We don't know about you, but some aspects of the holiday season make us feel a bit Scrooge-y in nature. Disturbingly long shopping lines would be one such example, and chapped, red, impossibly sensitive skin would be another. Sure, we can avoid a mile-long line at the grocery thanks to our handy laptop and beckoning duvet cover (thank you, online shopping), but tackling stubborn and sensitive skin is another beast entirely. So naturally, we took the only reasonable course of action and called in four celebrity makeup artists to help us with the dilemma. Our question: What are the best concealers for sensitive skin?
Best Overall: Urban Decay Naked Skin Color Correcting Fluid
"If you have redness from sensitive skin, this concealer is the dream because it's incredibly neutralizing," explains celebrity makeup artist Sir John. "During this time of year, it's very common to have redness from things like broken capillaries around the nose and along the cheeksâ€”that's when you want to go with a product with cooler undertones like Urban Decay's. If you're looking to conceal red, sensitive skin, this is my number one recommendation."
Best Hyrdating: MAC Cosmetics Mineralize Concealer
If your sensitive skin is looking for an extra hit of hydration, Sir John also shares that he likes this more nourishing pick from MAC: "It's my favorite for sensitive skin. It's really hydrating, calming, and comforting and works really well for dry skin types, as well. But it's not oily! It has this great whipped texture and never creases. If you know you're going to be outside and exposing your skin to the wind and cold this winterâ€”for instance, if you're going skiingâ€” this would be my recommendation."
Best for Oily Skin: Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage Concealer
Conversely, if you're prone to grease and oil, Sir John suggests looking for a concealer formula that's a bit on the drier side but can still offer full coverage to conceal any redness. "If you have oily skin and are acne-prone, I would recommend going old-school and trying Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage," he says. "It has a drier texture, so it won't deposit any excess oil or product into your pores. However, that being said, you never want to dehydrate the eye areaâ€”even if you have oily skin! You'll actually want to over-hydrate before applying a concealer that has a drier consistency like this one."
Best Full-Coverage: Dermablend Quick Fix Concealer Stick
"The main thing about this concealer is that it offers incredible coverage.," says celebrity makeup artist Emma Day. "Stressed, broken-out skin can be hard to cover in a way that looks naturalâ€”not cakeyâ€”but this full-coverage one has great staying power and will never irritate skin that's already super sensitive."
Best Splurge: ClÃ© de Peau BeautÃ© Concealer SPF 25
Thanks to its incredible coverage, this cult-classic concealer from ClÃ© de Peau BeautÃ© is another favorite of Day's. Here's her go-to application technique: "On myself, I'll just use clean fingers and pat it on (never wipe the concealer across as it will take off the product). Then, I simply set it with a transparent powder. For those with acne or sensitive skin, I recommend Dermablend Loose Setting Powder."
Best Waterproof: Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer
For maximum coverage (not to mention a super-stellar shade range), Day suggests this creamy option from Make Up For Ever. Matte, oil-free, long-lasting, and waterproof, it's great for camouflaging pigmentation from sensitivity and, truth be told, can be used anywhere on the body.
Best Texture: EX1 Cosmetics Delete Fluide Full Coverage Liquid Concealer
"The texture of this concealer by EX1 is what makes it a great option for sensitive skin," says celebrity makeup artist Vincent Oquendo. "It has great coverage, but since it's not overly creamy, it will never clog pores. I love the velvety texture, which covers blemishes and helps hide dark circles without looking caked on. For the application, I like to use a soft, medium-sized eye shadow brush to buff the product on the skin. A brush that's too firm might deposit too much product and can also irritate sensitive skin."
Best 2-in-1: Hourglass Cosmetics Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick
"I also love this foundation stick by Hourglass for sensitive skin. It has a great creamy texture yet is full-coverage enough to use as a concealer," Halperin shares. "A trick I like to use with concealer is to combine it with a great primer, and I love Ren Perfect Canvas Clean Primer. You just need a drop around the eye area, and it will work in lieu of powder to help the concealer adhere to the skin. Plus, you'll never have to worry about your makeup creasing throughout the day."
What to Look For in a Concealer For Sensitive Skin
For people with sensitive skin, making sure to not agitate it further is a key factor in choosing any beauty or skincare products. Ones that have been allergy tested or labeled hypoallergenic (meaning it contains minimal allergenic ingredients) are safer bets for skin that gets reactive to makeup.
There are many moisturizing ingredients available in beauty products. Since dry skin could lead to further irritation, choosing concealer that has hydrating ingredients is an ideal choice.
The idea behind a buildable coverage product is that it allows you to create a consistent and smooth finish whether you're using a little or a lot of it in different areas. With sensitive skin, the less covered up it is the safer your chances of it not becoming irritated. By choosing buildable coverage concealer, you can use exactly the amount you need in each area of your face.
Finding the best makeup for your skin type for your skin type is important. If your skin is prone to redness, concealers that have pigments added to balance redness will be very helpful.
There are many products available that won't irritate sensitive skin, such as the concealers listed above. If you're concerned about a new product potentially bothering your skin, always do a patch test first on a small area.
Sensitive skin can present in many ways, and as mentioned, may be anywhere from oily to dry. Once characteristic of it that's highly common is redness. That can manifest as anything from bumps, to blushing, to a rash.
Fair skin is more prone to sunburn, but not necessarily more prone to irritation. Board-certified dermatologist Iris Rubin, MD, says "sensitive skin is actually not a clinical diagnosis, though most people think of it as skin that is easily irritated."
Meet the Expert
Dr. Iris Rubin, Board-certified dermatologist and founder of SEEN Hair Care.
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