Primer Vs Concealer

Primer and concealer are two of the most popular products in the beauty industry. They are both used to create a smooth, flawless complexion, but they serve different purposes.

If you are a makeup beginner, you might be wondering what the difference is between primer and concealer.

In this post, we’ll look at both of these products and help you decide which one is right for you.

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primer vs concealer

What’s The Difference Between Primer And Concealer?

Primer is the first step of any makeup routine. It helps create a smooth canvas for your foundation by smoothing out any lines or wrinkles. It can also control shine and help your makeup to last longer.

On the other hand, a concealer is typically used after primer and foundation to cover blemishes or dark circles.

Now that you know the main difference between primer and concealer keep reading to find out more about each product and when you should use them.

What’s The Purpose of A Primer?

nyx face primer

Primer is applied after moisturizer and before foundation, and it helps create a smooth, even surface for your foundation to go on.

There are many different types of primers available on the market, and each one is formulated to achieve different results.

For example, some primers help control shine, while others are designed to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles.

No matter your skin type, there is a primer that can help you achieve a flawless complexion. The key is to match your primer and foundation properly to get the best results. Using the wrong primer can cause your makeup to look worse, not better.

Here are some types of primer that you might want to try:

Mattifying primers

nyx mattifying primer

These primers are ideal for people with oily skin as they help control shine and keep your foundation looking fresh all day long. They contain ingredients that absorb excess oil and leave your skin with a matte finish.

This shine killer primer, for example, is one of the best mattifying primers. It has a light formula that blends easily into the skin, and it helps to keep the foundation in place all day long.

Related: Foundation Vs Primer

Smoothing primers

cover fx primer

These primers are ideal for people with mature or textured skin as they help blur out lines and wrinkles. They contain ingredients like silicone that fill in any fine lines and give the skin a smooth, even surface.

This gripping primer is a perfect example. It has dimethicone, which is ideal for people with fine lines or wrinkles, and it blurs out any imperfections and helps your foundation go on smoothly.

For more suggestions, read our guide on the best silicone-based primers.

Pore-minimizing primers

benefit porefessional primer

These primers are ideal for people with large pores as they help to minimize the appearance of pores and give the skin a smooth, even surface.

Foundation can settle into large pores but using a pore-minimizing primer will help to create a smooth canvas for your makeup.

This primer is one of the best pore-minimizing primers on the market. It has a lightweight formula that blends easily into the skin, and it performs well under makeup.

Hydrating primers

laura geller primer

These primers are not moisturizers, but they are ideal for people with dry skin as they help to hydrate the skin and give it a healthy glow. They contain ingredients like hyaluronic acid that help nourishing the skin.

Applying foundation on dry skin can cause your makeup to look patchy and uneven. But using a hydrating primer after moisturizer will help hydrate your skin and give your foundation a smooth base to work with.

This skin perfecting primer is one of the best hydrating primers on the market, and it’s perfect for people with dry skin. It contains hyaluronic acid and has a lightweight formula that wears well under makeup.

Under-Eye Primer

These primers are ideal for people with dry under eyes as they help hydrate and smooth the area. They help the concealer to go on smoothly and prevent it from creasing.

This under-eye primer is one of the best on the market, and it’s perfect for people with dry under eyes. It contains caffeine and has a lightweight formula that blends easily into the skin.

If you want more suggestions, check out our list of the best under-eye primers for wrinkles.

Read More: Eye Prime Vs Face Primer

How To Apply A Makeup Primer?

how to apply primer

After choosing the right makeup primer for your skin type, it’s time to apply it.

The key is to use a small amount, as too much primer can make your foundation look patchy and cakey.

  • Start with a pea-sized amount of primer onto the back of your hand.
  • Using your fingers, apply the primer to your skin ONLY in the areas where you need it. For example, if you have large pores around your nose, then focus the primer on that area.
  • Dab it gently into the skin until everything is smooth. Avoid dragging the product as this can prevent the primer from applying evenly, and it can cause the foundation to look patchy.
  • Let the primer sit for one to two minutes before applying the foundation. This will give the primer time to settle into the skin and create a smooth canvas for your foundation.

PRO TIP: You can layer many face primers to target different skin concerns.

What Does A Concealer Do?

dermablend concealer

Concealer is used to cover up blemishes, dark circles, or other imperfections on the skin.

It comes in many different shades to suit the skin tone, and it can be either a liquid or a cream.

Not everyone needs to use a concealer unless they have imperfections or dark circles that they want to cover up.

When choosing a concealer, it’s essential to know that you might need two shades depending on where you’re using it.

For example, if you want to cover up a blemish, you need a concealer that’s the same shade as your skin tone or one shade darker.

But if you want to use it under your eyes, you would need a concealer that’s one or two shades lighter than your skin tone.

Here are some types of concealers:

Liquid concealer

revlon concealer

This concealer type is the most popular as it’s easy to apply and blend into the skin. It has a lightweight formula that provides buildable coverage.

Liquid concealers come in matte, satin, or dewy finishes, making them suitable for all skin types. You can use them under the eyes or on blemishes.

This concealer is one of the best liquid concealers on the market, and it has a buildable formula that can provide full coverage.

Cream concealer

mac cream concealer

The difference between cream and liquid concealers is the formula. A Cream concealer has a thicker consistency than a liquid one, and it provides full coverage.

Cream concealers come in a pot or stick form, and they are ideal for hiding skin discoloration or hyperpigmentation. However, they might not be the best choice for the under-eyes as they can look cakey or settle into fine lines.

A little bit goes a long way with this concealer type, so start with a small amount and build up the coverage. Avoid applying too much to prevent the concealer from looking cakey.

This concealer is one of the best cream concealers on the market, and it’s perfect for covering up skin imperfections. It’s very pigmented, and it blends easily into the skin.

Read More: Concealer Vs Corrector

How To Apply Concealer?

how to apply concealer

Prepare your skin before applying concealer by cleansing and moisturizing it. This will help the concealer go on smoothly and last longer.

Avoid using a very light color, which might cause your concealer to look grey. Also, dark colors can give your under eyes an orange look. For the under eyes, choose a color that’s one or two shades lighter than your skin tone.

When applying concealer under the eyes, use a small brush or your fingers and start from the inner corner of the eye. Dab the concealer on and use your finger or a makeup sponge to blend it out by gently dabbing it into the skin.

If you have small eyes, avoid applying the concealer too close to the lower lashline to prevent your eyes from looking smaller.

PRO TIP: Let your concealer sit for a minute before blending it in to get the most coverage.

The key is to use a small amount and blend it into the skin until everything is smooth and even.

For blemishes, apply concealer after foundation to get better results.

Start by dotting the concealer on the blemishes or imperfections. Then, use your fingers or a small brush to dab it gently into the skin until everything is smooth and even. Avoid dragging the product as this might cause to move the foundation underneath.

Set the concealer with a powder to make it last longer and prevent it from creasing.

Primer Vs Concealer

As you can see, both primer and concealer have different purposes so let’s take a closer look at the differences between them to decide which one you need more.

 The Main Purpose Of Primer & Concealer

nyx primer

A primer is applied before the foundation to create a smooth canvas for the rest of your makeup. You can also use it to minimize the appearance of pores and fine lines. In addition, it helps your makeup last longer.

Tip: In some cases, you can apply primer after foundation for quick touch-ups.

A concealer is used to cover up blemishes or dark circles. It’s not meant to be used on the entire face like foundation.

Concealers come in many different shades, while primers don’t usually have any color.

Formula & Texture

tarte shaoe tape concealer

Concealers are usually thicker and more opaque than primers. They’re meant to provide medium to full coverage for blemishes or dark circles.

Cream concealers are thicker than liquid concealers, and they’re ideal for covering up skin discoloration or hyperpigmentation.

On the other hand, primers have a lightweight and clear gel or cream formula that helps to create a smooth canvas for foundation. They are not supposed to provide coverage, but some might have a tinted formula that can help even out the skin tone.

This Tinted Primer, for example, is available in six shades. It has a smooth mousse formula that provides light coverage and gives the skin a smooth look.

 The Application Process

makeup sponges

When it comes to the application process, primers and concealers are used differently.

For better results, apply primer with your fingers to help it blend into the skin more easily. Focus on the areas you need it the most, such as the T-zone or fine lines and wrinkles.

Applying primer with a brush might work, but it can leave your skin with a streaky and uneven finish. Your fingers help to smooth out the product much better. In addition to this, the warmth of the fingers will help the primer blend in more easily.

As for concealer, you can apply it with a small brush, sponge, or your fingers. Damp makeup sponges work the best to blend concealer under the eyes, and they provide a smooth and natural finish that looks like skin but better.

As for the face, you can dab the concealer with your fingers to get better coverage for blemishes or hyperpigmentation.

Blemishes and skin discoloration are focused on specific areas, so it’s best to use your fingers to target those areas. The warmth of the fingers will help the product melt into the skin and blend better.

You can also use a small brush to apply concealer on the face, but it might not give a natural finish like the fingers.

The key is to experiment with both methods and see which one works better.

Concealer Vs. primer Comparison Table

primer vs concealer comparison table

Should You Use Concealer Or Primer?

question mark

Now that you know the difference between primer and concealer, you can decide which one you need more.

The answer to this question depends on your skin type, concerns, and the kind of makeup look you’re going for.

If you want to create a minimal everyday makeup look, you might not need to use a primer. If your primary concern is to hide some blemishes or dark circles, then you should focus on using a concealer.

If you want to achieve a full coverage makeup look, you might need to use both products. Using a primer first will help the makeup last longer and create a smooth canvas for the foundation.

Primers are unnecessarybut they can be a significant prep step for your makeup routine, especially if you have oily skin.

You can skip using a primer if you have normal skin with no large pores or wrinkles.

Oily skin tends to produce more oil throughout the day, making your makeup look greasy and shiny. A good primer will help control the oil production and keep your makeup in place.

On the other hand, if you have dry skin, you might want to focus on using a hydrating primer to help nourish the skin.

Primer Or Concealer First?

The order in which you apply your makeup products is essential, and you should always start with a clean face and use your skincare products first.

After that, apply your favorite primer. Give it a few minutes to set on the skin before moving to the next step.

Once the primer is applied, you can use your concealer.

Primer is meant to provide a smooth canvas for the makeup, so it should be applied first. This order will help you achieve a smooth and flawless makeup look.

TIP: Primer is supposed to be applied after sunscreen.

Can You Use Concealer As Primer?

maybelline concealer

Concealer can’t be used as a primer on the face because it has a thicker consistency, and it might not provide the same results as a primer.

Concealer targets specific areas on the face, such as blemishes or dark circles. Layering too much makeup might also cause the foundation to crease and settle into fine lines. Using concealer as a base under makeup might not be the best idea as it can give the skin a cakey look. In addition to this, concealer doesn’t usually come in clear formulas like primers.

However, you can use concealer as a base for your eyeshadow as it can help to hide any discolorations on the eyelids.

Applying a small amount of concealer on the eyelids will help to create a smooth base for the eyeshadow and make the colors pop. It will provide a base for the eyeshadow to stick to it.

Something that it’s worth mentioning is that using concealer as an eyeshadow primer will not help control the oil production on the eyelids. It will not prevent the eyeshadow from creasing during the day too.

If you have oily eyelids, it’s best to use an eyeshadow primer with mattifying properties.

Related: Best Eyeshadow Primers For Older Skin


Primer Vs Foundation Vs BB Cream

rimmel bb cream

The main differences between primer, foundation, and BB cream are their purpose and coverage.

Primer is a light and clear product used to create a smooth canvas for the foundation. It can also help control oil production and make the makeup last longer.

Foundation is a thicker product used to even out the skin tone and hide blemishes. It comes in different formulas, such as liquid, cream, or powder.

BB cream is lighter than foundation, but it provides more coverage than a primer. It’s a multitasking product that can be used as a moisturizer, primer, and foundation.

Some BB creams can provide hydration and SPF protection, and they are a good option for those who want an all-in-one product.

This BB tinted treatment 12-hour primer, for example, is a 5-in-1 primer that provides light coverage while smoothing and brightening the skin. It’s a silicone-based product used as a primer, foundation, or BB cream.

Read MoreConcealer Vs BB Cream, BB Cream Vs Sunscreen

Can you use primer without concealer?

rimmel primer

Yes, you can use primer without concealer.

A primer and a concealer are two different products that serve different purposes. You can wear the primer alone without makeup for a natural everyday look.

On the days when you don’t want to wear foundation, you can use a smoothing primer or an oil-control one instead.

Also, if you don’t have any blemishes or dark circles to cover up, you can skip the concealer step.

The most important thing is to find a primer that works for your skin type and needs.

For example, if you have oily skin, you might want to use a mattifying primer to help control shine during the day.

You can use a smoothing primer for mature skin that helps blur fine lines and wrinkles.

If you have dry skin, a hydrating primer helps to nourish and hydrate the skin.


Both primers and concealers are different products with different functions. A primer is the first step of any makeup routine, and it helps to provide a smooth base for the foundation and the concealer.

A concealer is used to hide dark circles and blemishes, and it comes in different shades to match the skin tone.

Whether you need to use a primer or concealer (or both) depends on your skin type and the look you want to achieve. Both products have their purpose and can be used independently from each other.

If you want a natural makeup look, you can apply a small amount of primer all over the face and skip the concealer.

For a more polished makeup look, start with applying a primer to create a smooth canvas . After that, apply your favorite concealer under the eyes and follow with your foundation. And finally, use a concealer to cover any blemishes that still need to be covered.

I hope this article was helpful. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below.

If you want to learn more about makeup, read our best tips to prevent your foundation from looking pink, the best full coverage drugstore foundations, and mix your foundation with moisturizer.

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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.

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