Don't you love that feeling when your concealer melts and slips into every crease and crevice of your face by noon? (Oh, and do you also hate ice cream, puppies, and fun?) What we're trying to say is that bad concealer is a plague upon our hard-wrought makeup looks. That's why a really good concealer is crucial. Concealer is my favorite makeup product, like, ever. A swipe of concealer under your eyes will wake up your face like a warm cup of coffee does your body in the morning. And patting a concealer atop acne will make you forget it's even there—it's like magic.
This doesn't mean that vital concealer formulas have to be pricy. On the contrary! Some of our Marie Claire editors' favorite concealers happen to be found one aisle over from the paper towels at our local drugstore. So if you're into that whole long-lasting, dark circle-combatting, acne-covering thing, you'll be pleased to know that we've rounded up the absolute best drugstore concealers that actually stay put from the moment you blend them on. Even better, these winners all come in at under $15 (most probably cost less than your order at Starbucks). With insight from pro makeup artist Grace Balsamo on exactly what to look for, you'll be set to find your new favorite drugstore concealer in no time.
What to Look For in Drugstore Concealer
Head to the makeup aisle at your nearest CVS and you'll quickly discover your options for drugstore concealer range far and wide. So, the first step to figuring out your concealer match made in heaven is figuring out the texture that's right for your skin type and needs. For example, if hiding dark spots is your priority, opt for a creamy pot concealer, as these tend to work well underneath makeup and are highly pigmented. Meanwhile, if you have dry skin, look for a concealer with a hydrating formula to best suit your skin. Additionally, Balsamo explains, "Hydrating formulas tend to be more blendable which can provide a more natural and diffused finish." A thin, hydrating formula will also work well on mature skin types as these are less likely to settle into fine lines and creases. All in all, it's most important to consider your skin type before landing on a concealer.
The way a concealer dries down, a.k.a. its finish, is another factor to consider while on your concealer hunt and it all boils down to personal preference. Are you looking for a concealer that will give you that "skin-but-better" look? Opt for a lightweight concealer with a hydrating formula because, as Balsamo explained, these provide a natural finish. Or maybe your skin leans on the oily side—in this case, might we suggest a concealer with a matte finish? A concealer with a matte finish is going to keep oily skin at bay, but be warned: it may not suit those with combo or dry skin well. "They tend to be really drying and crack/cake on the skin which is never flattering," advises Balsamo. So when you're landing on a drugstore concealer, make sure to pay attention to how it dries down as this could make or break your makeup look.
The Best Drugstore Concealers
- Best Overall Drugstore Concealer: Maybelline Fitme! Concealer
- Best Drugstore Concealer for Oily Skin: Rimmel London Stay Matte Concealer
- Best Drugstore Concealer for Dry Skin: NYX Professional Makeup Concealer Serum
- Best Drugstore Concealer for Mature Skin: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Concealer
- Best Full-Coverage Drugstore Concealer: Milani Conceal + Perfect Long Wear Concealer
- Best Drugstore Concealer for Acne: Neutrogena skinClearing Blemish Concealer
- Best Drugstore Concealer for Under-Eyes: CoverGirl TruBlend Undercover Full Coverage Concealer
Best Overall Drugstore Concealer
This no-crease concealer is buildable, crazy long-lasting, and surprisingly hydrating—plus, it's an almost exact clone of a few high-end picks. Several reviewers claim this is a dupe for the cult-favorite Nars Radiant Creamy concealer, while Balsamo says it's similar to the now-discontinued Cover FX Power Play Concealer. "The Maybelline Fit Me liquid Concealer is a good, affordable option," she adds. "It provides moisture for the under eyes with a nice medium coverage to yield a bright, glowing finish without caking."
Pros: Pro-approved; Buildable coverage; Blendable; Non-creasing; Long-wearing; Hydrating formula.
Cons: Limited shade range.
Best Full-Coverage Drugstore Concealer
This full-coverage concealer goes the extra mile, employing a 12-hour formula that is highly, highly pigmented to cover up hyperpigmentation, discoloration, and dark spots. The healthy fusion of polyphenols, peptides, hyaluronic acid, shea butter, and olive fruit oil will keep your skin taken care of. It's also un-budgeable, so you won't have to worry about creasing whatsoever. This one is even water-resistant, so go ahead and test its long-wearing powers by letting the tears flow.
Pros: Full coverage; Long-wearing; Hydrating formula; Water-resistant; Blendable; Wide shade range.
Cons: Dries quickly.
Best Drugstore Concealer for Mature Skin
With perpetually dry skin, you can't skimp out on moisture, period. And you need makeup products that align with your skin type. Instead of adding insult to injury, like caking makeup on top of dryness, use a hydrating concealer stick like this instead. This light-coverage concealer is packed with hyaluronic acid, the #1 moisture-inducing ingredient, to quench your skin while providing coverage that lasts throughout the day. And because it's filled with hydrating ingredients, it applies extra creamy and smooth.
Pros: Hydrating formula; Goes on smoothly; Blendable; Lightweight; Great for mature skin.
Cons: Very limited shade range.
Best Drugstore Concealer for Oily Skin
For those with perpetually oily skin, we understand the struggle. Makeup tends to slide off within hours, so a formula that stays put is at the top of the priority list. Enter: Rimmel London's Stay Matte concealer. This creamy pick offers medium coverage but can be built up to fully cover any pesky dark circles or blemishes. It's also humidity-proof, sweat-proof, and heat-proof, so you count on this one to stay all day. Although it dries down quickly into a matte finish, we promise this concealer is so blendable.
Pros: Long-wearing; Buildable coverage; Blendable; Humidity-proof, sweat-proof, and heat-proof; Wide shade range.
Cons: May crease over time.
Best Drugstore Concealer for Dark Circles
This concealer has two major draws going for it: First, it's incredibly easy to build up, meaning it works for bare-faced days and full-face beats alike. Secondly, its applicator sets it apart from other drugstore picks. The soft, rounded sponge disperses the formula evenly for the most natural, blended look possible. Thanks to its applicator, I can quickly dab this one on when I'm in a rush to get out the door. No beauty blender required!
Pros: Easy to apply with sponge-tip applicator; Great for dark circles; Hydrating formula; Buildable coverage.
Cons: Limited shade range.
Best Dupe Drugstore Concealer
If you know me, you know that I love Tarte Shape Tape Concealer ($27), and have for years. But what you don't know is that I just discovered that this $5 drugstore dupe that truly gives it a run for its money. For one thing, you get so, so much concealer for $5. More importantly, it doesn't crease at all and will stay on your face for an eternity. Okay, I'm a living being, so I can't say that for sure. But I do have a tendency to go dancing until the sun comes up, and this concealer held up for many hours.
Pros: Non-creasing; Great for spot concealing; Long-wearing; Blendable; Vegan.
Cons: Limited shades for darker skin tones; Not great for dry skin.
Best Do-It-All Drugstore Concealer
If you're not sure what type of concealer is right for you, you can't go wrong with a do-it-all formula. NYX's Makeup HD Concealer Wand is just that. Its lightweight, creamy formula can be built up in light layers to cover even the darkest of circles and the reddest of blemishes. And because it's so lightweight, it won't ever get cakey or heavy no matter how many layers you apply. There's even multiple shades—green, yellow, and lavender—to color-correct specific concerns.
Pros: Buildable coverage; Blendable; Non-creasing; Vegan; Lightweight; Goes on smoothly.
Cons: May be drying for some.
Best Drugstore Concealer for Darker Skin Tones
If you've struggled to find a true match for your darker skin tone, turn to BLK/OPL, a beauty brand that puts people of color first. The brand's concealer features 12 shades especially formulated for melanin-rich skin. The high-coverage formula blends like a dream and can cover acne, dark circles, scars, and hyperpigmentation. It also provides a brightening effect thanks to turmeric, cucumber extracts, and vitamins C and E, making it perfect to awaken up the under-eye area.
Pros: Provides a brightening effect; Hydrating formula; Blendable; High-coverage; Lightweight.
Cons: May apply chalky at first.
Best Smoothing Drugstore Concealer
Is there anything worse than goopy, hard-to-blend concealer? We think not. With licorice root extract, shea butter, and mango seed butter, the finish on this stay-put concealer is extra smooth. These ingredients also work to hydrate skin while wearing makeup, so this pick is extra hard-working. Plus, it's medium to full coverage, so you can build it up as needed depending on how much sleep you got last night. One reviewer even dubbed this as an Urban Decay All-Nighter dupe, which retails for $40.
Pros: Blendable; Buildable coverage; lightweight; Hydrating formula; Long-wearing; Vegan.
Cons: Limited shade range.
Best Skin-Friendly Drugstore Concealer
If you can't seem to find a concealer your sensitive skin doesn't hate, you may have just met your match. This skin-friendly concealer has an amazing formula full of antioxidants, vitamins E and C, and has anti-blue light ingredients to ensure your skin comes first. To take it a step further, there are no oils, parabens, phthalates, or synthetic dyes and it's fragrance-free. All of that combined with its buildable coverage and creamy, blendable texture makes this drugstore concealer a standout.
Pros: Hydrating formula; Formulated with skincare ingredients; Blendable; Buildable coverage; Great for sensitive skin.
Cons: May crease if too much is applied.
Best Drugstore Concealer for Under-Eyes
CoverGirl is one of our forever favorites, so any time we need a quick fix, picking up one of their formulas has never failed us. Their full-coverage concealer is no exception. Its all-day coverage means you can apply it and never think about it again, which, really—is there anything better? It's specifically designed to wear on the under-eyes so it can stand up to the darkest of dark circles and the puffiest of eye bags. With 30 shades available, the brand claims there's a 99 percent chance you'll find your match.
Pros: Full coverage; Wide shade range; Long-wearing; Great for under-eyes.
Cons: Dries quickly.
Best Long-Wear Drugstore Concealer
The long-wear claim on the tube isn't just lip service—the lightweight concealer seriously stays put from morning 'til night. In fact, this concealer stays budge-free for up to 24 hours, although you may not want to wear it for that long. Its creamy formula delivers full coverage in just a small swipe—a little goes a long way here. Plus, its waterproof capabilities mean you won't have to worry about any color fading, transferring, or sliding off.
Pros: Long-wearing; Full coverage; Wide shade range; Waterproof.
Cons: May appear cakey on blemishes.
Best Drugstore Concealer for Dry Skin
If your mornings are jam-packed, makeup that doubles as skincare is always a good idea. Especially when you can score a multitasking product for under $15. NYX Professional Makeup Concealer Serum is not only a dark-circle-busting concealer, but it also serves as a hydrating facial serum. With skin-loving tremella mushroom, cica, and green tea, skin is moisturized for up to 24 hours, plus these ingredients work to calm stressed-out skin. Trust us, you're going to love the feel of this lightweight, medium-coverage concealer.
Pros: Formulated with skincare ingredients; Hydrating formula; Medium coverage; Vegan; Applies smoothly; Lightweight; A little goes a long way.
Cons: It's easy to use too much; Limited shade range.
Best Drugstore Concealer for Acne
Sometimes, a pimple shows up that's so obtrusive, so apparent, and so angry that only the most effective spot treatment will do. This concealer/skincare hybrid will not only cover up pesky blemishes like a champ, but it will also work overtime to heal your blemish thanks to acne-fighting salicylic acid. While we necessarily wouldn't recommend this one for the under-eyes, this one works wonders for spot concealing as it blends easily and won't appear cakey on raised bumps.
Pros: Great for acne; Formulated with skincare ingredients; Developed by dermatologists; Lightweight; Blendable.
Cons: Coverage may be too sheer for some; Very limited shade range.
Best Inclusive Drugstore Concealer
One drawback to cheaper concealers versus higher-end versions can be the lack of inclusive shades, however, you won't have that issue with Makeup Revolution's Conceal and Define concealer. Complete with a whopping 48 shades, just about every skin tone and undertone is covered. This full-coverage concealer applies a bit thick at first, but can easily be blended out to cover dark circles and blemishes. With just a few dabs, this concealer will have your skin looking flawless for up to 16 hours, plus it won't clog your pores either.
Pros: Wide shade range; Full coverage; Blendable; Vegan; Long-wearing; Applies smoothly.
Cons: Packaging includes little amount of product.
Meet the Expert
Grace is a professional Los Angeles makeup artist with an affinity for all things beauty. Grace pursued her passion for beauty and graduated from the Cinema Makeup School where she was certified in high fashion makeup. Trained in beauty, commercial, print, high fashion, bridal, and lifestyle, Grace has over six years of experience in the industry. Her makeup expertise ranges from red carpet events such as the Oscar's and Emmy's to music videos and weddings.
With experience in model making and miniature building in the film/TV industry, Grace also works and studies under Oscar-winning artists such as Alec Gillis and Ian Hunter. Grace Carries her excellent attention to detail and artistic eye into the beauty world.
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Brooke Knappenberger is the Associate Commerce Editor at Marie Claire, where she writes across the board from fashion and beauty to books and celebrities. As a pop culture junkie, Brooke obsessively consumes and writes about the latest movie releases, streaming TV shows, and celebrity scandals. She has over three years of experience writing on fashion, beauty, and entertainment and her work has appeared on Looper, NickiSwift, The Sun US, and Vox Magazine of Columbia, Missouri. Brooke obtained her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism with an emphasis on Magazine Editing and has a minor in Textile and Apparel Management.