The Perfect Concealer: Is It Out There?

Concealer_IntroIllustrated by Gabriela Alford.
For makeup lovers, cooler temps mainly mean one thing: Our makeup will no longer be melting off of us like some sort of pleasantly-scented mudslide. And, while our summer skin made do with a glow that was au naturel, our current autumnal complexion needs a little more love in the cover-up department. Specifically, we need new concealer, and we need it now.
With so many exciting new products available, we were eager to find The One — the concealer that's going to hide our blemishes, red spots, and other fun discolorations, without looking, well, like we're wearing makeup. Is it out there? We're forever hopeful.
In that spirit, we rounded up some staffers and put the newest concealers to the test. Did the products deliver the magic they promised, or were we left wanting more? Read on to learn of our many concealer-related feelings, and to see before and after shots of the products on our faces. The results might surprise you.
ProductSmackdown_Concealer_CandaceIllustrated by Gabriela Alford.
Candace Sautman, Freelance Production Coordinator/PM
The Contender: Stila Stay All Day Concealer
"When you have combination skin like I do, it's an everyday struggle to find a concealer that handles whatever skin problem I have that day. Scarring, whiteheads, blackheads, dark spots, red bumps, and oiliness — everyday is different, which makes finding the perfect concealer all the more important.
"I am not a makeup aficionado. Growing up, I never really had bad skin, so I didn't have to worry too much about coverage. But, as soon as I moved to New York, my skin transformed. I now have zits galore. I'd love to find a concealer that completely covers my problem areas without giving me that cakey, 'I'm-wearing-lots-of-makeup' look and feel.
"The Stila concealer was very smooth, like butter. I think it would have applied better had I exfoliated first because my skin can sometimes be very dry and flaky. It did, however, still glide on well and had a reasonable amount of coverage. I feel like it did a great job concealing on my troubled skin. It did leave my skin feeling very dewy, as if I had been standing outside on a humid day — not cool. But, as the day went on I actually liked how it sat. It stayed on and looked better by the hour.
"I definitely want to try this out again when my skin isn't so broken-out and when I've exfoliated. The color matched perfectly, which is hard to come by for someone with my skin complexion. So, Stila — I have not given up on you! I totally believe in Stila's coverage capabilities to give you that long-lasting coverage."
Stila Stay All Day Concealer, $23, available at Stila.
ProductSmackdown_Concealer_MeganIllustrated by Gabriela Alford.
Megan McIntyre, senior beauty editor
The Contender: Marc Jacobs Beauty Remedy Concealer Pen
"When it comes to concealer, I'm a bit of a connoisseur. I've tried 'em all — and I know what I like and what I don't like. My skin is the type that's prone to breakouts at least a few times a month, so I'm always on the lookout for something to hide those blemishes. In addition, as a bonus, I also have the type of reactive, sensitive skin that holds onto those post-acne red marks for weeks on end, making it look like I am perpetually broken out. Fun!
"I gravitate towards creamy concealers, because they tend to spread pretty easily, but my big complaint is they don't cover up the redness like the thicker formulas do. Yet those thicker formulas tend to cake and settle into burgeoning fine lines. Hence, my issue finding the right makeup match. For my Product Smackdown, I was giving the Marc Jacobs Beauty Remedy Concealer Pen a go, and I can't say I had a lot of confidence in this creamy, almost liquid-y cover-up. You apply the concealer with a silver-tipped applicator (ooh, fancy), which did feel nice and soothing on my skin. I also liked that the formula, while easy to apply and really blendable, didn't feel greasy or too slippery on my skin. However, the coverage left something to be desired. It didn't hit that sweet spot for me of covering things I don't want on display, but not creating a cake-y, mask-like finish.
"The bottom line: While it was just the ticket to keep my undereye circles under control, it was only so-so at hiding those post-acne red marks. It's a perfectly adequate concealer, but my hunt for the perfect cover-up is still on. I just want something that makes my skin look like perfect skin — is that so wrong?"
Marc Jacobs Beauty Remedy Concealer Pen, $39, available at Sephora.
ProductSmackdown_Concealer_TaraIllustrated by Gabriela Alford.
Tara Rasmus, assistant beauty editor
The Contender: E.L.F. Studio HD Lifting Concealer
"I love me some concealer — I have different formulas for stray marks, serious zits, and undereye circles — and it's one category of products that I don't think I could ever go without. My biggest beauty gripes are tired-looking eyes and blemishes (and the scars they leave behind), so my concealers are my secret weapons to fake a perfect complexion (and, believe me, with the right formulas and application techniques, people will really be fooled into thinking that your skin is flawless).
"Today, I used the E.L.F. Studio HD Lifting Concealer. The texture was super-light and silky, and the coverage was the perfect balance of pigmented and blendable. Once the concealer was tapped onto my red spots (always tap, never rub!), it really disappeared. It looked like, well, skin.
"I really liked this concealer and have since kept it in my bag for stealthy on-the-go touch-ups. My pet peeve is concealer that is drying or cakey, and this concealer was the opposite of that — and for the insanely low price of $3, I'd say that every girl should give this lightweight cover-up a try."
E.L.F. Studio HD Lifting Concealer, $3, available at E.L.F.

Like this post? There's more. Get tons of beauty tips, tutorials, and news on the Refinery29 Beauty Facebook page. Like us on Facebook — we'll see you there!

More from Makeup


R29 Original Series