How to choose a concealer: Everything you should know

When shopping for makeup products, the most difficult decision you have to make is when settling for a specific product. Is my skin compatible with all makeup brands? Am I allergic to any ingredient in the makeup products? Is the makeup product and settling for even worth it? These are some of the questions almost everyone who goes shopping for makeup ask themselves. 

To reduce the struggle of having to pick any makeup product, I will give you a very detailed guide on how you can choose the best brand in the market. Remember, we first notice your face the first time we see you. You wouldn’t want to spoil your beautiful face with a bad makeup product. 

Yes, you can do that.

I have been using makeup for 10 years now and I can proudly proclaim myself a somewhat makeup guru. Some of the things I am going to talk about include;

  • Knowing your skin type,
  • Testing of you have any allergic reactions to any ingredient found in concealers,
  • What color of concealer you should pick,
  • What type of concealer you should buy for your specific face,
  • The best method of concealer application,
  • The types of tools you need to apply your concealer, and a lot more I am sure you have never hard about concealers. 

So, keep reading this guide to reduce the hustle most people go through buying concealers. 

Table of Contents

How to buy concealer for the first time?

Every person struggles with their first concealer. From choosing the best brand, matching a concealer with your skin color, and knowing if the concealer you buy will work for you. 

Luckily, I made my own share of mistakes when I was starting my makeup journey. We will therefore use my mistakes to give you the ultimate guide on how to choose the best concealer for you. 

When choosing the best concealer for yourself, look for the following factors;

  • The ingredients used in the concealer
  • How much the concealer is retailing
  • Your skin tone and type
  • What brand is leading in the market and other factors. 

I will discuss further in details how each factor affects your choice of concealer. 

What do I need to know before buying concealer?

The ingredients used in the concealer

Different companies use different ingredients depending on what they want their concealer to achieve. Some companies use SPF while others don’t. The reason you should check the ingredients is because you might be allergic to one of the ingredients. Some ingredients added to the concealer are aimed for dry skin while others are for oily skin. 

Before even checking for the ingredients, consult with a dermatologist to find which makeup ingredients you might be allergic to. The dermatologist will advice you on what ingredients to look in the concealer depending on your individual skin type. 

Most brands update the ingredients on their products. Check the list of ingredients of your preferred concealer online before going to the beauty store. 

Your skin type

There are different concealers in the market. Each concealer is made with it’s target consumers in mind. 

  • Powdered concealer is specifically made for oily skin
  • Creamy concealer is preferably used for dry skin
  • Liquid concealer provides a full coverage to any type of skin 
  • Pencil concealer is ideal for dry skin
  • Silicone-based concealer suits oily skin while water-based concealer suits all types of skin. 
  • waterproof concealer

Choose the concealer that suits your skin type perfectly. 

Skin tone 

The hardest part when choosing a concealer goes for matching a concealer to your skin color. Most people make a mistake of choosing a concealer shades lighter or darker than their skin tone. 

When deciding the concealer shades, choose a concealer one shade darker or one shade lighter. 

Apply some concealer on your wrist. Check if the concealer matches your skin tone. The light skin concealer cannot use for dark Asian skin tones. Alternatively, you can use shade finder online to decide the concealer that matches your skin tone. 

  • If you have a lighter skin tone, concealer with yellow hue will suit you perfectly
  • Concealers with a pinky hue suits well chocolate skin tone 
  • While people with dark skin tone can use a concealer with an orangish hue.

What brand should you settle for

There are over a thousand brands of concealer in the market. Among those brands, there are some imitations. This brings a lot of confusion and possible skin infections due to use of dangerous ingredients. 

Although a lot of people are against this idea, I always go with the most renown concealer brand. This is because you can find testimonials from YouTube and other sites. 

You will also find that most of this famous brands run their own show rooms where you can seek assistance from experts. They can help you choose a concealer that matches your skin tone and skin type.

Most of the renown brands retail their concealers at a price higher than the other brands. However, it is worth every coin you use since you only buy a concealer at least once in an year. 

Below is a few bonus tips to use when buying a concealer;

  • If you want to buy quality concealer, buy from a renown vendor. There is a lot of counterfeit concealers in the market. 
  • Always check the expiry date of the concealer before buying. Concealers are good for use within one year after the first use. 
  • Consult with a beauty expert to find out which type of concealer will work for you. 
  • Do not buy a concealer the same color as your skin tone. Always buy a concealer one shade lighter and one shade darker.

If you use the tips provided above, be assured you will not have any  struggles purchasing your first ever concealer. 

How do you know what skin tone you are?

A lot of people confuse complexion and skin tone. This are however very different. Complexion changes depending on many factors such as; weather changes, presence of skin infections and your health condition. Skin tone on the other hand is constant. 

Skin tone can be classified into three distinctive classes; Neutral, warm and cool. 

Check the color of the veins on your wrist against natural light

Checking the color of your veins under artificial light might give you the wrong impression. Sit near a window and check the veins under your wrist.

  • If you veins appear to be green then you have a warm skin tone.
  • If your veins appear to be bluish or purple then you have a cool skin tone. 
  • Veins for people with neutral skin tone appear to be greenish or bluish.

Wash your face and wait for at least 20 minutes

You cannot tell your skin tone immediately after scrubbing your face. Your face might appear pinkish immediately after washing it. Give your face at least 20 minutes after cleaning and observe the color. 

Observe your face in natural lighting

As said earlier, artificial sources of light can alter the appearance of your skin tone. Sit near the window or outside and observe your skin tone. 

Tell a friend to check the skin behind your ears 

The skin behind your ears is less exposed to sunlight. Therefore it is the most accurate way to tell what your skin tone. 

Compare your skin to a white sheet of paper

Put a white sheet of paper next to your face. Sit in front of the mirror and observe the contrast. 

  • Neutral skin tone appears to be grayish, greenish or bluish behind the white sheet of paper
  • Warm skin tone appears to be yellowish behind the white paper. 
  • Cool skin tone on the other hand appears pinkish. 

Check how your skin reacts with the sun

How your skin reacts with the sun can be used to determine your skin tone. In most cases skin with a lot of melanin does not react with the sun as much as skin with less melanin. 

  • If your skin appears to have sun burns after being exposed to the sun then you might have a warm or a cool skin tone. 
  • People with neutral skin tone does not get affected by sunlight exposure as much. 

Consult with a beauty expert

If you are shopping for makeup products, a beautician can help you determine your skin tone easily. 

Knowing your skin tone helps you make an easy decision when choosing makeup products. 

How do I know my concealer shade?

Every makeup beginner has made a mistake of choosing the wrong shade of concealer. This is because a lot of people assume the basics of choosing a concealer. 

The first thing you should consider when choosing a concealer is knowing your skin type. Aside from the form of concealer, you should consider the color of the concealer. 

If you have Asian skin, Follow our guide to get more ideas about select a best concealer shade for you.

Most concealers are divided into shades for fair and dark skin. 

Best concealer shade for fair skin

concealer with a brush

For a long time people with fair skin have a hard time finding a concealer that matches their skin tone. However, the more new brands are emerging, it gets easier to find a concealer that suits their skin tone. For example, Rihanna’s Fenty beauty observed the need for inclusivity, for that reason she came up with over 50 shades of concealers for both fair and dark skinned queens. 

Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Conceale

  • Full Coverage
  • Matte Finish

If you have been having a hard time finding a concealer that matches your skin tone, you can use the table below. The table includes some of the best brands that offer concealer shades for fair skinned ladies.  

Concealer brandShade color
KVD vegan beauty lock-itShade light 1
Dermacol 207,208
KkW liquid concealer#9
Tarte concealer35N
Fenty beautyOver 25 shades

Best concealer shade for dark skin

Dark skinned queens have had a hard time finding a concealer that suits their skin. However, with more emerging black owned beauty lines, you will find concealers that suits all dark skinned ladies most from Asia and Affrica. Some of the top brands that offer concealers for dark skinned ladies are provided in the table below.

Concealer brandShade number
M.A.C studio finishNW 40- 45
M.A.C studio finishNW 55
Nars RadiantAll 22 shades
Fenty beautyOver 25 shades
L’Oréal concealer14 shades
Tom Ford concealer12 shades
Bobby brown instant cover concealerOver 15 shades

Should concealer be lighter or darker than foundation?

Most of the time, you will be using a concealer to hide some skin imperfections after applying your foundation. It would therefore not make any sense to use a concealer the same shade as the foundation. 

If you are trying to hide some dark circles under your eyes, then you should use a concealer one shade lighter than your skin tone of your foundation. However, if you are using a concealer to contour your face, a concealer one shade darker than your foundation will do the job. 

According to my local beautician, you should buy a concealer a shade lighter or a shade darker than your concealer depending on the type of blemishes you want to conceal. 

Using a concealer the same shade as your foundation will not have any effect to your makeup look. In fact your makeup will look cakey as you will be adding more layers of makeup with the same color. 

Do you get the same color concealer as foundation?

Most foundations are buildable. What it means is that you can add more layers of the product to hide most skin imperfections. For the imperfections that are not concealable by use of a foundation, we use a concealer. Due to that reason, you cannot use a concealer the same color as the foundation. 

As explained in section 3, you should either get a concealer one shade lighter or one shade darker depending on where you are using the concealer. 

Should I use yellow or pink concealer?

The color of concealer chosen is determined by your skin tone and the type of skin imperfections you are trying to conceal. 

  • If you have a pale skin tone and you are trying to conceal some dark circles around the eyes then you should use a pink concealer. 
  • Yellow concealer is ideal for people with dark skin. You can also use the yellow concealer to hide purple and black spots on your face.

Concealers do not come in only this two shades. You can find concealers that have some orange or green undertones. 

Best concealer brands

Choosing the best brand of concealer can be a big hustle. This is because there are over a thousand brands that promise to give you the best product. However, finding the best brand don’t have to be such a big issue. 

The first step to choosing the best brand of concealer is seeing what other beauty enthusiasts are using. This is because it is possible to find videos of people using this videos online. You can gauge if they are working or not. 

Another way of knowing the best concealers is the range of shades they produce. Some brands have over 50 shades of concealer for different skin tones. If you find brands with more shades means that they have invested in producing quality products. 

One other thing that can signify that a concealer brand is the best is the price. Most quality concealers retail at a high prices compared to mediocre concealers. Alternatively, you can follow what your favorite makeup artist uses for their work and buy the same brand. 

Pros of choosing the best brand

  • There are enough testimonials online. 
  • You can get quite a huge range of concealer shade 
  • Most quality brands have workshops where they show case each of their products. 
  • You can be assured that your skin will be well protected. Most quality concealers also do repair your skin. 

Cons of choosing the best brand of concealer

  • There are a lot of counterfeits of this products 
  • They are expensive.

We will look at the top 6 quality concealers in the market. 

Elf hydrating camo concealer

e.l.f. 16HR Camo Concealer

  • Full Coverage & Highly Pigmented
  • Matte Finish
  • All Skin Tone
  • Not-Tested-On-Animals

If you are looking for a perfect a concealer for hiding the dark circles under your eyes or the stubborn acne on your face, Elf offers such an impeccable concealer. Their concealers come with over 23 shades. This means you can get a concealer for your skin tone. 

Elf camo concealer are free from cruelty being tested thoroughly by dermatologist before being released to the market. 

Elf concealer also offer some smooth satin look ensuring your skin is hydrated throughout. It also come with an application wand. Use the wand to apply the concealer on the dark spots on your face or under the eyes. 

Maybelline instant age concealer

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer

  • America’s Number 1 Concealer
  • Erase the look of dark circles
  • Radiant, Brighten, Anti-aging
  • Multi-Use Concealer

Maybelline instant is an all-in-one concealer. It offers a light to full coverage depending on what you want to achieve. You also get a 12 hours color correction, hydration, and concealer solution in one product. It comes with over 10 shades for different skin tones. 

Nars radiant creamy concealer

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer

  • Country of origin is United States
  • Luxurious texture and luminous finish
  • Lightweight medium to high buildable coverage
  • Paraben-free, alcohol free, synthetic fragrance free, non comedogenic

Nars radiant creamy concealer is one of the best concealer in the market. It provides a 16 hours of nourishment while still concealing and correcting all your skin imperfections. 

Nars has over 30 available shades for different skin tones. Some of the most distinctive features that makes Nars the best concealer include;

  • Last all day
  • Has a medium-buildable coverage
  • Sweat-resistant
  • Offers a radiant finish
  • Crease-resistant
  • Transfer-resistant
  • Humidity-proof
  • Water-resistant
  • Ideal for all skin types
  • Free from alcohol, fragrance and parabens
  • Non-comedogenic
  • It is Dermatologist and Ophthalmologist tested. 

Too Faced – Born This Way Concealer

Too Faced Born This Way Super Coverage Concealer

  • Hydrating
  • Buildable, Full Coverage
  • Natural Finish

As the name suggests, Too Faced concealer provides a full coverage natural finish. Once you apply this concealer, you can stay for 13 hours without needing to retouch. The concealer is also vegan friendly and dermatologist and ophthalmologist tested. Some other features of this concealer include;

  • Sweat-free
  • Oil-free
  • Can perform multiple purposes; contours, highlights, conceals, and retouches
  • Non-comedogenic formula
  • Light weight
  • Photo-ready
  • Vegan friendly

Tarte concealer

TARTE Shape Tape Concealer | Light-Medium Honey

  • Hydrating
  • Radiant
  • Matte & Brighten
  • Full Coverage

Among the best concealers in the market is the Tarte concealer. Tarte concealer provides a full range coverage for all types of skin tone. You therefore don’t need to add any other products to conceal the dark circles under your eyes or the stubborn skin imperfections.

It comes with a angled wand which makes application easy. Some of the other features of this concealer includes;

  • Moisturizes your skin
  • Formulated with mango seed, Amazonian clay, and Shear butter. 
  • Lasts the when day without the need for a retouch.
  • Provides a flawless matte finish
  • Easy to blend. 
  • Free from paraben

Maybelline fit me concealer

Maybelline New York Fit Me! Concealer

  • Oil-free concealers
  • Matches all skin tones
  • Dermatologist tested
  • Ophthalmologist tested

With over 12 shades, Maybelline fit me provides a full coverage for different types of skin tone. The concealer is light weight which means it is sweat-free and ensures your pores are not clogged. 

Maybelline fit me concealer has an angled wand that makes application easy.

It is advisable to use a red blemish concealer for under eyes. Some of the other features of Maybelline fit me concealer includes;

  • Light-weight
  • Fragrance free
  • Oil-free
  • Has SPF 18 present
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Dermatologist and Ophthalmologist tested. 

How to apply concealer?

A concealer fulfills more than one function of concealing skin imperfections. You can use it as a contour, highlight, and for retouching. When using concealer for the different function, you should apply it in different directions. In this guide we will look at the main function of concealing skin imperfections. 

When applying concealer to hide blemishes follow the following steps;

Step 1: Prep your face

Cleanse, tone and moisturize your face.

Step 2: Apply a primer

A primer creates a protective layer between makeup products and the skin. You should never skip this step. 

Step 3: Apply a setting powder

This is an optional step. However, to provide a natural finish and to ensure the makeup does not slip or sweat off, use a loose setting powder.

Step 4: Apply a foundation

Apply foundation in layers for a long lasting flawless finish. Use tiny amount of product to prevent the cakey makeup look. 

Ensure you blend in the foundation perfectly. 

Step 5: Apply your concealer

Depending on where the blemishes are still showing after foundation application, use a concealer that suits your skin tone. 

  • If you are applying concealer under your eyes, use the applicator wand from the inner corners and spread it outwards. 
  • When applying concealer on the part of the face, put tiny amount of concealer and ensure you start blending before it dries up. 
  • Use your fingers, specific concealer brushes or a beauty blender to blend the concealer with your skin 

Step 6: Apply a setting powder

Apply a setting powder after blending the concealer to ensure the concealer stays put for a long time. 

Well, we have a dedicated article for How to apply concealer as well. Hope you will like it too.

Select your concealer shade online

Although online retailing has come to save us the struggles of physically visiting stores, it also has it’s share of downside. For starters, you might not know if the product you are getting will fit your skin. 

I will give you some of the tips you should use to find a perfect concealer for your skin tone online.

Tip 1: Always do extensive research

Most brands offer over 10 shades of concealers. In most cases you might find that the shade is not as described. 

Read other customer reviews to find out if what you are paying for is what you wanted. 

Go through all the ingredients and check if there is any that would react with your skin. 

Tip 2: Use shade finder tool

If you don’t know what shade will work for you, you can use tools available all over the internet. You can also check charts and images used by the brand you are going for to find which shade is closer to your skin tone. 

Tip 3: Communicate with customer Assistants online

Most brands have their own websites. You can find their number at the bottom of the website. Consult with them to help you choose the right shade of concealer. 

Tip 4: Buy from renown websites

If the concealer you are going for is not offered directly in their website, you can buy from websites such as Amazon. There are a lot of counterfeit products sold online. 

If you use the tips provided above, you can be assured you will find the best concealer there is in the market. 

Concealer shade finder tool

Shade finder tools are some type of guides provided by different makeup brands that help you know the concealer shade you should get. 

This guides come in form of quizzes where you are provided with some pictures and asked to choose which skin tone seems closer to your skin tone. On these tools you will find pictures of beauties ranging from deep darker skin and all shades of fair skin. 

After you choose the skin tone that you feel like you relate to you are then asked to choose what your skin undertone looks. This answers are then used to give you a concealer than fits your skin tone. 

Although these tools are helpful they cannot be 100% reliable. We will look into the pros and cons of using shade finder tools.


  • You do not have to struggle with choosing a concealer that is closer to your shade.
  • Concealer shade finder tools are easy to use. 
  • You get results within a few seconds. 
  • You can find different shade finder tools. Therefore, you can find which shade is picked more. 


  • These tools do not factor in presence of skin imperfections.
  • Shade finder tools cannot be 100% accurate as there are some effects added by the camera on those photos. 
  • You must know what your skin tone looks like to use these tools. 

Concealer shade finder tools might not be 100% accurate but they provide the needed guidance when choosing a concealer. If you are not sure what your skin tone is, these tools are a first step in choosing the right concealer. 


Choosing the right shade of concealer does not have to be a huge struggle for you. There are more than a thousand ways you can determine your skin tone. Some of these come in form of specially designed tools to help you pick a concealer your shade. 

If you have a hard time choosing the right concealer, follow our guide as a starting point. 

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