Can You Use Lighter Foundation As Concealer?

Maybe you've run out of concealer, or you want to try it out, and you need to know, can you use a lighter colored foundation as a concealer? We've checked with some of our favorite beauty experts and have found the answer for you.

Foundation is typically lighter in formula than a concealer, but you can use a more lightweight color foundation as a concealer. If you're only looking to brighten your under-eye area and not worried about full coverage, then a lighter foundation will work as a concealer.

Let's look at this more closely. We'll also answer some of your questions about the difference between the two, the best way to apply concealer and foundation, and some of our favorite products. So please, keep reading.

A young woman applying foundation to her face while staring on the mirror, Can You Use Lighter Foundation As Concealer?

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Using A Light Colored Foundation Instead Of Concealer

Perhaps you don't have the whole concealer, foundation, setting powder trio at hand. But you do have a couple of colors of foundation. Can you use the lightest colored foundation instead of concealer? Here's the deal. Foundation is not as thick of a formula as a concealer, so if you intend to hide blemishes, wrinkles, or big dark circles, you'll probably want to stick with concealer.

But if all you're looking to do is brighten up your eye area, a slightly lighter-colored foundation will work perfectly. Some people even choose to use their regular foundation as a concealer only and not do a whole face cover-up.

What Is The Difference Between Foundation And Concealer?

Foundation and concealer are similar in terms of material consistency, but the significant difference is coverage. Foundation provides an all-over smooth coverage to even out skin tone. Concealer is often a smidge thicker and hides trouble spots like dark under-eye areas, blemishes, or dark spots on the skin. You'll use less concealer than you'll use foundation.

One of our favorite concealers is this one by Bye Bye UnderEye. It does a great job of lightening up problem areas and not sinking into wrinkles. It's also waterproof.

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Another fantastic concealer is this one from Clinique. It will last for up to 24 hours and hydrates the skin, too.

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A fan favorite is this instance age rewind concealer from Maybelline. It includes a handy sponge-tip applicator and comes in multiple skin shades, making it easy to find the perfect match.

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Can I Apply Foundation With My Fingers?

Your first reaction to applying foundation with your fingers might be disgust. But try it before you deny it. One of the advantages of applying foundation with your fingertips is your body's warmth. Using your fingers heats the foundation and allows it to get into all the pores and lines of your face. In essence, it melts onto your skin, providing lovely even coverage. It also gets into hard to reach spots, you end up using less product, and you can layer it where you need to.

The disadvantages of doing it this way are two-fold. If you have naturally oily skin, using your fingers might exacerbate any blemishes or break-outs. Some makeup artists don't believe you get even coverage with your fingers; they prefer to use brushes for truly even coverage.

Our best advice is to try it both ways and see what you like best for your face and skin.

Is A Brush Or A Sponge Better For Applying Foundation?

This is like the "which came first, the chicken or the egg" question. Some makeup artists swear by brushes, some swear by sponges, but here's what we've boiled it down to.

Sponges are great for providing smooth all over coverage and blending layers. They work exceptionally well with cremes and liquids. If the sponges are slightly damp, you never have to worry about too heavy a build-up. You do need to keep your sponges clean, though, and let them dry out between uses.

We love the original Beauty Blender sponge. The pointy end is great for getting into areas like the corners of your eyes, and the rounded large end is great for cheeks and larger spaces.

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These latex-free sponges come with little holders that keep makeup off of your hands when you're applying it. They're very soft and are easy to clean and use.

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Foundation brushes are great if you prefer a powder foundation. They lay a smooth finish onto your skin that is hard to achieve with other methods. They don't work as well with liquids, though, and are hard to keep clean if you use them with those types of foundations.

This Matto brush is perfect for applying mineral powder bases. Its fluffy and dense head is the ideal shape for applying an even coverage of powder foundation.

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What Is The Most Natural-looking Foundation?

Nobody wants to have their foundation cake on their skin and look unnatural. So is there a way to make your foundation look natural? A few suggestions we found are to keep your skin well-moisturized. Well-hydrated skin is less prone to flake and gives your foundation a smooth surface to sit on.

Liquid foundations tend to look more natural than cremes and powders because you can start with thin layers and build up as needed. Then you can add more moisturizer on top if needed.

Here are a few foundation brands that will give you superior coverage without heavy build-up.

Burt's Bees Goodness Glows is a natural product with natural-looking results. This is a pack of two.

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This super-blendable makeup from Loreal is excellent for a natural look.

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Bare Minerals come out with this BarePro line, which functions like a tinted sunscreen rather than a full-on foundation. Some folks with dry skin found it a little drying, but those with oily skin and regular skin loved it.

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Is Concealer Used Before Or After Foundation?

There are two trains of thought on this question. If you are covering up dark circles under eyes or general fatigue, then makeup artists suggest doing some color correcting with concealer first before applying foundation.

However, when you're dealing with smoothing out blemishes or skin imperfections, most makeup artists recommend applying your foundation first, then applying concealer.  It's then suggested to set your foundation and concealer with a good facial powder.

How To Apply Concealer?

Do you need to know how to apply your concealer? The steps are simple.

  • Apply concealer under the eyes
  • Blend with a damp beauty blender sponge. Blend to bottom lash and out away from the under-eye area
  • Set the concealer with a translucent setting powder.

Laura Mercier's setting powder is a perennial favorite. Setting powders lock the concealer and foundation onto your face and give an overall smooth and silky finish that looks very natural.

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Concealer Revealed

Now that we've revealed all the secrets about concealer, why not explore a couple of our other great makeup posts here at We've picked out a few we think you may be interested in below:

Do You Have to Wear Foundation to Contour?

Why Does My Makeup Look Cakey?

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