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Whether you’re aiming to sculpt out different areas of your face or cover a blemish, concealer is going to be your best friend. It’s one of those makeup products that we all use, even if we really don’t wear makeup all that often. Concealer is multifunctional, quick to apply, and my favorite base product! Keep reading this ultimate guide to concealer to learn all the tips and tricks.

Makeup Glossary

What is Concealer?

Concealer is a skin-toned cosmetic product that is used to cover blemishes, redness, and under-eye circle. It can also be used to highlight and contour different areas of the face, giving a more sculpted appearance.

The formula of concealer is typically a liquid or cream, similar to a foundation but with a higher coverage. You can sort of think of it as a spot-concealing product that is more concentrated than your foundation.

Concealer, aka cover up, is used by an incredibly high amount of people – men included! Because it hides blemishes, it is used by a wide range of people, both as a part of a makeup routine or alone. It’s one of those products that is a staple in everyone’s makeup collection. It isn’t a fun product that people get excited about, but concealer is a must-have.

Related: Ultimate Guide to Foundation

Different Types of Concealer

Like foundations, concealers come in a few different forms, finishes, and coverages.

Liquid and Creams

Concealers are often found in one of three forms: liquid, cream, or stick. Stick concealers are really just more solid cream concealers.

Liquid concealers are the most popular, coming in the widest range of shades and finishes. They come in packaging similar to a lipgloss, in a tube with a doe foot applicator. These are my personal favorites.

Colourpop’s concealer is a popular, affordable liquid product.

Cream concealers tend to be very full coverage, but can also be harder to shade match. Because they are a thick cream, they can also become cakey on your face much quicker than a liquid concealer.

NARS Soft Matte concealer is a popular cream formula that comes in a small pot, like a cream eyeliner or pomade does.

Stick concealers are solid creams that twist up like a lipstick! These are very travel friendly, and are great formulas to throw in your purse for quick touch ups. However, I wouldn’t personally use one in my daily routine.

Dermablend is known for great coverage. Isn’t the similarity to a lipstick striking?


Like foundations, concealers can come in matte, dewy, and satin varieties.

If you have oily skin and/or want a flat finish, you should find a matte formula.

If you really love the glowy and luminous skin trend, find a dewy concealer.

Satin or natural finishes look the most skin-like, so if you are trying to only spot-conceal blemishes with your concealer, try to find one that will look the most natural on your skin – somewhere between a matte and dewy finish.

Coverage Level

When you look at foundations, you can find sheer and light formulas. This is where concealer differs the most – since the point of concealer is to entirely cover something, you won’t find any formula that is supposed to be see-through.

Generally, concealers are medium to full coverage. Some concealers are so incredibly full coverage that you can cover tattoos with them!

Some concealer formulas can layer very well, allowing you to build up the coverage in areas that are harder to cover.

How to Sculpt Your Face with Concealer

You can use any type of concealer to sculpt your face, though typically contour should be a matte finish.

Follow a contouring guide to learn the best way to contour for your face shape, if you don’t know already. Here’s a good illustration!

The key to sculpting your face with concealer comes down to three main points.

1. Use the right shades for your skin tone. 

When you are contouring an area, you want to use a shade or two darker than your skin tone – but not much darker than that, because it can look much too harsh! Likewise, when you highlight, go a shade lighter than your skin tone – especially for under your eyes, because it will make you look more awake.

2. Place it correctly

You want to make sure you put the darker shade where your face has natural shadows, and highlights where the sun hits the top of your face.


This is a huge problem – make sure you blend out your concealer before it dries down on your skin! You have a bit more time when you use a cream or stick formula, but regardless try to blend it out quickly. Once you think you’re done, blend for at least 10 more seconds.

How to Cover Blemishes with Concealer

This is a lot easier than contouring, but there are still some things you can do to help!

Essentially, you’re going to take the concealer applicator or a brush with some product on it and dab it on top of the area you are trying to conceal. Then, use a brush or makeup sponge to blend it out over your blemishes.

The issue that a lot of people find when they try and cover blemishes is that it all blends away!

To make sure you get a higher coverage on top of a blemish (without adding 5 layers of concealer on it!) dab a bit of product on top, and then wait a couple minutes before blending it out. The concealer will start to dry a bit, making it harder to blend – but also keeping the majority of the pigment and coverage right on your blemish.

When you’re using concealer to spot-conceal blemishes, make sure it matches your skin tone or your foundation shade so you don’t draw more attention to your blemishes.

And remember, makeup doesn’t hide texture on your skin. You can cover redness and other discoloration, but you can’t hide bumps. Honestly, you’re going to worry about this more than most other people who also deal with acne and won’t really care about yours. 🙂

Best Concealer Recommendations

I’ve dealt with acne for a long time, and also love using concealer to cover under-eye circles and highlight my face! I’ve tried my fair share of concealers (especially drugstore concealers) and have found my top 3, for sure!

1. Tarte Shape Tape

This is the beauty community favorite. One of these concealers is sold every 10 seconds, or something like that. I tried this and was immediately hooked because it gave me full coverage like no other concealer I’ve ever tried! I’ve already repurchased this, and will again in the future.

Yes, the price is a bit much for just a concealer – but it also lasts me a SUPER long time. Because it’s so full coverage, you don’t need a lot of product.

I highlight recommend trying shape tape. And remember, when you order from Ulta, you get free returns if you don’t like it or the shade you choose doesn’t match.

2. Maybelline Fit Me

I love a lot of the Fit Me line products! The concealer is the one I use most frequently. On my natural or dewy days, I reach for this one. It’s affordable and luminous (sometimes a bit too dewy for me though!) and provides medium buildable coverage.

I’ve also heard that this concealer is a dupe for the beloved NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer. If you’re on a budget, pick this up and compare!

3. elf Cosmetics 16hr Camo Concealer

For $5, I picked up this concealer after hearing it might be a shape tape dupe. For me, it’s a bit drier than shape tape, but my goodness this is the best full coverage drugstore concealer I’ve ever tried! If you have dry skin, I wouldn’t recommend this, but if you want a more-matte version of shape tape you might love this concealer.

Tip: this concealer dries down pretty quick, so apply and blend very fast!

PIN The Ultimate Guide to Concealer:

The Ultimate Guide to Concealer! Everything you need to know about concealer, from using it to contour to covering blemishes, all in one spot. There is some really useful information here!

I hope this ultimate guide to concealer was helpful for you!

Check out my other useful guides here:

Do you have a favorite concealer that you absolutely can’t live without? I’d love to try it! Let me know what it is in a comment below.

xoxo, Kailey

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