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We tried The Ordinary’s first-ever concealer, here’s our review

Promising full coverage for less than a fiver, how well did it cover up our dark circles and blemishes?

Louise Whitbread
Tuesday 19 January 2021 11:21
<p>The initial launch has 21 shades that correspond with the brands foundation shades</p>

The initial launch has 21 shades that correspond with the brands foundation shades

Budget skincare brand The Ordinary is well-loved not just for its affordable price tags, but its ingredient-led products that frequently sell out.

Offering everything from retinol to vitamin C serums, its high-performance products have earned a strong cohort of dedicated fans. We’ve also been impressed with the brand’s offering here at IndyBest, with its granactive retinoid 2 per cent in squalane earning a spot in our guide to the best retinols for beginners, and its squalane cleanser appeared too in our review of the best cleansers.

Often considered a disruptor in the beauty industry, it’s the perfect example that healthy skin needn’t be a luxury, instead rightfully accessible to all, so its success is not all that surprising. It has also paved the way for many more affordable brands launching into the industry.

While it has an extensive line of skincare, the brand dipped its toes into the world of make-up with the launch of two foundations in 2017. Announced with great anticipation, a 75,000 strong waiting list ensued and to this day, it continues to sell out.

As of 19 January, the brand expanded its cosmetics line with a range of concealers, promising high coverage with a real skin finish. Initially, it has launched with 36 shades, 21 of which correspond with its foundation shades, and the additional 15 shades of foundation will become available later in 2021. It, of course, comes with a pleasingly low price tag, costing just £4.90.  

We’ve put it to the test to find out if it delivers, rating it on texture, consistency, coverage and staying power.

Having set such a high bar with the rest of its products, we were curious to see if it can successfully conceal dark circles, blemishes and other imperfections to find out if it's worth buying before it inevitably sells out.

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The Ordinary concealer: £4.90, Deciem


The tube is a compact 8ml, which feels like you could get through it quite quickly so we’re hoping they make a larger option soon.

It has a thin nozzle that can be used to distribute product directly onto skin or dotted onto the back of your hand, but we found it most effective when tapped under the eye area with our ring finger before blending with a densely packed brush. Applying directly from the tube to skin can lead to using too much product, which will make creasing more likely.

It blends quickly and a little goes a long way, but if you have dry skin under the eyes, or are prone to eczema in that area, ensure you’ve moisturised before you apply it, as we found it did highlight the texture of dry skin.

When we tried it again after using an eye cream, it’s a much more seamless affair, but we’d recommend avoiding using setting powder, in order to keep the area hydrated and keep your make-up intact all day.

On blemishes, it blended best with a precise, flat bush, and successfully concealed redness but we did find on dry areas of skin surrounding spots, it exacerbated dryness and texture.


If you’re looking for a quick fix for dark circles, this is a great option, just make sure your skin is prepped with a hydrating primer or moisturiser if you tend to be on the drier side.

We’d recommend steering clear if you’re currently using targeted spot treatments, which can often be quite drying, as applying a full coverage, matte texture like this concealer can only make flaking skin more visible and highlight skin texture rather than cover it up.

Oxidation can be a common bugbear with base products, which happens when a product reacts with the oxygen in the air, and can often give foundations and concealers an orange tint on the skin. Luckily, this concealer didn’t oxidise after application, instead the colour remains the same throughout the day.


This is a great option if you love full coverage but don’t want the cakiness that often comes with it, instead it’s creamy and velvety.

It’s lightweight and easy to blend, but most importantly, is buildable, so if you want an extra bit of coverage on a pesky spot of maskne, or need to cover up signs of a late night, you can apply another layer without it caking or creping.  

We tried it both under and over foundation and found it gave a greater coverage over the top, but it blends well regardless, and isn't too thick in texture.

It did collect a little in the lines under our eyes after eight hours of wear, but it’s very difficult to find a concealer, high-end or budget, that doesn’t, so overall we were very happy with the results.

It does a decent job at covering up redness too, especially around the nose without settling into crevices, not to mention hugely reduces the redness from spots dotted around our chin from a hormonal breakout.

Buy now

The verdict: The Ordinary concealer

This is another hit from The Ordinary and well worth stocking up on for you make-up kit. Just be sure your skin is sufficiently hydrated if you’re prone to dryness before buffing in.

While it’s budget friendly with an inclusive shade range, it’s not the greatest option if your biggest concern is covering up blemishes or have particularly textured skin, but for dark circles and redness, it’s a brilliant budget beauty buy.

We wish the tube was bigger, but considering its less than a fiver, we’ll definitely be stocking up on two or three tubes without breaking the bank.

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IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

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