Should I apply concealer before or after foundation?

They both contribute to a flawless complexion. But what’s the difference between concealer and foundation, and which should you put on first? The first thing to understand is that concealer is more versatile than many people give it credit for. You probably already use it for covering blemishes, but by switching up the shade, you can use it for highlighting and contouring.


So, is it best to apply concealer first or foundation? It’s not as straightforward as you might think – here’s what to know. 

Should Concealer Be Lighter Than Foundation?


Your concealer and foundation should both match your skin tone. But this doesn’t mean they always need to be the same shade. 

In fact, for concealers, it’s best to pick a shade lighter than your foundation if you’re applying it under your eyes. Concealers cancel out hyperpigmentation, dark shadows, and discolouration. They look most natural when a little lighter than your natural skin tone or foundation for better blending and masking When using them for hyperpigmentation or discoloration, it’s important to consider the undertone of the concealer being used. Simply using a lighter concealer may not always be effective, especially when dealing with under-eye circles, as it can create a grey shadow that emphasizes the darkness even more. 

To effectively colour correct and brighten the under-eye area, it is recommended to use a concealer with a slightly more peach tone. This will not only help to cancel out the darkness but also provide a natural-looking finish by blending and masking seamlessly with your natural skin tone or foundation.


Do You Put Concealer on Before or After Foundation?


Now onto the burning question: do you put concealer on before or after foundation? It depends! Professional Makeup Artists such as Mary Philips often adopt the ‘underpainting’ makeup technique, when it comes to blending these products together. The underpainting technique involves applying concealer or contour before foundation to create a flawless base, to create a smooth canvas and achieve a more natural-looking finish. This makeup technique is particularly useful for those with uneven skin tone or blemishes as it helps to cover imperfections and provide a more even complexion.


Apply concealer first if: 

  • You’re using a colour-correcting concealer to balance out red or purple tones

  • You’re applying concealer to dark undereye circles

  • You’re using concealer to contour your face

Apply foundation first if: 

  • You are using concealer to cover small blemishes or spot correct

  • You want a smooth, even canvas to work with

  • You want to use a thinner, more natural makeup base



Formulations are also important to think about. For example, if you’re using a liquid foundation, it’s best to use a liquid concealer. If you’re mixing formulations, be sure to apply liquids before powders. A liquid applied over a powdery base can lead to pilling or blotchy areas.

How To Choose the Perfect Foundation And Concealer Colour For Your Skin Tone

From cool to warm, light to dark, we’re spoilt for choice with more foundation shades than ever. To find the best fit for your skin tone, apply your makeup sample to your jawline, neck or collarbone and look at it in natural lighting. The sample should match your bare face.

To find the best concealer, choose a slightly lighter shade for under the eyes. This cancels out dark circles and shadows. You can also apply a lighter shade if you want to use your concealer as a highlighter, bringing features forward. Struggling with finding the right shade? Look no further than L'Oreal Paris' virtual try-on tool for help! With just a few clicks, you can easily find the perfect concealer shade for your skin tone.

It’s also important to keep your undertones in mind when selecting a concealer or foundation. For concealer, cool pink tones work best on fair to medium skin, while warm peachy tones work best on tan and darker tones. 

Confused? Take the guesswork out of the equation using our foundation matching tool

Techniques For Flawless Concealer and Foundation Application

Choosing the right products is only half the battle. Here are a few key tips to put your best face forward using concealer and foundation. 

  • Apply foundation starting at the centre of your face, blending outward to the edges

  • Finish applications with a foundation brush to get a natural, blended look

  • For lighter coverage, apply concealer and foundation using light finger swipes

  • For heavier coverage, use a foundation sponge or brush

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Our Infallible More than Concealer comes equipped with a handy doe foot applicator so you can put these application techniques to good use. Dab a small skin-matching dot onto blemishes and pat in using your finger to conceal. Dealing with dark circles? Swipe a lighter shade under your eyes for a more wide-awake and youthful look. You can also choose a shade darker than your skin tone for contouring, adding definition and dimension. 


For liquid foundation, try our True Match Liquid Foundation. It’s infused with hyaluronic acid for all-day hydration, so you won’t get that dry and cakey look. And when you need lasting coverage, it’s easy to get that enviably flawless finish using Infallible 24H Freshwear Foundation. This longwearing powder goes on like a liquid foundation with a mattifying effect. Both formulas are super blend-able, so you can apply in layers to achieve a natural-looking, blemish-free finish. 

Pro tip: Use a silky-smooth face primer before applying concealer and foundation to make sure products glide on seamlessly.

Concealer vs foundation: the bottom line

Ultimately, whether to apply concealer first or foundation boils down to the level of coverage you want. It also depends on your goal, whether it’s brightening, highlighting, contouring, or camouflaging. 

Check out our foundation and concealer ranges to find the right formulation, tone, and consistency for your skin type – and don’t be afraid to mix things up! 

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