Concealer and foundation are two incredibly popular beauty products. Known for smoothing out skin texture and providing coverage, concealer and foundation have long been staples for creating a flawless makeup look. However, as we learn more about beauty and how the skin responds to various skincare products, we also learn how concealers and foundation work together.
There are key differences in how concealer and foundation are made, how they work, and how they can be used in a makeup routine. This guide answers all the makeup questions you may have, like whether concealer or foundation goes on first, how to apply them, and what products can be used in place of these products to achieve a flawlessly natural look.
Concealer Vs. Foundation
To understand the biggest differences between concealer and foundation, we have to start with how they’re made. What ingredients are included in concealers and foundation? What are the key characteristic differences? Let’s break it down below.
Concealers offer enough coverage to hide unwanted blemishes or spots, hence the name. They do this by offering brightness to the skin and reflecting light, which helps hide what’s underneath. Most concealers offer medium to full coverage and can be used to brighten skin and hide unwanted hyperpigmentation.
Most concealers come in liquid form, but there are some pencil concealers and even powder concealers. They offer buildable coverage, so you can apply lighter amounts of concealer or pack it on to hide blemishes and bumps.
Foundation’s role is also closely tied to its name. Foundation provides the base for the rest of makeup, smoothing out the surface just like a painter applies primer before painting walls. Foundation creates the solid surface on which you apply the rest of your makeup.
It also ties the rest of your makeup look together. Foundation can help smooth out other makeup products and create a solid color base for the rest of your makeup, allowing you to achieve flawless-looking skin easily.
Similar to concealer, foundation is often medium to full coverage and is usually buildable so you can use however much you want to get the coverage you want.
Do you Put Concealer on Before or After Foundation?
Now that we’ve gone over the key differences and similarities between concealer and foundation, let's answer one of the most commonly asked questions about them. Do you put concealer on before or after foundation? The simple answer is that foundation goes on before concealer in most cases. Here’s why!
The Case for Foundation First
Most makeup and beauty experts agree that foundation should go on before concealer because foundation helps you see where you’ll need concealer to begin with. Foundation isn’t as heavy-duty as concealer is and may not hide more obvious blemishes or circles by itself. This is why concealer is often used with foundation.
However, if you use concealer first, you may not be able to see what exactly you need to conceal. You may also end up using concealer everywhere, whereas if you use foundation first, this will show you where you actually need it.
Another argument for applying foundation first involves blending. If you put concealer on your face and then apply foundation, blending it in will be like blending the concealer and foundation together. It may move the concealer out of its spot and smear on your face instead of offering you the coverage you need.
The Exception to the Rule
Applying foundation first avoids these two problems and helps prevent makeup mishaps like this. However, there are a few circumstances in which you may benefit more from applying concealer first and then foundation.
The first exception is if you use powder foundation. In this case, using concealer first can actually help solidify your base and look more even and smooth.
Maybe you don’t want to layer the stuff on your face at all. Let’s take a closer look at how you can skip the concealer altogether to get a natural, smooth look you’ll love.
How to Skip Concealer
There are a variety of reasons why you might consider skipping the concealer. If your concealer ends up looking cakey, smudged, or mask-like, or creases easily when you smile or wrinkle your eyes, it’s not doing its job too well. If this is the case, ditch it! You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life, and especially not in your skincare routine.
Use Color Correctors Instead
One of the best skincare products to replace concealer with is a color corrector. Color correctors work to neutralize or cancel out unwanted colors such as redness or hyperpigmentation and to brighten and tie together your complexion. Color correctors achieve similar results to concealer without drying cakey, smudging, or looking uneven on skin.
Color correctors work based on the color wheel. Depending on what color you wish to cancel out, you can use the opposite hue on the color wheel as a color correcting product to neutralize your skin tone and create a smooth, even look.
Depending on what colors you’re looking to cancel out and what makeup look you’re going for, you may want a different color corrector. Here are some of our Color Correcting Skincare products that can neutralize skin tone and give you the flawless look you’re going for.
Our Alpenglow color corrector helps brighten dull, sallow skin and helps even skin tone. It even helps minimize the appearance of wrinkles when used over a longer period of time. This color corrector is for all skin tones and is an excellent way to get the same evenness and brightness that concealer offers without the cakey texture.
With Grapefruit, Blueberry, and Daisy, the Alpenglow contains rich Vitamins such as Vitamin C and E, Naringin, Polyphenol, and L-Arbutin to help fight free radicals and minimize oxidative stress, rejuvenate skin, and minimize the appearance of wrinkles.
Simply apply like you would apply concealer, using an apple seed-sized dot on your hand and pat on your skin until you get the coverage you’re looking for.
The Kauai color corrector is made for light to medium skin tones. It helps cancel out unwanted spots, blemishes, hyperpigmentation, acne scars, and even dark circles, so you can hide uneven skin tone.
Made with White Lily, Kukui Nut, and Noni, this skincare product is packed with antioxidants, Vitamins A, E, B3, and C, and nutrients to reduce the appearance of dark circles and spots.
Lastly, Marrakech is for medium to dark skin tones and has the same job as the Kauai. It helps minimize the appearance of dark spots, circles, acne scars, and hyperpigmentation. Made with Sweet Almond, Carrot Seed, and Rose, this formula is rich in Vitamins, Omega fatty acids, Beta-Carotene, and other nutrients to help support skin health and elasticity.
Using a color corrector is not only a great way to replace concealer and get the same effects for your skin, but they’re also beneficial for your skin. When used over time, they also address the underlying problem for some skin conditions and help support long-term skin health and wellness. Upgrade your skincare routine by swapping out your concealer for a color corrector!
And, viola, you’ve got a flawless look you can rock all day long!
Kick Foundation and Concealer to the Curb
While concealer and foundation are most often used together, the outcome can look uneven, cakey, and crease easily. Using a color corrector in the place of a concealer is an excellent way to simplify your skincare routine, enhance your natural beauty, and get rid of redness, hyperpigmentation, acne scars, and dark circles or spots. Plus, you won’t have to worry about the cakey, creased effect that concealer often produces.
If you want to smooth out your complexion even further, however, you can add a light layer of a foundation of your choice over our color correctors. This will ensure that your skin looks blended, flawless, and stunning—even more so than usual.