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The College Girlies’ Guide to Concealer

This is a sponsored feature. All opinions are 100% from Her Campus.


As a college student, those inevitable late-night study sessions and stressful finals weeks can often lead to dark circles, breakouts, and other skin frustrations. Luckily, there’s a way to cover unwanted blemishes and brighten up sleep-deprived eyes while creating a gorgeous beauty look.

Concealer is a simple but mighty makeup product that can do so much more than cover up pimples. It’s a true staple for any beauty bag, especially for busy college students who need a quick-but effective routine. To help you make the most of this makeup must-have, I’m sharing my top college-girlie-approved concealer tips (and some amazing products from Sephora that you can shop here). 

1. Choose The Right Shade

First things first, you’ll want to find the right shade of concealer. There are two general rules of thumb here: If you’re looking to cover up blemishes, try to find a shade that matches your skin tone as closely as possible. Meanwhile, for concealing your under eyes, aim for a shade that’s slightly lighter than your natural skin, so you can emphasize that brightened, wide-awake look.

To figure out the right shade for your concealer needs, start by reading product descriptions or taking shade-match quizzes online. Sephora has a super helpful shade finder called Color IQ that identifies your perfect shade and helps you find matching products. You can also go in-store to swatch some concealers and even talk to a beauty advisor who can help you identify your best shade range!

2. Consider Your Skin Goals

When shopping for concealer, it’s also important to think about your skin goals. Different concealers may be designed for different applications, such as spot-concealing blemishes, brightening under eyes, or achieving a no-makeup makeup look. Think about what you’ll be using your concealer for, then find products that fit each use. Of course, you can always stock up on multiple concealers that do different things, so you can cover all of your bases! 

For Concealing Dark Circles

Dealing with dark circles after a late night studying in the library? A buildable concealer is just the fix you need to cover up and correct discoloration under your eyes. Try these picks from Sephora the next time you need to fake a full night’s sleep: 

Kosas Revealer Super Creamy + Brightening Concealer and Daytime Eye Cream, $30

Super creamy and packed with skincare, this medium coverage concealer seamlessly melts into skin to leave your under eyes looking fresh, hydrated, and radiant.

MAKE UP FOR EVER HD Skin Smooth & Blur Undetectable Under Eye Concealer, $29

Visibly smooth, bright, and correct under eyes with a concealer that looks like real skin. It features a gel-like texture that visibly plumps and smooths skin without caking or creasing.

HAUS LABS BY LADY GAGA Triclone Skin Tech Hydrating + De-puffing Concealer, $32

This clean, lightweight concealer does more than just cover imperfections — it visibly blurs, brightens, conceals, and de-puffs skin (after two weeks of use). Plus, it’s made with more than 20 clean skincare ingredients to leave your skin looking and feeling its best.

For Brightening Under Eyes

Just like that much-needed iced coffee, applying a brightening concealer on your under eyes can help you instantly wake up your appearance, even if you feel like hitting snooze on your alarm. When shopping for a brightening concealer, choose a radiant formula that includes hydrating or energizing ingredients to keep your under eyes looking fresh. Here are a few of my fave options from Sephora:

Rare Beauty Positive Light Under Eye Brightener, $24

Formulated with skin-loving ingredients like Vitamin E, this lightweight liquid concealer instantly brightens, hydrates, and awakens under eyes with a sheer to medium coverage.

Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat All-Over Brightening Concealer Pen, $40

She’s a cult favorite for a reason. This brightening concealer pen is sheer, shimmer-free, and can be used to create an all-over, natural highlight with radiant coverage.

Dior Backstage Concealer, $32

This concealer is infused with caffeine to brighten darkness and dullness. Plus, it’s waterproof and crease-proof, so you can enjoy a natural, glowy skin look all day long.

For Covering Acne

We’ve all woken up on the day of a big event like a formal to find a brand-new pimple staring at us in the mirror. Luckily, with the right concealer, you can camouflage spots and create a flawless complexion. Reach for a product that’s long-lasting, blendable, and non-drying to ensure any frustrating blemishes are nearly undetectable:

Tower 28 Swipe All-Over Hydrating Serum Concealer, $22

This concealer is great for covering pimples because it’s weightless, easy to blend, and won’t cling to dry patches. It glides on like a serum but has a medium-buildable coverage so you can customize your look.

Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Face and Under-Eye Concealer, $42

Create a luminous, airbrushed look with this multipurpose, creaseless concealer that provides up to 24 hours of hydration to conceal, correct, and highlight your skin.

MILK MAKEUP Future Fluid All Over Medium Coverage Hydrating Concealer, $30

If you’re looking for makeup that doubles as skincare, this concealer is a must-have. Not only does it provide quick coverage for blemishes, dark circles, and redness, but it’s also formulated with barrier-restoring ingredients that help improve the look of your skin over time.

For All-Over Coverage

Whether you’ve got limited time to get ready or simply want to keep your makeup light and natural, concealer is a great alternative for your base. Light or medium concealers with buildable coverage are perfect for blending all over your skin to create a gorgeous, no-makeup makeup look. Here are a few options from Sephora to try:

Glossier Stretch Concealer, $22

With a light to medium buildable formula, this blendable concealer offers a dewy, glowy finish for everything from dark circles to blemishes and redness. Plus, it’s available in 32 shades, so you can find your perfect match.

Sephora Collection Best Skin Ever Glow Concealer, $15

Instantly conceal, correct, and brighten all over with this medium coverage concealer. It delivers 12 hours of hydration and wear, so you can feel confident that your base will stay looking flawless all day.

Saie Slip Tint Concealer, $28

This medium coverage, buildable concealer hydrates, brightens, and plumps skin, all without feeling heavy or cakey. The creamy, long-wearing formula is great for reducing the appearance of blemishes, dark circles, and skin imperfections anywhere on your face.

3. Pick Your Coverage

Just like foundation, concealers come with different levels of coverage. Depending on your skin goals and the makeup look you’re trying to achieve, you may need to reach for something light and sheer, medium and buildable, or super full coverage. Here’s a quick cheat sheet you can reference when you’re selecting the right coverage level:

Light Coverage: Sheer, often buildable coverage that’s ideal for using all over your face and creating an effortless, no-makeup look.

Medium Coverage: Buildable coverage that’s great for covering discoloration, brightening under eyes, and highlighting.

Full Coverage: The highest level of coverage that’s best used for covering active breakouts and achieving a flawless, glam look.

4. Prep Your Skin

Prepping your skin and moisturizing properly is essential for making sure your makeup lasts all day, especially when it comes to concealer. Before applying your concealer, be sure to moisturize your skin and apply a high-quality primer to ensure your concealer stays put, no matter where you apply it. Certain primers can also make a huge difference in the way your concealer looks on your skin as well by smoothing texture and the appearance of pores.

5. Apply Like A Pro

When it comes to applying your concealer, don’t be afraid to use your fingers! One of my friends taught me to use the tip of my middle finger to blend concealer in the most natural way possible, and I’ve been doing it ever since. It’s a super simple way to achieve the coverage you want while making sure your makeup looks seamless.

*Major* Concealer Inspo


#SephoraPartner So excited to add these concealers to my makeup rotation! @sephora #IHCxSephoraConcealer #kosas #makeupforever #grwm

♬ original sound – Yazz🐣

#sephorapartner my 5 minute no foundation makeup routine using my favorite concealers from @sephora ⭐️ #ihcxsephoraconcealer

♬ Coffee and Books – Siesta

#SephoraPartner This is the dynamic duo that puts an end to my dark circles and acne scars!! @sephora #IHCxSephoraConcealer

♬ Chopin Nocturne No. 2 Piano Mono – moshimo sound design

#sephorapartner love these concealers for the perfect No Makeup-Makeup @sephora #IHCxsephoraconcealer

♬ original sound – martina

#SephoraPartner I love a good full face but no makeup makeup looks also have my heart 💗 These 2 concealers from Rare Beauty and Dior are perfect for both! Shop both concealers @sephora #IHCxSephoraConcealer

♬ original sound – Deb <3

Whether you’re about to run out the door to class or want a more simplified makeup routine, concealer is a must-have for college girlies. Try these tips to level up your beauty game, and find your new favorite concealers online or in-store at Sephora!