If you’ve been in a store that sells makeup recently, chances are you’ve probably seen some funky coloured products in different shades of green, purple, pink, orange, or yellow. You may ask yourself, “What are these strange creams, and what are they used for?”. Well, I’m here to answer those questions for you and how you probably would benefit from using one if you wear makeup regularly. Those strange products are colour correctors, and they help out with a wide variety of skin issues. If you have any sort of discolouration on your face and would like to learn how to conceal those spots more effectively, please keep reading.
WTF is a colour corrector, and why do I need to use one?
Before I get into how to use colour correctors, I would like to explain the basics behind how they work and why people are quickly gaining interest in them. To start, please read the list below and see if any of the following apply to you:
- My dark circles are out of control
- I have some darker spots on my face from acne scarring or just some shadowy areas
- My face is constantly flushed
- My skin looks awfully sallow
If you identify with one or more of these issues and find that you’re having a hard time concealing them, you should probably consider using a colour corrector. There are specific shades of correctors that are used for each of those problems I listed above. Essentially, you want to pick a shade that will neutralize/cancel out the tones that you want to correct on your face. To illustrate this, let’s look at a colour wheel:
The colours that are opposite of each other are the shades used to neutralize each other. For example, yellow neutralizes purple, orange neutralizes blue, green neutralizes red, and so on. By using a corrector, you can avoid grey and cakey-looking makeup which is usually what happens when you apply too much product on a problem area. Colour correctors provide a neutral base so that the foundation and/or concealer you apply will show true to colour without having to use too much of it.
How do I use colour correctors?
So now that we’ve got the basics behind how colour correctors actually work, we can dive into how we can use them. Although the fundamentals of colour correcting are about the same regardless of your shade and undertone, some may or may not work how they’re intended to. I’ll go through each kind of corrector and you can decide which one would work best for your own needs.
Pink correctors are usually very light shades of cooler pinks which can be used to neutralize the under eye areas that have blue-ish/purple tints. Pink correctors are best used for individuals who have fairer skintones with cooler undertones. If you have darker skin, pink correctors may look ashy.
ex. Becca Under Eye Brightening Corrector, MAC Prep + Prime Highlighter in Radiant Rose, Bobbi Brown Correctors ending in ‘Bisque’.
Peachy/salmon correctors are similar to pink correctors, however they usually aren’t as light and are better suited for individuals with warmer undertones. These also work to neutralize the under eye area with slight blue-purple tints. These correctors work well for individuals with light-medium-tan skin. Again, if you have darker skin, these may look a little ashy as well.
ex. Benefit Erase Paste, Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer in Radiant, Bobbi Brown Correctors ending in ‘Peach’.
These correctors are straight up yellow or orange. These are typically used for some heavy-duty and relentless under eye darkness. If you’ve tried pink or peachy correctors and find that they don’t really do the trick, you should probably consider using these big guns. Yellow and orange correctors also work very well for individuals with darker skin tones to brighten up darker areas on the face. Sometimes individuals with darker skin may experience some hyperpigmentation around the mouth or may have some darker spots from acne scars. I find that orange correctors does wonders for these issues.
ex. MAC Studio Conceal and Correct Duo in Rich Yellow/Burnt Orange, LA Girl Pro Conceal in Yellow or Orange.
These are used to neutralize redness in the face. They work excellently for fresh acne scars that are typically bright red, and they also help with redness all over the face. Depending on how much surface area you would like to neutralize, you would either use a concealer to spot treat or a primer-like product which you can use to cover more area without it being too thick. Unfortunately, I find that green correctors typically come in a lighter shade of green that looks almost pastel-like which would not play well for individuals with darker skin tones.
ex. Maybelline Corrector in Green, Smashbox Color Correcting Foundation Primer in Green, L’Oréal Color Correcting Primer in Green.
These are typically used to neutralize sallow (yellow-ish) complexions. Again, these kinds of correctors usually come in a lighter shade of lavender so these typically only cater to individuals with lighter skin tones.
ex. NYX Color Correcting Cream in Lavender (comes in light/medium and medium/deep versions), Becca Backlight Targeted Colour Corrector in Violet.
Once you decide what kind of corrector works best for you, you need to apply it in the appropriate areas. Keep in mind that when applying correctors, less is more. You don’t want these correctors to show up too opaque otherwise it will do the opposite of what it’s supposed to do. You also should keep the correctors concentrated in the areas that you want to correct, otherwise you will end up with random spots of orange, yellow, peach, pink, green, or lavender on your face. Once you apply the corrector to the designated areas, you need to apply a concealer or foundation over it. Correctors aren’t supposed to conceal, they’re just supposed to neutralize the unwanted tones on your face. They will look odd at first, but once you apply a concealer or foundation, it will look normal and you will find that you won’t need as much product to conceal the area. Keep in mind while applying concealer or foundation not to buff or rub product on the areas you just corrected. Simply tap product on to blend it in so you would smudge off the work you just did.
And that’s the gist of it! Colour correcting may sound like a bunch of work and like an unnecessary extra step, and frankly, if you don’t have terrible tone issues, then you probably shouldn’t bother with it at all. However, ever since I started, I found that it made a huge difference in how my makeup looks. I don’t really go the extra mile to colour correct every time I wear makeup, however I find it particularly useful on days where I didn’t get much sleep the night before or if I have a special event. I have some examples below to show how I usually colour correct. Since my skin is currently at its lightest, I use a peachy corrector for my under eye area (Benefit Erase Paste in Medium). I also experience some darkness around my mouth which sometimes makes my skin look slightly ashy and grey if I have foundation on, so I apply an orange corrector (MAC Prep + Prime Highlighter in Peach Lustre) on the dark areas to brighten it up. That way, I don’t have to apply more foundation which usually makes the area look cakey and more ashy.
Left: MAC Prep + Primer Highlighter in Peach Lustre. Right: Benefit Erase Paste in Medium
Left side: colour corrected. Right side: Bare
As you can see, the peach corrector brightened my under eye area significantly on the left side.
NARS Sheer Glow Foundation in Stromboli all over face, Urban Decay Naked Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer in Medium Neutral under the eyes
I applied foundation all over my face as a base, and you can see that the left side of my face where I added the orange corrector looks slightly more even and brightened as opposed the right side of my face on the area around my mouth. On the right side, you can see how the corners look slightly ashy and grey. I also put concealer on my under eye areas. Note that I applied slightly more on the right side of my face where I didn’t colour correct.
Left side: colour corrected. Right side: foundation + concealer only
After the concealer is blended out, you can see how the side I applied the colour corrector looks slightly more even and uniform. The left under eye area looks brighter than the right side, and the left side of my mouth doesn’t look as ashy as the right side of my mouth.
Have you ever tried colour correcting products?
What are some of your favourites?