Experts reveal how to contour with concealer — and the best products to use.
It turns out, concealer is even more magical than you already thought. In addition to its inherent concealing abilities, your concealer can also be used for contouring (as long as you choose the right shade, of course). “One of the best [reasons to use] a concealer as a contour is because of its longevity,” makeup artist Robert Sesnek tells Elite Daily. "Concealer tends to be more opaque and pigmented, therefore, the product tends to last much longer than contour products that tend to be thinner and less opaque.” With that in mind, the best concealers for contouring are liquid or stick formulas that aren't too dry upon application. “I like either a creamy formula that blends seamlessly or a medium-coverage concealer that can be sheered down,” shares makeup artist Robert Rumsey, who adds that having a larger shade range to choose from is another benefit of using concealer to contour.
Robert Rumsey is a Los Angeles-based makeup artist who specializes in editorial shoots, music videos, and red carpet events. Rumsey frequently collaborates with Billie Eilish.
Alexandra French is a Los Angeles-based makeup artist best known for her Emmy award-winning work on season 2 of Euphoria. French's expertise includes special FX makeup, and her work spans film and television, editorial, and red carpet events.
Robert Sesnek is a New York City-based makeup artist who specializes in editorial shoots, advertising campaigns, and red carpet events. Sesnek's celebrity clients include Julianne Moore, Hailey Bieber, and Vanessa Hudgens.
How To Choose A Concealer For Contouring
While the formula you choose comes (partially) down to preference, your contour color is determined by a more rule-based system. “Look for shades with the same undertone as your foundation and two shades darker,” French tells Elite Daily. “I generally use more cool-toned concealers on fair skin, neutral tones for medium, and a warmer tone for deeper skin tones,” says Rumsey, who adds that this occasionally differs depending on the person's exact skin tone. “I don't love when contour looks too gray or too red,” he adds.
How To Contour With Concealer
All of the professional makeup artists agree that you'll want to apply your contour after your foundation (and preferably before your foundation has had a chance to completely set). “Apply concealer contour in the hallows of the cheeks, the sides of the nose for reshaping, and along the jawline for definition,” Sesnek advises. “You can also define the hairline if needed,” he adds of another popular area to contour. You'll also want to start with a light application, using a clean brush to blend the contour out, according to both French and Rumsey. “I always start very light and build up if needed,” says Rumsey. “I'm not trying to 'transform' the face, just subtly accentuate features.” In addition to using a brush, you could use a makeup sponge, too.
Shop The Best Concealers For Contouring
In a hurry? Here are the best concealers for contouring:
- Best Concealer Stick For Contouring: Clé De Peau Beauté Concealer SPF 27
- Best Budget-Friendly Concealer With A Matte Finish: NYX Can't Stop Won't Stop Contour Concealer
- Best Budget-Friendly Concealer With A Satin Finish: e.l.f. Hydrating Camo Concealer
- Best Concealer With A Built-In Blender: Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Concealer
- Best Concealer For Acne-Prone Skin: Cover FX Power Play Concealer
- Best Lightweight Concealer For Contouring: Anastasia Beverly Hills Magic Touch Concealer
1. The Experts’ Pick: Best Concealer Stick For Contouring
Among their prestige picks, all of the pros named this Clé De Peau Beauté Concealer as one of their favorite concealers for contouring. French notes that the creamy formula is an especially great option for those with drier skin types, as it contains moisturizing and smoothing ingredients like argan oil, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin E. Despite its richer texture, the concealer feels lightweight on skin and is buildable in coverage. Plus, it offers additional sun protection with SPF 27 (though that's obviously not an excuse to skip out on your usual sunscreen, obviously).
Formula: Cream Finish: Natural Available Shades: 12 Size: 0.17 oz. Cruelty-Free: No
2. Best Budget-Friendly Concealer With A Matte Finish
Most concealers can also be used to contour, but NYX developed a liquid formula with this specific purpose in mind with its Can't Stop Won't Stop Contour Concealer. The vegan and cruelty-free concealer blends out easily after you swipe it into place, but once it dries it becomes transfer-proof and waterproof for up to 24 hours. And for those with oily skin, the concealer has a matte finish that doesn't look cakey or too dry. This concealer is also a fan favorite on Amazon with more than 18,000 five-star ratings.
Formula: Liquid Finish: Matte Available Shades: 24 Size: 0.1 oz. Cruelty-Free: Yes
3. Best Budget-Friendly Concealer With A Satin Finish
Another under-$10 option, this e.l.f. Hydrating Camo Concealer has a softer, satin finish (whereas the one above is matte), and it's formulated with hyaluronic acid and rose water to help soothe and hydrate skin. Its price point isn’t the only thing it has in common with the NYX concealer, either: it’s also an Amazon-shopper favorite with more than 15,000 five-star ratings, and it’s cruelty-free and vegan.
Formula: Liquid Finish: Satin Available Shades: 25 Size: 0.2 oz. Cruelty-Free: Yes
4. Best Concealer With A Built-In Blender
You don't even need a separate brush to contour with this Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Concealer (but if you do prefer a brush, Rumsey recommends a medium-size, fluffy brush). At the top of the concealer, you'll find a sponge-tip applicator that dispenses the product with a few twists so that you can dot it directly onto the areas you're trying to contour (or conceal). Noncomedogenic and fragrance-free, the concealer has more than 100,000 five-star ratings on Amazon, and is also purportedly the top-selling concealer in America.
Formula: Liquid Finish: Natural Available Shades: 18 Size: 0.2 oz. Cruelty-Free: No
5. Best Concealer For Acne-Prone Skin
This liquid concealer leaves out potential irritants like parabens, phthalates, fragrance, mineral oil, and talc, and includes a few skin care favorites that are especially helpful if you're prone to acne. Cover FX’s Power Play Concealer is infused with niacinamide, which has anti-inflammatory properties and can even help prevent pores from clogging. You'll also find algae extract in here, which was included to help protect skin from damage caused by environmental stressors.
Formula: Liquid Finish: Natural Available Shades: 17 Size: 0.3 oz. Cruelty-Free: Yes
6. Best Lightweight Concealer For Contouring
Another great option for contouring, Anastasia Beverly Hills Magic Touch Concealer has a lightweight, creamy consistency that builds from medium to full coverage. It’s formulated with soft-focus powders to help blur blemishes and pores, and it also contains skin-conditioning ingredients like sunflower seed oil, licorice root extract, and vitamin E. Then, there's the amino acid-coated pigments in the concealer, which help the formula give you more flexibility when it comes to blending in those contour lines.
Formula: Liquid Finish: Luminous Available Shades: 25 Size: 0.4 oz. Cruelty-Free: Yes
Robert Rumsey, a Los Angeles-based celebrity makeup artist.
Alexandra French, a Los Angeles-based, Emmy award-winning makeup artist.
Robert Sesnek, a New York City-based celebrity makeup artist.