Beauty Tips: Can I Use Foundation as Concealer?

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Explore the key differences between foundation and concealer, along with my favorite formulas and application tips.

I love a two-in-one product. Whether I’m packing light for a trip or throwing a few must-have beauty items in my bag, the fewer products I have to carry, the better!

One beauty question I’m often asked is, “can I use foundation as concealer?” It’s a good question, as both products are complexion perfectors, smoothing your skin for an even effect.

Explore the key differences between foundation and concealer, along with my favorite formulas and application tips. I’ve also included the popular question, "can I use foundation as a concealer?"

With that said, there are definite differences between formulas, applications, and intended use of concealer and foundation.

Is using one product as a concealer and foundation a plausible way to minimize your beauty bag? We’re about to find out!

In this post, I’m diving into all things face makeup with my top application tips for both foundation and concealer.

I’m also including my favorite products and answering once and for all: “Can you use foundation as concealer?”

Looking to perfect your complexion? Read up on some of my favorite makeup-melting skincare recommendations:

Foundation vs Concealer: Can I Use Foundation as Concealer?

Explore the key differences between foundation and concealer, along with my favorite formulas and application tips. I’ve also included the popular question, “can I use foundation as concealer.

To the untrained eye, a concealer looks like a smaller bottle of foundation. Their differences, however, go far beyond that.

Foundation vs Concealer: Use

A foundation is applied all over the face for a smooth, even finish.

Concealer is used sparingly as a spot treatment, covering redness, dark spots, and blemishes. It can also be used to highlight features through clever placement.

Foundation vs Concealer: Coverage

While each formula is different, concealer is often much more concentrated, adding more intense coverage.

Foundation is lighter and usually blurs rather than conceals.

Foundation vs Concealer: Shades

Foundation is used in your exact shade match, blending seamlessly into your neck and chest.

Concealer used for spot treatments should also match your skin tone. For highlight, however, you may use a lighter concealer shade to lift specific areas on your face.

Foundation vs Concealer: Application

Explore the key differences between foundation and concealer, along with my favorite formulas and application tips. I’ve also included the popular question, “can I use foundation as concealer.

Foundation can be applied with a brush or sponge all over your face; some will also bring the product slightly down the neck for a seamless blend.

Concealer is applied sparingly using a small concealer brush or sponge, pinpointed on blemishes, the under-eye area, and any discoloration.

For more brush recommendations, read my post on The Best Blush Brush for Flawless Results.

The Bottom Line: Can I Use Foundation as Concealer?

Explore the key differences between foundation and concealer, along with my favorite formulas and application tips. I’ve also included the popular question, can I use foundation as concealer

If you were stuck, you could use foundation as concealer. A dot of matte, high-coverage foundation over a blemish can help blur the imperfection.

Still, this is not a long-term solution.

Because of their different formulations and intended uses, a foundation isn’t a good substitute for concealer.

Lighter, dewier foundation formulas may even make a problem area look worse, drawing light to a spot you’re trying to hide.

So, can I use foundation as a concealer?

Yes, though I wouldn’t recommend it other than in times of emergency. In my opinion, concealer should make an appearance in your makeup bag as a separate product.

Application Tips: Can I use Foundation as Concealer?

Here are a few tips for using foundation as a concealer when you’re stuck and don’t have the correct concealer:

1. Choose the right shade

Your first step is to pick a foundation shade that is an exact match to your skin tone. When trying to hide a spot, a shade that is too dark or too light will only draw attention to the area.

If you want to use foundation to lift and highlight, choose a shade slightly lighter than your natural skin tone.

2. Use a Small Applicator

Explore the key differences between foundation and concealer, along with my favorite formulas and application tips. I’ve also included the popular question, “can I use foundation as concealer.

When applying foundation as concealer, precision is best! I recommend using a small brush or makeup sponge for control throughout the application.

3. Start Small

Because foundation has a lighter consistency than concealer, you may be tempted to layer your product for better coverage.

The best way to do this is to start small, allowing each layer to completely dry before adding another thin layer.

Using too much product too fast will make the area look heavy and cakey.

4.  Set Your Work

When using foundation as concealer, always set the area with a thin dusting of powder. This will give your work staying power, avoiding the need for touch-ups.

5. Choose the Right Formula

Foundations are all formulated differently with varying effects, from matte and velvety to light and dewy.

I recommend choosing a matte finish foundation when using it as a concealer, as it won’t bring excess shine to the spots you’re trying to conceal.

6. Blend and Blend Again!

You want your foundation to blend seamlessly into your face for a flawless look. Be sure to blend the edges out when spot-concealing.

Explore the key differences between foundation and concealer, along with my favorite formulas and application tips. I’ve also included the popular question, “can I use foundation as concealer.

My Favorite Foundations

While I don’t necessarily recommend using foundation as concealer all the time, I love these foundations!

Each product is a great option for most skin types, with formulas that a celebrity makeup artist would approve of.

A few are even featured in my everyday makeup products and my picks for the best Sephora products.

My Favorite Concealers

Explore the key differences between foundation and concealer, along with my favorite formulas and application tips. I’ve also included the popular question, “can I use foundation as concealer.

Complete your beauty routine with one of my favorite top-rated concealers:

Want more beauty favorites? Check out my posts on 7 Top Mascaras for Volume and The Best Peachy Blush: My Top 14 Picks!

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the questions I get the most about makeup products, including foundation and concealer.

How light should you purchase your concealer?

To cover dark circles, blemishes, redness, and dark spots, it’s a good idea to purchase concealer in your exact skin tone.

There are, however, other ways to use concealer in your makeup routine!

To bring lift to your nose, cheekbones, chin, and brow, opt for a concealer one shade lighter than your foundation.

You can also use a slightly darker concealer for contour; this provides a natural chisel without looking overdone.

What is the best foundation formula for dry skin?

If you have dry skin, you need to find products that won’t cling to dry patches. I suggest avoiding full-coverage foundations and opting for a lighter, dewy formula.

Light to medium-coverage liquid foundations are great. You can also use a BB cream with liquid or cream concealers for extra coverage. Lots of foundations now incorporate hyaluronic acid as a key ingredient which adds essential moisturizing.

These same tips apply to mature skin, as thick matte formulas tend to settle into fine lines and wrinkles.

How do I make my face makeup look more natural?

I love a natural, flawless finish when it comes to face makeup. Here are some of my top tips for a natural glow:

1. Practice good skincare, hydrating your skin before application. The rest of your makeup will look much better!
2. Opt for a lighter coverage foundation over a full coverage foundation.
3. Try a BB cream or tinted moisturizer for a natural look.
4. Use a liquid concealer to spot conceal, just where needed.
5. Blend makeup thoroughly with a brush or damp sponge.
6. Opt for liquid or cream formulas over powder products. Powder foundation lacks dimension and looks heavy.
7. Use setting powder only where needed, not over the entire face.
8. Try color-corrector products like a color-correcting concealer. This will reduce your need for high-coverage products.

At the end of the day, you can use foundation as concealer if you’re stuck. Though I wouldn’t do it regularly, there are several ways to make the application more effective!

I hope you’ve found this post useful in building your ultimate beauty bag. Let me know if you have any further questions via email or Instagram. I’d love to help!

About Lorna Ryan

Lorna's fashion & beauty journey began on runways, including NYFW, which sparked her love for all things chic. Lorna spent two years as a SephoraSquad ambassador, sharing hero beauty products. Lorna unveils coveted beauty gems, the latest fashion trends, and best-kept jetsetter escapes.

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