We all have something to hide, so make sure your concealer hits the spot

If I had seconds to get ready and could choose only one item of makeup, it would be a concealer. It’s indispensable for brightening dark circles and hiding discoloration and blemishes. And yet it’s the product that most dissatisfies wearers.

People want crease-free, smooth, moist, lasting camouflage, but here’s the rub: a “matte” concealer will typically offer coverage and longevity in return for looking a little dry as the day wears on. A “radiant” concealer will generally be moisturising to circumvent this, but will usually settle a little in fine lines. This is technically unavoidable, and so choosing the right one is really a question of looking at your skin’s natural characteristics and compromising a bit.

Consequently, I’m putting each of the four major new concealer launches into one of two camps. Let’s start with Bobbi Brown’s Skin Full Cover Concealer (£26). This gives coverage for miles, concealing both dark circles and spots extremely well, and has excellent staying power. You’ll enjoy its performance if you have oily skin; but if your complexion is drier, it will exacerbate this in look and feel.

Vieve’s vegan-friendly Modern Radiance Concealer (£22) is similarly matte, though feels more hydrating while still covering and blending exceptionally well, but if your undereyes are dry (as mine are), it still won’t quench their thirst. It’s possible to make both more comfortable by layering underneath a rich eye cream or moisturising colour corrector (I use Beauty Pie’s Superluminous (£10), but if you’re also a one-step-and-out person, you’ll need an altogether creamier concealer.

Charlotte Tilbury’s Beautiful Skin Radiant Concealer (£25) is precisely this – thick, creamy, slightly wet in finish. It leaves dry skins smooth and bouncy but it will, as the day wears on, probably crease, and if you’d like it to stay put, you’ll need to set with powder to lock it down.

A ‘matte’ concealer will look a little dry as the day wears on, but a creamier one tends to settle in fine lines

Ilia’s True Skin Serum Concealer (£29) is my current favourite. Like Tilbury’s, it’s hydrating, moisturising and leaves a beautiful smooth finish on undereyes prone to flakiness (regular exfoliation helps hugely), but because of this extra moisture, it affords slightly less coverage, and there is invariably a moment in the day when I reach in my handbag for a concealer brush and lightly buff it back to good health. It takes seconds and next to no skill.

In summary, oily skins will like the first two concealers; dry skins will like the second two. Pure physics will not allow a third way.