Concealer is the hardworking hero of your makeup bag. It covers up everything from dark under-eye circles to blemishes to rogue, uneven spots. And yet, it can still be trickier for those with brown skin tones to find products that match, as shade ranges for concealers haven’t caught up to the diversity in foundation colors just yet. But a handful of brands do offer excellent, nuanced options, so we got four celebrity makeup artists to tell us their favorites for brown complexions. We recently covered the best products for color-correcting and covering under-eye circles on dark skin, so consider this a guide to concealing any and everything else.
Making shades for “all races” was part of M.A.C’s mission long before the beauty world started to focus on diversity. The brand’s Studio Finish concealer has 23 shades and boasts a full coverage, oil-absorbing formula with sunscreen. “The colors are beautiful, and the texture is creamy and hydrating,” says makeup artist Tym Buacharern, whose clients include Danai Gurira and Janet Jackson. “To hide dark circles, look for a concealer that has an orange or warm undertone. It will help cancel out blue and purple tones underneath the eyes. If you want to spot-cover, dab on concealer then go over it with your foundation to blend the colors together,” he suggests.
Carola Gonzalez, who does makeup for Kerry Washington and Uzo Aduba, agrees: “I like anything from NW 40 to NW 45 for dark skin tones that have a bit of red in it,” says Gonzalez. “For skin tones that are really deep, you don’t necessarily see dark circles as much, so I often use concealer to brighten around the mouth and the chin, or to create dimension on the face.”
Buacharern says that he loves “the creamy consistency” of this concealer, which comes in 22 shades. Emily Cheng, who does Yara Shahidi’s makeup, notes that it’s versatile, too. “You can use this for blemishes, sunspots, color correction, and under eyes. It’s my go-to concealer,” she says. [Editor’s note: NARS Creamy Concealer is also a favorite for beauty writer Rio Viera-Newton.]
Tom Ford never comes cheap, but Gonzalez says the darker concealers from this line are among the best out there. Nearly half of the 12 shades of this pen are medium-brown to dark-brown, plus, it comes with a built-in, spongelike applicator for convenient smoothing and blending.
“One indie brand I love is Danessa Myricks. It’s created by an amazing artist — the colors and the coverage are amazing,” says Buacharern. The vegan and cruelty-free foundation-concealer hybrid, which boasts an inclusive range of 26 shades, is also great for marathon days. “It doesn’t move until you take it off,” Buacharern says.
Makeup artist Nick Barose, who works with Priyanka Chopra and Lupita Nyong’o, names this “highly pigmented, long-wearing” concealer as his top choice for ebony complexions. Available in 16 shades, “the color doesn’t oxidize, so you won’t be left with pasty under eyes, which look more obvious on darker skin,” Barose explains.
“Most women have darkness around the eyes and the blue is hard to cover. Bobbi Brown has good concealer shades for darker skin tones, with a peach or orange undertone to counteract the darkness,” says Gonzalez. This highly pigmented liquid, in 15 shades, is designed for full coverage in one step, but Gonzalez has a trick for adjusting the coverage of any concealer: “If you feel like you applied to much, put a little moisturizer on top and smooth it out with your fingers.”
Drugstore concealers typically don’t offer as wide of a shade selection as upscale brands, but this one holds its own. “It has 14 shades that goes up to deep tones. It’s pretty great,” says Barose.
Speaking of mass-market brands, Cheng is a fan of Maybelline’s affordable concealer, which spanned from light to dark colors and recently expanded even more to include three new shades. “There’s a variety for all skin tones, and it sets nicely,” she says. To figure out a matching color when you’re shopping online, do what Cheng does: “I always Google swatches of the colors. That way, I can see the shade on various skin tones, and I’m usually able to pick the right one.”
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