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Order of Application: Skincare, Foundation, Concealer and Makeup

Ask Bella: What Comes First, the Foundation or the Concealer?

Welcome to Ask Bella, the time where you get to be in control. Wanna know WHY you're getting pesky chin spots in your 30s or HOW to master the fishtail braid or WHAT on earth a vampire facial is and should you be booking one? Well, ask away and we shall answer! It can be totally anonymous or not — the choice is yours. Simply email us at and we guarantee that Anna/Mel/Matt will say "That's exactly what I wanted to know." Today, we're turning our attentions to one of the most asked beauty questions of all time from Anon.

"My question is: what should I apply first? Foundation or concealer? I've heard different things from different people over the years and it's left me confused."

You're so right, Anon. It can be a minefield out there, especially when everyone starts chucking their two cents in. The general rule of thumb is you apply your foundation first. Think of foundation as the bigger picture and concealer as the finishing touch. Foundation will help to even skin tone and cover enlarged pores, whereas concealer is for targeted areas that need that little extra coverage — think under-eye circles and blemishes. Below's a quick reference guide that shows the best order of application from your skincare through to your makeup.

Keep reading . . .

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  1. Cleanser: Before starting to apply, it's essential that you get rid of any old makeup as well as oil and impurities that have built up overnight.
  2. Exfoliate: This helps to slough away any dead skin cells, giving the skin a radiant look. It's only necessary to scrub 2-3 times a week, but you should always make sure that you exfoliate properly before doing a face mask. I'd recommend doing a mask once a week, especially in Winter when your skin gets very dry.
  3. Toner: Not a mandatory step, but it can offer additional benefits such as soothing or hydrating the skin.
  4. Serum: Treatment products always come after cleansing, but before moisturising.
  5. SPF: If you don't use a moisturiser with an SPF, be sure to apply a sunscreen before your standard face cream.
  6. Moisturisers: The last step of the skincare routine is a moisturiser.
  7. Primer: Again primer is an optional step, but most makeup artists agree that using one helps to even out skin tine and makes foundation application easier.
  8. Foundation: Be sure to let your primer "dry" before applying your foundation or you won't get the full benefits of it. Start from the centre of the face when applying foundation, drawing the product out towards your temples and down towards your chin.
  9. Concealer: After applying foundation, look for an areas that could use a little additional coverage. Use a creamy, yellow-based product under eyes to help counter-act the purple tones of dark circles. For blemishes, apply a thicker formulation to individual areas using a fine-tipped concealer brush.
  10. Bronzer: A light dusting of bronzer on the areas that the sun hits will help you achieve that golden glow. Start in the centre of your forehead, bringing the brush in a semi-circular motion around to the cheekbone, and repeat the step down to the jaw line. Repeat on the other side of the face and light dust a little product on your nose and chin also.
  11. Blusher: Next, add a pop of colour onto the apples of your cheeks. Not sure where to apply? Do a big grin and apply on the pockets of your cheeks that pop out.
  12. Highlighter: If you're wanting an all-over dewy glow, you can add a liquid illuminator into your foundation and apply as normal. But if you simply want to highlight areas of your face with a cream-based product, dot a little on cheekbones and on the bridge of your nose.


Image Source: Getty
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