How to use colour corrector?

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Sometimes, foundation and concealer alone don’t cut it. No matter how much coverage you layer on, stubborn dark undereye circles, redness, and acne scars can still show through. When your go-to complexion products fail, it’s time to call in some trusty reinforcements: color correctors. The general gist is that the unusual pigments like lavender, sea foam, and muted yellow can work to counterbalance pesky undertones in your skin.

Previously a technique only makeup artists knew, color correcting has reached the masses thanks to YouTube and Instagram tutorials. Nearly every makeup brand now has color correcting products: liquids, creams, powders, and tubes of primer in greens, purples, and yellows. Since color correctors come in such a wide spectrum of rainbow shades, it can be intimidating for the average makeup wearer to figure out application. That’s why we tapped Estée Lauder makeup artist Jocelyn Biga to help us master the basics. Ahead, four ELLE.com staffers demonstrate the transformative powers of color correcting.

Figure out your problem areas.

“First, identify what you want to correct. Ask yourself: Are you getting what you want with your concealer and foundation? If the answer is no, then that means a corrector could help,” Biga said.

Have you noticed that hyper pigmentation on your cheeks is the most difficult to cover up? Do you feel like there’s dullness beneath your eyes? Do you have a large surface area of discoloration or just tiny target spots? There’s a color corrector to neutralize each of these individual concerns. “The best example is dark circles,” Biga continued, “Sometimes when you put concealer over dark circles, it looks ashy. You need to cut that blue first.”

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Apply color correctors before foundation—and blend, blend, blend.

The whole point is to have your foundation do less. “The moment you strike a color corrector on the skin you have to immediately blend it,” Biga added, “They dry so fast. Blend one color at a time, definitely.” The makeup artist also said that your application technique for foundation is crucial.

“You can’t put on your foundation the way you normally would because then you disturb the correcting underneath,” she said. “Do a stippling effect and pack it on there versus spreading. Do it little by little. You don’t want to disturb the corrector underneath and you don’t want it to become part of the foundation so it changes the color.”

Use heavier color correcting coverage on targeted spots.

Biga said that on places where you have individual marks or spots and where your pores are larger—like the nose and center of the face—you’ll want to use heavier coverage. “Thin is not going to last. Go thicker around these areas where foundation goes away,” she said.

Chloe: Dark Circles, Hyperpigmentation

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Kristina: Acne Scars, Redness

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Emily: Redness

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Madi: Dark Spots, Dark Circles

kat wirsing kat wirsing Kristina Rodulfo Beauty Director Kristina Rodulfo is the Beauty Director of Women’s Health—she oversees beauty coverage across print and digital and is an expert in product testing, identifying trends, and exploring the intersections of beauty, wellness, and culture.

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Instagram has spoken: Color-correcting is the big thing in makeup right now, and beauty brands are answering the call with green, purple, peach, red and yellow creams that promise to cancel out ruddiness, brighten under-eye circles, hide veins and generally erase all signs that your skin isn’t as flawless a cyborg’s.

Of course, this isn’t a new concept — not only have makeup artists been using color-correcting tactics on set for years, but beauty companies also tried to make them a must-have for the everywoman back in the ’90s. It was a time when you could find pastel shades everywhere, and a lot of poor, unsuspecting makeup-wearers took the bait, ending up with green pimples and weirdly yellow orbital areas. A good number of them went off the market quickly, and the ones that stuck around were mostly there for the professionals. As a person who lived through it, you can imagine why I eyed this new crop with skepticism.

Not that they shouldn’t work in theory. The whole thing is based on the color wheel, canceling out unwanted hues in your skin by using makeup in tones that sit directly opposite them on the ring. Then, depending on the formula, you either add concealer and/or foundation on top or just go on with your day.
Here are the major colors you’ll find and what they address:

  • Green: redness and broken capillaries
  • Blue/Lavender: sallowness
  • Pink/Peach: darkness, dullness and blue veins, particularly in fair skin
  • Yellow: dullness, particularly in olive skin tones
  • Orange/Red: darkness on skin tones deeper than medium

To find out if the strategy would really work this time around, I reached out to three makeup artists I trust — Andrew Sotomayor, Jamie Greenberg and Quinn Murphy — to get their thoughts. The verdict was a little hard to suss out. They ranged from fairly enthusiastic (Sotomayer: “Color correcting is one of the most effective solutions for solving tough makeup challenges”) to positive with reservations (Greenberg’s first: “Honestly, if used correctly they’re great”) to weary but not totally anti (Quinn: “I’m not a huge fan of color correctors in general. I like to use them sparingly and strategically.”). But they all agreed on two things: First, the new formulas are more blend-able and have higher quality pigments that disappear on the skin. Second, they can be tricky to make look natural, so you must factor in some practice time before you wear them out in the world.

Beyond that, here are their tips:

— Color-correcting isn’t for everyone. If you’re happy with the job your makeup does now, you don’t really need to mess with this whole thing. The only people who might want to use the strategy daily are those who are bothered by their skin discoloration. For everyone else, it’s one of those things you can save for life’s most photograph-worthy moments.

— Think of them as an assist to concealer and foundation. For example, when covering under-eye circles, corrector “allows you to use less product due to its counterbalancing the darkness, so you can avoid piling on the concealer,” explains Murphy. That’s particularly good when you want to look great in high-res photos, because, as Greenberg explains, a thick application of concealer can appear heavy and cakey through a camera lens.

— Use them to make the most of your natural complexion. They’re good for addressing patches of redness, veins on your eyelids or just boosting radiance, rather than switching your skin tone family from warm to cool or vice versa. “Using them to change the undertone is outdated and looks bizarre,” Murphy explains.

— Don’t get overzealous. “You just have to start lightly and build,” says Greenberg. It might be tempting to pile on makeup on a particularly pigmented spot, but if you blend as you go, you’re more likely to get a natural-looking result.

— There are different rules for under-eye circles when it comes to light/medium and dark skin tones. For light skin, a yellow, peach or purple-based concealer will cancel out the gray tones created when concealer is layered over the shadowy areas. On deeper skin, use bright orange or red first, followed by a neutral or yellow-toned concealer. Either way, Sotomayor says, “Tap the concealer on with your finger or a brush to prevent it from smudging the corrector.”

Keeping all that in mind, I called in a slew of newer formulas to test drive the deep-complexion products on a dark-skinned volunteer and the products for lighter folks on my notoriously tricky, fair Middle-Eastern skin tone (picture a complexion which reads sallow in some light and under-eye circles that make you wonder if there’s a raccoon in my family tree). After painting our faces like a beach ball, here are the ones I think are worth the fuss.

Best in All Lighting

Photo: Lancôme

Lancôme Miracle CC Cushion Color-Correcting Primer, $39.50, available at Sephora: This stuff doesn’t seem like much when you first open it — it’s a liquid so thin you wonder if it’s going to do anything. But all four versions manage to pack a punch without leaving much evidence behind. I can go without even a BB cream on top of the brightening pink shade. Bottom line: It softens more than it full-on covers, kind of like a camera filter for real life.

Best Multitasker/ Best for Making You Feel Proactive

Photo: Algenist

Algenist Reveal Concentrated Color Correcting Drops, $38, available at sephora.com: These pretty little bottles of fluid partially owe their tints to microalgae, which are added to treat the source of discoloration while canceling it out. You can use the drops alone or mix them with moisturizer or foundation, which I preferred — I found the formula looked like a film sitting on top of my face when used solo. So far I can only vouch for the instant brightening results of the blue and peach shades, but in a test of 65 women done by the brand, users of all four colors reported seeing good results. But the star may be the green-hued one — 95 percent said it improved redness.

Most Foolproof Brightener

Photo: Physician’s Formula

Physician’s Formula Super CC Color-Correction + Care All-Over Blur CC Cream and Primer Stick, $14.99 for the cream and $12.99 for the stick, available at Ulta: This brand was one of the worst offenders in the ’90s, so I approached this stuff with caution. But, in truth, they were very user-friendly. They’re both made of a blend of three color-correcting pigments mixed for you so you can just swipe on for overall brightness. There’s no spot-correcting option here, but either one is a good place to start if you feel like you’re all thumbs when it comes to makeup. A gripe: The cream only comes in one shade (Light/Medium) and the stick comes in two (Light and Light/Medium), which works for folks on the fair end of the spectrum, but not so much for everyone else.

Most Intagrammable/Biggest Pay-Off

Photo: Essence

Essence Cosmetics Say No to Redness and Say No to Dark Circles, $2.99, available at Ulta: The most opaque and makeup-like of all the ones I tried, these redness- and shadow-canceling sticks covered the most intense discoloration the best. Plus, the fat pencil tip lets you target only the spots that need correcting. These are really best kept to the more seasoned makeup user, however, because if you don’t cover them well you risk ending up with Green-Zit Syndrome.

Best for Under-eye Circles

Photo: Make Up For Ever

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Concealer, $27, available at Sephora: The idea behind this two-step formula is that you smear a color-correcting peach-based under-eye concealer around your eyes before layering a skin-tone one overtop (each available in five shades). The results were dramatic. Together they got rid of my shadows almost entirely and, thanks to the plumping hyaluronic spheres, they didn’t highlight all my fine lines in the process. The only caveat here: This whole line is meant to make skin photogenic. That means it’s noticeable, so wear in sunlight with caution.

Best Brightening Effect/Best Blur-er

Photo: Urban Decay

Urban Decay Naked Skin Color Correcting Fluid, $28, available at Sephora: No tricks here, just pick your poison from green, lavender, pink, yellow and peach and use the wand applicator to blend on before applying your tinted moisturizer or concealer. The most noteworthy effect was the job the purple one did brightening my skin when smeared across my forehead and cheekbones like a highlighter under tinted moisturizer. I’ve never looked so refreshed in my life. As for the consistency, it’s sheer so you don’t think it’s going to cover, but trust, it does. That said, I found all of them better for softening the effect of mild discoloration than completely erasing a red pimple or a dark sunspot.

Magic for Dark Skin

Photo: BlackUp

Black|Up Concealer Magic Quad, $30.50, available at Sephora.com: As mentioned, I had to outsource the testing of this one (read: I smeared it on a darker-than-me friend in a restaurant bathroom one night), but I had high hopes for it since this brand is specifically developed to address the needs of dark skin. And that it did. The palette contains concealers and color correctors to brighten darkness and smooth scars and flaws without making the complexion look washed out. The red shade in the one we had (there are three versions) was impressive — it made patchy areas around her mouth and eyes completely disappear under concealer. The popular Paris-based makeup line officially debuted in the U.S. in the fall, but now that it’s easily available here, you can expect to hear a lot more about it.

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How to Apply Color Correcting Concealer

Green Concealer

For redness, acne and rosacea

Green is opposite the color wheel from red, so it’s perfect for hiding any redness on your face, like pimples and acne scars. If you have rosacea, a color correcting green primer will help hide unwanted redness and give you an even base for applying foundation.

Orange Concealer

For people with darker skin tones who have dark circles under their eyes

Orange is opposite from blue. If you have darker skin with blue dark circles, orange will work to help conceal the uneven undertones. People with lighter skin should avoid orange and instead use a peach color corrector.

Pink Concealer

For people with lighter skin tones who have dark circles under their eyes

Pink concealer is usually salmon or peach in tone and is created from a mix of red, orange, and yellow hues. Since these colors are opposite from blue, green, and purple on the wheel, this corrector is best for hiding dark eye circles on lighter skin tones.

Yellow Concealer

For dark purple bruises, veins, and under eye circles

Yellow color correcting concealer can be used to cover up any blemish that’s purple in tone. Bruises, veins, and under eye circles can be hidden with a yellow spot concealer.

Purple Concealer

For yellow skin tones and combatting dull complexion

Purple is best for combatting yellow undertones and brightening skin. Use a purple primer to remove yellow tones from your entire face or use a spot concealer to hide yellow spots.

The Dos & Don’ts of Applying Color Correcting Concealer

  • Do choose the right hues for your skin. The effectiveness of color correctors depends on finding the right tone to match your blemish. Remember that orange is for dark skin and peach is for light skin.
  • Do apply thin layers! A thick layer of corrector may show through your foundation.
  • Don’t use colors that you don’t need. Color correcting concealer is meant to be used only on blemishes that are strong in appearance. For smaller less noticeable blemishes, a regular concealer will do.
  • Do utilize a makeup sponge or beauty blender to pat the coverage into the skin. Don’t brush the colors all over your face. This will undo all the hard work you’ve done by moving the pigments into the wrong areas.
  • Do remember that makeup should enhance your skin not hide it! So think of color correcting concealer as a fun extra step that’s to be used sparingly and don’t forget to let your natural face shine.

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In partnership with Sephora Canada • Just like highlighting and contouring are techniques rather than trends, so is colour correction. All three skills have been for the most part the bailiwick of makeup artists and drag performers forever. But no more. Thanks to a crazy explosion of colour-correcting palettes, creams, and crayons from a gazillion beauty brands, we’re finally hitting the heart of real “CC” creams.

And I know it’s overwhelming – we’re just getting through what feels like a year-long course on highlighting and contouring, and now we have to learn a new thing?

Fear not. Once you figure out whether you need colour correction, and then what type, it’s really very simple – and you already know more than you think.

what is colour correction?

“Colour correcting uses the basis of colour theory to ‘correct’ discolouration,” says longtime professional makeup artist Lori-ann Lazary. She’s worked with British Glamour, Redbook and Fashion magazines, and is the founder of La La Beauty Pro Makeup Academy. “The opposites on a colour wheel will counteract each other.”

Simplifying makeup colour-correction: behold the colour wheel.

You know, like how a blue or lavender rinse counteracts the yellow in white hair? Or how blue-based red lipstick makes yellow-ish teeth appear whiter?

who needs colour correction?

Most of us need a little extra complexion help every once in a while. But if you love your results with just concealer and foundation, you don’t have to rush out to buy a CC palette or shade.

If you just can’t seem to achieve an even, happy and rested overall skintone with just foundation and concealer – maybe dark circles always show through, or the redness still shouts from your cheeks – colour correcting class is about to begin.

what colour corrects what?

Colour-correction simplified: Sephora Collection Bright Future Color Correctors_green and melon

In broad strokes, “Orange is used to correct under-eye discolouration, especially those very deep-blue dark circles; green cancels redness, such as rosacea and broken capillaries, and lavender is used to counter very yellow tones,” says Lori-ann. Here’s a basic breakdown based on what you might want to neutralize:

  • redness: green corrector
  • mild stubborn redness or rosiness: yellow corrector
  • brownish dark circles: yellow or peach corrector
  • sallowness/yellowness: lavender corrector
  • dark circles, fair to light complexion: salmon corrector
  • dark circles, light to medium complexion: peach corrector
  • dark circles, medium to dark complexion: orange corrector
  • dark circles, dark to deep complexion: red concealer

Within this range of shades there are paler and deeper intensities, of course, something for every skintone. Don’t ever think you can’t find something that works for you now – this is a good, diverse time in beauty world.

how to apply colour corrector

Colour-correction simplified: Lancôme Miracle CC Cushion Color Correcting Primer in Yellow and Pink

Whether you apply colour corrector before or after concealer and foundation depends on the intensity of the discolouration you want to neutralize – and where it’s located. “The under-eye area is easier to correct, so you have options,” says Lori-ann. If you need only a little correction, “you can mix a little salmon, peach or orange with your concealer to adjust the tone.”

For severely dark circles, though, and larger reddened areas like the cheeks, Lori-ann says it’s better to “lay down a light application of corrector, then apply concealer or foundation on top in a stippling or patting-with-fingertips motion.”

When it comes to foundation, you’ll need one with some kind of coverage – sheer formulas just won’t do. Green and orange corrector in particular will show right through tinted moisturizer, BB cream or sheer liquid foundation. (If you’ve been struggling to hide severe circles or any kind of discolouration that won’t stay hidden, chances are you’re already using something with more pigment anyway, right?) You want at least a medium coverage, something you can build if you need a bit more pigment in some areas.

Full-coverage foundation is another option. Not everyone wants a full-coverage formula because sometimes it can look like a mask, and you absolutely need a perfect match to the skin on your neck. But if you’ve got something to camouflage, full-coverage foundation may well be your fastest hide-everything option – you might not need additional colour correction. And you can blend it to reduce coverage in other areas.

In terms of concealer, most CC palettes include a couple of shades that you can use on top, or mix to get your ideal shade. If you have a concealer with decent coverage already, try that over your corrector to see how it works.

colour-correcting palettes vs individual shades

If the very idea of getting into this colour-correcting thing makes you dizzy and chromophobic, perhaps it’s best to determine what you want to neutralize, then get just that shade.

Colour-correction simplified: Urban Decay Naked Skin Color Correcting Fluid

Dark circles on fair skin? Try the Urban Decay Naked Skin Color Correcting Fluid in Peach ($35 CAd at sephora.ca).

Cheeks that always look wind-burned? Consider the Lancôme Miracle CC Cushion Color Correcting Primer in Green ($45 CAd at sephora.ca), or the sleek YSL Touche Eclat Neutralizer in Green ($50 CAd at sephora.ca) if you’re feeling fancy.

Colour-correction simplified: Make Up For Ever 5 Camouflage Cream Palette Color Correct and Concealer

Obviously if you have more than one issue to deal with, or you want options, a palette is going to be more your speed. Lori-ann recommends the Make Up For Ever 5 Camouflage Cream Palette Color Correct and Concealer ($49 CAd at sephora.ca) because “it has all the corrector colours plus a concealer you can mix as needed.”

Colour-correction simplified: Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Wipeout Color-Correcting Palette

I’ve already geeked out about the Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Wipeout Color-Correcting Palette ($54 CAd at sephora.ca) in this post here – it’s gorgeous for anyone who loves makeup.

Colour-correction simplified: Sephora + Pantone Universe Correct + Conceal Palette with handy overlay

Now I’m geeking out large about the Sephora Collection Sephora + Pantone Universe Correct + Conceal Palette ($61 at sephora.ca). The fold-out guide is uh-mazing, with clear instructions on which colour to use for which skintone and what area. If you’ve got a kid who has makeup-artist aspirations, this palette (it comes in two colourways) is grand. Look:

Colour-correction simplified: Sephora + Pantone Universe Correct + Conceal Palette plus guide

Colour-correction simplified: Sephora + Pantone Universe Correct + Conceal Palette – dark circles

Colour-correction simplified: Sephora + Pantone Universe Correct + Conceal Palette – hyperpigmentation

Colour-correction simplified: Sephora + Pantone Universe Correct + Conceal Palette – dullness/brightening

Now here’s one of the reasons (aside from the free shipping once you hit $50 on your sephora.ca order) that I’m such a Sephora fan: they’ve got some great how-to videos that feature models appropriate to the colour corrector they’re demonstrating. Watch them as soon as you can; at some point they’ll be replaced by new trend videos.

Does everyone need to get on board with colour correcting? If your complexion looks great with a touch of concealer and some tinted moisturizer, not you. But if, no matter what you try, people keep asking whether you’re tired because your circles are showing, or you just can’t achieve a radiant complexion no matter what foundation you try, then yes, you want to spend some time in colour-correction class.

Are you new to colour correction in makeup? Will you explore it a bit? Are you intrigued by the single shades, or are you a palette type?

Colour correcting – it’s the beauty buzzword that make-up artists everywhere are seriously into, and the latest product category we never knew we needed until now (obviously we’ve already bought three).

If, like us, you’ve seen the tutorials and nabbed your colour correcting rainbow pastel palette, then all you need now is the know how.

We called on Em Rata’s go-to make-up artist Hung Vanngo, Max Factor’s very own Caroline Barnes and the man behind Rimmel’s new make-up movement, James Molloy, to give us the low down.

Here’s how to colour correct the right way (without looking like a multi-coloured clown by the time you’re done) so you can have the most flawless complexion in town.

Over to the pros…

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What are colour correctors?

Colour correctors are concealers that are available in a range of colours, usually pastels, intended to help correct and conceal different skin issues. These most commonly include orange, purple and green shades that can be used to help neutralise unwanted blue/red tones in your skin and therefore create a more flawless base for your make-up.

What colour correctors can you get?

‘Colour correctors come in either solid or liquid forms, like the Max factor Colour Corrector ‘CC’ pens, or liquids’, says make-up artist Caroline Barnes. ‘Solid forms are much better because they allow more bespoke application and enable you to easily target specific areas of the face.’

Em Rata’s go-to make-up artist Hung Vanngo agrees, ‘I love Marc Jacobs Covert Stick Color Corrector. It comes in three shades that all help to conceal different complexion issues and suit different skin tones.’

So what’s the deal? How do we go about choosing the right colour corrector without looking like face paint gone wrong?

Here’s what you need to know about choosing the correct (sorry…) colour corrector for you…

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Purple

What it does: violet/lilac tones help lift a dull complexion and sallow undertones, commonly found more so in Asian complexions.

Where you should apply it: areas of your face that need brightening – this can be on cheeks, forehead or chin.

Green

What it does: any redness in the skin is neutralised by a green tone, this means that it will calm the intensity of a red undertone caused by pigmentation and rosacea.

Where you should apply it: on blemishes, rosacea, and redness.

Works best on… fair to mid skin tones, green can tend to look ashy on darker or olive skin tones.

TOP TIP: ‘I use a yellow corrector as a softer version of the classic green tone,’ says Rimmel Global Make-Up Ambassador James Molloy, ‘If the skin is flushing pink or there’s a little violet in the undertone of the skin, a yellow corrector will even this out gently.’

Orange –

What it does: anything peachy/orangey will lift grey/blue undertones in your skin.

Where you should apply it: around your eyes (especially blue-toned eye bags) and for any dullness around your mouth.

Works best on… darker skin tones as it can look too warm on fair skin.

What Shade Of Colour Corrector Should You Use Depending On Your Skin Tone?

For fair skin… pastel tones of peach, green and violet.

For medium tone/olive skin… warmer tones of peach and violet.

For dark skin… richer tones of orange and ochre.

When should you apply a colour corrector?

The age old question, ok, not quite age old, but still a crucial part of getting your colour correcting right.

‘I apply corrector first, then foundation and concealer last, says Hung, and Barnes agrees, ‘I always apply colour correctors pre-make-up, as you’ll be able to use less concealer and foundation, allowing your skin to look fresher and less ‘made-up’.’

Genius.

What’s the best tool for applying a colour corrector?

As with any brightly coloured make-up product, the general rule is approach with caution and build up if you need more.

‘I’d recommend using correctors as lightly as possible; especially the green or violet shades which can dramatically change the skin tone so a beauty blender or soft brush is best,’ says Molloy.

TOP TIP: ‘I use a combination of fingers, as the warmth helps melt the product into your skin, with a face brush when applying to a larger area to gently build the coverage,’ says Hung.

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What should you avoid when colour correcting?

Because mistakes can (and probably will) happen, get to know the warning signs for when you’ve been a little over zealous with the lavender.

1. Don’t Overload

‘The classic mistake that most people make with colour correctors is overloading your skin with the different colours,’ warns Caroline. ‘You only need a tiny amount of the colour corrector just on the area where it’s needed. The aim is not to block out the colour underneath completely but neutralise it so it’s easier to conceal on top of it.’

2. Check Your Tone

‘Around the eye area can have many different undertones from blue to red’, says James. ‘Try a few corrector tones to see which best suits. If they turn ashy on the skin, a peach/orange colour corrector will generally do the job of knocking back any dark circles.’

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Related Story Related Story

Ready to go pro? If you want to up your makeup game, you need colour-correcting concealer. It’s not as tricky as you might think. Here’s an easy how-to.

Although the idea of applying rainbow tints all over your face might seem a bit scary, it can give you gorgeous skin. You’ve just got to master the rules of colour-correcting concealer. Here’s how to get your dream skin with unusually bold and bright concealers.

How to Cancel Out Unwanted Colours

To use colour-correcting concealer properly, you’ve got to understand the fundamentals of which colours do what. Refer to this chart before you shop for the products you need for your own complexion.

Concealer colour Works on these skin tones Neutralises
Pink Fair Blue (think under-eye bags, scars, bruises)
Peach Medium Blue and purple
Salmon Dark Ashy and blue
Yellow Medium and dark Ashy and purple
Green All Red
Lavender All Yellow

The Essential Tools

Concealer brush: Go for quality here. The Sigma P86 Precision Tapered Brush is a makeup artist’s staple that’ll always do the job perfectly.

Colour correctors:

  • BECCA Backlight Colour Correcting Crème in Peach is perfect for counteracting dullness, blue tones, and ashy tones.
  • Need a more powerful pick? BECCA Backlight Colour Correcting Crème in Papaya banishes darkness and dullness.
  • Dealing with yellow tones? Go for BECCA Backlight Colour Correcting Crème in Violet.

Colour-correcting kit: If you’re a newbie looking for the perfect starter kit, look no further than Jane Iredale Corrective Colors. Featuring yellow, peach, and lilac plus a multipurpose beige concealer, this kit has you covered for every skin issue you could have, 365 days a year.

How Do I Use Colour-Correcting Concealers?

Using colour-correcting concealers is much more straightforward than you might think. The only real mistake you can make is not covering the concealer. Colour correction is a two-step process, so you’ll need two concealers handy.

Your first step is to use the colour-correcting concealer. Work with the chart above to know which colour to use. Also, if you took art classes, you may already be familiar with the colour wheel.

Colour correction works on the principle of contrasting colours. Red contrasts with green. Yellow contrasts with purple. Any colour on the wheel contrasts with the colour on the opposite side. It doesn’t take long to familiarise yourself with the contrasts, and that’s all you need to know for colour correcting.

Once you’ve applied your colour-correcting concealer, simply layer a neutral colour that’s close to your natural skin tone on top. For both applications, use a concealer brush. You’ll want a precise application rather than just a smeared on look.

So, just do one coat of colour-correcting concealer. Let it dry for a minute. Add a coat of skin-toned concealer and voilà: you’re gorgeous!

Colour correctors magically work to neutralise and help even out the look of the skin for a flawless-looking complexion and gorgeous canvas for face makeup! They come in different colours, consistencies and intensities, and which type you should use depends on your skin type, skin tone and personal skin wishes.

Discover Charlotte’s ultimate guide to colour correctors and how to use them below!

Shop colour correctors | Shop concealer

INTRODUCING CHARLOTTE’S NEW! MAGIC VANISH COLOUR CORRECTORS

“My secret formula can cheat the appearance of a full night’s rest!” – Charlotte Tilbury

The magic of colour correcting makeup is now part of Charlotte’s iconic beauty collection with her NEW! Magic Vanish compacts. Available in 4 skin-neutralising shades, the buttery, feather-light formula magically colour corrects the appearance of pigmentation and dark circles on the skin for a flawless-looking complexion.

With Magic Vanish applied, 100% agreed that the blue colour of dark circles appear visibly neutralised and 99% agreed it smooths the look of the skin!*

Shop Magic Vanish colour correctors

FIND YOUR SHADE

The key to brighter-looking skin is choosing the right shade for you. Charlotte’s Magic Vanish colour correctors come in 4 shades, ranging from nude, peach sheer tones to a deep orange-red for intense correcting. Typically, peach, orange and red colour correctors are best applied on dark spots on the face, often found under the eyes, around the mouth and on the forehead, but can be used anywhere on the face where you find you’d like to correct the appearance of discolouration or hyperpigmentation.

Discover the shade range below to find your perfect colour corrector!

Fair: Magic Vanish in Fair is a colour correcting concealer in a nude-peach tone. Use this if you have fair skin and would like to neutralise blue-ish tones on the face and under the eyes.

Medium: If you have a medium skin tone and want to neutralise blue-purple tones on the face before applying foundation, choose this peachy-orange colour corrector.

Tan: Magic Vanish in Tan is an orange colour corrector perfect for concealing pigmentation and dark circles. Choose Tan if you have a medium-to-tan skin tone and apply under the eyes and on any other areas of hyperpigmentation for complexion perfection!

Deep: For intense colour correcting, choose Deep. The highly-pigmented orange-red colour corrector is great to neutralise hyperpigmentation, dark spots and dark circles, especially for those with tan-to-deep skin tones.

HOW TO USE COLOUR CORRECTORS

Follow Charlotte’s step-by-step tutorial to complexion perfection, featuring Magic Vanish colour correctors!

Step 1: Start by moisturising your face with Charlotte’s Magic Cream, massaging the rich formula onto the skin using outward motions and the Tilbury Tap technique (a pitter-patter of the fingertips on the skin) for a healthy, brighter-looking complexion. Complete moisturising the skin by applying Magic Eye Rescue eye cream to help revitalise and hydrate the under-eye area.

Step 2: Next, use your chosen shade of the Magic Vanish colour corrector and apply to the under-eye area by tapping lightly with your ring finger for a brighter-looking base for your concealer. Apply and blend out on any other areas of discolouration which may be around the mouth, near the nose or on hyperpigmentation and dark spots, to conceal and create an evened-out canvas for your foundation.

Step 3: Using the large, flat-topped head of the dual-ended Hollywood Complexion Brush, apply Charlotte’s NEW! Airbrush Flawless Foundation to your skin. Blend the full-coverage formula outwards from the centre of your face for a flawless, poreless-looking, airbrushed, natural matte finish.

Step 4: Apply the Magic Away liquid concealer under the eyes and other areas on the face you’d like more coverage, paying extra attention to where you applied your Magic Vanish colour corrector. The full-coverage creamy formula is perfect for creating a flawless-looking canvas; apply from the magic cushion applicator and blend with your fingertips or the angled, small head of your Hollywood Complexion Brush.

Step 5: Set your flawless-looking makeup in place with Charlotte’s iconic Airbrush Flawless Finish setting powder to minimise shine and Apply it under the eyes, around your nose and anywhere else you applied your concealer for a dreamy soft-focus finish!

Shop the collection of colour correcting makeup by Charlotte Tilbury | Shop concealers

*Tested on 120 women

IDK about you, but there’s nothing I hate more than spending 30 minutes on my makeup, only to notice that the dark circles under my eyes and the redness on my cheeks have magically reappeared an hour later. So after many failed attempts at evening out my skin tone with a cocktail of concealer, foundation, and powder, I decided it was time to actually perfect the art of color correcting. And since the whole thing isn’t suuuper intuitive (which color goes where?! why?!), I called in a pro to help.

According to Sir John (makeup artist to Beyoncé, y’all), you need to identify three things before you start: (1) where you need to correct, whether that’s under your eyes, around your nose, etc.; (2) what you need to correct, like dark shadows, yellow tones, or redness; and (3) the right shades to use to get the job done. Ahead, everything you need to know to get started—including the exact products you should use for your skin tone.

Ruben Chamorro

Color Correcting 101

Okay, before you apply any makeup, take a look at yourself in the mirror—natural light is preferable—and figure out where and what you want to “correct” (hey, we didn’t make up the term, but remember, there’s nothing “incorrect” about your face to begin with, k? U perfect). “Your look can go awry very easily if you don’t map out where and what you need to color correct,” says Sir John. “Your skin can look too light or your concealer might peek through your foundation if you use the wrong shade.”

Basically, finding the right shade of concealer is key when you’re color correcting, and it depends entirely on your skin tone and concerns. That said, there’s six colors you’ll want to keep in mind while color-correcting: pale pink (which brightens blue-toned spots on fair skin), peach (neutralizes blue/purple shadows on medium skin tones), orangey pink (cancels out dark spots on dark skin tones), yellow (offsets purple or darker-toned shadows on olive or tan skin), green (neutralizes redness), and lavender (cancels out yellow tones).

To color correct like a boss, Sir John suggests applying your foundation or tinted moisturizer first so you won’t have to use as much color corrector as you accidentally would on a makeup-free face. “Keep in mind you’re not covering a tattoo or a bruise when color correcting—you’re focusing only on brightening shadows,” he says. “Apply lightly with your fingertips, and the warmth of your skin will help blend the product with your skin tone.”

With Sir John’s tips and tricks in mind, I had three lovely models demonstrate their approach to color correcting. Keep in mind that everyone’s skin concerns are a little different, so what works for your friend might not work for you—and that’s totally okay! Color correcting is all about trial and error, but here are a few options and product recs to get you started:

How to Color Correct on Dark Skin Tones

RUBEN CHAMORRO, LAUREN AHN

With Maya here, we decided to target three specific areas: yellow tones around her nose (using a lavender concealer); redness along the top of her brows, down her nose, and on the sides of her mouth (with a light-green concealer); and dark shadows under her eyes (with a deep-peach concealer).

Maya’s Hero Products

Urban Decay Stay Naked Weightless Foundation urbandecay.com $39.00 NYX Professional Makeup Lavender Concealer Wand nyxcosmetics.com $6.00 Smashbox Photo Finish Reduce Redness Primer sephora.com $39.00 Becca Under Eye Brightening Corrector sephora.com $32.00 Ruben Chamorro

How to Color Correct on Medium Skin Tones

RUBEN CHAMORRO, LAUREN AHN

With Heeseung, her main concerns were redness on her cheeks, around her nose, and on her chin (which we combated with a medium-green color corrector); yellow tones on her forehead and jawline (which we neutralized with a violet formula); and darkness around her mouth (which we brightened with a pale-yellow shade).

Heeseung’s Hero Products

L’Oréal Anti-Fatigue Magic BB Cream lorealparisusa.com $10.99 Marc Jacobs Beauty Cover(t) Stick Color Corrector sephora.com $42.00 Dior Fix It 2-in-1 Prime & Color Correct sephora.com $36.00 Estée Lauder Double Wear Yellow Custom Coverage Correcting Duo ulta.com $19.20 Ruben Chamorro, Lauren Ahn

How to Color Correct on Fair Skin Tones

RUBEN CHAMORRO, LAUREN AHN

To cancel out the dark shadows under Emma’s eyes and around her mouth, we used a pale-pink concealer. A pale-green concealer was drawn around her nostrils and chin to nix the redness, and a lilac corrector was smoothed across her cheeks to neutralize yellow tones.

Emma’s Hero Products

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 sephora.com $46.00 Giorgio Armani Beauty Pink Master Corrector sephora.com $40.00 Urban Decay Naked Skin Green Color Correcting Fluid urbandecay.com $29.00 Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Wear Lavender Camouflage Color Corrector lancome-usa.com $31.00 Ruben Chamorro, Lauren Ahn

And There Ya Have It

See?! Color correcting isn’t too hard if you take the time to figure out your concerns before you start. Now go on out there and show your office bathroom mirror your skills.

Related Story Ruby Buddemeyer Beauty Editor Ruby is the beauty editor at Cosmopolitan, where she covers beauty across print and digital.

The Top 10 Color Correcting Tutorials Ever

Let’s be real, having skin is a full-time job. Sure, concealers do a great job of hiding small breakouts and blemishes and correcting dark circles. However, if you need a little more coverage and correction, color correctors come in various shades that each address your specific skin issues!

Navigating these colorful palettes and products can seem daunting. Stress no more! We’ve got all the details on which color corrector is right for you and how to use them to their greatest potential. We’ve also tracked down ten of the GREATEST tutorial videos so you’re sure to put your best face forward!

FINDING THE RIGHT COLOR CORRECTOR FOR YOUR NEEDS:

Finding a color correcting concealer is as simple as using the color wheel.

To find which color corrector would work best for you, identify which color your skin issue is, then choose a color that is opposite it on the color wheel. Complimentary colors neutralize each other and expertly concealing even the toughest imperfections.

When using a color corrector, apply foundation first, followed by the color correcting product then concealer on top. Blend the concealer for a flawless, corrected look! Still need help figuring out which color corrector would suit your skin’s needs? Check out our FULL guide to color correctors!

THE TUTORIALS:

1. SPOILER ALERT! Amazing Color Correction with the YSL VoxBox by Influenster

PRODUCTS USED:

Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat Neutralizers in Bisque, Violet, and Green

2. City Color COLOR CORRECTION First Impressions by

PRODUCTS USED:

CC Color Corrector Stick in Green, Yellow, Lavender and Orange

3. How to Use the NYX Color Correcting Palette

PRODUCTS USED:

Nyx Cosmetics Color Correcting Concealer

4. How to Cover Dark Under Eye Circles – Color Correcting

PRODUCTS USED:

NYX Above & Beyond Full Coverage Concealer in Orange

5. Color Correction: STOP using ORANGE Lipstick! #FixitFriday

MAC Prep & Prime Peach Lustre | Graftobian Corrector Palette

6. MAC Cosmetics Prep + Prime CC Color Correcting Loose Powder

MAC Prep + Prime CC Colour Correcting Loose Powder in Yellow

7. NYX Color Correcting Liquids: Must or Bust?

Nyx Cosmetics Color Correcting Liquid Primer in Pink, Peach, Yellow, Green and Blue

7. COLOR CORRECTING: Everything You NEED To Know

BECCA Blacklight Targeted Colour Corrector in Peach

8. How I Contour, Conceal and Correct My Face Using LA GIRL Pro Conceal

L.A. Girl Pro Conceal Corrector in Orange, Yellow and Green

9. Neutral Everyday Smokey Eye + COLOR CORRECTION

BECCA Blacklight Targeted Colour Corrector in Peach and Pistachio

10. Xtreme Color Correct – Highlight & Contour

Which tutorial is your favorite? Will you be trying any of these tricks? Let us know in the comments!