Sometimes the adage “you get what you pay for” is painfully right, but other times, particularly in the area of cosmetics, there are tons of beautiful products available that work just as well as boutique products for a fraction of the price.
An excellent performing concealer is arguably one of the essential tools in your makeup arsenal, but often it’s just not cost-effective to spend a hundred dollars on something that’s as big as your pinky finger. Though there may be a handful of great products out there for an equally high price, finding them can be a long and arduous journey.
Below you can find our favorite drugstore concealers that get the job done!
Information Every Informed Buyer Should Know when looking for the right Drugstore Concealer:
There are so many details that can make a concealer right for you or wrong for you. You may even need multiple concealers to meet all of your needs The two most important elements on your journey to the perfect concealer are to know your skin type and to know which concealer types work best with your particular issues. It’s matchmaking for your skin.
The most common skin types include dry skin, healthy skin, and combination or oily skin. Most people use concealer to cover up blemishes, dark circles, irregular pigmentation, or redness and broken blood vessels. Concealers come in all sorts of shapes, shades, and sizes, however, the most common forms that concealer takes is stick concealer, liquid concealer, and cream concealer.
Liquid concealers are usually an excellent choice for general use. They often smooth easily with other makeup, and you can build coverage by adding layers until you have the desired effect. If blemishes are your problem, you may want to choose a liquid concealer as they tend to blend into, not sit on top of, your skin- which can sometimes draw attention to a blemish. Though liquid concealers are often recommended to cover wrinkles as the liquid dries and doesn’t pour into creases like cream and stick concealers can, they are typically not recommended for people with dry skin as they can make skin look flaky.
Stick concealers are intensely pigmented with a thick texture and are good for maximum coverage. They are not recommended for blemishes or oily skin as their feel makes them more likely to clog pores, but they can easily be used to cover up skin pigmentation issues or dark circles (or even to highlight specific areas of the face).
Cream concealers (which come in a small pot) are recommended for high-coverage needs. These typically include skin discoloration and dark circles under the eyes. They are not recommended for blemishes, as they will sit on top of the skin and draw attention to the defect. Cream concealers are also often recommended for your makeup regime if you do not use a foundation- they are easy to blend with the rest of your skin.
There are also a few tricks that can help make your concealer more effective. Many people choose to apply foundation first and then to use concealer to maintain the effectiveness and potency of the concealer and to keep it from getting rubbed or brushed away. It is also recommended always to pat your concealer instead of rubbing or wiping it- this will prevent your skin from pulling, causing premature aging, and it will help the concealer stay put. It is also generally recommended to purchase the concealer that is slightly lighter than your natural skin tone. This will maximize the effectiveness of its coverage abilities.
There are also various pigmented concealers out there that may help you correct specific skin issues. If you’re suffering from redness caused by blemishes, a green high can help mask the red (though you’ll want to cover it with foundation). A yellow concealer will help hide any purple or blue discoloration under the eyes, and a blue concealer can help whiten and brighten a reddish complexion.
Best Drugstore Concealers
Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Treatment Concealer, Brightener
It is supposed to work instantly on puffiness and to fade circles over time.
They don’t supply a large variety of shades. However, they do offer a neutral tone and a brightener for your under eye or highlighting needs. The applicator itself also features a soft pouf. This ‘Micro-Corrector Applicator’ is made of an elastic material that is supposed to fill in and smooth fine lines if you apply directly to the area and dab away with a dry tissue. One elegant feature of this particular concealer is that it features an anti-microbial system – so don’t wet the applicator!
Though this product is marketed for use on under eye-circles, the brightener can also be added to other parts of the face as a highlighter. If you’re looking for medium weight coverage as well as lasting brightening effects for your under-eye circles, you may want to consider buying both the neutral tone and brightener (both relatively inexpensive) so that you can blend both concealers (the neutral tone below the eye and the brightener in the corners and on the cheekbones) for maximum effect.
Pros and Cons
- Medium Coverage
- Anti-Microbial Applicator
- Affordable Price
- Contains Goji Berry and Haloxyl for puffiness, discoloration, and fine lines
- Comes as Brightener or in Neutral Tones
- Limited Colors
- Not Formulated for Blemishes or Other Coverage
Almay Clear Complexion Concealer
If you’re suffering from blemishes or acne, Almay Clear Complexion Concealer, a liquid concealer that comes in a tube with a wand cap, may be the perfect way to not only cover your problem areas but to clear up your skin at the same time.
This clear complexion concealer is formulated for folks who have difficulty fighting acne or blemishes. It contains salicylic acid, a common ingredient for drying acne and scars, however, it also includes chamomile and aloe to soothe skin and keep it from over-drying.
The directions recommend only applying once daily at first to ensure that your skin doesn’t become overly dry and flaky, so you may want to have a backup concealer handy to refresh your makeup throughout the day until you are sure that your skin can handle the medicated treatment.
Apparently, this medicated concealer is only intended for use over blemishes and acne prone areas of the skin, so you will also have to use it in conjunction with another concealer if you need to address other problems such as dark circles under the eyes.
As always, Almay products are hypoallergenic, so if you are looking for a solution for your breakouts or problems with acne, this may be the right product for you.
Pros and Cons
- Fights Blemishes with Salicylic Acid
- Contains Soothing Ingredients such as Chamomile and Aloe
- Medium Blendable Liquid Coverage
- May Over-Dry
- Not Appropriate for Under Eye Circles
IT Cosmetics CC + Eye Color Correcting Full Coverage Cream Concealer
If you are the type who likes all of your makeup to come with a high SPF, IT Cosmetics Full Coverage Cream Concealer boasts a massive 50 SPF.
IT Cosmetics advertises ‘Optical Blurring Pigments’ in its product, which create a brighter, smoother look, and the concealer also contains ‘Skin Strengthening Ingredients’ to produce healthier, younger looking skin. This includes hyaluronic acid, hydrolyzed collagen, colloidal oatmeal, aloe, silk, peptides, and antioxidants specially formulated to help rid your complexion of dark circles and other skin discolorations.
This product offers a higher coverage and a matte finish, and the texture is somewhere in between a liquid and cream. It’s also a bit pricier than some other options out there, but if you’re looking for something specially formulated to cover dark and red circles under the eyes that can also protect you from the sun’s harsh rays, this IT Cosmetics CC + Eye Color Correcting Concealer may be worth a try.
Pros and Cons
- High Coverage
- SPF 50
- Contains Ingredients to Help Remove Dark Circles and Skin Discoloration
- Creamy Liquid
- More Expensive
L'Oréal Paris Visible Lift Serum Absolute Concealer
Because it is a lightweight concealer, it may also be appropriate if you are looking to forego foundation altogether and only apply a small amount of concealer to problem areas (like any minor blemishes or under eye circles). It just comes in four colors, so if you’re looking to try this concealer, it is recommended to opt for a shade lighter than your skin tone.
Pros and Cons
- Liquid Concealer
- Good for Blendable Light Coverage
- Affordable Price
- Not Appropriate for Heavy Concealing Needs
- Only Offers Four Colors
Wet N Wild Photo Focus Concealer
Due to its high pigmentation and silky liquid texture, this product is probably suited for any skincare need that you may have. Its high-coverage can help cover discoloration and blemishes while its hydrating liquid will make it easy to blend either alone or with other products.
Though it only comes in five colors, they span a broad spectrum, from light ivory (which is very bright) to dark cocoa. To top it all off, this product is incredibly inexpensive. So if you are looking for a simple, hydrating, high-coverage liquid concealer, this product is worth a try.
Pros and Cons
- Appropriate for Many Skin Issues, Including Blemishes, Dark Circles, and Evening Skin Tone
- Only Comes in Five Colors
Physicians Formula Gentle Cover Concealer Stick
It’s also very long lasting and should provide coverage for the entire day. Like most concealer sticks, it offers more substantial coverage. However, this rod is soft and blendable enough for use for both under eye circles and blemishes and can be used for foundation or alone. It only comes in three colors, however- yellow, green, and light- and just the light color can be used as stand-alone makeup. The other two colors can be beneficial as an underlayer to correct any issues with skin pigmentation.
This product is more expensive than many other drugstore concealers, but if you have issues with sensitive skin, it may be worth it to spend some extra cash for a product that doesn’t contain any possible irritants.
Pros and Cons
- Uses Ionic Steam
- Consistent Temperature
- UV Disinfecting Light
- Portable with Handle
- Bonus 5 Piece Extractor Kit
- No Automatic Shut Off
- No Essential Oil Tray
- Shorter Run Time
L'Oréal Paris True Match Super Blendable Crayon Concealer
This crayon concealer is a relatively stiff stick of concealer, so it indeed allows for precise application for those of you who treat your makeup application as a work of art. It’s thicker texture also will enable you to build for higher coverage; however, the dryness of the stick is not necessarily suitable for concealing dark circles under the eyes unless you are applying it with added moisturizer.
That being said, the True Match Crayon Concealer is also not particularly cakey, allowing for some blending and layering. This concealer might work particularly well if you are suffering from scarring and are looking for a precise, thick, yet the blendable solution for covering your scars.
It comes in six colors, and though it is quite affordable, keep in mind that the concealer isn’t as big as the stick itself. This product might also work wonderfully for highlighting and contouring and is inexpensive enough to experiment with various colors.
Pros and Cons
- Good for Layering
- Appropriate for Contouring and Highlighting
- Allows for Precise Application
- Small Amount of Concealer in Each Stick
- Not Appropriate for Under Eye Use
NYX Professional Makeup Concealer Jar
It’s creamy consistency and highly pigmented formula supply heavy to medium coverage, depending on how you apply it.
Though the concealer itself is quite small, due to its high concentration of pigment a little can go a long way, so it is still quite a steal despite the small size. Cream Concealers aren’t often recommended for blemishes and combination skin, but NYX Professional Makeup Concealer contains emollients which keep skin hydrating and prevent makeup from caking on top of scars.
If you’re suffering from skin discoloration, dark circles, blemishes, or all of the above, this highly concentrated creamy concealer might be the one stop shop for all of your concealer needs.
This concealer comes in a wide variety of shades and colors (green, purple, and yellow for those who are looking to color correct) and is so affordable that you can easily purchase multiple colors to blend to the perfect shade for your skin tone.
As a bonus, NYX is known for not testing their products on animals.
Pros and Cons
- Highly Pigmented
- Creamy and Blendable Application
- No Animal Testing
- Not Suitable for Light Coverage
E.l.f. Maximum Coverage Concealer, Oil-Free
E.l.f. Maximum Coverage Concealer comes in a small tube and takes a very hydrous form. Despite the fluid consistency of this liquid concealer, it does provide highly pigmented coverage, and the fluidity allows you to blend and layer for the desired effect.
Due to its size and the fact that it is oil-free, it’s also recommended for use in covering tattoos, birthmarks, scars, and much more than just facial concealer coverage. If you do use it for facial coverage, it is recommended that you set the concealer with a powder or other finish. Unfortunately, this concealer is only available in three colors: beige, nude, and porcelain.
It’s high pigmentation and the ability to layer make it great for blemishes, dark circles, and general skin tone as well. It comes at an extremely affordable price, and the fact that it is oil-free could be a big bonus if you suffer from oily or combination skin or are naturally sensitive to products containing mineral and other oils. To top it off, e.l.f. Products are cruelty-free and vegan as well.
This product may be the right choice if you are looking for a medium to full coverage concealer for oily or combination skin or if your concealer needs are somewhere other than the face.
Pros and Cons
- Good for Body as well as Face
- Medium to Heavy Coverage
- Cruelty-Free and Vegan
- May Not Work for Dry Skin
- Few Color Options
COVERGIRL Clean Invisible Lightweight Concealer
Though it blends relatively well,If you are in need of a simple, lightweight concealer to take care of a few small problem areas but don’t have any issues that require highly pigmented concealers (or if highly pigmented concealers don’t work for your needs), this is a very cost-effective and blendable option. it is not recommended for dark eye circles as it’s less concentrated pigmentation is probably not high enough coverage for skin discoloration and dark circles.
It does, however, work particularly well for small blemishes and as a brightener due to its blendability and extended lasting wear. As it only comes in 4 shades, it is also particularly useful for contouring and highlighting your face.
Some people also prefer to use concealer alone instead of foundation as it is often more hydrating and better for your skin. Due to its lightweight nature, CoverGirl’s Clean Invisible Lightweight Concealer could also help you achieve a natural look without the use of a full foundation.
Pros and Cons
- Good for Brightening
- Good for Small Blemishes
- Will not cover Skin Discoloration or Dark Circles
Drugstore Concealers – Additional Information
One of the most significant issues when choosing a suitable drugstore concealer for your needs may be selecting the right color. Before deciding this, you may want to ask yourself a couple of questions: Will you be using this alone or with foundation? Are your needs for extreme coverage or just a simple touchup? These two issues can help gauge what tone you need and how light the concealer should be.
A green, yellow, or peach tinged concealer should only be used in combination with a foundation and powder and are intended for color correcting and significant coverage. If you are looking to use a high-coverage concealer with infrastructure but not to color correct, a yellow toned or peach-toned concealer (toned, not pigmented) that is one shade lighter than your natural skin tone may be the best choice as it will offer coverage but will be easier to use, and less work than green, yellow, and peach pigmented concealer. If you would like to use concealer without foundation to touch up small blemishes or cover under eye circles, it is recommended to use a concealer that closely matches your skin tone and to blend, blend, blend.
If you are testing a concealer for the appropriate color, make sure that you apply the tester to the skin below your ear rather than to your cheeks or your hands as they often don’t match your actual skin tone needs.
Good luck on your journey finding the perfect concealer (or concealers!) for your skin care needs.
The world of cosmetics can be overwhelming – there’s so much available, and it can be difficult to know where to start on the quest to cover up scars, blemishes, dark circles, or the myriad of other things that you may want to use concealer for. The great thing about drugstore concealers is that most of them are relatively inexpensive (some of them are incredibly affordable!), which gives you the freedom to make an informed purchase without the worry that the product may not work for you.
Again, please keep in mind that often people find that mixing and matching concealers – both for color matching and texture/coverage matching- is the best way to go.