Concealer Or Foundation First: The Ultimate Makeup Dilemma!

Solve the beauty puzzle on whether to apply concealer or foundation first and get insights for perfect, flawless makeup application every time!

Written by Priya Sreekumar

On Dec 12, 2023 – 7 minutes read

Concealer Or Foundation First

When delving into the realm of achieving the perfect makeup look, a common and pivotal question arises: “Should you apply concealer or foundation first?” Despite its apparent simplicity, this query holds significant weight in the beauty community, as the sequence of application can profoundly impact the overall makeup outcome.

Understanding the nuances of the debate on “Do you put on concealer or foundation first?” is essential, whether you’re a makeup novice or an experienced enthusiast. Let’s delve into every facet of this dilemma, from understanding the basic distinctions between these two products to discerning the specific scenarios in which one should precede the other. By demystifying the question and ensuring your makeup routine is both effective and efficient, we’ll guide you toward achieving flawless results.

Concealer Vs. Foundation — What’s The Difference?

Concealer Or Foundation First  For Acne

Before we dive into the “concealer or foundation first” dilemma, it is critical to understand the fundamental differences between these two makeup staples. Foundation is designed to create an even and uniform skin tone and it serves as the base for your makeup. It comes in various forms such as liquid, powder, and cream, and is meant to cover larger areas of the skin. You can choose from water-based foundations for dry skin, mineral foundations for sensitive skin, and even waterproof foundations for long-lasting wear- it all depends on your preference.

On the other hand, concealer is typically thicker and used for targeted coverage. It is the go-to product for concealing dark circles under the eyes, blemishes, redness, and other specific imperfections. Concealers are also varied with options like concealer for mature skin, which is formulated to be more hydrating and less likely to settle into fine lines.

What Should You Apply First, Foundation Or Concealer?

In traditional makeup applications, the sequence typically starts with the foundation. This method enables you to establish a seamless, uniform base and identify areas where additional coverage may be necessary, using concealer. By applying the former first, you prevent the risk of accidentally wiping away or diluting the effectiveness of the concealer, ensuring optimal coverage in targeted areas. This approach is versatile and suitable for various scenarios, whether it’s part of your daily routine or for a special occasion. To apply foundation and concealer professionally, it’s essential to blend them seamlessly into the skin, ensuring a flawless finish.

However, specific scenarios might call for a different approach. For instance, when dealing with heavy dark circles or prominent blemishes, applying concealer first can provide a more substantial coverage base. This acts as a preliminary layer of coverage in such cases, which the foundation can then enhance for a more seamless finish.

It is important to remember that blending is key regardless of the order. Whether using a brush, sponge, or your fingers, ensuring that each product is thoroughly blended into the skin will create a more natural and polished look.

Concealer Or Foundation First – Exceptional Cases

When Can You Apply Foundation Before Concealer?

This technique is ideal for evening out the overall skin tone and covering minor blemishes, including under the eyes. It’s a common method used in everyday makeup routines, where foundation primarily aims to achieve a smooth, uniform base, and concealer is applied for minor touch-ups as needed. When considering whether to apply concealer or foundation first under the eyes, this approach typically involves applying foundation first, followed by concealer for targeted coverage.

How To Apply Foundation Before Concealer?

Start with a clean, moisturized face. Apply a primer if desired, then use a foundation brush or sponge to apply your foundation evenly across your face. Pinpoint any areas that need extra coverage – like under-eye circles or blemishes once your foundation is set – and gently dab concealer onto these spots. Blend well for a seamless finish.

When Can You Apply Concealer Before Foundation?

This method can be beneficial when dealing with heavy discoloration or significant blemishes. In such cases, a layer of concealer can provide substantial coverage, which the foundation can then unify for an even skin tone.

How To Apply Concealer Before Foundation?

After priming your skin, apply concealer directly to areas that require extra coverage. Blend it out softly, taking care not to wipe it away entirely. Once the concealer is in place, apply your foundation over the top and blend the two products for a cohesive look.

How To Choose The Right Foundation?

Choosing the right foundation is crucial for achieving a flawless makeup look. Consider your skin type and select a formula that complements it – like a water-based foundation for dry skin or an oil-free formula for oily skin. Also, consider the coverage level you need, from sheer to full, and ensure the shade matches your skin tone perfectly. Drugstore foundations offer a range of affordable options, while high-end brands provide more specialized choices.

Best Foundation Brands

1. Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Multi-Use Concealer

how to apply foundation and concealer professionally
  • Price: $8.80
  • Features: Haloxyl-infused for dark circles and redness.
  • Pros: Highly rated on Amazon, excellent blending.
  • Cons: Possible color matching or skin sensitivity issues.
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2. Maybelline New York Fit Me Liquid Concealer

how to apply concealer for beginners
  • Price: $6.99
  • Features: Oil-free, combats fatigue, redness, and blemishes.
  • Pros: Excellent bendability, light, long-lasting, non-cakey.
  • Cons: Potential color match issues, variable coverage.
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3. NYX Professional Makeup HD Photogenic Concealer Wand

concealer or foundation first under eyes
  • Price:  $4.97
  • Features: Yellow undertones, ideal for blemishes and contouring.
  • Pros: Creamy, lightweight, and long-lasting.
  • Cons: Yellow tint may not suit all undertones, with varying preferences for consistency and coverage.
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How To Choose The Right Concealer?

Selecting the right concealer involves considering your skin’s needs and the specific issues you want to address. For dark circles, opt for a shade slightly lighter than your skin tone. For blemishes and redness, match the concealer to your foundation. Consider formulas designed for specific concerns, like concealers for mature skin or acne, and ensure they blend seamlessly.

Best Concealer Brands:

1. L’Oréal Paris True Match Concealer

concealer or foundation first acne
  • Price:  $9.38
  • Features: Super-blendable, vitamin-enriched, matches skin tone.
  • Pros: Natural finish, wide shade range, buildable coverage.
  • Cons: Less effective for dark circles, shade matching can be tricky.
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2. e.l.f. 16HR Camo Concealer

concealer or foundation first reddit
  • Price: $7.00
  • Features: Highly pigmented, long-wear, large applicator.
  • Pros: Long-lasting, effective for blemishes and dark circles, affordable.
  • Cons: Can be thick and drying, difficult to blend for some.
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3. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Concealer

powder foundation or concealer first
  • Price: $13.27
  • Features: Hyaluronic acid-infused, hydrating, and stick format.
  • Pros: Moisturizing, prevents creasing, luminous finish.
  • Cons: Possibly too shiny for oily skin, lighter coverage.
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Concealer Or Foundation First – Additional Tips 

  • Where to apply concealer: Learning how to apply concealer for beginners can be confusing at times, especially when considering whether to apply concealer or foundation first for acne coverage. Concentrate on areas such as under the eyes, around the nose, and on any blemishes or dark spots for effective coverage.
  • Primer or concealer first: Always start with a primer to create a smooth base.
  • Color corrector or foundation first: Use a color corrector before the foundation for targeted color-neutralizing effects.
  • For dark circles: Generally, apply foundation first then concealer for more focused under-eye coverage.


1. Do you use concealer before or after foundation?

Typically, use concealer after foundation unless addressing significant discoloration or blemishes.

2. Which is better, foundation or concealer?

Both are essential for different purposes- the former is for overall coverage and the latter is for targeted correction.

3. Should concealer be lighter or darker than foundation?

It should be slightly lighter for under eyes. And for blemishes, be it the same shade as your foundation.

4. Can I use concealer without foundation?

Yes, for targeted coverage or a more natural look.

5. Should you put concealer on mature skin before or after foundation?

After foundation to avoid creasing and caking.

6. How long do you have to wait between concealer and foundation?

Allow a minute or two for each product to set.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, whether you choose to apply primer or concealer first, or concealer or foundation first largely depends on your individual skin needs and the specific makeup look you are aiming for. Remember, there are no hard and fast rules in makeup and it is all about what works best for you, but it’s crucial to know where to apply concealer and whether to use a color corrector or foundation first. With the right products and techniques, you will know where and how to apply these to achieve a beautiful, seamless finish every time. Experiment, have fun, and embrace the journey of discovering your perfect makeup routine.

  1. National Library of Medicine. (n.d). Infraorbital Dark Circles: A Review of the Pathogenesis, Evaluation and Treatment. [Online] Available at:

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Priya Sreekumar

Priya is a go-to expert who is always up to date in the latest trends in fashion, beauty, and lifestyle. She has been a trusted voice for readers looking for lifestyle advice.

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