The Difference Between Concealer and Foundation

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For many people, choosing the right product can be overwhelming. Especially so if they have choose over products with very similar uses. One of the biggest things people seem to get confused with is the differences between concealers and foundations. And really, with vast array of products available in the market, and the amount of makeup tutorials you see on the internet each saying very different things, it’s difficult to pinpoint which items are the right ones for you.

Lucky for you, once you have a handle on the functions, properties and overall differences between concealer and foundation, using either one should be a piece of cake. Here’s a short list of the differences between concealer and foundation.

Function

Now, you should already know that concealers and foundation are two totally different items. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be a need to read this article. Or to even differentiate the two with very different names. Here are the differences between concealer and foundation based on their function:

Foundation

Foundation is a type of cosmetic used to even out your skin tone or complexion over a large area. Sometimes, it’s also used to change your natural skin tone to something darker or lighter, depending on what you’re looking for. As its name suggests, there’s also another important use for foundation, and that’s as a base for the other cosmetics you’ll be applying to your face.

Cosmetic that is applied directly to your skin can cause a lot of problems for you. Chief among these issues is that they wouldn’t last as long. Depending on the type, foundation can help keep your other makeup on longer.

Concealer

On the other hand, concealers are used in a more localized manner than foundations. Instead of putting it over your entire face, you simply apply it to specific areas to hide or blend certain imperfections on your skin. These could be dark circles under your eyes, age spots, large pores, acne or other visible uneven textures on your skin.

If you think about it, concealers and foundations generally have the same use, in that they even out your skin tone by hiding or blending any imperfections on your skin. The only difference is how each cosmetic is applied.

Cosmetic Effect

Foundation

Foundations are generally used as an overall coverage for the skin, regardless of the texture. It’s used as a way to even out your skin tone, making it look brighter and smoother than before.

Concealer

On the other hand, concealers are used mostly to cover up darker or highly pigmented areas of your skin, such as scars, blemishes, acne or other marks.

Staying Power

Nowadays, any sort of makeup can stay on your face for as long as 12 – 16 hours. Both concealers and foundations more or less do stay that long. Here’s a more detailed analysis on both:

Foundation

How long foundation stays on your skin ultimately depends on the type of foundation you’re using and the consistency of your skin. Powder-based foundation generally doesn’t stay as long as liquid foundation does on your skin, simply because the consistency is loose and a lot lighter. They’re also very easily washed off, even by sweat, so if you’re going out and are expecting to sweat a bit, then you should avoid using it.

Liquid foundations on the other hand tend to come in thicker formulas, and sticks better on your skin, with some formulations even resistant to being washed off by sweat. Of course, liquid foundations are better with dry skin rather than oily skin, since putting it on oily skin will just make it look greasier. Still, when applied correctly, foundations can last almost the entire day so long as they are not washed off.

Concealer

The same rules apply for concealers, where different types last longer than others. Of course, concealers are generally applied after foundations, so they will only last as long as your foundation would. This is only true when it comes to liquid and cream foundations though. With powder foundations, concealers will need to be applied first, since if you apply the powder foundation before the concealer, you’ll just end up making a mess.

Concealers can have the potential to last longer if you’re using a setting spray after applying them. Setting spray could also potentially make your concealer last the entire day, even when it gets wet.

Texture

Foundations and Concealers also come in very different textures, each with their own very specific uses. Here are the texture types of both:

Foundation Textures

Liquid Foundation

Liquid foundations are generally regarded as the most popular foundation textures, mostly because of how long they stay on. Another reason for its popularity is because of how easy it is to apply. Liquid foundations tend to have the best coverage and are best used over larger patches of skin than other foundation textures.

Powder Foundation

Although they don’t last as long, powder foundations still see a lot of use. It’s generally known for its convenience. It’s very easy to apply, which makes it perfect for quick applications or touch ups, in case you need to do a quick fix on your makeup. Of course, because of its lightweight formulation, don’t expect it to last too long. Powder foundation usually has a matte finish, and has a very natural look to it.

Mousse Foundation

Mouse foundation, otherwise known as whipped foundation, is a type of liquid foundation mixed with a bit of air in it. Why is the air necessary? Well, it makes a liquid foundation that stays on longer, but doesn’t feel as heavy as normal liquid formulas do. They’re also very popular thanks to how easy they are to apply on your skin.

BB Cream

BB cream, or blemish balm cream, generally has a very creamy formulation. It helps a lot at both moisturizing the skin and adding a bit of color to it. It’s an excellent choice to consider if you suffer from oily skin. BB creams are starting to gain plenty of popularity nowadays, thanks to their many benefits, including anti-aging properties.

Concealer Textures

Liquid Concealer

Much like its foundation counterpart, liquid concealers are generally the easiest ones to apply, thanks to it wide coverage. Of course, it does have a matted finish, so they’re best used on oilier skin. If applied to dry skin, liquid concealers will only make it seem dryer than before.

Cream Concealer

Cream concealers are best known for their thicker consistency and are generally best used on normal or dry skin. Thanks to their thickness, they work great at covering up darker pigments on your skin, or even acne, making your skin look a lot brighter and refreshed. These concealers tend to have a high oil content though, so try to avoid this if you already have oily skin. If you really have to use cream concealer, try to find a brand that is oil-free.

Stick Concealer

Known mostly for their semi-solid textures, stick concealers are known to be super-compact and easy to use at touching up your makeup. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to spread around, thanks to its almost powdery texture. They can be a bit heavy though, so you should avoid using this on already oily skin.

Application Area

The differences between concealer and foundation when it comes to their use and texture also affects how much you apply them on your face. Here are the main differences:

Foundation

Foundation is mostly applied to the entirety of your face, which may also include your neck. It’s mostly used as a base, or to even out the general skin tone of your face. Because of this, it’s usually referred to as body paint or body makeup.

Concealer

Concealers are generally only applied to a small area, for a more concentrated way to even your skin tone out. Because it’s generally thicker than foundation, concealers are applied only on the skin pigments that are still apparent after applying foundation. Some thicker concealers are designed to hide more severe discolorations caused by scarring, stretch marks and vitiligo.

Applying Foundation and Concealer

Although they’re two very different cosmetic products, you can apply both at the same time. However, there’s a strict order you’ll need to follow before you can have either on your face. Here’s how you do it:

Wash Up

A lot of people forget this step, so we’ll put this here as a reminder. Before you handle your face or your cosmetic tools, wash your hands and your face properly. Afterwards, make sure you apply moisturizer and your favorite toner. Moisturizing your skin before applying any cosmetics will make any makeup you apply look more natural.

Apply Foundation

Using a makeup sponge, your fingers, or a foundation brush for liquid foundation, apply the foundation across your face. Brush it all over and blend it as evenly as possible. If you’re using liquid foundation, it’s a good idea to warm the bottle up in your hand before you put it on. This makes it easier to apply it.

Check Your Handywork and Make Adjustments

Make sure you’ve evenly distributed the foundation. Poor blending can be very difficult to deal with. If your foundation looks thin or too caked up in some areas, do your touch ups now. The area around your jawline is typically where poor blending is the most visible.

Use Your Concealer of Choice

Once you’ve done all you can with the foundation, use the concealer to conceal any dark spots your foundation couldn’t even out. Although it’s best to use your concealer on just a few spots on your skin, to cover up areas of uneven tone, you can also apply it to most of your face if you want. Make sure you blend the concealer afterwards using your finger, sponge or brush until the break between the concealer and the rest of your skin is no longer visible.

Translucent Powder

This step is optional, but if you want to keep your concealer in place, you can apply translucent powder on it. It’s best to put it on immediately after you apply the concealer. The translucent powder does dry up the skin though, so if you already have dry skin, you should skip this step.

Kana Z

Kana Z

I am a writer focussing on beauty, cosmetics, skincare, haircare and body care. I have a special interest in establishing solutions for problem skin. I have being working and studing with some of the world’s top skincare experts, hairstylists, makeup artists, perfume creators, photographers and models. I also currently write for websites of the skincare brand. My Specialties: beauty, journalism, skincare, haircare, cosmetics and problem skin.

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