Best Concealers for Dry Skin

Updated December 2021
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Buying guide for best concealers for dry skin

For a flawless-looking complexion, most of us need a little extra help from makeup. Whether it’s to cover acne, dark circles, or other hyperpigmentation, the right concealer can make all the difference in evening out skin tone and looking well rested. But if you have dry skin, finding the right concealer can be more of a challenge.

Many concealer formulas pull moisture from the skin and cling to dry patches, leaving your makeup looking cakey and uneven. Dry skin needs a hydrating concealer that glides over the skin to leave it looking moisturized and smooth. Getting the right consistency and finish is also crucial because a heavy, matte concealer can accentuate dry skin.

If you’re hunting for a concealer for dry skin, our buying guide can help you figure out the best ingredients, formula, finish, coverage, and other features so you can choose the best one for your makeup bag. We’ve also included several concealer recommendations for the most stress-free shopping possible.

concealers for dry skin
Some concealers have buildable coverage, so you can apply multiple layers to cover a dark spot. Just be careful not to use too much or it can call attention to dry patches.

Key considerations

Ingredients

When choosing a concealer for dry skin, the key is finding a truly hydrating formula that will restore moisture to your skin and allow you to apply the concealer more smoothly. Key ingredients to look for in your concealer include the following:

Hyaluronic acid: This occurs naturally in the skin and helps bind water to the surface so it stays plump and hydrated. Hyaluronic acid also attracts moisture to the skin so it remains hydrated all day.

Vitamin E: This antioxidant nourishes and protects your skin against free-radical damage. It also helps hydrate the skin and can soothe inflammation.

Jojoba oil: This humectant helps the skin retain moisture and forms a protective barrier to lock it in place. It can also stimulate collagen production to firm the skin.

Shea butter: This is a naturally occurring fat that contains vitamins and fatty acids to help soften the skin. It also works as an emollient to seal in moisture.

Squalene: This is a lipid that occurs naturally in the body to moisturize your skin. Your skin’s squalene production slows over time, so adding it back can help improve hydration, prevent free-radical damage, and promote collagen production.

Peptides: These are amino acids that make up some of the proteins found in the skin, like collagen and elastin. They can help strengthen the skin’s protective barrier, plump the skin to soften fine lines and wrinkles, and help skin appear firmer.

Formula

It’s essential to choose the right concealer formula when you have dry skin.

Liquid concealers are the most common and versatile, and they’re available in a range of coverage options and finishes. Some liquid concealers can be somewhat hydrating, and their thin texture makes them effective for wrinkles and fine lines because they’re less likely to crease or settle in them.

Cream concealers are generally thicker and creamier in texture and provide medium to full coverage. These formulas can be highly moisturizing, so cream concealer is an excellent option for dry skin. However, it can settle in fine lines and wrinkles, so you might need to set it with a light powder in some areas. Cream concealers typically have a satin or dewy finish, which also flatters dry skin.

Stick concealers are similar to cream formulas, but they typically come in a twist-up tube like lipstick, which makes them quick and easy to apply.

Finish

It’s essential to choose the right finish for your concealer. Because of the decreased moisture, dry skin can look somewhat dull, so you don’t want a concealer to exacerbate that.

If you have dry skin, you should use a concealer with a dewy, radiant, or satin finish. Dewy- or radiant-finish concealer provides some shine that gives a healthy glow to the skin. Satin-finish concealer resembles natural skin, with only a slight sheen.

Avoid matte concealers, which offer no shine or glow to enhance the skin. They’re a better option for people with oily skin.

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DID YOU KNOW?
If you’re applying concealer to cover dark circles under your eyes, apply a good eye cream first to help the concealer glide on more smoothly.
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Features

Shade

Just as with foundation, it’s vital to get the right shade when choosing a concealer. Your concealer should match your skin as closely as possible so it can seamlessly cover any blemishes or dark spots.

In addition to choosing the right shade, it’s also essential to consider the concealer’s undertone. A shade with a cool undertone is suitable for skin with blue, pink, or red tones. Concealer shades with warm undertones work for skin with yellow, golden, or peachy tones. Neutral concealer shades don’t lean cool or warm.

The more available shades, the easier it is to find a good match for your skin tone. Some formulas have as few as three shades while others offer up to 50 for a more precise match.

Coverage

Concealer for dry skin is available with light, medium, or full coverage.

Light coverage is a good option if you only have minor blemishes and discolorations to cover.

Medium coverage concealer works well for more noticeable blemishes and dark spots.

Full coverage can conceal nearly anything, including birthmarks and tattoos.

If you have dry skin, note that full-coverage concealer is not the best option because the excess pigment and thick consistency can cling to dry patches and make them more noticeable. Choose a light or medium coverage concealer, which is more flattering.

Packaging

Liquid concealers usually come in a lipgloss-like tube with a wand that has a spongy doe foot applicator built into the cap. That makes it easy to apply the concealer without dirtying your fingers, though you’ll need a brush or sponge to blend it in.

Cream concealer usually comes in a small compact or pot. You need to use a finger or brush to get some product out, so it’s not the easiest option to apply, but it can be blended with a brush or sponge. Some thin cream concealers come in a squeeze tube. You dispense some onto your finger and use a brush or sponge to apply and blend it.

Cruelty-free

If you’re uncomfortable using products that use animal testing in their production, make sure to choose a cruelty-free concealer for dry skin. You can tell a concealer is cruelty-free if it has the Leaping Bunny icon on its label. Earning the Leaping Bunny certification means that no animals were used in the development of the product.

Using a clean finger to apply a cream concealer often helps it go on more easily than using a brush or sponge. That’s because the heat from your skin warms the makeup so it blends more smoothly.

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Accessories

Eye repair cream: SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Eye Complex
If you want to apply concealer to dark circles, you want to first moisturize under your eyes with the right eye cream. This one from SkinCeuticals is a favorite because it contains blueberry extract for hydration and can also firm and tighten the skin.

Face moisturizer: Youth to the People Superfood Air-Whip Moisture Cream
To help your concealer look as flawless as possible, first apply a good moisturizer. We love this one from Youth to the People because it’s rich in antioxidants that prevent and fight free-radical damage and strengthen your skin’s protective barrier for healthy, hydrated skin.

Makeup brushes: Sephora Collection Touch Up Face Brush Set
If you need makeup brushes to apply your concealer, this set from Sephora is an excellent option for travel or touch-ups on the go. It includes foundation, concealer, and powder brushes, so you have everything you need for your makeup routine.

Concealer for dry skin prices

Concealer for dry skin varies in price based on its ingredients, formula, and other features. Most cost between $3 and $85.

Inexpensive: The most affordable concealers are from drugstore brands. These tend to use lower-quality ingredients, so they might not be as hydrating as other formulas. You’ll find many liquid concealers in this price range, though there are also a few cream and stick options. You can expect to pay between $3 and $13 for these concealers.

Mid-range: These concealers are typically from high-end makeup brands, so they contain average to high-quality ingredients. They are pretty hydrating, with more cream and stick formulas in this price range, and cost between $14 and $30.

Expensive: The most expensive concealers are from luxury makeup brands and contain extremely high-quality ingredients. They’re very hydrating and often contain anti-aging ingredients. You can choose from liquid, cream, and stick formulas in this price range. They cost between $30 and $85.

concealers for dry skin 3
DID YOU KNOW?
If you have dry skin, it’s usually better to use a makeup sponge or your fingers to blend concealer rather than a makeup brush. Using a brush can disturb dry, flaky patches and make them more obvious.
STAFF
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Tips

  • Use lighter concealer under the eye. While you usually want a concealer that closely matches your skin tone for covering blemishes and dark spots on your face, you might want to go a little lighter if using the concealer under the eyes. Choose a concealer that’s a shade or two lighter than your skin tone to brighten up dark circles.
  • Use the smallest amount of concealer necessary. Applying too much concealer to dry skin can accentuate dry patches and cause it to settle into fine lines and wrinkles. Use only the minimum needed to cover blemishes and discoloration.
  • Use the right powder. Creamy concealer often needs to be set to prevent creasing, but powder isn’t the best fit for dry skin. If you have to set your concealer, use an extremely finely milled powder and only apply a light dusting to areas where you applied the concealer.
  • Use a color corrector. If you have particularly dark blemishes or spots, you might want to apply a color corrector before your concealer. A peach or orange color corrector cancels out blue or purple tones in dark circles under the eyes, while a green corrector can counteract red tones in blemishes.
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Apply your concealer with a dabbing or patting motion. That concentrates the makeup to help cover particularly dark spots.

FAQ

Q. What’s the best way to prepare dry skin for concealer?

A. Start by making sure that your skin is properly hydrated. Apply a hydrating serum and a high-quality moisturizer to ensure your skin has all the moisture it needs. If your skin is especially dry, you can apply a facial oil to seal the moisture in place.

Even if you apply moisturizing skincare products, you should still use a hydrating primer to further prep your skin for concealer and other makeup. This type of primer provides additional moisture to your skin and gives it a radiant glow that helps your concealer look more natural.

Q. Should I apply concealer before or after my foundation?

A. That’s really a personal choice. Many people prefer to apply foundation first because it evens out the skin tone so you won’t need to use as much concealer to hide dark spots. Some people like to use concealer first because then they don’t need to apply as much foundation. Keep in mind that you have to be careful when applying foundation over concealer because you can wipe off some of the concealer when blending the foundation.

Q. Does concealer expire?

A. Many concealers have a small symbol that resembles a jar with a number inside on the packaging. That number indicates the makeup’s shelf life in months. If your concealer has a 12, that means it’s good for 12 months from the day you open it. You generally have 12 to 18 months to use up the product once you open it. However, if your concealer starts to smell funny, change color or consistency, or separate, it’s likely gone bad and should be thrown away.

 

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