The concealer aisle at the drugstore is the most overwhelming place in the world. Where do you start when you’re surrounded by three million different tone options and more types of formulas than you can count?
Living with acne is hard enough, so finding a concealer that helps hide it should be simple. Let’s take a look at what you need to know to choose the perfect concealer for your acne.
The ideal skincare routine for managing acne
Concealer is about masking your acne, but wouldn’t it be easier if you also developed less acne to begin with? A consistent skincare routine can help with prevention so you’ll be reaching for concealer less often.
While specifics vary based on your needs, most basic skincare routines are done twice per day. The average routine involves cleanser, spot treatment, and moisturizer.
Cleanser removes acne-causing dirt and oil, spot treatment helps eliminate any existing acne, and moisturizer keeps skin hydrated.
If you’re looking to level up beyond the basics, you can add more products to your routine, like toners, exfoliators, and serums. A toner can balance out your skin’s pH, an exfoliator can prime skin for better cleansing, and a serum can focus on any specific issue you want to target.
What is concealer?
Lots of people confuse concealer, foundation, and primer. Baffling as it may seem, these similar-looking products are actually very different.
All three products are applied after you finish your morning skincare routine, but that’s where similarities end. It’s important to distinguish between them to prevent further irritating broken out skin.
A primer prepares your skin for makeup. It’s great for filling in fine lines and pores so you’ll have a smoother surface for your foundation, concealer, and blush.
Primers are often specialized. Some are for covering redness, some are for drying oily skin, and others are for prepping your eyelids for shadow.
Foundation, which goes all over your face, is intended to create an even skin tone and create a smooth canvas for more flawless makeup application.
Concealer is the third step of the process, and in many ways the most important. Most concealer connoisseurs have two different types of concealer: one for covering dark circles under their eyes, and one for combatting blemishes.
Concealer is applied as a spot cosmetic directly onto problem areas, rather than evenly across the face like foundation.
Some days, you might not need concealer at all, but when you’re experiencing a breakout, you’ll need a lot of it. On days when you have visible acne, you can apply the concealer directly onto pimples.
How to properly apply concealer to blemishes
Applying concealer requires proper technique, but you can become a pro with a little practice.
Step 1: If you wear foundation, apply it first. If you use cream foundation, you’ll want to apply it fully and evenly before moving onto concealer.
Step 2: Dab on the concealer. Only apply concealer to the area surrounding your pimple, not your entire face. Dab it on in small dollops around the pimple.
You can use a makeup sponge, brush, or finger to do the dabbing. (If you use your finger, make sure you’ve just washed your hands, and keep in mind that your body heat might smooth the concealer for more flexible application.)
Step 3: Blend it in. Don’t be afraid to take your time on this step, as it will make a big difference in how the concealer looks throughout your day. This process takes a few extra minutes, but it’s worth it for proper coverage.
Step 4: Set it with powder. Apply a light layer of loose or pressed powder over your concealer once it dries. This will help it stay intact all day long.
Concealer Mistakes To Keep In Mind
Concealer is easy once you get the hang of it, but it’s important to avoid the common mistakes below.
- Don’t use the same concealer for blemishes and dark circles. Not all concealers work the same way. Some are formulated to handle discoloration, while others are better at disguising acne.
- Don’t apply your concealer before foundation. Some days, your foundation will do such a great job smoothing out the area around your pimple that you won’t need concealer at all.
- Don’t forget to set your concealer with powder. This step is tempting to skip, but it makes a big difference in how long your coverage lasts.
The Top 5 Best Concealers For Acne
Best Concealer For Acne That’s Extra Stubborn: Benefit Cosmetics Boi-ing Industrial Strength Concealer
This heavy duty concealer will cover even the most stubborn blemishes.
Why we like it:
- Goes on smooth.
- Provides full, long-lasting coverage.
You might want to choose Boi-ing if:
You have pimples that every other concealer you’ve tried has failed to cover.
Boi-ing provides full coverage of the blemishes that are nearly impossible to conceal. The creamy formula goes on smooth and is extremely blendable. It has a matte finish, which enables it to blend with your skin tone more easily. Fans of the product report a “glowing” effect after application, which makes it that much more fun to wear.
Best Concealer For Acne When You Have Oily Skin: It Cosmetics Bye Bye Breakout
This concealer does double duty as a concealer and a drying lotion to tame oily skin.
Why we like it:
- Includes peptides and collagen, which are great anti-aging ingredients.
- Works great on oily skin.
- Blends well under other makeup.
You might want to choose Bye Bye Breakout if:
Your skin has both acne and excess oil.
This innovative concealer blends pimple coverage and oil-zapping capabilities in one. In addition to covering your acne, the concealer helps prevent future pimples. With Bye Bye Breakout, you won’t have to worry about greasiness shining through your concealer, which is a dilemma that just about everyone with oily skin can relate to. This concealer doesn’t dip into creases, and it uses powerful natural ingredients like witch hazel and tea tree oil to cleanse and zap your pimples while disguising them.
Best Concealer For Acne When You Have Sensitive Skin: W3ll People Bio Correct Correct Multi-Action Concealer
This gentle concealer covers pimples without irritating sensitive skin.
Why we like it:
- Great for sensitive skin.
- Has a smooth, mousse-like texture that’s easy to apply.
- Stays put for up to eight hours.
You might want to choose W3ll People concealer if:
You have sensitive skin and prefer a product with a light texture.
This W3ll People concealer has a fun, mousse-like texture that makes applying it feel more like a hobby than a chore. It includes ingredients that are ideal for sensitive skin, like aloe, chamomile, and pomegranate. This concealer also includes advanced peptide complex, which is known for smoothing out fine lines.
Best Concealer For Acne That’s Raised And Prominent: Physicians Formula Conceal RX Physicians Strength Concealer
This affordable and effective concealer blasts prominent, raised zits.
Why we like it:
- Applies smooth.
- Lasts for up to 12 hours.
- Works on both dry and oily skin.
You might want to choose Physicians Formula Conceal RX if:
You have a variety of different types of blemishes you want to cover.
This concealer can do it all. It covers everything from dark circles, to pimples, to scars and bruising. The formula is highly pigmented, meaning it delivers intense color to help those zits fade into the background beneath your natural skin tone. It’s oil-free and non-comedogenic, meaning that it won’t clog your pores. The finish is semi-matte, so you might want to set it with powder when you’re finished applying. It comes in an easy-apply tube for more direct coverage.
Best Concealer For Acne With Natural Ingredients: Alima Pure Pressed Foundation
This foundation uses natural ingredients like rosehip oil, and it applies in seconds.
Why we like it:
- Uses natural ingredients.
- Moisturizes while concealing.
You might want to choose Alima Pure Pressed Foundation if:
You prefer a concealer made only of natural ingredients.
This concealer comes with a handy sponge for a unique and easy application process, and it has a satisfyingly smooth matte finish. Fans of natural products will love Alima Pure’s use of rosehip oil, primrose oil, aloe, chamomile, and argan oil. These natural ingredients were specially chosen to moisturize, soothe, and reduce inflammation.
Concealer is way more fun than it looks
At the outset, concealer seems like one more chore needed to manage your acne. Instead, try to see it for the fun makeup product that it is.
Concealer might not be as flashy as a bright-colored eyeshadow or lipstick, but it makes an equally big impact on how you look.
When your acne is front and center for everyone to see, it feels like those pimples have all the power. With concealer, you can zap them into the background. Go ahead, show those zits who’s really boss.