The Best Concealers For Melasma

Written by Marissa DeSantis
Elite Daily/Amazon
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Melasma is a common skin condition that “appears as hyperpigmented, irregular patches occurring usually only on the face,” dermatologist Blair Murphy-Rose tells Elite Daily. Most often appearing on the cheeks, chin, forehead, nose, and above the upper lip, melasma doesn’t cause any irritation like itchiness or pain. Because you don’t have to worry about your makeup exacerbating the condition, makeup artist Lilly Keys tells Elite Daily that the best concealers for melasma are liquid or cream formulas that offer more coverage and staying power. “There are many variables that come into play when it comes to concealing those [melasma] spots,” Keys says. “The best option is to apply a concealer shade that is a similar color to your melasma first, and then over that, apply your true skin shade concealer.”

The Experts

Dr. Blair Murphy-Rose, M.D., F.A.A.D., is a board-certified cosmetic and medical dermatologist based in New York City and the Hamptons. She currently practices at the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York and serves as clinical instructor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College. Dr. Murphy-Rose has been published in multiple peer-reviewed journals, and she has been featured in publications like Vogue and Women’s Health.

Lilly Keys is a Los Angeles-based makeup artist with more than 15 years of professional experience. She graduated from London College of Fashion and began her makeup career working backstage for runway shows like Gucci, Balenciaga, and JW Anderson. Keys’ work has been featured in editorial publications and advertising campaigns, and her celebrity clients include Dua Lipa, Olivia Rodrigo, and Jennifer Coolidge.

How To Cover Melasma

In addition to layering multiple shades of concealer, Keys says that how you apply your concealer also matters when you’re looking to maximize coverage. First, you’ll want to prep your skin with a color-correcting product. During the daytime, you’ll always want to apply moisturizer and sunscreen to your face prior to your foundation and/or concealer (SPF is especially important for those with melasma, as Dr. Murphy-Rose explains that sun exposure tends to make melasma patches more noticeable). After that, Keys recommends applying a color-correcting primer to your face, then following up with your foundation (if you’re using any). “Use a small, fluffy concealer brush, and only apply your concealer over your [melasma] spots,” Keys advises. “Blend the concealer into your skin, and apply a translucent powder on top.” All of that skin prep, plus the addition of translucent setting powder, are essential to giving your concealer (and the rest of your makeup) more longevity.

Tips For Managing Melasma

Melasma “has been linked to sun exposure and estrogen, which explains why [many people] are more prone to developing melasma during pregnancy or with the use of some birth control methods or hormone therapies,” explains Dr. Murphy-Rose of what might be causing your melasma.

Excellent photoprotection is most important to protect against [melasma] and to prevent it from worsening and [to] help it to fade,” Dr. Murphy-Rose stresses. “Choose a mineral sunscreen containing zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide to create a physical shield between your skin and the sun, and wear a wide-brimmed hat or visor [and] sunglasses.”

Additionally, Dr. Murphy-Rose says you may benefit from incorporating exfoliating and brightening ingredients — such as retinol, AHAs, tranexamic acid, and vitamin C — into your routine. However, if you opt to use retinoids or AHAs, you’ll need to step up your SPF game, as Dr. Murphy-Rose explains that these ingredients increase your skin’s UV sensitivity.

Shop The Best Concealers For Melasma

In a hurry? Here are the best concealers for melasma:

  1. Best Waterproof Concealer Under $10: Catrice True Skin High Cover Concealer
  2. Best Waterproof Concealer That’s Fragrance-Free: IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Full Coverage Concealer
  3. Best Concealer Stick: Black Radiance Color Perfect Foundation Stick
  4. Best Concealer With Vitamin C: Revlon ColorStay Skin Awaken 5-In-1 Concealer
  5. Best Concealer Palette: NYX Conceal, Correct, Contour Palette

1. The Pro’s Pick: Best Waterproof Concealer Under $10

If you’re after a budget-friendly option, Keys recommends this Catrice True Skin High Cover Concealer. “It has rich pigment [and] amazing coverage, yet it’s still ultra-lightweight,” she says of the waterproof and vegan formula. The concealer gives you full coverage with one swipe, and was designed to keep skin hydrated for up to 18 hours with ingredients like glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin E.

Formula: Liquid Available Shades: 11 Beneficial Ingredients: Glycerin, Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin E Cruelty-Free: Yes

Relevant review: “This concealer is amazing. It is undetectable on the skin, barley creases and is long lasting. I have dry skin in the winter and this does not feel drying under my eyes. I have tried a lot of high end concealers and this blows them out of the water.”

2. Best Waterproof Concealer That’s Fragrance-Free

This award-winning concealer from IT Cosmetics was specifically formulated to cover unwanted hyperpigmentation and redness, so it’s pigmented enough to fully cover melasma, too. Just a few dots are all you need for up to 24 hours worth of coverage. Made with hydrating and plumping ingredients like hyaluronic acid, hydrolyzed collagen, and peptides, this concealer is free from added fragrance, making it a great choice for those with sensitive skin.

Formula: Liquid Available Shades: 25 Beneficial Ingredients: Vitamin E, Niacinamide, Hyaluronic Acid, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Glycerin, Peptides Cruelty-Free: Yes

Relevant review: “I hate spending this much on a concealer but I've been reordering for years because it's worth it. I have [dry skin] and (when applied with damp [makeup sponge]) does not crease in the undereye and completely covers melasma spots. You only need a tiny dab for full coverage so it lasts a long time too. Totally worth it.”

3. Best Concealer Stick

This is technically a foundation stick, but the creamy, full-coverage formula can be used in lieu of concealer, too. For people with darker skin tones who find it difficult to find one concealer shade that matches their melasma and another for their actual skin tone, the Black Radiance Color Perfect Foundation Stick comes in eight shades that were specifically developed for dark skin tones. Infused with nourishing ingredients like murumuru seed butter and soybean oil, the stick concealer is also incredibly convenient for on-the-go use since you can just swipe it directly onto your skin and blend in with your fingertips.

Formula: Cream Available Shades: 8 Beneficial Ingredients: Murumuru Seed Butter, Vitamin E, Soybean Oil Cruelty-Free: Yes

Relevant review: “This foundation/concealer stick is great! It is versatile in that it can be used to contour, conceal, or use as an overall foundation. I ordered the Cashmere color and it is a perfect match for my skin tone. This one is a winner!”

4. Best Concealer With Vitamin C

“Some of the best ingredients for [the] treatment and prevention of melasma include kojic acid, tranexamic acid, and vitamin C, in addition to mineral or physical sun protection,” Dr. Murphy-Rose says of ingredients that can be helpful. While most of these are pretty rare to find in a concealer, Revlon’s ColorStay Skin Awaken 5-In-1 Concealer does contain vitamin C to help give your skin a subtle brightening boost. This lightweight concealer also gives you buildable coverage, and comes with an antibacterial sponge-tip applicator to help with distributing and blending the concealer into your skin.

Formula: Liquid Available Shades: 18 Beneficial Ingredients: Glycerin, Caffeine, Vitamin C Cruelty-Free: No

Relevant review: “Easy to apply, not thick and matches perfectly. Covers spots and redness very well.”

5. Best Concealer Palette

Because Keys says that concealing melasma also involves color correcting, you may prefer to invest in a multi-shade palette that allows you to do multiple jobs at once (this palette will also be especially helpful if you find that your melasma gets darker after being out in the sun). Each palette comes with six colors, all featuring a creamy formula that’s easy to blend and provides full coverage.

Formula: Cream Available Shades: 4 Palettes (6 Shades Each) Beneficial Ingredients: Jojoba Esters, Vitamin E Cruelty-Free: Yes

Relevant review: “Love this concealer palette. The yellow tone helps me conceal the redness in my cheeks and the lighter tones just everyday blemishes. I also use the darker tone to contour a bit. Sets nicely, I do wet my brush a bit so it goes on smoothly.”

You May Also Like: This Pigment-Correcting Serum

For a pre-makeup skin care product that helps to address melasma with continued use, Dr. Murphy-Rose likes this SkinMedica Lytera 2.0 Pigment Correcting Serum. “[It] contains a combination of tranexamic acid, niacinamide, tetrapeptide-30, phytic acid, and more to prevent hyperpigmentation and treat existing discoloration,” Dr. Murphy-Rose says. “Paired with a mineral sunscreen, this product will prep skin well for makeup.”

Beneficial Ingredients: Niacinamide, Tranexamic Acid, Marine Extract Blend, Peptides, Vitamin E, Phytic Acid Cruelty-Free: Yes

Relevant review: “It's working well so far. No side effects. Dark spots I've had for roughly 5 years from melasma are finally lightening. I use a small amount a couple times a week to make sure I'm not overdoing things. Good results so far.”


Dr. Blair Murphy-Rose, MD, FAAD, board-certified cosmetic and medical dermatologist in New York City and the Hamptons.

Lilly Keys, Los Angeles-based makeup artist.