3 Concealer vs Foundation vs Primer Crucial Differences

by  Mila M.Cosmetologist

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Lost in the makeup aisle, unable to tell your primer from foundation or even concealer? You’re not alone; these three beauty basics can be confusing. This article will help demystify the world of cosmetics by explaining the differences and uses for each product.

Read on to discover your new beauty routine essentials!

  • Primer creates a smooth base for makeup and extends its wear.
  • Foundation evens out skin tone and provides overall coverage.
  • Concealer targets specific areas like blemishes or dark circles for targeted coverage.

What is Primer, Foundation, and Concealer?

Primer, foundation, and concealer are all makeup products that serve as a base for your overall look. Primer is used to create a smooth canvas, while foundation provides coverage and evens out skin tone.

Concealer is specifically designed to cover blemishes and dark circles.

Definition and purpose

Primer serves as a base for makeup, offering a smooth canvas for its application and extending the wear time. It’s usually not skin-colored and has a serum-like consistency. On top of this base goes the foundation, designed to create an even skin tone across your face with buildable coverage.

Concealer then steps in with its targeted coverage powers to help cover up any imperfections like blemishes or dark circles that need extra attention. These three cosmetics products each play different but complementary roles in your beauty routine.

3 Differences Between Primer, Foundation, and Concealer

– Primer is applied before foundation to create a smooth base, while foundation provides overall coverage, and concealer targets specific areas. Read on to discover more about these essential makeup products!

Application order

To achieve a flawless makeup look, it’s important to apply your primer, foundation, and concealer in the correct order. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Start with a clean and moisturized face.
  2. Apply your primer all over your face using gentle, upward strokes.
  3. Next, dot your foundation onto your forehead, cheeks, chin, and nose.
  4. Use a sponge or brush to blend the foundation outwards towards your hairline and jawline.
  5. After applying foundation, use your concealer to target specific areas like blemishes or dark circles.
  6. Dot the concealer on those areas and gently blend it in using your finger or a small brush.
  7. To set everything in place, dust some translucent powder over your face.

Coverage and Texture

Foundation, primer, and concealer all have different coverage levels and textures. Foundation is meant to provide coverage for the entire face, creating a smooth and even skin tone.

It can range from sheer to full coverage depending on the formulation you choose. Some foundations have a lightweight and natural texture, while others may feel thicker or more creamy.

On the other hand, primer is not meant to provide color coverage like foundation does. Instead, its purpose is to create a smooth canvas for makeup application by filling in pores and fine lines.

Primers typically have a transparent or slightly tinted formula with a thin consistency that feels lightweight on the skin.

Concealer comes in various coverages as well. It’s used as a trusty sidekick to cover up imperfections like blemishes and dark circles. Concealers are usually more pigmented than foundation, offering higher coverage on targeted areas of the face.

They come in different textures too – some concealers are creamy and blendable, while others may have a thicker consistency for better staying power.

Target Areas

Concealer, foundation, and primer each have specific target areas on the face where they are most effective. When using concealer, you can apply it directly to blemishes or dark circles to cover them up.

Additionally, you can use concealer to highlight certain areas of your face like the under eyes or bridge of the nose for a brighter complexion. Foundation is designed to even out your entire skin tone so it should be applied all over your face.

Remember, foundation can be built up for more coverage if needed. Primer should be used as a base layer before applying any other makeup products and targets areas where you want your makeup to last longer such as your T-zone or oily spots.

7-Step How to Properly Use Primer, Foundation, and Concealer

To properly use primer, foundation, and concealer, start by applying a small amount of primer all over your face to create a smooth base. Then, use a foundation brush or sponge to apply foundation evenly on your skin, focusing on areas that need more coverage.

Finally, dab concealer onto blemishes or dark circles using your finger or a small brush and gently blend it in for a seamless finish. Remember to set everything with powder for long-lasting wear.

Step-by-step application guide

To achieve flawless makeup, follow these step-by-step instructions:

  1. Start with a clean and moisturized face.
  2. Apply primer all over your face to create a smooth base for your foundation.
  3. Choose a foundation that matches your skin tone and apply it evenly using a brush or sponge.
  4. Use concealer to cover up any blemishes or dark circles. Dab it on and blend gently with your fingers or a small brush.
  5. Set your foundation and concealer with a translucent powder to ensure they stay in place all day.
  6. If desired, add bronzer, blush, or highlighter to enhance your features.
  7. Finish off with setting spray to lock everything in and give your makeup long – lasting staying power.

Tips and techniques

To achieve the best results with your primer, foundation, and concealer, there are a few tips and techniques you can try. First, always start with a clean face and apply moisturizer before applying any makeup products.

This helps to create a smooth canvas for your makeup application. Next, when applying primer, use small amounts and focus on areas where you want your makeup to stay in place for longer periods of time.

For foundation, choose the shade that matches your skin tone by testing it on the jawline or wrist. Use a brush or sponge to blend it evenly onto your face in upward strokes for a natural finish.

Lastly, when using concealer, dab it onto blemishes or dark circles using your fingertips or a small brush and blend gently until it seamlessly blends into your skin. These tips will help you achieve flawless-looking skin while enhancing the longevity of your makeup throughout the day without looking cakey or patchy.

3 Factors In Choosing the Right Primer, Foundation, and Concealer

Consider your skin type and concerns, select a shade that matches your skin tone, and opt for a formulation that suits your preferences.

Skin type and concerns

To choose the right primer, foundation, and concealer for your makeup routine, it’s important to consider your skin type and concerns. Whether you have oily skin that tends to get shiny throughout the day or dry skin that needs extra hydration, there are products specifically designed to address these issues.

If you’re dealing with redness or discoloration, look for a color-correcting primer or foundation with a green undertone. For those with acne-prone skin, opt for oil-free formulas that won’t clog pores.

And if you have mature skin and want to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, try a hydrating primer or foundation with light-reflecting properties. Understanding your specific skin needs will help you find the perfect products to enhance your complexion and achieve a flawless finish without compromising on skincare.

Shade selection

Choosing the right shade is crucial when it comes to using primer, foundation, and concealer. Your skin tone should match the shade of these products to achieve a natural look. For primer and foundation, you want a shade that closely matches your complexion.

Consider factors like undertones (warm, cool, or neutral) to find your perfect match. When it comes to concealer, you may opt for a shade slightly lighter than your skin tone to brighten up areas like under-eye circles.

Don’t forget to test shades on your jawline or wrist before buying!


Primer, foundation, and concealer all come in different formulations to cater to various skin types and preferences. When it comes to formulation, primer is typically lightweight and serum-like, often silicone-based.

This consistency helps create a smooth canvas for makeup application and improves its staying power throughout the day.

Foundation formulations can vary from liquid to cream or powder. They are designed to even out the complexion and provide coverage for the entire face. Some foundations have buildable coverage that allows you to customize your desired level of opacity.

Concealers also come in different formulations such as creams or sticks. These pigmented products are meant for targeted coverage on specific areas of the face, like blemishes or dark circles.

The formulation of concealers ensures effective camouflage while blending seamlessly with your skin tone.


When it comes to creating a flawless makeup look, understanding the differences between primer, foundation, and concealer is essential. Primer acts as a base layer to improve makeup application and extend its wear.

Foundation is designed to even out your skin tone and provide overall coverage. Concealer, on the other hand, targets specific areas like blemishes or dark circles for targeted coverage.

By knowing how each product works and their unique purposes, you can choose the right combination for your beauty routine and achieve a picture-perfect complexion every time.


1. What is the difference between concealer, foundation, and primer?

Concealer, foundation, and primer are all beauty products used in a step by step makeup base routine. A primer prepares your skin for makeup application while foundation forms an opaque layer on your face to even out skin tone. Concealer covers up specific blemishes or spots.

2. Are these beauty essentials silicone based?

Yes! Many of these face products like primers are often silicone based as they help smooth out the appearance of pores and fine lines effectively.

3. How does each product contribute to complete skincare?

Primer acts as a protective barrier over skincare-treated skin while providing a smooth canvas for other makeup applications; Foundation evens out complexion enhancing overall facial aesthetics; Concealers cover imperfections ensuring a flawless finish.

4. Is it necessary to use all three (concealer, foundation & primer) together?

While not always necessary in everyday wear, using all three ensures superior coverage and longevity in professional settings or special occasions where picture-perfect skin is paramount.

3 Concealer vs Foundation vs Primer Crucial Differences
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Mila, the veteran beauty cosmetics professional and author of this article, while cutting and styling the hair of her client

Hi! I’m Mila M. I share my 44 year-experience as a Cosmetologist & Beauty Professional in this blog. This content is for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Consult your trusted Beauty Professional for your personal beauty needs.

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