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What Makes a Drugstore Concealer Good or Bad?

What should you look for in a good drugstore concealer? Here's how to shop. Get the best drugstore concealer for quick and easy cover-up any time.

Drugstore Concealer Features to Look For

Let’s face it: Your skin doesn’t care about your motivation for burning the midnight oil. Whether you stayed up for two days straight finishing a research paper on the effects of genetic engineering, or you lost sleep over something a little more frivolous, like a TV and junk food binge, your skin is the spokesmodel for your body’s health.

A lack of sleep will leave you with dark circles, undereye bags, and accentuate any fine lines or wrinkles that may have crept onto your face. Couple that with hormonal fluctuations, such as premenstrual syndrome and a poor diet, and ask yourself, are you really surprised by the row of zits that popped up on your chin?

Luckily, there’s a solution for all of life’s vices, and it’s now easier than ever to fake a good night’s rest – at least appearance-wise. A good concealer is your makeup bag equivalent of a magic wand – it can hide pimples, blackheads, enlarged pores, and wrinkles.

But what if your budget’s as small as the hours of sleep you clock each night? Is it possible to get the same blemish-eliminating effects from a drugstore concealer that a department store version provides? Let’s explore the realities of what makes a drugstore concealer good or bad.

What Makes a Concealer Good?

A good concealer will cover blemishes without just sitting on top of them like flesh-colored anthills. Concealer is designed to work in conjunction with foundation to hide skin discolorations, lighten dark circles, and provide a smooth, even complexion. And, if you have mature skin, a good concealer will glide on top of it instead of sinking into fine lines and wrinkles, which just further accentuates them.

High-end concealers typically have the best staying power and can last through heat, humidity, and sweat without melting off your face. However, according to bloggers, beauty brands Maybelline, L.A. Girl, and NYX produce the top-performing drugstore concealers with the staying power and skin-evening capacity on par with higher-end brands, all for under $10, which, if you ask us, is a small price to pay for clear, even skin!

What Makes a Concealer Bad?

A poorly formulated concealer is the polar opposite of a good one and will draw attention to blemishes instead of disguising them. Your goal is to hide flaws without the need to broadcast what you’re doing, and a bad concealer is like a bad friend who’ll gladly call you out. There are lots of bold makeup looks, but an obvious concealer shouldn’t be one of them.

Besides choosing a cheap brand, an obvious concealer-job can come from wrong shade selection, improper application, or using a product which is old and past its shelf-life.

how to choose the Right Concealer

In order to properly select a foundation, you’ll need to first assess your skin type.

If you have normal, oily, or breakout-prone skin, select a liquid concealer for its buildable coverage and versatility in tackling many types of flaws, including uneven skin-tone and pimples.

Another great feature about liquid concealer is that it comes in a variety of finishes including satin and matte for hiding blemishes, and dewy and shimmer which provide a radiant glow to a dull complexion.

If you have normal, dry or sensitive skin, select a stick foundation for its highly pigmented, medium to full coverage, and thick, creamy texture that is best for filling in deep-set wrinkles.

It’s important to note, however, that if you have oily, combination, or acne-prone skin, you should avoid stick concealer as it contains ingredients which are known to clog pores, and a blemish-causing concealer is counterproductive.

And finally, cream concealer is best for those with dry or sensitive skin who would like to hide dark undereye circles. Cream concealer typically comes in little pots and provides a satin, creamy finish. However, just be aware that while cream concealer is designed to work with mature skin, it won’t help to hide wrinkles, and may actually accentuate them.

Knowing what products work best for your individual skin type, flaws, and desired coverage level is the most important step in selecting the proper makeup formula. While all concealers, whether drugstore or department store, are designed to do the same thing, disguise flaws, selecting the right formula as well as proper application will help determine the overall performance of any particular cosmetic product.

Resources— Paula’s Choice, Harper’s Bazaar