Concealer Vs Highlighter: What’s The Difference?

When it comes to makeup, there are a lot of different products and techniques that you can use to enhance your look. Two of the most popular products are concealer and highlighter.

But what’s the difference between these two products? And which one should you be using? In this blog post, we’ll explore the differences between concealer and highlighter so that you can choose the right product for your needs. 

Concealer Vs Highlighter

Concealers and highlighters differ significantly in their use on the skin. A concealer is primarily used to hide imperfections or dark circles, while a highlighter adds glow to certain areas of the face.

Both a highlighter and concealer should not be applied to the entire face, and a concealer should be used on blemishes, discoloration, or under the eye area. A highlighter should be applied to the high points of the face, such as cheekbones, browbone, and upper lip.

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What Is Concealer?

rimmel concealer

A concealer is a cosmetic product used to mask imperfections such as dark circles, spots, and blemishes. It comes in a small tube, a stick, or a compact and it has a thicker consistency than a foundation.

It can be applied lightly to the skin with a mini sponge or brush for light coverage or built up more for heavier coverage.

The purpose of using concealer is to create a flawless-looking complexion. It comes in many different shades and undertones to match your skin tone.

Read More: Do You Need To Use A Concealer?

You can find concealers in different formulas, such as liquid, cream, or sticks. The most popular is liquid concealer. It’s easy to use and comes in various shades that can suit many skin tones.

One very popular liquid concealer is this Instant Age Rewind Eraser. It has a lightweight formula that blends easily into the skin without looking cakey or heavy.

maybelline insatnt age rewind

There is a type of concealer called under-eye brightener such as this Touche Éclat All-Over Brightening Concealer Pen. This concealer has a sheer and radiant finish that can brighten the skin and conceal minor dark circles. It can’t hide them completely, but it can make them less noticeable.

YSL brightening pen

There is also another type of concealer called color corrector, which is used to neutralize discoloration on the skin. Its primary purpose is to cancel out the color that’s underneath it. Color correctors are available in various colors, such as green, purple, yellow, or orange.

Read More: Concealer Vs Color Corrector

LA girl correctors

Concealer is applied after the foundation to hide imperfections that the foundation can’t cover. It can be applied using the regular doe-foot applicator or a small brush for extra precision.

What Is Highlighter?

zuma powder highlighter

A highlighter is a product that is used to brighten up certain areas of the face, such as cheekbones, browbone, and upper lip.

It comes in a powder, cream, or liquid formula, and it has a lighter consistency than concealer. Highlighters are made to mimic the natural highlights on your face, and they’re available in lighter shades to add some glow to the skin.

Related: Is Highlighter And Illuminator The Same Thing?

Can You Use Concealer As a Highlighter?

use concealer as highlighter

Many people often wonder whether concealer can be used as a highlighter. In general, you can use concealer as a highlighter, but it’s essential to select the right formula and color.

If you don’t like glittery or mettalic highlighters, you can use a concealer to brighten up your complexion. Shiny highlighters can look oily on the skin and a concealer can act as a matte highlighter that’s glitter-free. It gives the skin a natural but still brighter look.

However, if you want more of a glowy look, then you should use a highlighter instead.

Follow these easy steps to use concealer as a highlighter.

1. Choose the Right Concealer Formula and Color

You want a concealer that doesn’t look heavy or cakey on the skin. To get a natural look, choose a lightweight formula that is not too dewy but not too matte either. Avoid using a thick concealer as it might separate throughout the day.

A concealer with a semi-matte finish like this Photoready Concealer can perform well as a highlighter. You need to apply it correctly on the skin by using the doe-foot applicator.

Choose a color that’s one or two shades lighter than your skin tone. Using a very light shade of concealer can cause your eyes to look smaller.

There are many conceal and highlight palettes that come with a concealer, contour, and highlighter together. You can mix and match the shades depending on your skin tone. The light shades can be used as highlighters while the shade that matches your skin tone can be used to conceal blemishes. The dark shade can be used to contour the face and give the cheekbones more definition.

lorac conceal and contour palette

If you have pale skin, go for a light peach.

People with light skin tone can use a light yellow-toned concealer to get a highlighting effect. The white-based concealers look unnatural on this skin tone. This is why it’s best to use yellow-toned colors to avoid your highlighter from looking grey.

If you have a medium skin tone, choose a medium peachy concealer. For dark skin tones, a dark orangey-yellow concealer can look nice.

 2. Apply to The Right Areas

Dab the concealer lightly on top of the cheekbones, to the inner corners of the eyes, and down the center of your nose. Make sure not to apply too much product as it might look heavy on the skin. Blend the product evenly into the skin by using a brush or a damp makeup sponge.

Check the face chart below for more info on applying concealer correctly as a highlighter. The light shade is concealer and the dark shade is contour.

highlighting face chart

It’s essential to select the right formula, color, and shade to work as a highlighter. If you choose a light or dark shade, your concealer might look orange, not a flattering look.

Can Highlighter Be Used As Concealer?

No, a highlighter can’t be used as a concealer.

Highlighters have a lightweight texture that glides easily on the skin to highlight areas such as the cheekbones and browbone. On the other hand, concealers have a creamy formula that’s dense enough to cover up imperfections.

They come in a thicker consistency with a matte finish that helps to cover blemishes. Using a highlighter on imperfections will only make them more noticeable and might even accentuate the flaws.

With that being said, some brightening concealers that are available on the market can be used as concealers and highlighters simultaneously. Sheer and shimmer-free concealers like this brightening concealer have a light formula that can be used to achieve a natural highlight while still hiding minor dark circles.

If you have a light skin tone, you can choose a peachy-orange color that will neutralize the darkness around the eyes to make it look brighter.

If your skin tone is medium, you might want to use a sand color, and for dark skin tones, a luminous Toffee shade is an excellent choice.

Does Concealer Or Highlighter Come First?

fenty beauty highlighter

A concealer is applied first to cover up imperfections, and then a highlighter is used to brighten up the high points of the face.

Depending on your skin needs, you can use concealer on its own or after foundation. If you have an even skin tone with some minor blemishes, you can skip foundation and use a concealer.

Use a small brush and pat the concealer on the areas with blemishes to cover. Choose a concealer with the same shade as your skin tone. You can use a concealer with one shade lighter for the under-eye area to get a brightening effect. Avoid using a very pale shade as it might cause your concealer to look ashy.

A quick tip is to let the concealer sit on the skin before blending it. This trick allows the concealer to melt into the skin and blend nicely for maximum coverage.

If you have oily skin, use a setting powder on top of the concealer to set it and leave a matte finish.

After your foundation and concealer are set, it’s time to highlight your face. You can also apply bronzer and blush depending on the look you’re going for.

Read More: Bronzer Vs highlighter

Bronzer Vs Blush

If you have an even skin tone, you can apply highlighter without foundation. Make sure to prepare your skin for makeup so that the highlighter can last well on the skin.

Eye Brightener Vs Concealer

thrive cosmetics eye brightener

Eye brighteners come in a pen format, and they have a creamy formula that brightens the eyes thanks to their tiny light-reflecting pigments. They can be applied to the inner corners of the eyes, the waterline, above the brow bone, and the cupid’s bow.

These brighteners are different from concealers that tend to have a thicker formula. Their main purpose is to instantly brighten the face instead of concealers, which are meant to conceal any dark circles.

Eye brighteners are also available in cream or liquid formulas, making them easier to blend.


Highlighters and concealers are two different makeup products. The main purpose of a highlighter is to brighten certain areas of the face, and concealer is used to hide skin blemishes or dark circles.

While a highlighter cannot be used as a concealer, some brightening concealers like this Radiant Concealer can be dual-purpose products.

Concealing your skin is essential for those who want a flawless makeup look. Many different types of concealers are available. Some people like to use a regular liquid concealer, while others prefer a color-correcting concealer.

Concealers should be applied first before using a highlighter to hide blemishes and get an even skin tone. They should not be used on dry skin because they can make the area appear flaky and cakey. It’s important to thoroughly moisturize your skin before applying a concealer and then set your makeup with powder to get a long-lasting look.

Can you use highlighter alone?

Why is your highlighter looking greasy?

Why does your highlighter looks ashy?

Why is your concealer looking cakey?

Why is your concealer looking orange?

Should you let concealer sit before blending?

Is concealer making your eyes look smaller?

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Claire is a beauty enthusiast and lover of all things makeup. Her blog is a resource for makeup tips and tricks, product reviews and beauty tutorials.

2 thoughts on “Concealer Vs Highlighter: What’s The Difference?”

  1. Wanting a highlighter & contour , blush in a compact together
    I am fair skin & dry I like cream
    Instead of powder, would you give me some help please

    • the tarte SEA Breezy Cream Blush and Bronzer Palette is a nice option. It doesn’t contain a highlighter shade unfortunately. the covergirl cream contour palette is also good.


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