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Today I’ll tell you all of the secrets of color correcting makeup. Do you find yourself piling on the foundation sometimes, trying to cover a sudden bout of acne? Does it seem like no matter how full the coverage of your concealer is, your eye bags still seem to come through? You might need some color correcting makeup items in your arsenal to give you that coverage without your makeup look ever seeming heavy or cakey.
In this article, I go over the theory behind color correcting makeup, I explain which colors work to hide which imperfections, I give you the best technique for applying color correcting makeup, and I finish off with a list of the best color correctors on the market. Enjoy!
Color Correcting Guide: Contents
- What Is Color Correcting Makeup?
- Best Green Color Correctors
- Best Peach Color Correctors
- Best Orange Color Correctors
- Best Yellow Color Correctors
- Best Lavender Color Correctors
- Best Color Correcting Makeup Palettes
- Color Correcting Chart
- Cancelling out Redness with Color Correctors for Different Skin Tones
- Erase Those Under-Eye Bags with Color Correctors
- Brightening up a Sallow Complexion with Color Correctors
- The Best Color Correcting Makeup Application Technique
- Color Correcting Makeup Tips & Tricks
Color correctors most frequently take the form of concealers, although color correcting primers, foundations, and powders also exist. Instead of being skin tone, like your average concealer, they are normally a pale tint of green, yellow, lavender, or peach.
When applied over some sort of discoloration on the skin, these color correctors will neutralize the discoloration and eliminate the need for heavy foundation.
1. Physicians Formula Conceal Rx Physicians Strength Concealer in Green
A great color corrector can be polarizing. This ultra-pigmented green concealer is perfect for blemishes, because it sets quickly and does not move. Just be careful to apply and blend it quickly, and be happy knowing that your pimples will stay hidden for a long time. You can pick up this color-correcting concealer at Amazon, or Walmart.
2. Marc Jacobs Cover(t) Stick Color Corrector
This stick color corrector is large, making it perfect for all over redness correction. The texture is creamy and blendable, and the color is a warmer green that won’t pick out through your foundation. It can be purchased at Sephora.
1. Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat Neutralizer in Bisque
This light and creamy concealer comes in a gorgeous rose gold container, with a great built-in applicator. Its creamy texture is perfect for under the eyes, where it corrects blue tones and gives a touch of brightness. Grab it from YSL Beauty, or Amazon.
2. Laura Mercier Eye Basics in Peach
This color corrector is pretty cool because it takes the form of an eye primer that can be used both under eyeshadow to warm things up, or under the lid for a bit of color correction. Just use a light hand, and enjoy crease-free coverage for the whole day. You can find it at Amazon.
1. Lancome Teint Idole Ultra Wear Camouflage Color Corrector in Orange/ Red
It’s tough to find an orange color corrector that isn’t too thick, but will still work well with darker skin tones. Well, Lancome made it, and it is creamy, light, blendable, and heavenly. Perfect for under-eye circles, because it will cover blue/ purple discoloration without drying or settling in the crease. You can find it at Sephora.
2. Urban Decay Naked Skin Color Correcting Fluid in Deep Peach
An easy wand applicator, and a creamy and nourishing formula are hard not to like. This deep peach color corrector was formulated with darker skin tones in mind, so naturally this formula is a winner, perfectly covering blue-based imperfections. Pick it up from Nordstrom.
1. NYX Professional Makeup Concealer in a Jar in Yellow
A little on the thicker side, you can apply this yellow color corrector to neutralize red and purple tones. Its heavier formula can be sheared out with a foundation. The coverage is flawless and long lasting, and the price is right, making it one of my go-to color correctors. Buy it at Amazon!
2. Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizing Primer in Yellow
Brighten your complexion while correcting for redness with this yellow primer that is perfect for warmer skin tones. It will give your skin radiance, and will hide a multitude of sins. It is perfect for rosacea and all over redness, so go ahead and buy it from Sephora, or Amazon.
1. NYX Hi Definition Photo Concealer Wand in Lavender
Blend a few drops of this lavender concealer into your foundation to combat sallowness, or apply it along the cheekbones to brighten things up. The texture is perfect, and the application with the wand is super easy. You can pick it up at Ulta, or Amazon.
2. Algenist Reveal Concentrated Color Correcting Drops in Blue
So while technically a blue tint, this color corrector still rocks at cancelling sallowness, and it is super-easy to use. Just blend a drop into your foundation, and apply it all over the face. Brighter complexion in an instant! These color correctors are available at Sephora, and Amazon.
1. Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Wipeout Color Correcting Palette
Tarte knows how to do face makeup products, and this color-correcting palette is no different. It features both color correcting makeup, as well as some skin-toned concealers, so you can do a full face with it. The concealers get pretty dark, so you can even use them for contouring! You can purchase this palette at Sephora.
2. Make Up For Ever 5 Camouflage Cream Palette Color Correct and Conceal Palette
So this color corrector palette is actually available in 5 shades, for all different skin tones and discolorations. No 5 is a full color correcting makeup palette, with creamy and blendable concealers in green, orange, lavender, and two natural shades, to perfect anyone’s skin. You can find it at Make Up For Ever.
Any budding makeup artist cherishes their color wheel for two reasons. The first one: it can tell you which colors will stand out next to other colors, making it easy to bring out beautiful blue eyes with a touch of copper, or to create astounding eyeshadow/ blush/ lipstick combinations.
The second reason is that the color wheel is also really important for color correcting makeup. The color correcting wheel shows us how different colors relate to each other.
When it comes to color correcting makeup, we specifically want to look for complementary color pairings. These color pairings, when placed right next to one another, tend to bring each other out. However, when they are placed one on top of the other, they end up neutralizing each other.
How do you figure out these complementary colors? It is super simple! Pick one color, and then draw a straight line from it to the color that is directly across it. You’ll see that green is the opposite of red, yellow is the opposite of purple, and blue is the opposite of orange.
Green Color Correctors
Since green is the opposite of red, green color correctors easily camouflage any redness on the face, be that red acne marks, birthmarks, sunburn, an annoying zit or rosacea.
Yellow Color Correctors
Being the opposite of purple, yellow color correctors can cancel out any under-eye dark circles, eye-catching veins and bruises, also perfectly evening out and brightening up your skin tone. Yellow color correctors work perfectly for olive and tan skin tones.
Orange Color Correctors
If you have been reluctant to use face sunscreen every time you walk out the door, and as a result ended up having some dark spots and hyper-pigmentation on your face, orange color correctors can help you even out your skin tone and create that perfect base for your makeup.
Only keep in mind that orange color correctors are meant for those with dark skin tones, while those with lighter skin tones can use them only for contouring or for adding a subtle sun-kissed touch to their makeup.
Peach Color Correctors
While orange color correctors are best for dark skin tones, those with medium skin tones should opt for peach color correctors to hide any blue or purple spots, bruises and dark circles.
Pink Color Correctors
Just like orange and peach color correctors, pink also covers blue-toned spots, but it’s perfect for lighter skin tones. You can use a pink color corrector to camouflage dark circles around the eyes, to eliminate any signs of fatigue from your face and to make your skin look radiant and fresh. Pink color correctors are also great for brightening up olive and sallow skin.
Blue, Purple or Lavender Color Correctors
Being the opposite of yellow, purple or lavender color correctors cancel out yellow spots, eliminate the dullness from your yellow complexion and give a beautiful glow to it.
There are multiple types of redness you might experience. Your skin might be red because of acne, because of sensitivity or rosacea, because of broken capillaries, or just because your skin is a little red naturally. Very rarely is the skin truly red, but rather, it is tinted pink.
If your skin is pale, especially if it has cool undertones, a pale green concealer is your best bet. Since green is opposite of red (and pale green is the opposite of pink) on the color wheel, it will do a magnificent job cancelling out that redness, leaving your skin looking even and flawless.
When you use green concealer for color correcting, finish of your perfected skin look with a bit of cream or liquid foundation, followed by powder.
For medium to dark skin tones, especially for those with warmer undertones, a true yellow color-correcting concealer might work better than a green one. It will do as good a job of neutralizing the redness in your skin, but it will also blend better into your foundation and the rest of your makeup.
Dark under-eye circles come in a variety of colors. Have a close look at that pigmentation before choosing the perfect color correcting makeup color.
For purple-based under-eye circles that lean more towards red, you want to use a yellow color-correcting concealer. Yellow will totally neutralize the purple, and will also brighten your under-eye area.
If your skin is a little bit darker, sometimes the yellow over the dark circles can look ashy, so you can blend a bit of orange into your yellow concealer, to get an overall warmer coverage.
For more blue-based under-eye circles, that pale peach color-correcting concealer is your friend, especially if you have pale skin. For those with darker skin, a more saturated orange concealer will work even better because it will match the darkness of your skin and perfectly color correct any discoloration.
You can follow up color correcting makeup on the under eye with just a bit of concealer or foundation, and then a light layer of powder.
So lavender color-correcting concealer has to exist for a reason, right? Well, I’ll admit that in nearly 10 years working as a makeup artist, I’ve rarely seen a need to reach for the lavender concealer shade, but I’ll still tell you what it’s all about.
When you color correct purple under-eye circles, you aim for the yellow concealer, so it only follows that a purple based concealer will help with yellow discoloration. This is usually in the case of sallowness, when the skin is overly yellow not in that gorgeous glowy way, but in an unhealthy way.
A lavender primer can do a fantastic job of color correcting without depositing too much color, but you can also blend a bit of heavier lavender concealer into your foundation. Since this calls for the lightest application of color correcting makeup, even a powder foundation is enough to finish off the look.
No matter which color it is you are color correcting, and no matter where the discoloration is, the application of color correctors itself is about the same.
• Begin with a cleansed, moisturized, and primed face.
• Map out the spots on your face that you need to color correct, and lightly apply your color-correcting concealer on them in dots using your fingers, or a concealer brush.
• Using either a blending brush, your fingers, or a makeup blender, blend out the color-correcting concealer until it sits over your skin in a very thin layer. Since the job of the colored concealer is to neutralize, rather than cover, you don’t need to build up the coverage. The thinnest layer is more than enough.
• Next, use a stippling technique to apply foundation or a concealer that matches your skin tone over the color corrected areas. It is best to use a liquid foundation. You want to tap the foundation onto the skin, in order not to disturb or remove the color correcting makeup.
• To remove the excess foundation or to blend it out, gently tap a sponge or a beauty blender over it. The sponge will absorb the excess while keeping all of your layers in tact.
• If you like to contour and highlight with cream products, now is the time.
• Finish off with a dusting of your favorite setting powder, and the rest of your makeup look.
• Mix your color-correcting concealer with your foundation for a subtler tint and a quicker color correcting makeup application. This technique is perfect for correcting all over the face.
• If you are very pale with a cool undertone to your skin, a lavender concealer can work beautifully as a highlighter.
• If you are looking to correct a subtle color all over your face (like redness or sallowness), a tinted primer might be better than a concealer.
• If you are looking to cover spots here and there, like pimples or hyperpigmentation, then a cream concealer is the best choice.
• For the under eyes, liquid concealers are usually best, because they spread nicely and keep the under-eye area looking healthy and moisturized.
Do you have any of your own color correcting makeup tips or tricks? What kind of discoloration do you usually have to hide? Share your experiences with us!
Photos via @laurabadura, @therubinrose, @beetotheo, @laura_leth