One would think that the topic of concealer application would be fairly neutral, but it turns out to be full of unexpected controversy! There are some very strong opinions out there on the order of makeup application; whenever I bring up the topic on my beauty blog, I’m sure to get comments and emails telling me that I’m either completely wrong or completely correct in my application order. So should you apply concealer first, or wait until after your foundation is applied? Personally, I’ve tried both ways and I think they both work, but to be doubly sure I asked the pros for their opinions, and while I was at it asked for their favorite go-to concealers:
1. Two Great Concealers
“After! You won’t waste as much product. Foundation will cover up a lot of problematic areas, so you won’t have to conceal as much.
I love the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer and the Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics’ concealer. The OCC concealer is best if you have a lot to cover up (like acne), and the NARS concealer is great for under the eyes and minor skin issues.”
2. All-In-One Concealer
“I personally follow the guideline that foundation should be put on before concealer. I feel that way because after a foundation is applied, you may not need the heaviness of another product. If concealer comes first then you are going to apply foundation anyway.
Laura Mercier Undercover Pot is a perfect go-to for me. The one container has an under-eye concealer, a spot concealer, and a setting powder.”
3. High or Low Budget?
“I tend to put concealer last if I am doing foundation, it helps to highlight as well as correct after foundation sets in. I love LA Girl HD Concealer for a budget alternative, and for a high-end product I love Make Up For Ever HD Concealers.”
4. Bargain Concealer
“After foundation! When you put concealer before foundation, it’s often blended away and ineffective. Right now I’m loving L.A. Girl Pro Conceal HD Concealers which are just like MAC’s Prolongwear Concealers at a fraction of the cost.”
5. Multi-Purpose Concealer
“After because when you apply concealer before and then apply foundation you end up removing half of what you applied. My Kim Porter Cosmetics Dual Action Concealer is great for covering redness and blemishes.”
6. Highly Pigmented Concealers
“Concealer after foundation. I like to see how much coverage my foundation provides first, then add extra as needed with concealer. Plus, I find that applying foundation over concealer can sometimes move around the concealer placement. For under eyes, I like to keep that area bright so an under eye concealer stays its brightest when applied after foundation. Kat Von D Lock-It Tattoo Concealer is my favorite for under eyes or Make Up For Ever HD Concealer for those with less severe under eye circles.”
– Ivy Boyd from Wake Up For Makeup
7. Avoid Shadow Fallout
8. All Day Coverage
“Conceal first. Concealer is for coverage of everything from blemishes to bruises. You may not need foundation once imperfections are covered. MAC Pro Longwear Concealer is my favorite.”
9. Correct Then Conceal
“Either way is fine depending on your look. I like applying concealer over foundation and blending. When you apply foundation over concealer, it dilutes the coverage and you just need more. Bobbi Brown’s Dual Correct/Cover Concealers and brushes are great for a flawless finish.”
10. Anti-Aging Concealer
“When it comes to creating a flawless canvas with little effort I always say why do something twice? Which is why I always conceal after foundation. If you conceal prior to foundation you will most likely buff away all your hard concealing work when applying the foundation. Concealing after foundation will allow you to use less concealer and also apply a natural looking highlight where needed. Less work, more time available to practice winged liner!
My favorite under eye concealer is Bodyography Canvas Eye Mousse; this apricot toned concealer hides dark circles and with the addition of Dermaxyl fills in fine lines and wrinkles too! My favorite concealer for spots and imperfections would have to be Maybelline FIT Me concealer.”
11. Avoid Raccoon Eyes
“I do both, but for everyday makeup application I recommend doing it before so that you can layer your foundation on top and it will be a better shade match. I hate seeing white raccoon eyes from concealer that is three shades lighter than the rest of the face.
My favorite concealer professionally is Dermacover by Kryolan. It’s heavy though and you have to apply it correctly. My favorite concealer for every day is Eve Pearl Salmon concealer. It’s peach based, and color theory says that peach (orange) counteracts blue (dark circles) so it makes perfect sense as to why it works. I also love Clé De Peau but it’s pricey.”
12. Who Wants Blotchy Foundation?
“Apply concealer after foundation. Foundation after concealer can look blotchy at times because it adheres to the concealer. MAC Moisturecover is hands down the best!”
13. Industry Standard
“Typically, I like to apply it after foundation; that way, I don’t wipe it all away with my foundation brush when applying the foundation. I don’t like to set rules for makeup application, this is just what works for me. In some instances, I’ll do concealer first if I think that the client doesn’t need foundation and just leave it at that. But typically, I do concealer after foundation.
Clé de Peau is the industry standard, and it is amazing. Make Up For Ever Lift Concealer is my new favorite for my personal everyday use. MAC Studio Finish Concealer is my standby, I have every color in my kit. It can be sheered down or used full strength.”
14. Change It up for Powder Foundation
“Concealer after foundation always, unless you wear powder foundation. If you apply concealer before foundation, it will be wiped off when you apply your liquid foundation. Estée Lauder Double Wear, Orlane Highlighting Brush, and Make Up For Ever HD concealer are my favorites.”