What Is The Difference Between Concealer And Foundation? All You Need To Know

Although makeup is now being considered as essential for women all over the world, many are still confused with concealers and foundations. Their packaging are almost always the same-they both come in liquid, cream, and compact form.

So, what exactly are their difference and can they be used interchangeably?

Can you wear one without the other?

These are just of some of the many questions that were asked over and over again in the beauty industry. This is why I wrote this article to give a detailed guide for all you girls and guys out there who are into makeup and is dying to know the difference between the two.


So What is the Difference Between the Two?

what is the difference between the two

It is common to be confused between these two products, so don’t give yourself a hard time since you are not alone. Just by the name itself, it will give you the idea that concealers are supposed to “conceal” or “cover” your face and logic dictates that we are supposed to cover blemishes, dark spots and other “skin imperfections”.

Sounds clear and legit, right? Well, it all get confusing when you realize that, “Hey, isn’t that what foundations are supposed to do?

So the confusion goes on and on through the years. People will give you the same answer I just provided but without any clear distinction of the difference between the two.

We can not really tell the difference between the without getting to know each product really well and what they are for. Once we get to know them, we can tell the difference at heart.

Similarities of Concealers and Foundation

similarities of concealers and foundation

You know why differentiating between the two is a confusing task for any makeup beginners? They have so many similarities!

  • They have the same color and consistency.
  • They have the same packaging.
  • They both cover your face.
  • They are applied very similarly-using makeup blenders, brushes and fingertips.

These similarities leave an impression that is very confusing to anyone at first look and touch. Let us now look closely into each separate product so we can better understand its function.

Foundation as A Makeup Base

foundation as a makeup base

Wikipedia will give you an entire article defining what a foundation is. To simply put, and what you may have already known, it is the powder/liquid/cream that you put all over your face to give you a good even base for your skin. It provides a very good canvass for you to paint on (put makeup on). It has different types of coverage which are: sheer, light, medium and full.

This way you can choose which type of foundation is needed according to your beauty needs. Here are some of the best makeup foundations for your reference.

Medium to full coverage foundations does a great job in the evening out skin tone and covering scars and other blemishes. This type of foundations is exactly the reason why you can mistake it for a concealer at the same time. Some may claim they don’t even need concealers while wearing these types of foundation.

Types of MakeUp Foundation

types of makeup foundation

With the growth of cosmetic industry, we could classify makeup foundations in various way and the classifications and types are endless! For starters, here are the things you need to know.

1. Powder Foundation/Two-Way Cake

powder foundation
  • Pros: Compact, easy to carry and absorbs sweat so you don't oil up easily. It (usually) has that matte finish that will keep you looking fresh all day. I personally use it during hot summer season, otherwise my face will be too cakey or oily.
  • Cons: Depending on the brand, it might need frequent touch ups and powder form emphasizes lines and blemishes to some extent. This is the reason why I try to avoid applying powder makeup below my eyes because it emphasizes my fine lines around there. If you sweat a lot, it will look cakey and uneven, too.

2. Mousse Foundation

Mousse Foundation

Via Amazon.com

  • Pros: It’s very light and smooth. Applying it to your face feels very satisfying and the end finish is very fresh and natural. The staying power is also superb. Little to no touch-up is required.
  • Cons: Few manufacturers are available. The most familiar ones are Maybelline, Rimmel, and L'oreal. They are popular among younger women with little to no skin problems. If you have the pot packaging, prolonged exposure to air may dry up the mousse.

3. Liquid Foundation

Liquid Foundation
  • Pros: It will give you a very nice uneven finish which will be perfect for your canvass. It has many types as well such as moisturizing, anti-aging, etc. It is popular because of these extra features and how blendable it is.
  • Cons: It is not portable and can be messy when you need a quick touch up. I won’t talk much about it because you wouldn’t be reading this if you don’t have an idea what a liquid foundation is.

4. CC Cushion/BB Cushion/DD Cushion

cc cushion

These products started in Korea. The first one I have ever come acrossed was Laneige. For me, it is the solution to the lack of portability of the liquid foundations. It is your BB cushion or foundation already packaged with a sponge a compact mirror so you can use it anytime.

  • Pros: It is being marketed as a skincare cosmetic similar to other liquid foundations with similar claims. It’s just this one comes in compact and cute container. It is the new “it” foundation just recently.
  • Cons: Almost every shade is for fair skin. Most products sold are sheer and dewy finish There are some products with full coverage as well, but you need to search for the real hard.

Concealer As Spot Corrector

concealer as spot corrector

Concealers, as previously discussed, are used to cover spots and other skin imperfections. It is applied directly on the dark spot or blemish to hide it instantly. If you are going to create your masterpiece and paint on a wall, concealer is like the sealant you would use to hide all the cracks while the foundation is the coating of paint that will give you a clean and even canvass.

For that reason, I personally prefer applying concealers first to target areas on my skin then finish it off using a foundation. This is because I consider my makeup a masterpiece each time I put it on. It needs to be flawless.

If you have dark spots on your skin, building up with foundation will feel heavy on the face and would end up cakey. Concealers have more staying power and won’t appear and feel too heavy since you are only applying it on specific areas on your face.

Concealers also have different forms and colors. If you are confused what each color is for, check this article.


I hope that upon reaching this part of the article, you already have a solid understanding of the difference between a concealer and a foundation. Concealer is for targeting specific spots while foundation is for blending and evening out your entire face to create a flawless canvass.

Some people with almost perfect skin can do away with concealers if they have a good liquid foundation. For me, I will keep using both to achieve various and flawless makeup looks I am wearing each day.

Ella Jones

Hi . My name is Ella Jones . I’m a blogger, shopaholic, and beauty-obsessed blogger from NYC, armed with a Professional MBA from Fordham and a License in Cosmetology from Empire Beauty School in my hometown of Brooklyn. I’m the proud owner of a successful salon and beauty parlor in the city, and I’ve started this blog to share my beauty secrets with you.

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