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Should You Apply Foundation or Concealer First?

You Ask, We Answer: Should Concealer Come Before or After Foundation?

Recently, reader vally521 posed this question in the BellaSugar Q and A group: "Do you put on concealer before or after foundation?"

This reminds me of the age-old question, "Which came first; the chicken or the egg?" While there is no one right or wrong answer, get my thoughts on the topic — and be sure to share yours in the comments — when you read more.

Concealer before foundation:

  • When it works: If you aren't one to wear a full face of foundation or you really don't need much coverage, start off with an application of concealer or corrector on areas that need it the most. Follow up with foundation only where necessary. (You might find that you hardly need any foundation at all.) Another benefit of applying concealer first is that the foundation can actually help blend away an obvious corrector or concealer lines of demarcation.
  • Other things to think about: If you're using a cream-to-powder formula, always do the concealer first to avoid blending disasters, and if you do have lots of concealing to do (under the eyes for example), go with a combo of concealer first, then foundation, and then more concealer if needed. A downfall of pre-concealing? Concealer that's applied first can shift around when foundation is used on top of it.

Concealer after foundation:

  • When it works: While you should go with what works for you, this is my preferred method. First start out with the thinnest veil of foundation possible to even out the skin tone and provide coverage, blending in product only where needed. Then add concealer sparingly to hone in on areas that need extra camouflaging for the most natural effect. Applying concealer post-foundation is also a great way to clean up minor makeup spills.
  • Other things to think about: Concealing over foundation can be hard to blend, but using light, feathery strokes and the proper brushes (I like Bare Escentuals' Precision Concealer Brush) on the outer edges of the concealer can make it all the more seamless.
Join The Conversation
Jaime-Richards Jaime-Richards 6 years
Glad you have found what works for you, Anonymous! What brands are you using?
slikkback slikkback 7 years
small bit of foundation first then concealer. I feel like i'm plastering my face w. makeup if i do it the other way around.
ModernGraceKelly ModernGraceKelly 7 years
In most cases on clients I'm going to apply foundation first and then see how much coverage they need after that. If you're applying concealer and then foundation/powder it's going to be too much. I find most people ask for natural when it comes to their skin. People will often apply concealer first and then erase it when they apply foundation. Using powder too fast, or too much in general is a very bad thing. Because powder will stick to concealer in patches compared to an all over veil of foundation.
soapbox soapbox 7 years
I always put concealer first. I use a very thick liquid concealer (stila) and MAC studio fix foundation (pressed powder). I found that putting the liquid concealer over a pressed powder created a terrible crease and just an odd texture.
GummiBears GummiBears 7 years
Sometimes I use a concealer first to blend out PIHM (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation marks) then use a powder to set it and to blend it in.
lauren lauren 7 years
I agree it depends on the product but for me I am a concealer first and foundation after!
herhighnessness herhighnessness 7 years
Like you mentioned it depends on the kind of foundation/concealer you're using. If I'm using a mineral powder foundation, I use liquid concealer first. If I'm using liquid foundation, then I apply concealer with a brush after the foundation step. Both work, but if I'm going for a flawless face, foundation then concealer for sure.
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