Should You Apply Concealer or Foundation First? Here’s How to Layer Them

September 01, 2021
Samantha Holender
By: Samantha Holender | Makeup.com by L'Oréal
concealer or foundation first
To achieve a flawless and smooth complexion with makeup, applying your foundation and concealer correctly is key. We like to say that there’s no wrong way to wear makeup, but there are certain techniques that can help you create an even, skin-like finish that serves as the perfect base for the rest of your makeup routine. Read on for everything you need to know about applying concealer and foundation, including which one you should apply first.

What Order Should You Apply Foundation and Concealer?

Start by applying your foundation first. The only exception is when using a treatment concealer for blemishes or scarring, or when using a powder foundation. In the first case, you should apply a color corrector or a thin layer of concealer first.  If you’re using a powder foundation, your cream or liquid concealer should also come first. Otherwise, it’s foundation and then concealer. If you apply your concealer before liquid foundation, you’ll end up using a lot more product than necessary and your makeup may look cakey. 

How to Properly Apply Foundation

Before applying any foundation formula, prep your skin with hydrating skincare products. The Garnier Green Labs Haylu-Melon Replumping Serum Cream SPF 30 is a great base for makeup because it’s nourishing, oil-free and contains sunscreen.


Next, grab your application tool of choice, be it a brush, makeup sponge or clean fingers. Apply your foundation using short strokes, starting from the center of your face and sweeping outwards and down. Make sure that the color seamlessly blends past your jawline and down your neck to avoid any harsh lines. A brush provides fuller coverage with each swipe, but a sponge makes any formula more buildable.


Which Formulas Work Best Together?

When it comes to picking the perfect foundation and concealer pairing, we recommend using cream with cream, liquid with liquid and so forth. Powder foundations will set the liquid or cream concealer you apply underneath. 

How to Choose the Right Formula for Your Skin Type

Ultimately, the choice depends on the level of coverage you’re looking for and your skin type. Liquid foundations and concealers typically offer medium-to-full coverage and can be found in mattifying formulas for oily skin types or hydrating formulas for dry skin. The NYX Professional Makeup Can’t Stop Won't Stop Foundation is a great choice for those who prefer a matte, full-coverage look. It comes in 45 shades and stays put for up to 24 hours.


If you prefer a more radiant finish, reach for the Giorgio Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Foundation, a cult classic foundation that offers buildable coverage and works for all skin types. It comes in 40 shades.


As for concealer, the Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Wear All Over Concealer is a lightweight, breathable formula with an impressive full coverage finish. It works equally well for masking dark under eyes and blemishes and has a long-lasting satin finish. 


Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Wear All Over Concealer
Photographer: Chaunte Vaughn

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