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When I began my search for the perfect under-eye concealer (something lightweight, seamless with my skin, and buildable enough to cover my often relentless dark circles), the $42 Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat seemed to be everyone's first suggestion.
The infamous 0.1 oz “perfecting” pen has nearly 4,000 reviews, 100,000 “loves,” and four and a half stars on Sephora — but after trying it, I wasn't impressed. It's beautifully packaged and from YSL, sure. But the click-pen applicator is the worst, distributing too much product or not coming out at all; and despite the little bit of extra glow, the coverage was minimal at best, fading before lunch. (Probably because it's more of a highlighter than it is an actual concealer.)
There's no way I would ever spend four days worth of overpriced Sweetgreen salad on a beauty product just because it looks and sounds fancy, so I took it upon myself to find other options — options that worked better for my face and for my wallet.
Below you'll find six concealers I found that work really well, offer a decent range of shades, and — whether they ring in at $5 or $36 — truly feel worth their price tags.
L.A. Girl HD Pro Conceal ($5): I first gave this concealer a try back in college when I was just starting to experiment with makeup, and I'm pretty stoked to see that the formula (and price) has held up all these years. It really is one of the best concealers I've ever used for a few reasons: It's easy to blend out with no creasing, it’s nearly un-detectable on a bare face, and it has a really incredible shade range. There are literally over 20 different shades ranging from super fair to a deep mahogany, with tons of different undertones taken into consideration on both ends of the spectrum. Also, hello! It's $5. You can grab this online, but it’s also available at places like CVS, Ulta, and Walmart.
Becca Ultimate Coverage Concealing Creme ($32): Becca has always been a great example of getting what you pay for, and this full-coverage concealer is no exception. It stays on all day, applies and blends incredibly smoothly with or without makeup underneath, and really does hydrate the skin. The product itself is pretty heavy, so you don't need to use too much at all; I found blotting with my finger created more coverage without spreading the product too thin. As most have come to expect (and love) from Becca, the shade range is solid, with great pigmentation. Consider this if you have larger areas of discoloration or scarring to cover.
MAC Select MoistureCover ($20): Let's get one thing out of the way here: You definitely want to use moisturizer before using this concealer to amp up the hydration benefits and get the best out of it. If you don’t, it can appear really cake-y and almost highlight your under-eye circles. When you do moisturize, this concealer is great for medium/buildable coverage — just as good for a bare-faced day as it is for the club. The texture is super creamy, and the doe-foot applicator glides on really easily, depositing just enough coverage without pulling under the eyes.
RMS "Un" Cover-Up ($36): This potted concealer is the move if you take a less-is-more approach with your makeup, or for a "no makeup" day. This is a great example of a higher-priced product that is actually worth it. A lot like the brand's cream blush, this concealer is super lightweight and hydrating, and melts into your pre-moisturized skin instead of sitting on top of it, giving you a dewy finish. This is great for tackling redness and small blemishes and livening up your under-eyes — not completely erasing them — for a healthy, second-skin effect.
Maybelline SuperStay Better Skin Concealer ($9): I love this as an alternative to Maybelline's uber-popular Instant Age Rewind Dark Circle Concealer, because the shade range includes options for more than just sort-of tan or "honey" white people. This concealer is on the higher end of medium coverage and works really great on acne scars, dark spots, or blemishes. I had the most luck spot-concealing with this product, even on one of the hottest summer days. This blends really well, too, but the best part is probably its setting power — it stayed on all day and didn't budge.
Milk Makeup Flex Concealer ($28): This is a great option if you want the flashy name for half the price, and an even better option if you're looking for something specifically vegan, gluten-free, and cruelty-free. The formula is creamy, easy to move on the skin whether you're using your finger or a brush, and stays put all day, even on my oily skin. It's infused with some interesting stuff, like marshmallow root and chamomile to decrease redness and inflammation from blemishes, and blue lotus to moisturize. I noticed it set into fine lines under my eyes after a few hours when I set with a powder, but not when I didn't. (So if you typically use powder, that's something to note.)