{ "@context": "http://schema.org", "@type": "BreadcrumbList", "itemListElement": [ { "@type":"ListItem", "position": 1, "item": { "@id": "https://www.lorealparisusa.com/beauty-magazine", "name": "Beauty Magazine" } } { "@type":"ListItem", "position": 2, "item": { "@id": "https://www.lorealparisusa.com/beauty-magazine/makeup", "name": "Makeup Tips For Every Look" } } { "@type":"ListItem", "position": 3, "item": { "@id": "https://www.lorealparisusa.com/beauty-magazine/makeup/face-makeup", "name": "Face Makeup" } } ] }

Do You Apply Concealer or Foundation First?

Switching the order can give you different results.
  • Leann Garofolo
February 06, 2024

If you’ve ever felt stumped on whether to apply concealer or foundation first, rest assured that you’re not alone. These face makeup products are often used in alternating orders, which has sparked some debate over the best way to apply them.

Let’s cut to the chase: There is a standard way to apply foundation and concealer, but there are also instances when the order can be flip-flopped. Knowing what you want from your makeup look is the key to determining which application technique is best for you. Keep reading to learn more about concealer vs. foundation and discover the answer to the million-dollar question: Does concealer go on before foundation?

{ "@context": "https://schema.org/", "@type": "WebPage", "speakable": { "@type": "SpeakableSpecification", "cssSelector": ["speakable-content"] }, "url": "https://www.lorealparisusa.com/beauty-magazine/makeup/face-makeup/concealer-or-foundation-first" }

Foundation 101: What Is Foundation?

Staying true to its name, foundation is a beauty product that acts as a flesh-toned base for your makeup. Liquid and powder foundations are among the most common types, but this has evolved with the ever-changing landscape of beauty products. You can now find foundation in cream, stick, gel, spray, and even foam formulations, as well as a variety of finishes, including matte, radiant, and dewy.

How To Choose the Right Foundation

Consider your skin’s undertones

Before deciding on a formula, you’ll have to select the right color based on your skin tone and undertones. Your skin tone is determined by the amount of melanin in your skin, whereas undertones refer to the natural hue beneath your skin. While your skin tone can be influenced by sun exposure, your undertones never change. Undertones can be either cool, warm, or neutral and can greatly impact how well your foundation matches your skin tone. Check out our guide, What Skin Undertone Do You Have, to learn more.

{ "@context": "https://schema.org/", "@type": "WebPage", "speakable": { "@type": "SpeakableSpecification", "cssSelector": ["speakable-content"] }, "url": "https://www.lorealparisusa.com/beauty-magazine/makeup/face-makeup/concealer-or-foundation-first" }

Decide on your coverage level

After pinpointing your most flattering foundation shade, it’s time to decide how much coverage you want. Your choice will ultimately depend on personal preference and the specific makeup look you want to create. Many people enjoy a lightweight, buildable option, like the L’Oréal Paris True Match Super-Blendable Foundation, for medium coverage and a skin-like finish. The hydrating formula adapts to any skin texture and is made with up to six pigments for the most precise match. You can take your pick between 47 true-to-skin colors.

For those who prefer full coverage, try L’Oréal Paris Infallible Up to 24H Fresh Wear Foundation in a Powder. This waterproof and transfer-proof formula covers like a liquid concealer and mattifies without leaving your skin looking cakey. It feels breathable and light and can be used by all skin types, including acne-prone skin. Gently press the powder foundation onto your skin for natural coverage that blurs imperfections and creates a smooth canvas for blush or bronzer.

{ "@context": "https://schema.org/", "@type": "WebPage", "speakable": { "@type": "SpeakableSpecification", "cssSelector": ["speakable-content"] }, "url": "https://www.lorealparisusa.com/beauty-magazine/makeup/face-makeup/concealer-or-foundation-first" }

Concealer 101: What Is Concealer?

Face concealer is similar to foundation in helping to even out your skin tone, but the two are not the same: As the name implies, concealer is ultimately meant to conceal areas of concern—not cover the entire face. Think of concealer as the little sister of foundation. It’s often sold in smaller portions, with a precise applicator.

While both products are pigmented and available in different formulations, finishes, and coverage levels, their final textures and uses differ. Some use concealer to cover imperfections like acne, dark under-eye circles, and fine lines. A thicker texture is typically the norm for concealers since the added coverage can be more effective at disguising these types of marks. This differs from foundation, which often has a thinner texture for all-over coverage.

How To Choose the Right Concealer

Pick a formula that’s suitable for your skin type

There are a few things to consider when choosing a concealer, but we recommend narrowing your search down by skin type. Generally speaking, liquid or serum-based concealers work well for dry skin, while creamy formulas tend to be suitable for oily to combination skin.

We love addressing our skincare and makeup needs simultaneously with a multitasking concealer like L’Oréal Paris True Match Radiant Serum Concealer. The medium-coverage formula hydrates like a serum but corrects like a concealer and can wear many hats in your makeup routine: Use it to conceal and de-puff under-eye bags, contour your features, or highlight your skin with a radiant finish. No matter how you wear it, the hyaluronic-acid-infused formula can help keep your skin hydrated for up to 24 hours and won’t settle into fine lines or creases.

{ "@context": "https://schema.org/", "@type": "WebPage", "speakable": { "@type": "SpeakableSpecification", "cssSelector": ["speakable-content"] }, "url": "https://www.lorealparisusa.com/beauty-magazine/makeup/face-makeup/concealer-or-foundation-first" }

Match your foundation shade for flawless spot coverage

Next, you can select your concealer color based on your skin tone, undertones, and how you plan to use concealer in your routine. To spot correct flaws, opt for a concealer that perfectly matches your foundation (swatch-test your concealer on your jawline to confirm) for a seamless finish. One option to consider is L’Oréal Paris Infallible Full Wear Concealer up to 24H Full Coverage, which has 25 shades available to complement a variety of skin tones. It’s non-greasy, easy to apply, and provides a flawless matte finish that lasts up to 24 hours. Plus, the waterproof formula won't transfer, fade, or crease.

{ "@context": "https://schema.org/", "@type": "WebPage", "speakable": { "@type": "SpeakableSpecification", "cssSelector": ["speakable-content"] }, "url": "https://www.lorealparisusa.com/beauty-magazine/makeup/face-makeup/concealer-or-foundation-first" }

Try a different shade for under-eye concerns, highlighting, or contouring

There are some instances when concealer should be lighter than foundation and vice versa. If your goal is to neutralize discoloration (like under-eye circles or redness) or highlight your skin, you may want to try a concealer one to two shades lighter than your base. Many people also use concealer as a contour step to sculpt their features, which requires a product about two shades deeper than your foundation.

{ "@context": "https://schema.org/", "@type": "WebPage", "speakable": { "@type": "SpeakableSpecification", "cssSelector": ["speakable-content"] }, "url": "https://www.lorealparisusa.com/beauty-magazine/makeup/face-makeup/concealer-or-foundation-first" }

What Goes on First, Concealer or Foundation?

So, do you use concealer before or after foundation? The general consensus is that, yes, concealer does go on before foundation. You should typically apply foundation as the first step of your makeup routine (after a face primer like L’Oréal Paris Prime Lab Up to 24H Pore Minimizer) to lay the base for your look. However, as with most things, there are exceptions to this rule. Knowing the advantages of using concealer or foundation first can help you determine which order is most effective for you.

{ "@context": "https://schema.org/", "@type": "WebPage", "speakable": { "@type": "SpeakableSpecification", "cssSelector": ["speakable-content"] }, "url": "https://www.lorealparisusa.com/beauty-magazine/makeup/face-makeup/concealer-or-foundation-first" }

Benefits of applying foundation first

If your aim is to even out your skin tone, you’ll probably want to apply foundation before concealer. A major pro for applying foundation first is that you’ll usually have to use less concealer to perfect your skin’s complexion afterward. Additionally, if you were to use a thick concealer underneath a thin foundation, blending the foundation out could cause your concealer to move and lead to patchiness. When you apply concealer on top instead, it’s less likely to disrupt your base.

How to apply foundation before concealer

Begin by applying a foundation like L’Oréal Paris Infallible 24 Hour Fresh Wear Foundation, an ultra-thin liquid that goes on smoothly and gives your skin a fresh, even, and healthy-looking appearance. After you’ve blended your foundation, you can add a concealer like the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Full Wear Concealer up to 24H Full Coverage to help correct any areas needing extra coverage or highlight your face.

Pro Tip: You’ll want to ensure that your foundation and concealer have a similar consistency. For example, you wouldn’t want to apply a liquid concealer on top of a powder foundation, as it could cause pilling or spotty coverage. When using powder foundation as a base, this is one of the special instances when you should apply concealer first and foundation last.

Benefits of applying concealer first

Color-correcting concealers are a major exception to the concealer-or-foundation-first debate. These products (often found in colorful hues like peach and green) should be applied before foundation and flesh-toned concealer to help neutralize discoloration and create a more even-toned appearance. This way, your foundation can mask any hints of color left behind by the color correctors.

If you aren’t sure why you’d want to use a colorful concealer in the first place, think back to learning about the color wheel in art class. You may remember that colors positioned opposite on the color wheel cancel each other out. The same principle applies to makeup. You can simply look at the color you want to disguise, then reach for a concealer in the contrasting color to help counteract that tone. To balance out any red or purple pigmentation, opt for green concealers or yellow concealers (respectively).

Underpainting is another trending technique where you apply blush, brightening concealer, and cream contour before foundation for a more natural and blended look. Our how-to guide on underpainting makeup can teach you exactly where to apply concealer when using this method.

How to apply concealer before foundation

For color correction, use a small concealer brush to blend your concealer onto problem areas. You can also pat in the formula with clean fingertips or a makeup sponge. Some concealers (like the L’Oréal Paris True Match Color Correcting Crayon) come in convenient stick forms for a more targeted application. No matter which formula you choose, we always suggest starting with a light layer and adding more until you reach your desired coverage. Once you’re satisfied, you can go ahead and apply your preferred foundation.

When using concealer to disguise dark circles, just dab a little on your under-eye area before applying foundation. You can then add another light layer on top of your foundation to help brighten that area even more.

Concealer or Foundation First: The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, do what works best for you—whether that means applying foundation or concealer first. With so many TikTok creators introducing hacks into their makeup routines, we wouldn’t be surprised to see more and more people reversing the order of their foundation and concealer. If you’re someone who likes to keep things simple, you can stick to the basic rule of foundation first. Or, if you prefer to experiment with your makeup routine, try switching it up and see what you prefer.

Next Up: ​​ Where to Put Concealer: A Guide to Concealer Application

{ "@context": "http://schema.org", "@type": "BreadcrumbList", "itemListElement": [ { "@type":"ListItem", "position": 1, "item": { "@id": "/", "name": "Home" } } , { "@type":"ListItem", "position": 2, "item": { "@id": "https://www.lorealparisusa.com/beauty-magazine", "name": "Beauty Magazine" } } , { "@type":"ListItem", "position": 3, "item": { "@id": "https://www.lorealparisusa.com/beauty-magazine/makeup", "name": "Makeup Tips For Every Look" } } , { "@type":"ListItem", "position": 4, "item": { "@id": "https://www.lorealparisusa.com/beauty-magazine/makeup/face-makeup", "name": "Face Makeup" } } , { "@type":"ListItem", "position": 5, "item": { "@id": "https://www.lorealparisusa.com/beauty-magazine/makeup/face-makeup/concealer-or-foundation-first", "name": "concealer-or-foundation-first" } } ] }