Secrets of Color Correcting Concealers

In an earlier post, I shared the general rule that you should apply concealer after your foundation but before you set your foundation with a powder. There is one exception to this and it’s when you are using color correcting concealers. Standard concealer (let’s just call it that) should match your skin and is used to conceal minor imperfections. A lot of people will tell you concealer should be one shade lighter than your skin but there’s different opinions out there. I learned the best option is to match your skin, so mine is a match.  If you prefer yours to be a shade lighter, no problem!  It’s really whatever works for you.  There are definitely times when my standard concealer won’t hide my flaws. That’s where color correction comes in. You’ve seen the weird looking palettes with green and pink creams, right? That’s what we are going to talk about today.

color correcting concealer

I think the biggest complaint I have is under eye dark circles.  I’ve tried buying lots of different concealers and combining them only to find nothing works.  No exaggeration here….over the years, I have probably purchased 25 different brands of concealers. Everything from the drugstore to the most expensive of products. I concluded nothing works and I was just an unfortunate person with dark circles forever, but that actually wasn’t true. Sometimes, the discoloration or imperfection just needs an extra boost that most of us don’t include as part of daily routine. I certainly didn’t but when I figured out the science behind color correcting and which products to use, I was finally able to hide dark circles among other imperfections like bruises or redness.

Most discoloration under the eyes is due to blood that leaks from capillaries under our eyes. The skin under the eyes is much thinner so when this happens it’s easy to see especially in fair-skinned people, like me. It’s very common especially as we age. I used to have a very visible vein near my eye that I used color correcting techniques to hide until I finally had it zapped with a laser. If you have any visible veins around your eye, then you know how difficult is to hide them.  The same goes for pronounced under eye discoloration.

Science can explain why a green color correcting concealer would be used to camouflage redness. I’m not going to get into the scientific details, but if a deeper explanation interests you, check out this post by Kevin James Bennett, an award winning makeup artist, who shares a wealth of information on his blog. He explains in detail how and why color correcting works.    At a bare minimum, there is one thing you need to understand so you can make wise choices when you are staring at a the barrage of Easter egg colors in your color correcting concealer set.  Colors that are opposite each other on a color wheel, will cancel each other out.

 Look at the color wheel and how it applies to color correction:

Color correcting Concealer

If you want to hide something red, then note that green is opposite red on the color wheel.  Green would be the color corrector to use.  I know, it sounds weird to put green concealer on your face.  Let’s consider under eye discoloration.  For me, since I’m fair-skinned it’s a purplish blue.   I can find the a similar color above and opposite is yellow orange.  I use a salmon or yellowish orange color corrector to hide my under discoloration.   When you are using these products, you only need a small amount  applied to the problematic area and the corrector would be applied before any other products.  Carefully add your foundation next being careful not to shift the corrector around.   This is where the dabbing technique or stippling comes into play.  The Beauty Blender is perfect for that or a small kabuki brush would work well.  For concealer application techniques, I’ve covered the basics in this article about applying concealer and foundation.

The salmon colored corrector I use is made by Bobbi Brown. There are 16 shades available for different skin tones ranging from pink to yellow orange bases.  You  want to make sure the product you are using is not too light or dark for your skin, so if you need help making a selection, don’t be afraid to ask at the cosmetic counter.  Sometimes, I need more than to just conceal under my eyes, so I have a couple palettes with a variety of colors that I find very useful in personal kit.   A few palettes to consider are:  Makeup Forever Camouflage Cream Palette  or Graftobian Corrector Palette.  Of course, don’t forget your standard concealer for the typical stuff, like little zits.  I have one now that won’t go away. Never pick at them.

After you’ve used your corrector and applied foundation and concealer, it’s time to set it with powder.  I don’t like translucent powders for my face but under my eyes, I think it makes a big difference if you use a good translucent powder.   The biggest advice I can offer is not to set the products under your eyes with something that can settle into the fine lines.  Check out my article about how to apply concealer.  When you smile and make facial expressions, some products can settle into those fine lines (OMG Gasp!)  That is just not a look any of us are going for.   I highly recommend using Laura Mercier’s Secret Brightening powder to set the products in your under eye area.  It’s a finely milled translucent powder and it produces a brightening effect.  I find that it doesn’t settle into fine lines.   It reflects light but without adding any shimmer.  I’m not sure why it works so well, I guess it’s their secret.  Whatever the case, I use it everyday and it never lets me down.  I look upward when I apply it for the perfect application.

I hope you found this article helpful and would love to hear if you know of any outstanding concealers or products that you’ve tried.  My everyday standard concealer is Nars Radiant concealer which I would have to say is my holy grail concealer.  If I run out, major crisis.  I’ve tried so many but I know there’s still lots more,  so please share your experiences!

7 thoughts on “Secrets of Color Correcting Concealers

  1. I loove the Graftobian palette for their soft orange and green correctors. Eve Pearl has a great corrector too- haven’t tried many others because I’m so happy with those but the MUFE one is definitely on my radar! 🙂

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