The Best Concealer for Dry Skin (and How to Select the Right Option for You)
If you’ve got dry skin, you may have a love/hate relationship with concealer: on the one hand, it provides coverage and color and consistency, and that’s all wonderful… but it can also be absolutely brutal on your epidermis, and result in rashes, bumps, flakiness, and whole bunch of other situations you want no part of. Picking a concealer when you’ve got dry skin can seem like a very scary situation, instead of a fun opportunity to expand your cosmetics kit.
So, to provide a little guidance for you, here are our picks for the best concealer for dry skin. We chose options with skin-friendly ingredients that are believed to hydrate and nourish skin, and we selected a range of tones of coverage options. Hopefully there’s something here that will work for you. Enjoy, and if you have any questions, jump over to our “Contact” page and drop us a line!
The Best Concealers for Dry Skin: Reviews
Here are the concealers that made our list. Each is a little different, and we’ll go into more detail into what we think are the strengths and weaknesses of each:
Cle de Peau Concealer with SPF and finally…
LA Girl Pro Conceal HD Concealer
The LA Girl Pro Conceal HD Concealer gets our vote as the best concealer for dry skin—especially for beginners and people new to concealers. LA Girl is a “one and done”-style concealer that features a built-in brush applicator that can be used both under the eyes and all over the face, and that brush can make application a little easier: concealers can be a little tricky to use (especially if you’re just using your fingers), and a gentle brush can make it a little easier to provide even, equal coverage across the skin.
As for dry skin, LA Girl made the HD Concealer with a lot of natural beeswax, which is wonderful for those with dry skin—beeswax is used in a lot of cosmetics because it has a very creamy texture, and makeup companies use it because it can glide over dry areas of the skin without any issues. So, that’s a plus—but the other great thing about beeswax is that it can take a while to set. A concealer that takes a little while to set is great for beginners because it can provide a lot of “blending time,” and give you the opportunity to apply it as you like it.
This concealer was designed to have opaque pigmentation, which means that it can offer full coverage, but because the texture is so blendable, it might be quite easy to sheer out, which is useful for covering more diffused imperfections.
And, our last reason for selecting LA girl: the options! It’s not really common for drugstore brands to have large shade ranges for their concealers, and we’re impressed with LA Girl for offering this concealer in 30 shades, including some color correcting ones.
Recommended for: beginners who would like a “one and done” concealer for dry skin that is versatile and easy to work with.
Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Multi-Use Concealer
The Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Multi-Use Concealer is our favorite under-eye concealer for dry skin in the “drugstore” category. It was formulated with maturing skin in mind, and because the skin tends to get drier with age, the Instant Age Concealer can end up being a great fit for people with dry skin no matter their age.
The Multi-Use Concealer was crafted to have a very lightweight texture that sits somewhere between cream and liquid—and concealers with that consistency tend to be easy to spread over the skin—and the coverage is meant to be in the range of “medium,” but can build to “full” with further application. Maybelline designed it to have a natural finish—that is, to make the skin look refreshed and well-hydrated, but not overly glowy, which is what you tend to get with “luminous” finishes.
We give Maybelline a lot of credit for formulating the Eraser with some skincare goodies meant to give the area under the eyes a boost, like goji berry extract, which contains antioxidants, and Haloxyl, which is meant to have brightening and firmness benefits. You don’t always see those ingredients in concealers, so that’s a nice touch.
The only issue we could take with this concealer is the applicator, which is quite unusual. The concealer is dispensed via an anti-microbial sponge that you then dab on the skin. For some people, it might dispense too much concealer at once and won’t allow for a lot of control—but if you like to be a little generous with your concealer, that can be a nice feature!
Recommended for: those requiring a concealer primarily for under the eyes who would also like some anti-aging benefits.
bareMinerals Bareskin Complete Coverage Serum Concealer
If you love the way makeup looks but hate the way it feels, the bareMinerals Bareskin Complete Coverage Serum Concealer may be worth a try. It’s designed to be extremely lightweight while still offering full coverage, and that can be a very tricky balance to achieve—but something that a lot of people want.
So, off to a good start already. But there are two other reasons we decided to discuss bareMinerals Bareskin, out of the dozens-if-not-hundreds of concealers we could have picked:
1) It’s formulated to be as opaque as possible (and by the way, “opaque” means “not able to seen through,”) so it can be wonderful for those dealing with dark undereye circles or severe discoloration; and
2) It’s crafted to blend without looking “cake-y”. bareMinerals formulated it to have a very emollient, serum-like texture which is nice for the under-eye area. Because it is so radiant, it may not work for blemishes but it can be really stunning as a highlighter.
By the way, if you’re wondering why bareMinerals calls it a “Serum Concealer,” that’s because they crafted it to also have some skincare properties, like lilac stem cell extract (which is said to have protective antioxidant properties), and glycerin (which is known for its moisture-binding effects).
This liquidy concealer was packaged in a tube with a very small doe-foot applicator attached to the lid, so it can also work for detailed makeup like concealing and highlighting wrinkles.
Recommended for: those dealing with more intense discoloration who would like a hydrating concealer that is designed to be weightless.
NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer
The NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer gets our vote as the top concealer for dry skin in the “medium coverage” front. As the name implies, NARS formulated this concealer to illuminate the skin while also camouflaging imperfections, and that can be a good look for a lot of people—when not used properly, concealer can make the skin look overly matte or dull, so a formula designed to both cover and illuminate can be a useful pick.
The most important detail for those with dry skin is whether this concealer settles into creases or emphasizes dry patches, and NARS formulated their concealer with mineral particles meant to blur any texture issues rather than just mask them. That’s an important distinction, and it’s kind of daring for NARS to include mineral particles in the ingredient list—we loooove mineral concoctions, but they don’t always work out.
We think this concealer will work well over color correctors, and it may also be a great choice if you need the area under your eyes brightened rather than totally covered. We actually prefer medium coverage concealers like this one for highlighting because they tend to look more soft and natural, and medium concealers can keep you from “overdoing” things.
As for feel, it’s designed to have a thin, liquid-y texture, and despite the “fluid-y” feel, it’s designed to be waterproof, so you may not have to powder it the way you would other concealers for dry skin.
Recommended for: those who need lighter coverage under the eyes but maximum radiance. Our top pick for medium coverage.
Cle de Peau Concealer SPF 25
Cle de Peau designed their concealer to be extra creamy and moisturizing, with ingredients like soothing green tea extract and chestnut rosa fruit extract. They also added a few reflective minerals like mica, which may help to diffuse the appearance of fine lines and unevenness, making this a potentially good concealer for those with fine lines around their eyes.
The most unique aspect of this luxury concealer, though, is that it was packaged in a stick form, which is wonderful for quick and easy applications. Thick cream formulas are often too drying for those with dry skin, but that’s not the case here, and if you’re not a fan of using applicators, sponges, or your fingers, this can be a very nice change-of-pace. And, the stick format can mean new usages—in addition to regular concealing, you may also find it convenient for contouring and highlighting.
The one con to this concealer is that the shade range isn’t great, and those with darker skin are likely not going to be able to find a color match, but if your skin falls within the designed tone range, this can be a nice option.
Recommended for: those with maturing skin who would like a full-coverage concealer that comes in an easy-to-use stick form.
Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer
The Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer is our favorite high-end concealer for those with dry skin, particularly because we think it is very versatile: it’s designed to have a natural finish and high / buildable coverage—which can be great for hiding blemishes and facial discoloration—but it can also suit those with puffy under-eyes who may want to avoid “glowy” concealers.
Urban Decay structured the formula with the intent that it never settle into fine lines on the face or wrinkles on the skin, and that can make it a good choice for anyone who has crow’s feet around the eyes or lines around the nose (where makeup can often separate throughout the day—that part of the face moves around a lot during the day!).
We like that the Complete Coverage Concealer was infused with skincare ingredients, like peptides (which are said to have anti-wrinkle properties) and green tea extract (which is known for its soothing and protective properties). It wasn’t made to be very moisturizing, but given the rest of its ingredients, should still be able to glide easily over dry patches.
Recommended for: those who need a high-coverage concealer with a natural finish for all over the face.
Features to Look for in a Concealer for Dry Skin
When you have dry skin, your concealer can sometimes do more harm than good. There are a few qualities you want your concealer to feature, so you should try to make sure that…
It Shouldn’t Highlight Dry Patches
The most important feature in concealer for dry skin is that it doesn’t highlight or emphasize dryness on your skin. Mattifying formulations will often settle around any areas where the skin is flakey or there is a build-up of dead skin, making them look much worse, so try your best to avoid those!
It Doesn’t Crease
The other issue, especially for concealers used below the eyes, is that they can settle into creases. It’s important to choose a concealer that will stay in place rather than sink in, though sometimes you’ll have to set very creamy concealers with powder in order to avoid that happening.
It Moisturizes and Makes Skin Look Hydrated
Look for concealers that will have a creamy finish that can make the skin look hydrated without emphasizing any dryness or texture. These concealers might be described as “moisturizing” or “creamy,” and they may contain humectant ingredients like hyaluronic acid or glycerin that can absorb water from the air throughout the day to keep your skin looking glowy.
The Obvious One: It Should Offer Coverage
Concealer is meant to be the most opaque and covering product in your makeup routine, so it should offer more coverage than your foundation. If you usually use a light coverage foundation then a buildable medium concealer will do, while if you usually go for higher coverage then choose a totally opaque, full-coverage concealer that will truly mask discoloration.
How to Choose the Right Concealer for You
So now that you know what a concealer should do, let’s take a look at how to select the right option for your routine. Concealers for dry skin come with a variety of features, and sometimes it’s all about your individual preferences. Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing a concealer:
It’s a given that your concealer must be the correct color for your skin, but figuring out which concealer has the right color for you can be a little complicated since there are a few details to keep in mind.
If you’re looking for a concealer that you can use all over your face in order to camouflage a variety of imperfections or discolorations, then it’s best to choose a concealer that matches your skin tone perfectly, much like a foundation. If you have access to a tester, check the color against your jawline to see how well it disappears into both your neck and face.
However, some of our readers might want a separate concealer for the under-eye area and another one for blemishes or facial discoloration. When it comes to an under-eye concealer, there are two directions to go in, beyond just choosing a color that matches your skin.
You can choose a concealer that is a shade or two lighter than your skin tone, in order to brighten up the under-eye area a little bit. This kind of concealer can also double as a highlighter, especially if you like to blend your concealer outwards over the top of the cheekbones. It’s important not to go lighter than a couple of shades since an overly lightened under-eye area can look puffy, dry, or ashy——especially in photos.
If you have any discoloration under your eyes then you might want to choose a color-correcting concealer. The trick to this is to choose a concealer in the opposite shade on the color wheel from the shade of your discoloration.
The most common discoloration that people experience under the eyes is a little blue or purple-toned, in which case a peachy concealer is the best choice since orange can neutralize blue tones. The darker your skin, the more saturated you will want the concealer to be, while the lighter your skin the more understated you want the undertone to be. Some people experience red or pink discoloration under their eyes, in which case yellow or green color correctors are going to have a better neutralizing effect, while others experience yellow discoloration, in which case a lavender-tinged concealer may do the trick.
Even those with dry skin can occasionally break out with acne, or they may have facial redness due to sensitivity, in which case a concealer for the face might be necessary. You can stick to a concealer that matches your skin tone or you can try color correcting, and if you have lighter skin, a pale green color corrector will help camouflage redness, while if your skin is a little warmer or darker, then yellow concealer might do a better job blending in while neutralizing redness.
When you have dry skin, of course, you should use a concealer that will make you look less dry, but you still have a couple of options when it comes to the finish of your concealer.
Some concealers are made to have a very dewy finish that looks almost moist on the skin. Concealers with this kind of finish are often also a little more moisturizing, and they can be very easy to blend. They also tend to double as highlights very beautifully, thanks to their radiance. However, they often also require setting with a powder, especially if most concealers or foundations tend to settle into your creases. The other drawback to these is that they can highlight puffiness under the eyes since they reflect light. They are a good choice for those with a flat or sunken under-eye area, severe dryness, or those who would like a highlighting concealer. They can also work for covering diffused discoloration on the face, but they can be tricky for blemishes.
Other concealers for dry skin are made to have a more natural, satin finish. They can work really nicely both under the eyes and over the rest of the face. They are not meant to look either matte nor dewy, but just totally natural. They are a better choice if the skin under your eyes is a little puffy (i.e. if you have “eye bags”) or if you just don’t really like that “glowy” look. They are also much better for spot concealing blemishes and small imperfections, and they tend to be a better choice if you like to contour with concealer.
In general, it’s a good idea to avoid concealers described as being “mattifying” or “velvet” when you have dry skin.
Self-Setting vs. Creamy
Self-setting concealers are concealers that dry down on their own, so they don’t have to be powdered, while creamy concealers retain a bit of emollience after they have been applied to the skin.
In recent years, self-setting concealers have become very popular, but they are a double-edged sword for those with dry skin. On the one hand, they save you the need for powder, which can make dry skin look even drier, but on the other hand, they are a little harder to blend into the skin and they are a little likelier to catch on dry patches.
Then we have creamy concealers, which are going to be more moisturizing to the skin and they blend beautifully, but they often require a more involved makeup routine that includes setting powder. It’s worth noting that whether a formula is self-setting or not usually doesn’t have an impact over the finish it’ll have since a lot of the time a glowy finish comes from reflective minerals.
How to Apply Concealer to Dry Skin
Next up: application! There are a few different ways to apply concealer, so we’ll give you comprehensive directions for each technique:
General Concealer Rules
- Before applying anything to your skin, it is important that you start with a clean slate. When you have dry skin, it is best to first cleanse it with a gentle product, like a cream cleanser or micellar water. Make sure to avoid harsh sulfate-based cleansers;
- Moisturize well before starting out, because even the best concealer for dry skin won’t work if your skin is parched. You can use a single heavy moisturizer, or rely on layers of essences and serums to thoroughly saturate your skin with hydration. You can also try a primer for dry skin if you like;
- You will see many online beauty “gurus” really smear on the concealer or apply it thickly in the shape of an upside-down triangle under the eyes. However, we don’t recommend this technique, especially for day-to-day life. It might look good on camera, but in reality, it often appears thick and cakey, especially when you have dry skin;
- In addition to your concealer, you might also need an applicator, so it’s important to know which one will give you the effect you desire;
- It’s perfectly acceptable to apply concealer with your fingers. It’s a little messy, but the heat of your fingers will help melt and blend thicker concealers and it doesn’t waste product so you can build up coverage easily;
- You can also use a flat concealer brush, which is great for packing on concealer but is less great for blending. These brushes, especially when very small, are great for covering small blemishes;
- For a very diffused but high-coverage application, you can use a small, flat-topped buffing brush. It’s especially nice with liquid concealers but doesn’t always work well with thicker concealers (and be aware that this application method can be a little irritating to the dry undereye area!);
- You can use a damp sponge, which is one of our favorite concealer tools. Sponges tend to blend makeup really beautifully, but they also make concealer look a little more “sheer,” so they are fabulous for color-correcting but less ideal for spot concealing. You can use your fingers or a brush to apply the concealer first, and then use the sponge just get a more seamless blend; and finally…
- Having a hydrating setting spray or mist on hand is great for once you’ve finished your application because it can help meld the layers of concealer, foundation, and powder together while also helping dry skin look more hydrated.
This is, in our experience, the best method for neutralizing diffused skin discoloration:
- Color-correcting concealers should always be applied before foundation, while skin-colored concealers can be applied either before or after—you can experiment to see what works for you;
- To conceal redness, use a green color corrector if your skin is fair, or a yellow color corrector if your skin is more tanned; to conceal purple tones, use a peach or yellow color corrector; and to conceal sallowness or yellow discoloration, use a lavender concealer. For those with darker skin tones, deep peach or brown-orange concealers usually work best for neutralizing most discolorations;
- When applying color-correcting concealers, the purpose is to neutralize rather than totally cover, so apply a very thin layer of product, and blend it out to make sure the layer is smooth and even. It’s okay if a little bit of skin peeks through; and finally…
- Once you’re done, cover your color correcting concealer by applying your foundation or skin-colored concealer over it with tapping motions rather than dragging motions. This way, you can avoid disrupting the concealer underneath.
This is—again, in our humble opinion and experience—the ideal method for hiding blemishes, dark spots, and concentrated redness:
- Load up a small brush or with the fine tip of your makeup sponge with your concealer of choice;
- Dab the brush over the spot to conceal it—you might have to tap a couple of times in order to totally cover it, and make sure a bit of concealer extends a few millimeters past the area you are concealing;
- Then, with the end of your brush or with the tip of the sponge, lightly blend out the edges of the concealer, being careful not to remove any from the center;
- It is best to do this after you’ve applied foundation, but if necessary, you can apply more foundation after the concealer as long as you are careful to use pressing motions that don’t disturb the concealer underneath; and finally…
- If necessary, set the concealer as soon as you can with a light dusting of translucent powder. If it’s a very persistent spot, you might want to set it more thoroughly by pressing the powder in with a damp makeup sponge.
Concealing Under the Eyes
Use this method to apply concealer under the eyes to hide dark circles and eye bags:
- When you have dry skin, it is best to conceal under the eyes with a damp sponge, since it will add a bit of moisture to your skin. However, it’s okay if you prefer to only use fingers or a concealer brush;
- Start by dabbing the concealer over your under-eye area, concentrating on where the discoloration is most pronounced;
- If you are using a lighter concealer to brighten the under-eye area, then focus on the area where it is the most “sunken,” which is usually near the tear trough and in the area where you can feel the bone jut out a little under the eye socket;
- Then, blend out the concealer with your tool of choice, using a mixture of dragging motions to move concealer around and tapping motions to diffuse edges;
- Pay extra attention to the edges of the concealer, and make sure they blend seamlessly into the rest of your skin or into your foundation; and finally…
- If necessary, go over the concealer with a layer of foundation, or just lock it in place straight away with a setting powder. Make sure to do a final blend right before you set the concealer, to ensure none of it has a chance to settle in your creases.
General Concealer Tips and Tricks
Concealers are really versatile and they can do more than just hide imperfections, so here are some extra tips and tricks that you can try:
- Concealers make for exceptional cream contour and highlight products, especially for those who have dry skin and prefer to avoid powder makeup;
- To contour with a cream concealer, choose one that is around three or four shades darker than your skin tone. Apply it in small dots or stripes to the areas you would like to contour: under the cheekbones, along the perimeter of the face, and down the sides of the nose. Blend it out so it looks more natural with the help of a sponge or buffing brush;
- For highlighting, use a concealer a few shades lighter than your skin tone, and apply it to the high points of your face, like the top of the cheekbones, down the center of the nose, in the center of the forehead, and just above the Cupid’s bow of the lips. Make sure to blend it out with a clean brush so that it looks natural and diffused;
- You can also use a very thin brush to highlight with a concealer inside wrinkles and creases, in order to make them seem less pronounced;
- If you get stuck without eyeshadow primer, concealer can work in a pinch! Apply a thin layer all over your eyelid, set it with a translucent powder or a neutral eyeshadow, and then apply your makeup on top. This will help your eyeshadow go on more vibrantly than it would over bare skin, and it will also help it stay in place for longer without fading or creasing;
- It is pretty easy to sheer out concealer and turn it into a foundation. Just mix it with a primer or moisturizer that has a similar base (meaning: use a silicone-based primer if your concealer is silicone-based, or use an oil-based moisturizer if your concealer is oil-based) and apply it to your skin as you would a foundation; and finally…!
- Color-correcting concealers can be used as foundation mixers if your foundation shade is a little off—for example, you can add a yellow concealer to your foundation if it is too cool or you can add a bit of green concealer if you have an olive skin tone.
Concealers for Dry Skin: To Conclude…
We try to include a lot of “teachable moments” in our product reviews, and hopefully there’s something here that help you. Dry skin can be a drag, but with proper care—and proper product selection—it can be absolutely do-able to use all of your favorite cosmetics, including concealer. Thank you for reading, and best of luck choosing your next concealer!