Difference between Concealer and Foundation

By: | Updated: Dec-21, 2017

If you are not a professional makeup artist but you love makeup anyway, you might have asked yourself at one point in your life, “what is the difference between concealer and foundation?” As they look similar and both are used on the face, it’s sometimes difficult to tell the difference between these two products. Do you need concealer when you’re already wearing foundation? Do they serve the same purpose? Read on. This article will discuss the difference between concealer and foundation.

Summary Table

Used to conceal imperfections on the faceUsed to smooth skin, even out skin tone and can also be used to alter the natural skin color
Applied sparingly on problem areas (dark spots, acne scars and discoloration)Applied on the entire face
Has a thick consistency and is heavily pigmentedHas a thin consistency
Available in skin tones, but also available in yellow, blue, green and purpleAvailable in skin tones only
Should be two shades lighter than your natural skin tone is recommendedShould not be two shades lighter or darker than your real skin tone


woman's face

Concealer, as the name suggests, conceals skin blemishes on the face. It is not applied all over the face but is only applied sparingly on areas that need to be corrected (e.g. discolored spots, large pores, dark circles around the eyes, and deep acne scars). Typically, concealer is applied after applying foundation; however, it can also be used alone.

Concealer can be liquid or solid. Liquid concealer has a noticeably thick consistency while solid concealer is heavy and highly pigmented.

Concealer comes in a range of shades from light to dark. Most of the time, a skin toned concealer is all you need to blur your skin imperfections. The proper technique is to use a concealer that is two shades lighter than your actual skin tone. However, some skin types may need special concealers to hide specific types of blemishes. For instance, yellow or orange concealer works best for dark spots, while green or blue concealer works best for red spots. Additionally, purple concealer is the best shade to brighten a pale brown skin.

On the other hand, foundation is a makeup product that is used to smooth out your skin, even out your skin tone, and sometimes alter your natural skin color. It is applied on the entire face.

Foundation can be in liquid or solid form. Liquid foundation has a thin consistency while solid foundation has a light texture. It is also available in different shades, but foundation is always described in skin tone. For best results, your foundation should not be two shades lighter or darker than your natural skin tone.

There are different types of foundation available depending on your skin type. A water-based foundation works best for oily skin, while an oil-based foundation is best for dry skin. Additionally, if your skin has a noticeably uneven tone and is heavily blemished, a “medium-full coverage” foundation is what you need. If your skin does not have a lot of imperfections, you may go for “low-medium coverage” foundation.

Concealer vs Foundation

What, then, is the difference between concealer and foundation?

Concealer is applied sparingly on problem areas on the face because it is primarily used to hide blemishes on the face. On the other hand, foundation is applied all over the face. It is used to smooth the skin, even out the skin tone, and can also be used to alter the natural skin tone.

Both are available in liquid and solid form. Liquid concealer has a thicker consistency than liquid foundation. Solid concealer is heavy and highly pigmented, whereas solid foundation is light. Moreover, concealer is available in skin tones, yellow, blue, green, and purple whereas foundation is only available in skin tones.

In using concealer, one that is two shades lighter than your actual skin tone gives the best results. On the other hand, when using foundation, it should only be the same shade or one shade lighter or darker than your natural skin color to achieve the best results.

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