It’s an age-old question in makeup… what comes first, concealer or foundation? The products are so similar in function, it may not seem like the order of application would make a difference. However, it can actually affect the overall appearance of your complexion, as well as how your makeup wears throughout the day.
The trick is, it depends on what you’re using concealer for in your routine that determines whether it is best to apply it before or after foundation.
When to Apply Concealer Before Foundation
If you’re using a color correcting concealer (green, lavender, peach, etc), you should apply it before foundation. Your concealer will help neutralize uneven skin tone, allowing your foundation to do less work overtop as it evens everything out. When applying your foundation, be sure to use a patting motion so you don’t smear or drag the color corrector out of place. It’s also recommended to give the concealer a chance to set before you use foundation, so the colors don’t mix.
My Favorite Color Correcting Concealer:
When to Apply Concealer After Foundation
If you’re using a skin-tone shade of concealer for coverage of problem areas or dark spots, it’s best to apply it after foundation. The fact of the matter is, your foundation will probably do a lot of evening out on its own, so you can use less concealer than if you were trying to cover bare skin. Not only will you be saving product, but you’ll avoid a cakey appearance or uneven fading throughout the day from too much product being applied in the same area.
If you’re using a concealer to highlight, it should also be done over foundation. Since your highlighting concealer is most likely lighter than your foundation shade, it will deliver the most impact on top vs. covered by a deeper color. There’s some debate on this, as applying highlighting and contouring products underneath foundation can deliver a more natural effect, but you still run the risk of using more product than you need, just for it to show up through the foundation.
Using a hydrating or radiant concealer over matte foundation will add a nice glow back to your skin, but applying a matte concealer over a radiant foundation will look splotchy and will be hard to blend for seamless edges.
By following these simple guidelines, you’ll get the most out of your concealer’s coverage while saving product.