Liquid vs. Stick Concealer

Should you use liquid or stick concealer? We take a look. Choose the right type of concealer for your needs after reading our guide.

Is Liquid or Stick Concealer Better?

If you are like many of us, concealer was mostly absent from our makeup bags for a decade or so—in the years after the teen breakouts stopped and before the dark circles and under-eye bags of mature adulthood began. But did you know that concealer isn’t just for covering up an untimely blemish or trying to disguise the morning results of a late-night party? Concealer is used by makeup artists to lift and brighten the entire under-eye area, resulting in a brighter, more awake look that draws attention away from problem areas and leaves a flawless finish.

But when it’s time to add concealer back to our makeup bags, which should we reach for, a liquid or a stick concealer? Do they have different uses, or are they interchangeable?

what are the Benefits of Stick Concealer?

Stick concealers are generally thicker, and heavier in texture than liquids and are ideal for covering blemishes and for giving very rough or reddened skin a more even color and texture. Stick concealer is a full-coverage product and works well for acne and acne scars, as well as very dark under-eye circles. A stick concealer is generally creamy in texture and richly pigmented. It only takes a dot of stick concealer and a bit of blending to cover anything you wish to conceal.

Stick concealers also work very well to double as a highlighter, if you go with one that’s just slightly lighter than your skin tone. You can swipe it over the top of your cheekbones, over the brow, and down the bridge of the nose and then blend for very natural appearing highlights that work well with or without a blush or bronzer for contouring.

Stick concealers are generally more mattifying, making them work well for oily skin. If you prefer a stick concealer and want a less matte finish, you can easily find some that are marketed as dewy finish, satin finish, or luminous.

A stick concealer travels easily and works well to throw into a purse for quick touch-ups on the go. They work especially well in summer when sweating and humidity can cause liquid concealers to more easily slip and slide than a creamier-textured stick concealer.

Stick Concealer Cons

Because of their thicker texture and rich pigment concentration, stick concealers require a lot of blending for a natural appearance. If you wish to cover a larger area, such as the entire under-eye area, a stick concealer may not be the best choice for a natural look unless it’s extremely well blended.

Stick concealers have a thicker texture which can more easily settle into fine lines and end up accentuating them, which is not what we want in a concealer. If you want to stick with the stick, and you have fine lines, it can be helpful to pat on a small amount of moisturizer on top of your concealer to keep it from caking into fine lines or wrinkles.

While a stick concealer has a mattifying effect, making it good at covering up oily skin, its thick texture can also clog pores and potentially cause break-outs.

what are the Benefits of liquid concealer?

Liquid concealers have a more buildable coverage than stick concealers. You can dot it on very lightly and blend, and then add a little more if needed for better coverage. A liquid concealer is less likely to crease into fine lines than a stick concealer. Its more hydrating formula makes it work especially well for dry skin.

Although you can find liquid concealers with a matte finish, they are more commonly available with a satin, dewy, or radiant finish, making them great for illuminating the under-eye area and brightening or highlighting. Because a liquid concealer is more easily blendable, it can be used for the entire under-eye area and blended smoothly into skin, with or without foundation.

A liquid concealer is ideal in the winter because it is a more hydrating formula won’t easily dry out or become cakey in fine lines.

Liquid Concealer Cons

Liquid concealer will work well for covering acne, but it’s lighter pigmentation may not cover tough acne or acne scars as thoroughly as the creamier texture of a stick concealer. Liquid concealer may slip or rub off more easily than concealer from a stick.

Resources— Paula's Choice, KacyWorld, Byrdie