This is the next installment of my Declutter Series! Concealers are the only category of products that never go ages without being tried, so everything I’m discussing here (besides the concealer sample card swatches) have been tried at least once before. It’s also easier to tell whether I like one or not because my needs are very specific. For me to like a concealer it has to be pigmented enough to cover my intensely dark undereye circles (like nearly black under eyes) and have minimal settling into my fine lines. I might hold onto multiple foundations if I’m in the mood for one that is dewy or matte, sheer or full coverage, etc. With concealers, they either meet the requirements I need or they don’t, so there isn’t any reason for me to hold onto as many as I currently have.
As I noted in my Foundation Declutter post, I use the Dermablend Flawless Cover Drops as concealer, and it is currently tied with the Pat Mcgrath Concealer as my favorite product to cover my dark undereye circles. I have hyperpigmentation and scarring on my face, but I’m not nearly as self conscious about those areas as I am with my under eyes. For that reason, my favorite concealers will always be full coverage ones. Since I discussed the Dermablend product in my foundation post, I will be excluding it in this one.
MAC Pro Palette Studio Finish Skin Corrector x 6
Although I hardly use color correcters, I got an incredible deal on this palette and thought that not only could I get the Ochre and Pure Orange shades I used to have in the liquid form, I could also use the Orange color as concealer on its own because it’s deep enough to pass for brown. I also figured Deep Brown would make interesting eyeshadow base, particularly with multichromes. I didn’t take into account the fact that cream complexion products are extremely finicky on my skin. There isn’t a single cream foundation stick I’ve tried that I’ve liked. I also have a high rate of failure with cream concealers for under my eyes. I lucked out with this product that I can get a decent 5-6 hours out of the shade Orange if I set it. However, I like this better when paired with another concealer and actually used on top of it instead of underneath it.
Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser and Dark Spot Corrector in Tan and Caramel
I was surprised to see that Tan is actually darker than Caramel, and is a decent shade match for me. It has been a long time since I bought these and despite severely disliking them, I kept them in the hopes that I could find a way to make them work. I did not succeed at that. The biggest issue, beyond settling into my lines, is that there just isn’t enough coverage. I find it ironic that this is specifically a “dark spot” corrector and supposed to help with aging eyes, yet mine looked pretty terrible using this. I was even more disappointed because this is one of the most hyped concealers in the Beauty community. I waited years for Maybelline to finally expand their shade range so that I could see for myself what made them magical. Instead, it was a complete waste of money. I think the powdery/velvety finish is interesting and I can see why others with less problematic undereyes could like this. I should have gotten rid of them when I knew I wouldn’t use them anymore, but now that they’re very old I definitely have to toss them out.
Pat Mcgrath Skin Fetish Sublime Perfection Concealer in MD22 and MD24
PMG’s Concealer in shade MD24 is a great match for my under eyes. When I used it in other areas of my face, I noticed it turned into more of an olive color. I love the high pigmentation and natural looking finish so much that I bought MD22 in the hopes that this would work better for me in all areas. I like that it’s light enough to brighten my under eyes, and it does remain neutral in other parts of my face. Because it is a little lighter than my skin tone, I still prefer to use other concealers elsewhere on my face and keep this one exclusively under my eyes.
I’ve only recently begun to experiment with mixing the Pat Mcgrath Concealer (MD24) and Tarte’s Shape Tape (Tan Deep Sand). The results are that I get a better shade match that neither alone can provide. The combo dries down to a semi-matte finish that gives me the lasting power of Shape Tape without the dryness and without needing to powder it. This might become my new favorite mixture, but I need to continue to test it out. Plus, I have to admit that it’s a bit excessive. I’m not sure I can recommend others spend $57 (if full price) to follow my example.
If I’m using the Pat Mcgrath concealer by itself, it sets on its own quickly, but it will fade within four hours. With a powder, it lasts until the end of the day, but not all powders will work. I’ve only seen good results with powders that contain cornstarch as a main ingredient, such as the Pat Mcgrath Under Eye Setting Powder, Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Setting Powder, and Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder. When I tried this with the Chantecaille Perfect Blur Finishing Powder, Fenty PRO FILT’R Instant Retouch Setting Powder, and Nars Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder, the concealer faded quickly. I had this post ready to go when I decided at the last minute to buy the PMG Under Eye setting powder, so I don’t have a lot of experience with it, but I wanted to note that if I add extra moisture to my under eye (like an eye cream) I like the way it looks better than if I just apply concealer and powder with no skincare underneath. However, using extra moisture leads my concealer to break down in 6-7 hours whereas I’ve worn it “drier” for up to 9 hours and it was still going strong.
Essentially, when I use this concealer under the perfect conditions, it looks amazing, but getting it that way is a bit of a challenge. Skin discoloration is the prime source of insecurity I have when it comes to my face, so I’m willing to take my time with the concealer step in my routine. The end result is worth the trouble to me, for now, but it’s possible I might get tired of the inconsistent results and just stick to the Dermablend Drops and/or Shape Tape. But when it’s good, it’s so good!
If you’re interested in purchasing this one, it’s important to know that the bottle is made of glass. This is not something I’d feel comfortable taking with me traveling. I’m afraid I might even break it at home! Also, the $32 price tag is a lot, but I waited for the brand to have a sale and got it for 30% off.
Tarte Shape Tape in Tan Sand, Tan-Deep Sand, Deep, and Deep Sand
As mentioned earlier, this got partially unseated as my favorite concealer after many consecutive years. When it comes to using PMG’s Sublime Concealer with a powder versus Shape Tape alone or with a powder, I like the results of PMG more. In any case, Tarte expanded their range to include Tan-Deep Sand, Deep Sand, and a few others. Knowing Tan Sand is super light and Deep can sometimes be darker than my skintone when I get less sun, I was hoping Tan-Deep Sand would be a nice middle ground shade. Unfortunately, there is barely a difference between them despite their jump in number from 42S to 47S. The reason I have a light color at all is because I needed it to mix with Deep. I guess I should be glad my new mixing shade is slightly less stark? As for Deep 53N and Deep Sand 53S, I expected them to be the same shade with different undertones. While I’m happy Deep Sand has more yellow in it, it’s also a little darker than the shade Deep, which I absolutely didn’t want. This only has a PAO of 6 months, so when it’s time to get rid of my Deep shade, I’ll have no choice but to mix my remaining Tan-Deep Sand and Deep-Sand concealers together if I want to continue using them. I kept Tan Sand past its date because I wanted to try and use it up, but I’ve thrown it out now.
One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard about this concealer is that it’s too drying or it looks scaly under the eyes. While it can do that if the under eyes aren’t prepped and hydrated properly, I realized that this concealer doesn’t need to be set with powder. Skipping setting it has definitely helped to make it look less dry.
Despite having new favorites, Tarte Shape Tape is like a comfy blanket. I don’t feel secure with my concealer collection without having it there as a backup. At least once a year, Ulta puts these on sale for half off, so that’s the time when I stock up. Tarte does that at least once a year as well on their own website. The travel size is also available for every shade, but the full size is 10 times the product for less than 3 times the price. The full size is way more cost effective.
Hynt Beauty Duet Perfecting Concealer in Dark and Deep
Ulta had a sweepstakes of sorts and I won these two concealers! The jar is made of frosted glass. Dark is an outstanding shade match and the product inside is super creamy, but that is why it doesn’t work for me. It doesn’t matter if I leave it alone or use powder, this concealer gathers alarmingly quickly in the lines under my eyes in a very unflattering way. Matte liquid concealers tend to set fast. The only cream concealers I’ve had success with are stiffer, less emollient ones, which is why the wonderful texture is what keeps me from using products like these. If you typically opt for cream concealers, you might like this one and it does have great coverage. Since I can’t use them, I’m not keeping them in my collection.
Nars Soft Matte Concealer in Amande
This concealer has a whopping 30 month period-after-opening! I admittedly have owned this for a bit longer than that. It’s one of the few cream concealers that stays put and doesn’t crease as badly. I prefer leaving it unset but if I do use powder, less is better. Amande is the best shade match I have in Nars concealers I’ve used in the past (though the formula of the famous Radiant Creamy Concealer was terrible on me). Even though I like this, throughout the years I kept reaching for Shape Tape instead, so this product was hardly used, which I think is why it’s still in such good condition. I’m not willing to get rid of it yet. I want to hold onto it for one more month so I can form a more solid opinion of this concealer. If I don’t, I have a feeling I’d repurchase it in order to find out, especially since I’m such a fan of the Soft Matte Foundation and I’m curious to see how the two work together.
Too Faced Peach Perfect Matte Instant Coverage Concealer in Nutmeg
I thought this product looked so beautiful under my eyes, but the scent they have in the Peach Perfect line is so overwhelming and headache-inducing that I couldn’t handle it. I tried to wear it twice, but hours later the smell remained. Each time I wore it, I ended up washing it off because I could not deal with the fragrance. It’s a shame because this is one of the few cream concealers that work for me and this had the potential to be in my top 3 favorite concealers. It’s being phased out of Sephora, so anyone who wants this can pick up some of the few remaining shades for 50% off. It’s creamy but somehow doesn’t move on my face. The finish is natural and it has the amount of pigmentation that I need. If Too Faced releases an unscented version in the future, I’d buy it. Unfortunately, I don’t foresee that happening.
Maybelline Super Stay Full Coverage Under-Eye Concealer in Tan
I bought this on a whim in-store. I knew the shade was too light but the only other shade available was too dark and I really wanted to try the formula (and also use a coupon with a spending minimum). I was pleased with the amount of coverage it provided. I heard it was supposed to be less drying than Tarte Shape Tape, but I did not find that to be the case. For this reason, I didn’t use it ever again. I’m fairly certain it’s old now, so I’m throwing it out.
Benefit Boi-ing Cakeless Concealer in No.9
I bought this because I wanted to test out the formula but didn’t want to commit to a full size and this was the darkest shade available as a mini. Even though it’s a liquid, this settled too much in my not-so-fine lines, so I did not test this further or try to get a better shade.
Amazing Cosmetics Amazing Concealer in Dark Caramel
When I mentioned before how all my concealers get tried as soon as I get them, this one is the exception. Every so often, I would get a sample of this concealer as a gift with purchase, so I knew I liked it. When Ulta put it on sale for 50% off, I bought it…three years ago. I hadn’t even removed the safety seal until the day I started working on this post.
The shelf life of unused makeup isn’t that long, so I’m surprising no one by saying this was expired when I finally opened it. The smell of crayons was extremely strong. On the bright side, I can at least say that I liked this concealer based on the samples I tried earlier in my makeup journey. It’s full coverage, which I need. Clearly, though, I didn’t like it enough to actually start using it once I had the tube in my possession. I wish I could remember why, but I’m not going to put this on my face or buy another one. If I get hold of a sample again, I will update this post with my findings.
It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eyes Concealer in 35.5 Rich W
I bought this after seeing PopLuxe’s rave review. He often cites this as one of his favorite concealers. The shade match was atrocious (I fully blame websites for making this appear darker online than in person). Even the name implies that this is going to be a dark shade. 35.5 Rich W is darker than my Shape Tape mixing shades, yet if I wore those under my eyes (which I have), they don’t look anywhere near as lifelessly grey as the one from It Cosmetics. I’ll give this some credit for being medium-full coverage, but It Cosmetics is notoriously terrible at making shades darker than medium. I’m glad I only bought the mini size and didn’t pay full price.
Aside from their brushes and mascaras, I haven’t had much luck with their other products. I think I’m going to take a long break from this brand.
Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place High Cover Concealer SPF 35 in 5N Deep
This is an extremely old and discontinued concealer that I kept around for shade comparison purposes (I haven’t used it on my face in many years). It’s the best shade match I’ve ever had, or at least in the top two, and it was a favorite for a long time. I found better products since then, which is why I never repurchased it. Since it’s so dried out that I could barely swatch it, I can’t even use it to compare the color, so it has a new home in the garbage.
Samples and First Impressions
Estee Lauder Double Wear Radiant Concealer in 5N Deep and 6N Extra Deep
The texture of this sample reminded me of how my discontinued Double Wear concealer used to feel, which is a bit strange considering this is in a liquid tube and I can’t imagine it’s supposed to be this thick. That’s the trouble with samples and full sizes sometimes; it’s possible they could be different due to the container. I tried the 5N Deep sample anyway, and it creased too much for my liking.
Rare Beauty Liquid Touch Brightening Concealer 450N
I actively watched this fade over and over in the area of my smile line. I applied more and set it, but it refused to stay over my smile line and still partially faded around my mouth. Ironically, the place that the majority of the time fades, under the eyes, is where it remained the best for a short time. Without powder, this lasted about two hours. This still only lasted about four hours on the powdered side before the fading was unflattering. Even if this lasted longer, I’m not crazy about the dewy finish, and I mean real dewiness not the natural finish or semi-matte kind. I don’t want my under eyes to shine because it brings attention to the sunken hollows of my under eyes, which isn’t so bad as long as the dark circle stays covered, but not great if the concealer starts to wear off as the day goes on.
Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Light Capturing Self-Setting Concealer in 41 and 52
Shade 52 creased within minutes. When set, this still barely lasts an hour. It settles in lines and fades and just does not work for me. I was very disappointed considering how well MUFE products usually work for me, and this is supposed to be self-setting. It’s honestly one of the worst concealers I’ve tried, so even though this is just a first impression review, I can’t recommend it.
Too Faced Multi-Use Sculpting Concealer in Chai
I used this sample for swatches, but I’ve purchased the full size concealer before and in this same shade. This is a much loved product that did not work for me. It didn’t give me the coverage or finish I wanted. It settled in my lines. I swiftly returned it.
After the decluttering process, this is what I’m left with:
I’ve going on a low-buy and no-buy for a lot of product categories, but the concealer category isn’t one of them. I don’t mind continuing the search for the ultimate concealer that works for me and could potentially be even better than Dermablend Drops, Shape Tape, or Pat Mcgrath. I’m not in a rush to get anything new and I still don’t want a large concealer collection, but it makes sense for me to expand the area that combats my biggest insecurity.
Thank you for reading.