The Foolproof Step Before Concealer That Makes Discoloration Vanish

Makeup is an art form—this includes coloring outside the lines and using beauty as self expression, of course, but it’s also a lot more technical than that: Before swirling on an ethereal shade to top off your masterpiece, it helps to start with an even canvas. 

Enter color correctors, where makeup meets color theory. These helpful hues enhance your complexion products (like foundation and concealer) and nix discoloration in a mere swipe.

Thinking of using a color corrector? Consider the below your handy field guide. 

What is a color corrector?

Remember those complementary colors on the color wheel? Purple contrasts with yellow, orange sits opposite blue, and so on. Well, this same logic can help neutralize discoloration in your skin—purple can cancel out sallowness, an orange-y peach can warm up cool shadows, and the list goes on (more specific matches down below).

Each type of discoloration portrays slightly different undertones (redness, purple shadows, etc.), so you’d choose a hue based on which type you’d like to target. “Color corrector can be especially transformative for dark circles. I’m personally a huge fan,” adds makeup artist Alexandra Compton, product development manager at clean beauty retailer Credo.

Color correctors are great if you’re looking to balance discoloration—say, if you notice maude shadows under your eyes, redness around your nose, or sallow tints in your skin—but if you’re looking to just generally brighten up the area, you don’t have to use such a pigmented product. “It can make your skin tone look odd if you apply it on skin that doesn’t need to be corrected,” notes makeup artist Jenny Patinkin. For example: “If you use a very yellow or peach concealer on an area that doesn’t have any dark undertones, it can make your skin look oddly sallow.” 

That said, you should only use a color corrector on areas that need evening out. If you’re simply looking to cover up under eye bags, fine lines, or blemishes, your regular flesh-toned concealer will do. 

Types of color correctors. 

Color correctors range far and wide, and you may need a lighter or richer hue based on your skin tone. Here, take a peek at the four most common color categories. 

Where you place the concealer all depends on where you have discoloration,” notes Patinkin. “Some people only need it at the inner corners of their eyes, others need it at the outer corners as well, and others need it all the way across.” Again, only apply the pigment where you need it. 

A little product also goes a long way: Compton suggests mixing the corrector with primer to start with less intensity, building it up if need be. If you have heavy discoloration, you can apply the corrector directly onto the skin, but start slow. See, You’re not trying to conceal the discoloration completely—you’re trying to neutralize it. “Foundation or concealer on top of the corrector will conceal,” says Compton. “You want to ensure that you don’t have heavy layers of product that run the risk of creasing or separating with wear.” 

For application, Compton recommends using your fingertips as opposed to a brush—the warmth from your skin melts the pigment for a more seamless finish. Some people even use multiple correctors for different areas of their face—a green hue wherever they notice redness, a spot of lavender for sallow areas, and a peachy number for dark shadows. Feel free to play around with the color wheel. 

Tap to blend (gently, especially if you’re color correcting the delicate eye area), and apply a concealer on top for extra brightness. “It’s important to tap to blend and not rub, so that you don’t disturb the color correcting concealer you applied underneath,” says Patinkin. 

Finally, you can top with a setting powder to increase the wear-time, or simply move on with the rest of your makeup routine. 

To balance discoloration, the right color corrector is a game-changer. Match the complementary pigment to the area you’d like to target, and you’ll create an even canvas. 

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