For a long time, color correcting was one of those beauty tricks that intimidated me. I’ve often felt it better to just leave it to the pros, while I go on about my business applying that extra layer of full coverage concealer over my flaws. But after spending a month in an intensive beauty class this Fall (let me know if you want me to write a post about it in the comments below!), I’ve begun to embrace the idea of using colors to correct dark circles, conceal unsightly blemishes, and brighten a dull complexion. I wouldn’t say that I’m a full blown color correcting convert who applies a rainbow to my face every morning, but I have appreciated the subtle way that this technique has snuck its way into my daily routine to reveal more natural, but perfected makeup.
What is it?
So let’s talk about what exactly color correcting is and what it can do for you. Although these little palettes can seem a bit overwhelming, with their bright colors resembling something you’re more likely to use on your eyelids rather than your complexion, they’re really not as crazy complicated as you think. I promise. If you break down the concept of color correcting a little bit, then all of a sudden you’re dealing with something familiar that you’ve seen in an elementary school art class. This whole idea is simply a manipulation of the color wheel.
How do you use the color wheel on our faces, you might ask? It’s simple, really. You want to first look at the color on your face you want to correct: blue or purple dark circles under the eyes, a red blemish, yellow undertones, etc. Then you want to match that color on the color wheel and find the color directly across from it. So in the case of a big angry red pimple, you’d be looking at green because it’s straight across from red. For blue circles under the eyes, you’ll want to use orange.
Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple. There are a few catches. If you have a warm undertone (your skin appears more yellow than pink), you have to take the yellow undertone into account when you color correct. If you are not sure what undertone your skin is, check out this post here! When I have redness in my skin, I can’t go straight in with green unless I’m at my palest. This is because the yellow undertone of my skin clashes with the cool undertone of the green and can lead to a grey cast. In order to correct this issue, I’ll simply use yellow to correct redness because I know that yellow, which makes up green (yellow + blue = green) will be enough to reduce the red color around my nose or on my blemish. Still confused? Think about it this way. Green neutralizes red, but makes yellow skin grey. If you pull the blue from the green, you’re left with yellow. So on yellow skin, yellow neutralizes red without any greyness.
So in simpler terms, try to stick with your skin’s undertone. If you have a cool undertone, try correcting with cool toned colors, and if you have a warm undertone, try warm toned colors. This will help you avoid a grey cast on the complexion.
Which color goes where?
If you’re still confused, or need a bit more guidance before experimenting with color correcting, here are the colors I use where and why?
Dark Circles: My dark circles are quite a handful…I have red, blue, and purple under my eyes (yay!) making them a bit of a hassle to correct. I use a combination of colors to help correct their darkness and add a bit of brightness to the area in general. Firstly, I like to apply a bit of yellow right under the center of my under-eye because I have redness in this area. Then to tackle the blue and purple tones, I’ll grab a peachy toned concealer (something orangy but also a little salmon-y at the same time). Often I’ll go for my Bobbi Brown corrector in the shade extra light peach bisque because it’s perfect. Bobbi Brown also has a huge shade range of correctors to chose from so I definitely recommend checking them out if you struggle with dark circles. If you have a very deep complexion, the burnt red orange shade in the Make Up For Ever palette above would do wonders for correcting and brightening.
Blemishes and Redness: I touched a bit on redness already, but for a quick recap, I use yellow to correct mild redness all over the face: around the nose and chin, blemishes, and under the eyes. For redness all over the face, try out this tinted primer. If you are very fair or have a seriously angry (I mean firetruck red) blemish, try out the green. But beware, the more is not the merrier in the case of this shade. A greenish tinge to the skin is not so cute. Regardless of your skin tone, I recommend trying out yellow before going to green. It was my fail-safe in beauty school and it never let me down.
Yellow or Sallow Undertones: This is a bit of a tricky topic for me. I know that this can be a controversial area in the beauty world, but I thought I’d address it for all of those who are interested. If you have yellow undertones but want your skin to appear more porcelain and neutral in tone, you can use purple to neutralize the yellow. This technique is often used by east asian women to achieve a fair almost white complexion. I would recommend using a tinted primer to achieve this look, or mixing a cream based corrector, such as the one in the Make Up For Ever Palette above, in with your moisturizer or primer. Most correctors are simply to thick to apply over the entire face. This is a simple way to neutralize the complexion without having to be heavy handed with foundation.
Let’s talk about brands…
I’ve tried quite a few brands in my journey through color correcting. So here are my thoughts.
Bobbi Brown Corrector: By far the best under-eye corrector I have ever used! Absolutely amazing. I’ve been using this little guy since I was sixteen and I don’t think I could ever change. The shade range is huge and the consistency is perfect, just thick enough to have great coverage and thin enough not to settle into fine lines. Absolutely a must have for dark circles!
Soap & Glory Kick Ass Concealer: This is similar to the Bobbi Brown corrector, but it comes with two shades and a setting powder. There is a corrector in a pinkish peach shade and a concealer in a warm tone. The corrector is nice and brightening. The concealer is too dark for me until Summer, so I don’t get to much wear out of it. I don’t love the formula as much as the Bobbi Brown one, but the packaging is amazing for travel, so it makes this guy perfect for packing light. Definitely check it out if you’re looking for something more affordable!
Make Up For Ever Correcting Palette: This concealing palette comes with five colors in staple correcting shades. It’s perfect for someone looking to seriously up their color correcting game. For everyday use, it’s not what I reach for, but it definitely comes in handy for desperate moments. The formula is creamy and easily bendable and Make Up For Ever has multiple palettes for many different skin colors if this one isn’t the one for you.
Maybelline Master Cameo Color Correcting Kit: This is my newest addition to my color correcting wardrobe and a recent release from the drugstore. So far I have enjoyed this palette. It definitely comes with my must have shades for daily use and I’ve gotten quite a bit of use out of it. Check out more of my thoughts and first impressions of it here!
Color correcting isn’t as scary as it may seem. It’s all about tailoring your makeup to fit your needs which I think is amazing and so versatile. If you’re interested in experimenting with color correction, check out one of these palettes, I know you won’t be disappointed. Let me know in the comments if you want to see a video about how I color correct on a daily basis!
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