Difference between foundation and concealer

What is the Difference Between Foundation and Concealer?

Table of Contents

Makeup means hiding imperfections. People use makeup for looking younger and for creating an illusion of clear and even skin tone. Redness, dark circles, pigmentation, yellow tones, all these things are every day, and almost every other human being has them. Even celebrities, whom we thought are perfect, use all these cosmetics to make their skin look flawless on the camera. The rest is editing. 

Foundation is the base of makeup, while concealer is used to neutralize imperfections. When combined, both can help in achieving a complete and flawless makeup look. Concealers also come in red, orange, green, purple, and yellow colors used for hiding imperfections by neutralizing them. Color correcting concealers are usually used for dark circles, acne spots, redness, and hiding blue or purple veins. Foundations are applied to the whole face because they are thinner in consistency and are easily blend-able. 

What is a Concealer?

Concealer, just as the name suggests, conceals unpleasant parts of the skin. It is what you use to hide blackspots, blemishes, dark circles under your eyes, and even freckles and fine lines. Use a concealer that is one or two shades lighter than your natural shade to brighten up your problem areas. 

Besides concealing, you can use a concealer to contour. For this, use one shade darker than your skin tone and use a creamy concealer as it works best when contouring. You can prime your lips and eyelids using a concealer as it helps your lipstick and eyeshadow stay longer and sets a smooth base for more straightforward application. 

Also, you can use it as a highlighter for your nose bridge, cheekbones, brow bones, and cupid’s bow. When using it as a highlighter, use a shade that’s a shade or two lighter than your natural shade.

Concealer is slightly heavier than foundation, meaning that it can easily clog pores. Therefore, it’s not suitable for all face applications. It provides medium to full coverage, ensuring that all your imperfections are entirely covered. 

Types of concealer are:

  1. Liquid
  2. Powder 
  3. Cream
  4. Mousse
  5. Color corrector concealers

They offer a medium to full coverage. If you have oily skin, go for liquid or powder. Cream and liquid are great for dry skin. And mousse is suitable for all skin types. Color corrector concealers are made to help neutralize imperfections on the skin. They can be used to tackle discoloration, hyperpigmentation, redness, and sallowness. Color corrector concealers are applied before foundation and should not be left on the skin for too long as they dry fast. After their application, it is essential to be gentle when applying your foundation to not move the corrector around.

What is Foundation?

Unlike a concealer, which you apply on specific spots, you apply foundation all over your face to smooth and even it out. When picking a shade, choose one that is as close to your natural shade as possible. Getting one that’s far off from your natural shade will make you look different from your hairline and neck. 

The foundation sets a base for the rest of your makeup and makes your makeup look complete. 

Foundation comes in: 

  1. Liquid
  2. Powder
  3. Cream
  4. Mouse

You choose a foundation according to your skin type, texture, and the level of coverage you want.

Liquid and powder give light to medium coverage and are great for people with oily skin. The cream provides medium to full range and is excellent for dry skin, while mousse also gives medium to full coverage. It is ideal for all skin types.

As seen above, foundation and concealer are different in how they work and are applied. Foundation is used all over the face while concealer is applied on specific spots you feel need more coverage. 

Purpose and Coverage


As it is clear from the term “Foundation,” the foundation is the base of makeup. It is the product over which your whole makeup look is built. 


Foundations often come into different formulae. Some are powder-based. Some are liquid-based, while others are cream-based. Every type of foundation gives a different level of coverage. Thick and hard foundations like stick foundations often give high coverage.


On the other hand, foundations with thin consistency give light to medium coverage. 


Picking up a foundation depends on the amount of coverage you want. For example, for daily usage, you need light to medium coverage. For events like photo shoots, weddings, parties, you need high coverage, etc. 


In contrast to a foundation, concealer is used to cover, hide, or camouflage imperfections. Hence the word “concealer.”


Like foundations, concealers also come in different formulae. A can be a liquid concealer or a stick concealer. All the concealers do only one task. And that task is to cover imperfections. 


Concealers also come in different consistencies and give different levels of coverage. It depends on the brand. Some brands with high-end products launch concealers that are not too good and give medium coverage.


On the other hand, some drugstore brands have concealers which give high coverage and are a holy grail product of many YouTubers and makeup bloggers. For picking the right product, you must raid the store.   

Color Shades


Foundation comes in different colors, so it is easy for the buyer to get their perfect shade quickly. The colors of the foundation match the familiar skin tone and undertones. Some brands offer even 40-45 shades in foundations as well. 

For making your makeup look up to the mark, selecting the right foundation is the key. Your foundation must match your skin tone and undertone. However, it is better to choose a foundation one tone lighter because most foundations tend to oxidize after application.  


Concealers also come in shades that match your skin tone. They contain all shades, i.e., light undertones, deep undertones, pink undertones, yellow undertones, etc. 

Apart from being available in shades, there are some other shades of concealers as well. These concealers are called color correctors. They are used to neutralize imperfections on the skin. 

Some common and widely used color-correcting shades along with their purposes are listed below:

Green color corrector: Green color corrector is used to neutralize any redness on the face. It is also used to hide active acne. 

Red/Orange color corrector: Red/Orange color corrector is used to neutralize dark spots on the deep skin tone. It is mainly used under the eyes, before the application of foundation, to hide dark circles. It is also used around the lips to hide two-toned skin. It also hides left out acne spots.

Pink color corrector: It works the same as Red/Orange color corrector but for lighter skin tones. 

Yellow color corrector: Yellow color corrector is used to hide imperfections that are purple in tone. It mainly includes visible blue/purple veins near the eyes on the face.

Purple color corrector: Purple color corrector is used for combating yellow undertones and brightening skin. 

This color-correcting may come in individual packing or may come in the form of a kit. The one that comes in individual packing has a thick liquid consistency. On the other hand, the ones that come in the form of a kit have cream consistency. 

Areas of Application


Foundations always come in larger quantities, i.e., one bottle of foundation, on average, contains 30ml of product. It is thus applied to larger areas.


One or two pumps of the foundation are good enough to cover the neck area and face. It is also easy to blend.



Concealers, on the other hand, usually come in smaller quantities. On average, you get 6-8ml of product in one concealer tube/bottle. This is somewhat a small amount of product, so it is only used in the targeted areas. You must apply only a dot of concealer over acne spots and a little bit under the eyes. Do not blend the concealer using a brush. Instead, dab it with your fingers or beauty blender. 

Pro-Tip: It would help if you first concealed your eyes with a lighter shade of concealer rather than a foundation for eye makeup. The reason for this is that the concealer doesn’t crease or slip off easily from the eyelids. It sits nicely on to the eyelids, and even after blinking your eyes a thousand times, your eye makeup still looks neat and fresh.  



Foundations vary in formulae. They can be liquid, powder, cream, tinted moisturizers, compact, and sticks. All these foundations give different levels of coverage.


Liquid foundations give light to high coverage depending on the brand. Powder foundations give light coverage and are often used after liquid foundations to set them and make them stay in place.


Tinted moisturizers are new in the line and are classified as BB cream or CC cream. Both these creams come in tube packaging and are great for daily use. BB and CC creams come with neutralizers so they alone work to hide blemishes and dark spots.


Compact foundations come in pressed compact packaging. They are suitable for travel purposes and quick touch ups. Some compact foundations have a two-in-one formula, i.e., they can be used as the foundation (if wet) and as a pressed powder (if dry).


Stick foundations come in stick form. They have a thicker consistency and are mostly used by professional makeup artists. They are suitable for formal events like farewells, weddings, etc. Stick foundations tend to stay longer than liquid foundations.


Most foundations come in a bottle with a pump, but some brand manufacturers offer foundations with the dropper. A few of the foundations also come with brush applicators.


Like foundations, concealers also come in different formulae. But mainly we have liquid concealers and cream concealers.


Liquid concealers come in tubes or plastic bottles with applicators. Cream concealers come in plastic or glass pots. 


Cream concealers have a little more quantity than liquid concealers but not as much as foundations have. Because cream concealers come in pots, you can use the whole product without wasting even a little bit of it.


Cream concealers also give slightly better coverage than liquid concealers by staying in place for a longer time.

What is the Price Difference between Foundation and Concealer?


Liquid foundations often come in 30ml packaging and they price from like $5 (drugstore) to $100 or above (for high end). You get the same 30ml of product for $5 and 30ml product for $100 but the coverage, texture, and finish are different.


Foundations considering this, foundations are much like a budget-friendly option. You get more products inside the bottle and even if you use daily, it easily lasts for a good 2-3 months.


Concealers come in less quantity like 8ml to 11ml but surprisingly, the price of concealer is the same as that of foundation.

They also vary according to the brand but good concealers cost between $5 to $45 or above.


For a budget-friendly option, you can use stick foundations as a concealer. Yes, you heard it right. Stick foundations are comparatively thick formulae and they can also hide some minor imperfections well.

What’s essential and crucial?


If you are looking for a complete but informal makeup look, then the foundation is essential. You can skip the concealer (if you do not have any dark spots), but the foundation is essential. High coverage foundations evens out skin tone perfectly. They can even hide dark spots well.


If you are in a hurry or need a quick touchup only or prefer a more natural makeup look without overdoing it, concealers are crucial. You can apply a concealer that best matches your skin to dark circles and dark spots.


Using a high coverage foundation and color-correcting concealers and a concealer that is one tone lighter than your skin tone is vital for formal and complete makeup looks.

Swap Foundation with concealer?

Many people think if they can swap the foundation and concealer. Swapping foundation with concealer means applying the only concealer to achieve a fuller makeup look, but this is impossible.

Concealers are designed to hide imperfections. They have a thicker consistency, and you can not blend a concealer over your whole face like a foundation. Similarly, if you aim to hide 100% of the dark spots and color correct your imperfections only by using one single foundation, then it is also not always possible.

A foundation can hide the dark spots to some extent, but it cannot do what a concealer does. Foundations do not neutralize redness or blue/purple tones on your face.  

Should I Apply Foundation First or Concealer?

Any professional makeup artist will tell you to apply foundation before concealer. This is because foundation makes the skin even, and problem areas on your skin are easily identifiable. After foundation, you’re able to see areas that need extra coverage, and that’s where you apply concealer to hide and make your face look even. Concealer is more of a spot treatment.

Differences Between Applying Foundation and Concealer

The application process between foundation and concealer is different in more ways than one. It is vital to understand how to apply both, what tools you need, the order and where to apply them.

How to Apply Foundation ​

When it comes to applying your foundation, less is always more. Start with a little foundation and add more if needed. Remember not to rub it against your skin, rather dab it gentle starting from your nose outwardly towards your hairline. Don’t forget your neck, it is as noticeable as your face and you don’t want to look like they are two different entities. You can wet your beauty blender to dab in case you have too much foundation. 

When applying powder foundation, apply concealer first and dab your foundation to get your preferred coverage. Applying concealer first with the other foundations will lead to usage of more product than needed and give you a cakey look.

How to Apply Concealer​

Foundation sets a great base for concealer making it easier to blend. That is why foundation comes first. Apply your concealer only on areas that need more coverage. A little concealer covers a significant area therefore ensure not to apply too much of it and only add when you feel there’s need. Use a beauty blender to blend in your concealer by dabbing. 

When using a color corrector concealer, apply it before your foundation. Make sure to blend it nicely so that you don’t have to apply too much foundation. To have the perfect coverage, ensure that your hues are the right ones. Also, the color corrector concealer dry fast so ensure you blend as soon as you put it on your face. If using different colors, blend each at a time. On areas with pronounced spots, apply more color correctors to ensure that it lasts you longer. Having more will not affect your foundation because as stated above, color correction dry fast.

To sum up, foundation and concealer are the two makeup products that cannot be set apart. None is more important than the other. When used together, and applied in the right order they help you achieve a look you’ll wear with confidence and pride. 


Both foundation and concealer have different functions. Foundation acts as a base to apply your makeup on, and concealer helps to hide imperfections.

We recommend using both because of their different functions. However, applying one before the other depends on what you want to do with your makeup or you’re going for coverage. If you’re using high to medium coverage, it is always good to apply foundation first. If you are using color correcting concealer, then we suggest you use that first before foundation.

I hope you enjoyed this article. If you have article suggestions, please email us at infofarishtabeauty@gmail.com.


As the head artist of Farishta Beauty I was inspired by many young individuals who were just like me passionate about makeup.
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