How To Find The Best Foundation & Concealer Combo

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how to match foundation and concealer

Every makeup enthusiast knows a flawless complexion is key to creating any look. As the base for glittery shadows, smoky eyes, bold lips, and more, you need to have the right products on hand. This is where learning how to match foundation and concealer the right way comes into play. Through years of trial and error, you’ve probably found a brand that offers a solid range of products. Tried and true, it’s always been a safe bet to stick to a singular lineup — even if that means blending two foundation shades or applying several layers of concealer for maximum coverage. But along with the formulas, shade ranges have improved. Now, it’s not uncommon to find a match among different brands in order to get your desired final look.

With more inclusive products tailored to fit varying skin tones, the options are now limitless. Even more compelling are the array of finishes. But all of the choices make finding the perfect pairing overwhelming. According to celebrity makeup artist, Yolanda Frederick, the first step is identifying your skin’s undertones. “They will help you determine which shades best fit your complexion,” she says.

Finding the best match requires a bit more knowledge. Below, TZR tapped three makeup artists for their expert advice on what to keep in mind when shopping for complexion product pairings.

Why Finding The Right Match Matters

If you’ve ever walked outside wearing the wrong foundation color for your complexion, you understand firsthand the importance of shade matching. That same ethos rings true with foundation and concealer pairings. According to Claudia Betancur, celebrity makeup artist and L’Oréal Paris League of experts, a perfect foundation and concealer pairing ensures that your makeup appears uniform and consistent. “Concealer should complement your foundation by providing additional coverage,” she says. For this reason, they must blend seamlessly into each other.

Though mixing brands can be daunting, it can provide options in terms of finishes and coverage. Compatibility is the name of the game when it comes to finding the right combination of products. Frederick highlights that concealers tend to fall into three categories: silicon, water, or oil-based. “Generally speaking, an oil-based concealer doesn’t pair well with a water-based foundation,” she says. Finding a balance between the formulas and consistency will help ensure your complexion looks even after application.

How To Find The Best Foundation & Concealer Combination

Start With Your Undertones

Base products are all about understanding your natural undertones. “These range from warm hues like peach or yellow to cool pinks and blues, or neutral colors that fall somewhere between the two extremes,” says Frederick. Knowing which best describes your complexion will be the first step to figuring out your go-to foundation and concealer shades. “If the products have conflicting undertones, they can have a splotchy effect and even appear differently in certain lighting,” says celebrity makeup artist Sarah Egan. You’ll likely find that you’ll need a foundation and concealer with the same undertone, which is a great place to start.

Once you’ve determined which undertone category you fall under, use it to find a complementing product. For example, if your skin reads more warm, Frederick notes that a concealer in the same family will be best. “Using a cool-toned product on warm undertones can give an ashy look, while a warm concealer on cool-colored skin will make it appear sallow,” she adds.

As far as the actual concealer shade goes, that will be dependent on what you’re aiming to cover. Betancur and Franklin note that it should be the same hue as your foundation for a natural finish. “If your primary use is to cover blemishes and even your complexion, the products should be the same shade to blend effortlessly,” says Franklin. Contrarily, you can opt for a lighter color under the eyes to give a brightening effect. To highlight, Betancur suggests choosing a tube that’s one to two shades lighter than your skin tone and foundation shade. Not only will it lessen the appearance of dark circles, but it can instantly lift your final look.

Consider Your Skin Type

According to Betancur, your skin type is just as important. “Complexion products come in various formulas that can affect how your skin looks,” she says. With that in mind, she recommends assessing first and then choosing a formula that best fits your skin’s needs. If you need your makeup to last throughout the day, you may be tempted to reach for a long-wear product. However, if dryness is a top concern, you should opt for a creamy or serum-infused formulation that will give you a hydrated look.

Pay Attention To Finishes

From matte to dewy, there’s truly a finish for every kind of makeup look. Since concealers are made to be complementary, Egan recommends starting with a foundation you love and then looking for a product that works well with it. “If you’re using a matte foundation, it’s best to pair it with a similar formula to deliver the most seamless finish,” she says. While no rules prevent you from mixing finishes, you want to be mindful of where you’re placing the products. For a natural look, consider using a self-setting or hydrating product that won’t be too flat or greasy.

Think About Coverage

Next to shade matching, coverage is easily the second most popular factor. Not only can it affect how you use the products, but it can also determine the final look. In terms of foundation and concealer, your coverage should be consistent. “If you tend to wear a full-coverage foundation, your concealer can be medium to full and should be lightly layered to avoid a cakey look,” notes Betancur. For those who prefer a natural finish, Egan recommends using a skin tint paired with a lightweight concealer. As a general rule of thumb, the experts suggest opting for a product that will conceal imperfections without feeling too heavy on the skin. “The consistency must be just right to provide the coverage you desire without creasing or cracking over time,” says Frederick.

Use Natural Lighting

It’s no myth: Natural light is your best friend when applying makeup. Not only does it give you an accurate depiction of your undertones, but it can help you determine your skin’s needs. “Testing products in organic lighting helps you narrow down the options and greatly improves the likelihood of finding a suitable match,” says Betancur. If your apartment isn’t overflowing with sunlight, Egan recommends sitting by the best window or heading to the car. “Find the angle that delivers the best light and then look to see what areas you want to cover the most. This will help you choose the best products for a well-balanced and natural finish,” she says.

Finding the perfect concealer and foundation combination can enhance your makeup look. Sure, it can be overwhelming to find the right mix. But with these tips, you can build a base for a flawless complexion.

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