Should Concealer Be Lighter Than Foundation? 6 Mistakes To Avoid

by  Mila M.Cosmetologist

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If you’ve ever wondered whether your concealer should be lighter than your foundation, you’re not alone. In fact, celebrity makeup artist Bobbi Brown recommends a concealer one to two shades lighter for optimal results.

This blog will guide you through the process of selecting the perfect shade of concealer and debunk common misconceptions. So stick around, let’s dive into this burning beauty query that baffles even seasoned makeup enthusiasts!

  • Choosing a concealer that is one to two shades lighter than your foundation can help cancel out dark discoloration and brighten the under-eye area.
  • Layering concealer incorrectly by applying too much or before foundation can result in a cakey and unnatural finish.
  • Proper placement of concealer, such as using a triangular shape for under-eye circles, ensures better coverage and a natural look.
  • Using too much concealer can make imperfections appear more noticeable, so start with a small amount and build up if needed.
  • Using the right tools for blending, like a damp beauty sponge or fluffy brush, prevents streaks or splotchy patches on the skin.
  • It’s important to use setting powder sparingly to avoid dryness and an overly powdered appearance under the eyes.

6 Common Concealer Mistakes to Avoid

Buying the wrong color

Purchasing the wrong concealer color is a common mistake that can markedly affect your final look. If you select a shade too light for your skin, it creates an unnatural contrast, particularly under the eyes.

Conversely, if you opt for a concealer that matches your foundation’s shade perfectly, its denser and thicker consistency may make it more noticeable on your skin. Makeup artist Bobbi Brown advises choosing one to two shades lighter than your foundation when dealing with dark discoloration or under-eye circles.

However, this isn’t always necessary and might not work best for everyone. Always prioritise finding a tone that closely matches and melds with your skin while serving its purpose efficiently – be it brightening or covering blemishes.

Experimentation is key in discovering what suits you most uniquely!

Layering incorrectly

Layering concealer incorrectly can lead to a less-than-flawless finish. One common mistake is applying too much concealer in an attempt to cover up imperfections completely. Remember, a little goes a long way! Another error is layering concealer before foundation, which can make it look unnatural and prevent the foundation from blending seamlessly.

To achieve the best results, apply your foundation first and then use a small amount of concealer only where needed. Blend gently for a seamless look that enhances your natural beauty without being heavy or cakey.

Placing the product incorrectly

Applying concealer may seem straightforward, but placing the product incorrectly can undermine its effectiveness. To ensure proper coverage and a natural finish, it’s important to place the concealer on the areas you want to target.

For example, if you’re trying to cover dark circles under your eyes, apply the concealer in a triangular shape from the inner corners of your eyes down to your cheeks. This technique helps brighten up the area and provides better coverage for those stubborn shadows.

Remember, precise placement is key when using concealer to achieve a flawless complexion.

Using too much product

Using too much concealer can actually have the opposite effect of what you’re trying to achieve. Instead of covering up imperfections, it can make them look more noticeable and heavy on your skin.

It’s important to remember that a little goes a long way with concealer. Applying too much product not only looks unnatural but also makes it difficult to blend seamlessly into your foundation.

Start with a small amount and build up if needed, focusing on areas that require extra coverage. This will help create a natural and flawless finish without caking or creasing throughout the day.

Using the wrong tools for blending

Using the wrong tools for blending can affect how well your concealer blends into your skin. It’s important to use the right tools, like a damp beauty sponge or a fluffy brush, to blend and diffuse the product seamlessly.

When using your fingers or a stiff brush, you may end up with streaks or splotchy patches on your skin. Remember to tap and gently pat the concealer onto your skin for a natural finish.

A soft touch and the right tool can make all the difference in achieving flawless coverage.

Using too much setting powder

Using too much setting powder can be a common mistake when applying concealer. Although setting powder helps to lock in your makeup and prevent it from smudging or creasing, using too much can actually make your under-eye area appear dry and cakey.

It’s important to remember that less is more when it comes to setting powder.

Applying a light dusting of setting powder with a fluffy brush is usually sufficient for most people. This will help keep your concealer in place without drying out the delicate skin under your eyes.

If you notice that your under-eye area looks overly powdery or emphasized, it might be time to adjust the amount of setting powder you’re using. Remember, you want your concealer to look natural and seamless, not heavy or exaggerated.

The Debate: Should Concealer be Lighter Than Foundation?

Expert opinions vary on whether concealer should be lighter than foundation, but the general consensus is that it depends on the purpose of the concealer and personal preference.

Expert opinions

Makeup artist Bobbi Brown recommends choosing a concealer that is one to two shades lighter than your foundation. Going a shade lighter can help cancel out dark discoloration on the skin and create the illusion of wider eyes. It’s important to find a concealer shade that matches your skin tone as closely as possible, so experiment and find what works best for you. Remember, using a concealer that is the same shade as your foundation can make it more noticeable because concealers are thicker and denser.

The purpose of concealer

Concealer serves the purpose of providing extra coverage and camouflaging imperfections on your skin. Whether you’re dealing with dark circles, acne scars, or blemishes, concealer helps to even out your complexion and create a flawless base for your makeup.

It is designed to be thicker and more pigmented than foundation, making it better at hiding specific areas that need extra attention. By choosing the right shade of concealer, you can effectively brighten up the under-eye area and minimize any discoloration or unevenness on your face.

Remember that finding a shade close to your skin tone is essential for achieving a natural-looking finish. So when it comes to applying concealer, think about its purpose – enhancing your natural beauty by covering up those little imperfections!

How to Choose the Right Concealer Shade for Your Skin Tone

To choose the right concealer shade for your skin tone, start by understanding your undertones and selecting a concealer that matches them.

Understanding skin tone and undertones

To choose the right concealer shade for your skin tone, it’s important to understand your skin tone and undertones. Skin tone refers to the overall color of your complexion, while undertones are the subtle hues that can be seen beneath the surface of your skin.

There are three main undertone categories: warm, cool, and neutral. Warm undertones have more yellow or golden tones, cool undertones have more pink or blue tones, and neutral undertones have a mix of both.

Understanding your undertone can help you select a concealer shade that will blend seamlessly with your skin and provide natural-looking coverage. Remember to match your concealer shade as closely as possible to avoid any stark contrasts or unnatural appearances on your face.

Finding your undertone

To find your undertone, look at the veins on the underside of your wrist. If they appear more blue or purple, you likely have cool undertones. If they appear greenish, you probably have warm undertones.

And if your veins appear bluish-green or a mix of both colors, then you may have neutral undertones. Another way to determine your undertone is to consider how certain colors make your skin look.

Cool-toned individuals tend to look better in silver jewelry and shades of blue and pink, while warm-toned individuals often suit gold jewelry and earthy tones like oranges and yellows.

Selecting a concealer shade for acne scars and blemishes

When selecting a concealer shade for acne scars and blemishes, it’s important to choose a color that closely matches your skin tone. Look for a shade that is as close as possible to your natural complexion, rather than going lighter or darker.

This will help the concealer blend seamlessly with your skin and provide the most natural-looking coverage. Experimentation is key when finding the perfect shade, so don’t be afraid to try out different options until you find one that works best for you.

Choosing a concealer shade for under-eye circles

To effectively cover under-eye circles, it’s important to choose the right shade of concealer. The general rule is to opt for a concealer that is one shade lighter than your foundation.

This can help brighten up the area and create the illusion of wider eyes. However, keep in mind that going too light can make the under-eye area appear unnatural. It’s best to experiment and find the perfect match for your individual skin tone and concerns.

Remember, concealers are available in a variety of shades, so take your time to find one that closely matches your complexion.

It’s worth noting that using a concealer that matches your foundation exactly may not be as effective because concealers are thicker and denser than foundations. By choosing a slightly lighter shade, you can cancel out those dark circles more effectively without drawing attention to them.

Shopping for Concealers

You can find a wide range of concealer shades to match your skin tone at beauty stores and online retailers.

Where to find concealer shades

You can find a wide range of concealer shades in beauty stores, department stores, and online retailers. Many cosmetic brands offer a variety of shades to match different skin tones.

When shopping for concealers, it’s important to swatch the product on your skin or test it on your jawline to ensure a proper color match. You can also consult with makeup counter experts or check online reviews for recommendations based on your specific skin tone and concerns.

Remember to choose a shade that closely matches your natural complexion for the most seamless and natural-looking results.

Recommendations for different skin tones

Different skin tones require different shades of concealer to achieve the most natural and flattering look. Here are some recommendations for finding the right concealer shade based on your skin tone:

Fair Skin:

  • Choose a light or medium beige shade for general coverage.
  • Use a peach-toned concealer to counteract dark circles.

Light to Medium Skin:

  • Opt for a light beige or warm undertone concealer for an even complexion.
  • Peachy or pink-toned concealers work well for under-eye circles.

Medium to Olive Skin:

  • Look for a medium beige or golden undertone concealer that matches your skin tone.
  • Yellow-toned concealers can help neutralize discoloration.

Dark Skin:

  • Select a deep tan or rich brown shade that complements your complexion.
  • Orange or red-toned concealers can help camouflage dark spots and hyperpigmentation.

Can No Foundation Makeup Looks Still Include Concealer?

Yes, makeup without foundation can still include concealer. Even if you prefer a natural look, concealer can help cover imperfections and brighten the under-eye area. Using concealer without foundation is a great way to achieve a more minimal makeup look while still looking fresh and polished.

How does the shade of concealer affect the application of foundation in makeup?

When choosing a concealer shade, keep in mind that it should match your skin tone and undertone to ensure a seamless blend with your foundation. Avoid going too light or too dark, as this can result in an uneven complexion. Following these tips for perfectly applied foundation will enhance the overall finish of your makeup.


In conclusion, the debate of whether concealer should be lighter than foundation has no definitive answer. It ultimately depends on your personal preference and the specific purpose you want to achieve with your makeup.

Experimenting with different shades and finding what works best for your skin tone is key. Remember to choose a shade that blends seamlessly with your foundation and helps you achieve the desired coverage and brightness for your complexion.


1. Should my concealer be lighter than my foundation?

Yes, your concealer should generally be one to two shades lighter than your foundation to effectively hide undereye circles and other skin irregularities.

2. What’s the right order for makeup application?

Typically, you should first apply your foundation shade evenly on your face. After that, carefully dab and blend in the concealer where needed.

3. How do I find the right shade of concealer for my skin tone?

Finding the right shade involves color matching with a dermatologist or cosmetology expert who can guide you on what best suits your skin tone and under-eye circles if any.

4. Are there common mistakes people make when choosing concealers?

One common mistake is not adequately blending the concealer with their foundation, leading to noticeable differences in color between different areas of the face.

5. Do you have any tips for applying concealers correctly?

Always remember to blend your concealer seamlessly into your foundationshade while focusing more on dark circles or spots needing extra coverage.

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Should Concealer Be Lighter Than Foundation? 6 Mistakes To Avoid
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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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