Skip to Content

Primer Vs. Concealer: What’s the Difference?

Primer Vs. Concealer: What’s the Difference?

When I first started doing my makeup, I was really confused by the countless beauty products with different labels such as concealer, primer, foundation, toner, moisturizer, and so on.

I didn’t know what’s the purpose of these products except for the foundation. When I researched the terms online, interesting information came up. So, I decided to share it with the makeup beginners.

Many people don’t know the difference between primer and concealer and which one goes first, so I decided to start from there.

A primer is used to prepare the face for foundation and should be applied before concealer and foundation.

Concealer, on the other hand, is used to cover up dark circles ed spots, and acne. So, you’re supposed to apply it after you apply your foundation.

What type of concealer you choose, depends on the type of your skin. For example, if you have dry skin, purchase a stick concealer and if you have oily skin, stick to liquid concealer.

You can apply both primer and concealer with your fingertips.

However, you can also use a makeup brush for blending the concealer. When buying a concealer, search for one that matches the shade of your foundation.

Some people buy lighter concealer but I recommend that you buy the one that matches the foundation. And if possible, purchase from the same brand.

Primer vs Concealer vs Foundation

No, that you know the main purpose of both primer and concealer, let’s learn more details about these beauty products. However, since everyone is wondering what’s the difference between primer, concealer, AND foundation, I will compare and discuss all three in detail.


As I already said, the primer should be applied before any makeup. It should be the first step in your makeup routine. After you apply moisturizer, you should apply a primer. But is primer really necessary?

According to beauty experts, it’s not. However, using primer comes with plenty of benefits like minimize visible pores and fine lines and creating a base for applying your foundation as well as the rest of the makeup.

In other words, primer turns your face into a smooth canvas for your makeup. However, it will also make your makeup last longer. Are you interested in buying a primer

Choosing the perfect one can be a bit of a challenge considering the countless products on the market.

But that is why I’m here to help. I have reviewed only the top-rated primers. They’re affordable and efficient. And I personally recommend them to everyone because I’ve tried most of them over the years.



I’m putting foundation before concealer because I’ve mentioned earlier that it should be applied after you apply foundation. But let’s focus on the foundation for now. I don’t know about you, but I cannot live without foundation.

It’s the perfect way to create an even skin tone and cover imperfections.

Some people apply concealer before foundation. However,  to discover what works best for you, try both ways and keep doing what makes you feel comfortable in your own skin.

If this is your first time buying a foundation, I suggest that you test before you buy. It’s recommended that you pick the shade that matches your chest. However, you can also test shades on the back of your hand.

And don’t forget to check the shade in natural light.

Once you find the perfect foundation, make sure to buy a matching concealer in the same shade from the same brand, if possible in order to make sure that the colors will match.

Now, let’s discuss the main purpose of concealer and learn if we can use the concealer as a replacement for primer.


I have already mentioned that concealer is used for covering dark circles, red spots, acne or other imperfections. It should be applied after your foundation, even though sometimes people apply concealer before foundation.

Try both ways to figure out which one suits you best.

There was a time when I used 2 in 1 stick foundation and concealer because I was too lazy to apply the products separately.

However, once I have discovered that they work and feel better if applied separately, I bought a full-coverage liquid foundation and stick concealer.

In order to find out what works best for you, you have to experiment with different types of products. So, don’t be afraid to change your makeup routine and try something new.

Another frequently asked question that caught my attention while doing research on the topic was: can I use concealer as a primer? Let’s find out.

Can I use Concealer as a Primer?

You cannot use concealer as a primer because they’re different products with a different purpose. However, you can use concealer without primer.

The beauty industry has made us believe that using a primer is a must. However, nothing is really ‘necessary’ when it comes to makeup. It’s a matter of personal preference. The first concealer was created in 1954.

The first primer entered the makeup world around 2002 which makes you think, wasn’t it ’necessary’ back in the past? Yes, using primer has its benefits but it’s not something you cannot live without.

It fills in fine lines and pores and creates a base for your foundation and the rest of your makeup. It also extends the life of your makeup.

But that’s the only main purpose of primers. They also control oil, correct color and add smoothness to your face.

Still, if your skin is normal, even-toned, smooth, and doesn’t have fine lines and obvious pores, you don’t need to use a primer and I envy you very, very much.

For those who don’t use primer, I suggest that you buy a BB cream that acts as a primer but has other skin benefits as well. I also recommend purchasing an eyeshadow primer in order to keep your eyeshadow intact.

Useful hack: apply a small amount of eyeshadow primer in order to cover dark circles if you don’t like using primer but have to deal with this issue.

What’s first Primer or Concealer?

Primer goes first. Remember, the main purpose of primer is to prep your face for makeup, including concealer. Concealer, on the other hand, should be applied after your foundation.

Is a primer really necessary?

I said it once but I’m going to say it again: nothing is really ‘necessary’ in the makeup world.

However, practicing different techniques and certain things will provide better end results and boost your look. The main purpose of primers is creating a perfect base for foundation and make you look polished.

Think of primer as a fine coating that extends the life of your makeup.

Did you know that primers protect your skin by acting as a barrier as well? As you can see, using primer has many benefits, however, it’s not necessary. Some beauty experts replace primer with moisturizer or BB cream.

Also, if you use a primer, you will probably use less foundation.

Do you need a primer for concealer?

No, you don’t need a primer for concealer if you have normal skin.

However, if you have oily or dry skin, you might think about using a primer before you apply your makeup, including a concealer. It’s not recommended NOT to use a primer. However, it’s not really necessary too.

Some professionals swear by primers and claim that they can do miracles for your makeup, while others say that they’re just a waste of money and should be ignored.

It makes sense to use primer in order to protect your skin from the makeup because you’re putting a lot of chemicals on your skin, after all. And who doesn’t want their makeup to last longer anyway?

It’s a personal preference if you use prime or not.

You don’t need a primer for concealer or foundation. However, for smoother and long-lasting application of your makeup, I suggest that you give it a try, especially if you have acne-prone or oily skin.

Note: using the right primer can help you reduce fine lines, minimize pores, control oil and redness and soothe your skin.

Final verdict

I’ve come to the conclusion that using a primer is not ‘necessary’ as some people claim. But it certainly has its benefits.

If you want to give it a try, don’t forget that primer goes before other makeup including concealer. First, you apply the primer. Then you apply foundation. After, you apply concealer.

Still, if you want to wear makeup without primer, no one can stop you. Instead, you can use some of the top-rated BB creams which act as both primer and moisturizer.

I personally use a primer because I believe that it helps my makeup last longer and look more polished. However, if you think that it’s just a waste of money and you don’t need it, who am I to convince you otherwise?

It’s your skin and your money after all. Take care and don’t forget to share this useful information with someone you love.