applicator helps to cover problem areas with a quick swipe, and it is one of the only concealers that truly covers up darker blemishes and under-eye circles, delivering on its promise of all-day wear, too.

A little goes a long way, and, to counteract the matte finish, as I prefer a dewy look, I usually prep my already slightly oily skin with a thicker moisturiser. SI

  1. £32 from
Prices may vary
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Merit the minimalist perfecting complexion stick

Merit the minimalist perfecting complexion stick-indybest
  • Best: Concealer for easy application
  • Key ingredients: Fatty acids, sea daffodil
  • Number of shades available: 20
  • Shade tested: Khaki
  • Size: 6.5g
  • Why we love it
    • Made with 43 per cent recycled plastic
    • Easy to travel with
    • Versatile (can be used to contour)
  • Take note
    • Not as long-lasting as some other options

One of my favourite newer brands on the scene, Merit creates products that are easy to use and give great results with minimal effort. Finding a concealer that can be used on the go or popped into your handbag for touch-ups is tricky, but this is a perfect product for the low-maintenance among us. The creamy formula melts into the skin, and the coverage is buildable, blending easily. Not essential, but the Merit brush no.1 (£34, works seamlessly with the product, and it is small enough to fit into your on-the-go routine. SI

For more recommendations, read our full Merit review

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Dior forever skin correct

Dior forever skin correct-indybest
  • Best: Luxury concealer
  • Key ingredients: Iris extract, wild pansy extract, nasturtium extract
  • Number of shades available: 31
  • Shade tested: 1.5N
  • Size: 11ml
  • Why we love it
    • Wide shade range
    • Reasonable price point
  • Take note
    • Less is more

Make-up is one of the easiest (and cheapest) ways to incorporate a little luxury into your life, and this concealer is one of my favourite high-end finds. Not only is the packaging beautiful, but the formula, feel and finish truly delivers as well.

Offering full coverage, it conceals redness, under-eye bags and blemishes effortlessly, although less is certainly more, as too many layers will leave it looking a little cakey.

For anyone with dry, dehydrated skin, the formula includes iris extract, wild pansy extract and nasturtium extract, which provides a hit of hydration and helps to boost skin brightness. If you’re after a luxury buy, this is certainly worth your attention, and the price point isn’t sky-high, either. LC

  1. £27 from
Prices may vary
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Too Faced born this way multi-use sculpting concealer

Too Faced multi-use sculpting concealer-indybest
  • Best: For blemish-prone skin
  • Key ingredients: Glycerin, coconut fruit juice
  • Number of shades available: 35
  • Shade tested: Cookie
  • Size: 13.5ml
  • Why we love it
    • Oil-free formula
    • Full coverage
  • Take note
    • Matte finish

Finding a suitable concealer for blemish-prone skin can be tricky – some formulas seem to make the problem worse, while others just don’t provide the coverage you need. When my skin flares up, and for the post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation left by breakouts, this concealer is my go-to and has been for years.

Similar to other fuller-coverage concealers, if you prefer a dewier finish, it does require a very hydrated base. But it covers breakouts, scarring and under-eye dark circles well. The formula has a concentrated pigment, giving a great colour payoff, with little to no need for touch-ups throughout the day. SI

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Ilia true skin serum concealer

Ilia true skin serum concealer-indybest
  • Best: Concealer for under-eye area
  • Key ingredients: Vitamin C, mastic and albizia julibrissin bark extract
  • Number of shades available: 20
  • Shade tested: Burdock SC1.75
  • Size: 5ml
  • Why we love it
    • Hydrating and brightening
  • Take note
    • Not the best for covering blemishes

The name of this concealer truly does it justice, as it blends seamlessly into the face, for a ‘true skin’ finish. Instantly brightening up dark under-eye circles, it smooths into the skin without seeping into fine lines, creating a very natural-looking, non-cakey finish.

The ingredients list is also impressive, with vitamin C, mastic, aloe vera extract and albizia julibrissin bark extract working to improve skin texture and tone, making it a skincare-make-up hybrid product. Plus, the formula is considered ‘clean’, meaning there aren’t any harsh chemicals hidden inside either.

The formula is too lightweight to be used to hide blemishes, so I would recommend it most for evening out skin tones and neutralising redness. LC

  1. £30 from
Prices may vary
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Milk Makeup future fluid all over cream concealer

Milk Makeup future fluid all over cream concealer-indybest
  • Best: Concealer for mature skin
  • Key ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, caffeine, aloe vera
  • Number of shades available: 30
  • Shade tested: 17W
  • Size: 8.5ml
  • Why we love it
    • Hydrated under-eye dryness
    • Crease-proof finish

With its crease-proof formula that made light work of covering blemishes and dark circles, this concealer took me by surprise. A few well-placed swipes covered my whole face, and even where other formulas were sitting in patches of dry skin, this concealer smoothed over any flakiness. Usually, I accept that full-coverage concealers are more likely to cling to any dryness, but I was proven wrong with this hydrating formula. SI

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Hourglass vanish airbrush concealer

Hourglass vanish airbrush concealer-indybest
  • Best: Concealer for brightening
  • Key ingredients: Matricaria flower extract, liquorice root extract, rosemary leaf extract
  • Number of shades available: 22
  • Shade tested: Cotton, fair
  • Size: 6ml
  • Why we love it
    • Brightening
    • Hydrating
  • Take note
    • Small size

This concealer is coveted among cosmetics fans, and it certainly delivers. Although it is among the most expensive finds on this list, if you’re happy to spend a bit more money on make-up, you definitely won’t be disappointed by this product. It immediately brightens up any area of the face, with a creamy, hydrating finish, and never seems to dry out the skin, despite being a full-coverage pick. Plus, not only will it fully conceal under-eye bags, but it will also help sculpt the face if applied to the nose, inner eye and forehead. If you’re looking to add an extra boost to your make-up routine, this Hourglass find is certainly up to the task. LC

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Glossier stretch concealer

Glossier stretch concealer-indybest
  • Best: Concealer for everyday wear
  • Key ingredients: Avocado oil, jojoba oil, elastic micro waxes
  • Number of shades available: 32
  • Shade tested: Medium tan 2
  • Size: 4.8ml
  • Why we love it
    • Dewy finish
    • Undetectable, second-skin formula
  • Take note
    • Limited coverage
    • Wouldn’t suit very oily skin types

This concealer did not disappoint. While I will caveat that statement by saying this is definitely one for use on better skin days, the sheer formula was undetectable once applied, leaving me with a healthy-looking base that looked far from made-up. However, for darker pigmentation, I would opt for something that offers fuller coverage.

I liked the stretch element, which uses micro waxes to allow the concealer to move with your skin, rather than sitting in any lines and creases. If you’re anything like me and love a dewy finish, this gives a real glow to the complexion. However, for those with a penchant for a matte base, this may not be the right option. SI

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The verdict: Concealers

Despite having tough competition, the Nars radiant creamy concealer came out on top, thanks to its colour-correcting properties. For brightening, we loved the Hourglass vanish airbrush concealer, while the Ilia true skin serum concealer worked wonders on our under-eye area. Meanwhile, if you’re after a bargain buy, the Max Factor miracle pure concealer will be your best bet. Just be sure to remember it’s always best to apply a little and build up your coverage, to get the desired effect.

Want more beauty inspiration? We’ve rounded up the best foundations for every skin type

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