How to Color Correct with Makeup
I have extremely dark undereye circles. Ah. I knew years of sleep deprivation would finally catch up to me. But ever since I learned how to color correct, you can’t tell I look like a zombie at all! Color correcting seems daunting, but it’s honestly easier than you think. You don’t have to be an art student to learn how to color correct! I’m the least artistically inclined individual in my friend group (maybe it’s because I only have artsy friends), but I did learn how to color correct, so you can too.
Diving into color theory
So again, I’m no artist, but color theory is integral to understanding how to color correct effectively. In order to neutralize a pigmented spot, you need to use the complimentary color a.k.a the color across from the pigment on the color wheel. Green combats red, orange cancels out blue, purple with yellow, and so on.
How to use each color corrector
The only tool you need is just something to blend with. This can be a sponge, a brush, or even your fingers.
Green color corrector is my favorite. That’s because it zaps the redness right out of your face. Better yet, it works on all skin tones! Green color corrector will cover up rosacea, acne, and other types of redness.
The pinky-peach color is a combination of pink, orange, and yellow. This color combo neutralizes green, blue, and purple undereye shadows. Pink or peach color correctors are best for combating dark circles on lighter skin tones.
Not all undereye circles are made the same! For me, I find that yellow color corrector cancels out my brown and purple eyebags the best. Yellow color corrector is sure to phase out any purple-y spots. Yellow is also great at addressing mild redness, so if green just doesn’t work with your skin tone, give yellow color corrector a try.
Orange color corrector brightens up the under eyes for deeper skin tones. It tackles blue-ish purple spots and will make your sun spots disappear.
If pink, peach, yellow, and orange all don’t work for the under eyes, maybe red color corrector is for you. I’ve been seeing some great feedback on using red lipstick from makeup artists. I would just recommend using a super light layer of it, so you don’t have to layer tons of concealer to cover up the red pigment.
Do you ever look at the mirror and feel like a dead fish? I certainly do. Purple color corrector aims to decrease sallowness and yellow spots on your skin. This will brighten up your skin. (2,3)
The different forms of color correctors
As with all kinds of makeup, color correctors come in different mediums (1).
These have a similar consistency to liquid concealer. Liquid color correctors are not as high coverage as creamy correctors but they are thin and easy to use.
Color correcting drops are runnier than liquid, but the pigment is much more intense. Drops are ideal if you want to mix it in with your foundation.
3. Primers/CC cream
Want to knock out two steps in one? You can create that poreless canvas on your face while brightening uneven skin tone. This is great for covering large areas of your face.
4. Pot Correctors
These thick and creamy formulas are super high coverage. People with oily skin may not like this type because it can make your pores look bigger or not stay on the skin well.
Stick correctors are not as thick as pot correctors but are still creamy in consistency. I would suggest stick concealers for individuals who want super detailed application.
Powder is perhaps the strangest form (to me at least). These don’t offer as high color payoff as their liquid and creamy counterparts, but powders are extremely effective in covering large areas, mattifying, and adding a finishing luminous glow.
All in all, each form has its own distinct advantage depending on your skin mood.
Where does color-correcting fit in your makeup process?
For most color correctors, it goes like this:
- Do your skincare and finish off with your moisturizer and SPF
- Apply color corrector(s) over face and blend it out
- Proceed with applying makeup
The only exception to this rule is if your color corrector is in powder form. Because powders are less pigmented than the other forms, it’s safe to layer on top of your foundation and concealer.
But hold on, here’s a game-changing technique
So color-correcting is general used to correct spots on your skin, but what if you mix them with your foundation? Aha! Do you know, you can make any foundation fit your skin mood by mixing it with a color corrector? If you’ve found the foundation with a great formula but it’s not an exact match, you don’t have to give it up.
Beauty guru Alexandra Anele does this all the time. As someone with light olive undertones, she often finds it difficult to find the perfect foundation color since most of them pull pink on her. As a result, she often mixes a green color corrector with her foundation to make her perfect match (4).
Let this just be a general guide into color-correcting. I’m not going to lie: learning how to color correct can be a lot of trial and error. Sometimes, it’s difficult to identify the exact pigment color on your skin due to your overtone. Sometimes, the intensity of the color corrector completely throws off the color of your foundation. (Again, thin layers are a must.)
It’s best to experiment on your own time to see what blends in best with your skin/foundation color. And once you got it, you got it for good! It’s definitely not as challenging as finding your concealer shade. Not sure where to start? L.A. Girl Cosmetics has many different color correctors, and they’re only five dollars a piece!
Furthermore, you may not even need to color correct. Really, if you have light blemishes and spots, your regular foundation and concealer will do.
Written by Jessica Lu