Concealer Vs. Foundation: Which Should You Apply First?

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

Want a quick way to feel overwhelmed? Go watch a professional makeup artist apply a full face of makeup. There are so many makeup products, brands, and tips out there to choose from that the world of makeup can feel hard to navigate. If you're sticking to the basics of foundation and concealer, even that can get a little tricky. The two might look the same, but there's a strategy to applying them together.

All the complications aside, there is still no greater feeling than nailing a makeup look. As soon as you figure out the order of your beauty products, everything else about your makeup will fall into place. Two of those major steps are foundation and concealer — in that order (via Free Bunni). There are tons of tips and tricks that come along with getting the perfect application of the two, but the order is the most important part. Think of it as painting on a beautiful blank canvas — it can go right or extremely wrong depending on how you layer. 

Here's a breakdown of the entire process, so you can nail your next look.

Foundation comes before concealer

Let's get right to it, foundation comes before concealer when you're applying makeup. According to Free Bunni, foundation is the base layer of makeup that "creates a smooth canvas" for the rest of your makeup. Whether you're wearing a powder, liquid, or cream foundation, you want to apply it first and work your way up from there in order to get a flawless finish.

As Charlotte Tilbury points out, you should also start with a bottom layer of primer or, at the very least, moisturizer to your face before foundation. "The most popular way to use a primer is before your foundation, and this is a fantastic method of creating a smoother-looking canvas," the Charlotte Tilbury site says. "As the skincare ingredients treat your complexion, the smoothing makeup will create silky soft feeling skin that helps your face makeup glide on effortlessly."

Even if you're not using primer, foundation before concealer is the way to go. Free Bunni suggests using foundation and concealer as your first two steps in makeup altogether. The concealer, which is aptly named, conceals all those blemishes or dark spots that you may have, so you want it to sit brightly over the darker foundation.

There's more than one type of concealer

While foundation is made for all over your face, concealer was created to conceal blemishes and dark spots on the face. That's why it comes in a much smaller bottle. According to Adore Beauty, you might actually need more than one type of concealer. The most common is the under eye concealer, which is typically a shade lighter than your skin tone. Another type is color correcting concealer, which Cosmopolitan suggests lightly putting on top of blemishes to make for more even coloring of your skin.

No matter which concealer you're using, you still want to put it on after foundation. The whole point is for you to hide your blemishes and dark coloring. Not for you to hide the concealer underneath the foundation.

There are tons of different ways to apply makeup, but the order of the steps are pretty universal. Play around with your makeup and see what works best for you. Once you know the steps, you can create any look that you'd like.