Up until I started writing about beauty a few years ago, I always thought that concealers were one-size-fits-all—that they worked for anything you’re trying to cover up, whether it’s to hide blemishes, even skin texture, or deal with discoloration. And while many are pretty versatile, there are some that are best used for brightening dark circles and others that work better on acne and so on.
So if you want a concealer that really does it all, makeup artists told me to opt for a cream concealer. “A cream concealer is usually denser in consistency and gives a fuller coverage than, say, a liquid concealer,” says celebrity makeup artist Emma White Turle. Makeup artist Gita Bass agrees, adding that since they tend to have more pigment and a thicker texture, they’re great for covering scars, dark spots, and blemishes, but they can also be sheered out and used under the eyes or to highlight cheekbones or jawbones.
And they work on just about every skin tone. In fact, Turle recommends cream concealers for dry skin types. But she adds that if you have oily skin, you might want to check the ingredient list, as some are made with shea butter or avocado oil and might not be ideal for your skin.
When it comes to applying cream concealers, all the makeup artists I spoke to suggest using a brush. “I like to apply cream concealers with a stiff brush, patting gently to cover the imperfection completely,” says makeup artist Jamie Dorman. “If I need to blend the edges, I will use a small fluffy eye brush. I like Rèphr Brush 21 and Rèphr Brush 13.” Sometimes if she needs to, Turle will use the heat of her fingertips to melt the product into the skin and help it blend flawlessly into the foundation or bare skin.
And if you’re doing a spot treatment, Bass recommends using a small brush and dabbing directly over the spot. Then, use your finger or a Beautyblender to blend the edges for a seamless finish. “When applying cream concealer under eyes or to highlight, apply it to the back of your hand first and warm it up with your fingers. This creates a more sheer consistency that won’t crease or settle into lines,” Bass adds.
Ready to shop for a cream concealer? Take a look at some makeup artist– and editor-recommended options below.
Both Bass and Turle recommend Clé de Peau’s concealer. “Clé de Peau is the holy grail of cream concealers! It covers beautifully and stays put without drying out the skin,” Bass says. “It has the perfect texture and works beautifully on both oily and dry skin types. It can be sheered out to create a lightweight concealer that works wonders for under-eye circles.”
“This concealer is very thick and requires little product but packs a punch,” Dorman says. “After warming the product with fingers, use a flat brush to apply. Blend out with fingers or a small brush and set with a light powder like Kari Gran Mineral Setting powder. This is my favorite concealer for acne and scarring but is too thick for under the eyes.”
Turle also likes Glossier’s Stretch concealers. “They have a slightly illuminating effect, and this is perfect under the eyes to help brighten away any shadows,” she says.
Dorman says the creamy formula brightens, hydrates, and conceals, leaving a flawless finish.
“This has an incredibly light texture for a cream concealer,” Dorman says. “As you work it into the skin, it emulsifies then sets into the face for long wear. This product has a texture that works on the eye area as well as the rest of the face.”
Maybelline’s cream concealer comes in a crayon stick, so it’s so easy to apply. It’s a brightening concealer, which is perfect for those dark circles.
This full-coverage, oil-free concealer leaves a matte finish. It’s also enriched with nourishing and protective ingredients like peptides, hyaluronic acid, and antioxidants.
For a lightweight, buildable option, try this one from RMS. You can use it to minimize pores, brighten and rejuvenate the skin, and conceal blotchy, red skin.
Neutrogena’s creamy concealer will not only hide any imperfections but also nourish the skin. It features ingredients such as peptides and the antioxidant vitamin E. It’s also noncomedogenic so it won’t clog pores.
This long-wearing cream concealer is buildable, so it can go on sheer or provide medium coverage. It’s also formulated to balance the skin’s microbiome and reduce redness and inflammation. Best of all, it has a gel technology that moves with your skin, so it won’t feel cakey or heavy.
Benefit’s full-coverage concealer pretty much does it all. Use it to hide dark circles, blemishes, and discoloration. It leaves a matte finish.
This concealer works well on all skin types, including dry, oily, blemish-prone, or sensitive. It’s crease-free and is made with some good-for-the-skin ingredients such as coconut oil, grape-seed oil, jojoba oil, and vitamins C and E.
Koh Gen Do’s palette comes in three different shades so you can customize the color to match the areas you want to conceal.
Both a concealer and a skin perfector, this product is buildable and works to brighten and even complexion. It contains sea fennel essence for hydration, aloe to soothe and moisturizer, and agar (red algae) to retain moisture.
Available in 12 shades, Rituel de Fille’s cream concealer can be used to spot-conceal, brighten the under-eye area, and enhance the complexion. The natural finish product is infused with jojoba oil, frankincense, castor oil, and lanolin, so it’s moisturizing and nourishing, too.