ESC: Holy Grail Concealer

It doesn't matter how perfect your skin is, no makeup user should be without a good concealer.

Some people only whip theirs out for emergency breakouts, while others can't leave the house without dabbing it on daily. Personally, I fall into the latter category. I don't usually have harsh under-eye bags or uneven pigmentation, but I do have what I consider to be embarrassing, must-cover issues like acne and redness. No matter how good my full-coverage foundation is, I always use a concealer to seal the deal.

Even if your complexion is crystal clear, you're bound to need one at some point because, let's face it, we're all human. With so many concealers to choose from, which one comes out on top?

The Holy Grail: I've spent years unofficially researching this very question, and, for me, Hourglass Hidden Corrective Concealer takes the cake—but don't worry, it's anything but cake-y. However, don't take that to mean it's not thick or doesn't provide excellent coverage. Even with just one little swipe, the product comes out super–opaque (a good thing). What's most important, and more rare, is that this one is creamy and blendable at the same time. Side note: I'm naturally really pale, so finding something lightweight that is solid enough to fully mask blemishes has been a struggle—until now that is.

Application: This was one of the best experiences I've ever had with a concealer. It's in a stylish twist tube, no wands, no liquid goop—it looks kind of like a fancy chapstick. The applicator has a slanted ridge so anytime you twist it up, you can apply it to the desired area with maximum control. Application works best with a dabbing, swiping motion. It transfers immediately, and a little goes a long way.

Consistency: Normally heavy coverage goes hand-in-hand with a caked-on, chalky consistency that is too dry to blend properly. That may give you the coverage you want, but aesthetically, it looks flaky and definitely not your no-makeup makeup look. Oppositely, formulas that claim to be moisturizing are too sticky or runny and usually too transparent. Hourglass' formula is different because it contains vitamin E, which makes it instantly hydrating, like a lip balm. It feels dewy (in a good way) when you first swipe it on, but once you dab it on, it becomes powder-y soft and blends into your skin instead of just sitting on top of it. 

Wearability: My main concern is always covering active breakouts and acne scars. The dense pigment takes care of that, but even better, it lasts. I've worn it alone at the gym and with a full face of makeup at night. Each time, the results were the same—it doesn't budge, crease or flake, and it stays put for hours. As for the delicate under-eye area: same results there, too. Instead of exaggerating fine lines like most formulas, this one filled them in and gave my skin a flawless finish.

Runner-Ups: Concealers are tough to rate because most of the time it just comes down to personal preference. If you like a wand application (with a little bit of SPF to boot) Perricone MD's No Concealer Concealer provides a velvety-smooth dose of heavy coverage. If you're into pretty packaging and multi-purpose products that don't suck, Lilah B. Virtuous Veil Concealer & Eye Primer is pretty top-notch, too. One thing all of the above have in common? Full, long-wear coverage that goes on thick but feels light as air and, of course, is undetectable once blended.

Hourglass Hidden Corrective Concealer, $34

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