What Is The Difference Between Foundation & Concealer?

What Is The Difference Between Foundation & Concealer (5)

Want to create a flawless makeup face, but don’t know where to start? This guide is all about foundation and concealer, and how to use them.

Many people think that foundation and concealer serve the same purpose as one another, but this isn’t the case. So, what is foundation, and how do we use it? Read on to find out! 

What Is Foundation?

Foundation is one of the most essential parts of any makeup routine. In the most basic sense, foundation is a type of face makeup used to brighten and flatter the natural complexion.

It is typically used all over the face to act as a ‘foundation’ or base for the rest of your makeup to go on. 

Foundation is typically skin colored makeup that is applied to the face evenly to balance out the complexion and provide a flawless, smooth base to work with.

This can either cover flaws, brighten the skin tone, smoothen lines and blemishes or enhance the natural skin color. 

What Is The Difference Between Foundation & Concealer

Foundation can come in many different forms and shades.

For instance, you can buy the most popular, which is liquid foundation, which is usually of a creamy or runny consistency, depending on the coverage you want. 

Then there’s powder foundation that is often used as a finishing powder to dust over any oily areas and smoothen the complexion.

Finally, you can have thick, cream foundations that have heavy coverage and can cover any imperfections and blemishes with ease.

As foundation is meant to blend seamlessly with your natural skin color, you will find foundations in a range of skin shades from ultra light to dark and anywhere in between!

In addition, foundations are designed in various tones to match people with warm undertones and cool undertones in their skin. 

What Is Concealer?

Concealer is very similar to foundation, which may be why the two are often confused for one another, and used synonymously in conversation. However, it does differ from foundation. 

Whilst foundation is intended to be a base, concealer is used to well…you guessed it…conceal!

Whether it’s fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, bags under the eye, acne, spots, imperfections, concealers will have you literally covered. 

What Is The Difference Between Foundation & Concealer

In addition, concealers are used as ‘spot treatments’ to cover a specific blemish or area, rather than all over the face.

It is only meant to be concentrated in one area to cover something up.

This is why concealers are generally very thick, as they need to give you that coverage in order to cover up. 

Related: Why does my Foundation look Patchy?

What Is The Difference Between Foundation & Concealer?

Although foundation and concealer are often used interchangeably and synonymously with one another, they are not the same, and serve different purposes.

The main difference is that foundation is used all over the face in order to provide a base and some coverage, whilst evening out the skin tone overall. 

On the other hand, concealer is intended for simply concealing blemishes, dark spots and fine lines.

You can use concealer concentrated in one particular area to brighten the complexion, highlight certain features or cover certain flaws. 

Can You Use Concealer As Foundation?

Technically, you could use concealer as foundation, but they are different things, meant for different purposes.

For instance, foundation is meant to be the base of your makeup look, and can act as, well, let’s face the facts, the ‘foundation’ of your look. 

Foundation should be built upon, acting as the base for concealer, bronzer, blusher and other kinds of makeup that is added on top.

Whilst you can use a concealer as foundation, the likelihood is that it will be very thick and heavy, as most concealers are designed to cover blemishes and imperfections, so they have a much thicker consistency than most foundations. 

That being said, if you want a makeup look that is flawless and imperfection free, then you can use your concealer as a foundation, but you cannot really use foundation as a concealer as it is likely not thick enough and will not have enough coverage unless you use layer upon layer of it. 

But, it’s entirely up to you how you use and wear your makeup! 

Do You Need Concealer And Foundation?

This depends on what kind of look you are going for.

Concealer can be used well on its own to treat dark circles, blemishes, and as a contour, or as a foundation, whereas foundation is used more as a base to create a smooth, blank canvas for you to work with.

If you want a truly flawless look, then you’ll want to create that smooth base of foundation, and then top up with concealer under the eyes to brighten them and in any places that need extra coverage.

If you’re looking for a light, more natural everyday look, then it’s fine to just use concealer to cover any dark circles or under eye bags and lines, or as a tinted moisturizer instead of going all out with foundation. 

Best Foundations & Concealers

E.L.F. Flawless Finish Liquid Foundation

Maybelline Fit Me Matte Poreless Liquid Foundation

Maybelline New York Super Stay Full Coverage Powder Foundation

E.L.F. Camo Concealer Full Coverage Pigmented Concealer

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Dark Circles Concealer

NYX Professional Makeup Concealer Medium Coverage


To summarize, although both are used to smoothen the face and make it appear flawless, foundation and concealer are not actually the same thing.

Generally speaking, foundation is lighter and thinner in consistency than concealer, as concealers are much thicker, able to use and concentrate on a specific area to cover up a blemish or imperfection.

Last update on 2023-05-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API