There are plenty of things we’re told we can do to look (and feel) our optimum selves. Drink enough water, get more sleep, say no to that last tequila. All work, but – and don’t ‘@’ us, healthcare professionals – few deliver results as fast and with just the touch of a fingertip like concealer.
Concealers are a quick but effective fix for acne, dark circles, razor burn and just about every other inconsistency in skin texture, these pocket-sized pigment pens are the closest thing man has discovered to Photoshop for your face.
Best of all, applying concealer requires virtually no skill at all – just a bit of practice. Simply pick a shade that matches your skin tone (or one that’s a shade or two lighter to hide dark patches), prep with a bit of moisturiser, then dab it onto the offending area until it blends in.
“Guys may be getting into make-up, but they still want quick, easy to apply products, which is why most reach for concealer,” agrees make-up artist Shauna Taggart. “There are a few different types to choose from, but stick formulas are generally the easiest to apply on various skin types.”
Get it right, like with one of these T3-tested tubes, and no one will know why you look so good. We won’t tell if you don’t.
The 8 best concealers for men:
New to the make-up game? Before you swatch, swipe and smear your way through half a department store (and half your bank balance), it’s a good idea to start out by experimenting with cheaper brands. For male beautification on a budget, turn to Altr. As well as providing targeted coverage, the brand’s Face Fix concealer contains China clay to absorb excess oil and remove impurities from pores. Consider it your cosmetic training wheels.
There it is. A big, red spot right before a date/birthday/important meeting. What do you do? If you’re Joaquin Phoenix (or one his of celeb pals), you reach for EX1’s Cosmetics Delete Fluide Concealer. A Hollywood favourite, this surprisingly inexpensive product contains one of the highest percentages of pigments on the market yet is non-comedogenic (meaning it won’t clog your pores). All of which adds up to A-list skin without needing the A-list pay packet.
Tom Ford is somewhat of an OG when it comes to men’s make-up. The American designer – who more recently has been kept busy dressing James Bond – launched the brand’s first male beauty line back in 2013, and his concealer remains a best-seller to this day. Though it’s only available in three shades (light, medium and deep), the travel-friendly size and sleek metal tube make it ideal for throwing in your gym bag.
If you regularly wake up looking like Uncle Fester coming in from the night shift, know that you’re not alone. Dark circles are fairly common in men, but that doesn’t mean you have to take them lying down. Yves Saint Laurent could have saved itself the time coming up with a fancy name and just called its Touche Éclat concealer ‘sleep in a stick’. Pre-loaded with a hit of caffeine, along with vitamin E, it works to camouflage sallow under-eye shadows in a swipe.
A good concealer should do more than simply pave over the cracks, which is just one reason why NARS’ Soft Matte formula is so legendary among professional groomers. As well as softening the appearance of imperfections, it also features skin boosters like hyaluronic acid and a protective cocktail of vitamins A, C, and E. Forget brushes and sponges, just use the heat of your (clean) digits to melt the product into your skin, and you’re good to go.
For those days when you need your concealer to perform Lazarus-like miracles, reach for Recipe. The Swedish brand’s antioxidant-rich product is packed with active ingredients that will de-puff eyes, speed up the healing of acne and soothe shaving rash. In non-grooming speak, that means it will bring your face back to life, and all for less than the eight rounds of beer you put away last night.
When Armani mentions power fabric, it’s usually referring to a pinstripe suit. However, in the case of the luxury Italian brand’s Power Fabric Concealer, it’s a velvety cloak capable of covering up anything from large pores to imperfections. The real sell here? It lasts all day, meaning there’s no need to carry it with you or sneak off to the bathroom for a touch-up. If it weren’t for legal reasons, we’d say it’s all you need to wear.
Is comparing Shiseido’s Synchro Skin Concealer to a real-life Instagram filter hyperbolic? Maybe, but to its credit, the Japanese skincare giant spent years perfecting the second-skin feel of its make-up line. Delivering full coverage while being able to stand up to heat, humidity and movement, it’s a solid choice for use on pigmentation such as rosacea. Whatever part of your face you swipe it over, the end result is you, just, better.