Makeup

We Tried The Ordinary’s Concealer Before Anyone Else — & Here Are Our Thoughts

The Ordinary has amassed millions of diehard fans worldwide since its launch in 2016, and for good reason. Whether you love the buzzy niacinamide serum or always stock up on the dermatologist-approved retinoid, there's no denying each and every product has a cult following — and it's all thanks to the proven results, Instagram-worthy dropper bottles, and, of course, the affordable price tags. After all, good skin shouldn't be a luxury.

Considering the success of its skin care, it made sense for the brand to branch out into makeup with The Ordinary Colours. The Serum Foundation (which is super lightweight and breathable) and Coverage Foundation (which lends a more seamless finish) soon followed, but there was one product missing: concealer. Until now, that is.

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This week, The Ordinary added the High Coverage Formula Concealer to the Colours family, and Refinery29 UK's editors were among the very first people to try it ahead of the launch. Priced at $5.80, the concealers boast 36 shades which correspond to the foundation collection, making it easier to find your match, with 15 additional shades to come later this year.

"People who are already users of The Ordinary Colours Foundations will be able to match their concealer shade to their existing foundation shade," says Prudvi Kaka, chief scientific officer at Deciem. "As the formulation is slightly different for concealer, the shade may look different from the foundation before application but will match once applied to the skin. Our concealer shades have been created to be very slightly lighter than the foundation shades since our research pointed to this as preference."

As the name suggests, the product is highly pigmented, so it's perfect for cloaking acne scars, dark circles, hyperpigmentation, and other complexion concerns. "It's a highly moveable, flexible formula with a good amount of slip," says Prudvi. "We wanted to create a dual-purpose formula that could be used both to conceal blemishes and also in the under-eye area."

There's a big focus on undertone, too. "Undertone is an important consideration to ensure that shades do not look flat on the skin," says Prudvi. "Our shades are divided into four categories: 1 for fair to lighter tones; 2 for medium tones; 3 for dark/deep tones; and 4 for deeper tones." A letter is also added to the shade code to identify the undertone. "P (pink) and R (red) indicate cool undertones," says Prudvi. "N indicates a neutral undertone and Y (yellow) indicates a warm undertone."

The brand also looked at the pesky makeup mishap that is oxidization (when your makeup changes color throughout the day) to make sure every shade was perfect even after hours of wear. "We tested the shades across a large group of people, taking feedback over the course of a full day, to ensure that the undertones remained suitable throughout long wear of the formula," says Prudvi.

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Everything sounds great — but should you stockpile The Ordinary's new concealer before it inevitably sells out? Ahead, six R29 UK staffers share their honest thoughts.

At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission. This story was originally published on Refinery29 UK.

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Jacqueline Kilikita, Beauty Editor, Refinery29 UK

"When it comes to skin care, The Ordinary is my go-to. In particular, I’m a big fan of their lactic acid and retinol serum, both of which keep my skin clear. I love makeup, but during the pandemic I’ve sidelined heavy foundation in favor of a swipe of concealer over my acne scars, so I jumped at the chance to be one of the first beauty editors to try this. It's non-comedogenic (so less likely to clog pores) and the texture is great. It’s really creamy and velvety, and blends so easily with fingers or a fluffy brush.

I often struggle with concealer for my olive skin (they're often too pink or too orange) but this tucked away patches of hyperpigmentation and red acne scars and my faint dark circles really well and didn’t leave behind a chalky or powdery finish, like some highly pigmented concealers can. I tried shade 2.0 YG. It’s like a second skin. While it did eventually collect in my fine lines after hours of wear, in all honesty even the most luxury makeup does, so I can’t fault it there. I wish the tube was a bit bigger, though."
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Alicia Lansom, Editorial Assistant, Refinery29 UK

"Annoyingly I have quite dry skin around my eyes, which means thick concealers like this tend to settle badly around my under-eyes. While The Ordinary Fluid Primer definitely helped create some slick, it still meant that I had creases and visible texture around my eyes after applying. Once I changed tack and used the product as a spot concealer I started seeing better results. In the end, I found the product was best used as a finishing concealer applied with a tiny precision brush (it worked great around my dark lip color). I would use it again in that capacity, but I need something more moisturizing for my dark circles."
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Jessica Morgan, Staff Writer, Refinery29 UK 

"The Ordinary's skin-care range has been a firm favorite of mine since its launch and has continued to lure me in with every newcomer. So when I heard that the brand was launching a concealer, I squealed with excitement because I love the foundation; it’s lightweight, not oily, and it lasts. When it comes to concealer, I quite like the dewy look and often reach for my Giorgio Armani concealer, which I mix with a bit of La Mer eye cream to ensure that the delicate skin under my eyes doesn't flake off by the end of the day. I was really pleased that I didn’t need to add eye cream to The Ordinary concealer because it had the right creamy consistency.

I used shade 3.0 Y (medium dark with yellow undertones) for my eyes, bridge of my nose, and the pesky spot that appeared this month. 2.1 Y is a little lighter, so I dabbed a small amount over the 3.0 Y for a more brightened look. It didn’t feel cakey at all — it actually looked like I had just had under-eye trough filler, which I am seriously overdue for. If this concealer continues to fix my eye bags, it’ll save me having to get filler every few years! I had really high expectations for this concealer as I love the makeup line so much and it did not disappoint. For the cost and natural look that I always hope to achieve, you honestly can’t go wrong. My only gripe is that I wish the tube were bigger but I’ll definitely be buying these in bulk."
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Kristine Romano, Photo & Design Assistant, Refinery29 UK

"I don’t often switch up my beauty products, especially if I’ve found something that works. I’ve been loyal to my Maybelline Eraser concealer for quite a few years now but I’ll admit I was very curious to try The Ordinary’s new concealer. I haven’t tried any of their makeup, but the Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Serum has been part of my skin-care routine since I first tried it. The concealer tube is small but I found that a little goes a long way. It blended quite seamlessly with my sponge, covering up my dark circles and evening out areas where I experience some redness. It did struggle a bit around my nose (where my skin is more dry) but no more than my usual concealer."
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Laurene Mpia, Production Manager, Refinery29 UK

"I actually don't own any of The Ordinary's skin-care products, even though I am well aware of their success. In terms of makeup, because I do not wear foundation, my concealer needs to be on point (I currently use the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer). So of course I was very excited to try the new The Ordinary concealer. The best tint for my skin is 3.2 N and I have to say, it was spot on. The texture is perfect: not too heavy, slightly velvety, and it highlighted my under-eyes when I applied it with a Beautyblender, as though I'd woken up with a fresh face. On top of that, it looks very natural. I am usually very picky when it comes to trying new products and I have been using the same skin care and following the same beauty routine for years. However, I am seriously considering adding this concealer to my routine, especially in the summer when I want something light on my face and want to look fresh."
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Sadhbh O’Sullivan, Health & Living Writer, Refinery29 UK

"Like Jacqueline, I’m a big fan of The Ordinary’s skin care. I have PCOS and reckoned with cystic acne for the majority of my 20s. While The Ordinary didn’t stop the cystic acne itself, it’s helped majorly with my subclinical acne (Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%), texture (Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%), and redness (Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12%). I haven’t had as much success with their makeup, though — I found the foundation didn’t work on my skin, which seems to respond well to BB cream only. I had high hopes for the concealer, though.

I tried the high-coverage formula in the shade 2.0 N. I’m not much of a skin makeup wearer even in the pre-COVID days, so I’m always surprised by how thick skin makeup can be, but I didn’t mind the consistency. I didn’t have a clean brush so I blended it in with my fingers and found the shade match to be surprisingly good. I have lots of different pigments in my skin from scarring and hyperpigmentation so it can be hard to get a good match. I focused it mainly on my cheeks — my biggest site of scarring and redness — and found it fairly easy to blend. It didn’t completely cover my skin to make it look like I don’t have any scarring at all, but I actually prefer that. It just softened the effect and faded a particularly dark red spot into my skin.

All in all, I like it and will use again. I think it’s a good concealer for 'problem' areas but not for pre-existing spots or dryness, as it did emphasize my skin texture in that sense."
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