Color correction has long been a tool in a makeup artist’s bag-o-tricks, but only in the past few years have major makeup companies been making these products so accessible to the public. Sure, it’s great for people who know their stuff when it comes to makeup, but when there is a massive selection out there to choose from, there comes confusion. Do I really need it? If so, which items do I need? To demystify the madness, let’s start with the basics.
All of color correction revolves around the color wheel. In color theory, certain colors complement each other (colors near each other on the wheel), while other colors CANCEL EACH OTHER OUT (colors that are across from each other on the wheel). Simple, right? Green cancels out red. Orange cancels out blue. The problem is that there’s all these in-between colors now, because, hello, we’re dealing with skin.
Here’s a quick key:
Green- Cancels out redness. Great for people with rosacea.
Yellow- Cancels out purple. Think bruising or under eye bags that are deep purple.
Blues/Purples- Good for ruddiness or dullness in the skin. Think brightening.
Peaches/Oranges- Cancel out blue tones, like under the eyes. Use peaches if you have lighter skin, and orange if you have darker skin or very dark blue discoloration under your eyes.
As you can imagine, the most frequently needed colors are the greens for redness issues like rosascea, and the peaches for under the eyes. The purples are highly underrated, in my opinion, but that’s because I live for bright, luminous skin.
Now, let’s talk about how to use them.
First, we’ll have to start with a pic of my bare face. My apologies in advance. I’ve got nothing on except a bit of mascara, but my skin is prepped with my favorite skincare regimen so we’re good to go. What do you see in the picture? I think I have generally ok skin (hey, I’m 36 years old! I feel pretty damn good!), but some clear acne scarring. I’ve really got to stop picking my face. Look a little closer and there’s some discoloration under my eyes from lack of sleep. If you really want to nitpick, there’s some redness near my cheeks and some dullness near my jawline.
So what do I need? I need green to cancel out the redness from picking. I need something peach &/or brightening for my under-eye situation. Lastly, I could use something to brighten up the dullness near my jawline if I really wanted to go all out, but really it's just my zits and my undereyes that I want to take care of. It sounds like a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be.
To help if you have a multitude of discoloration (aka, the easy way out):
A color-correcting primer is the way to go if you have minor discoloration here and there, or if you only have five minutes to slap on your face and go. It’s not that much of help if you have very dark blue/purple discoloration under your eyes, but it’s great for life’s daily issues. This Algenist Reveal Color Correcting Radiant Primer is my best bud if I have a hangover and need to be seen in public. The reason primers like this are so good is that they contain several color correctors in one formula, so they help with a multitude of problems at once. This formula comes out of the bottle white, with little beads in it made of green, blue, pink, and peach colors. When you rub the solution in, the beads burst and the color correcting begins.
To target specific needs:
If I had a hot date with the boyfriend, or thought I was going somewhere Instagram-worthy where I’d be taking pictures, I’d put in a little more effort at covering up the discoloration caused by my idle hands. I’m a big fan of Becca’s Backlight Targeted Colour Corrector. The formula is creamy enough that it goes on smooth, but it’s highly pigmented and really packs a punch. You only need the tiniest bit to cover up imperfections. I really like carrying the purple around in my makeup bag for “just in case” situations where I need to brighten up. For under eyes, they have a peach version for medium skin tones (pictured here), and a fabulous papaya version for deeper skin tones.
For weddings, or any other time where I need to go full makeup, or even sometimes when I will be traveling and don’t know what wild pranks my skin is going to play on me, I like to pack NYX Color Correcting Concealer Palette. Best $12 you can spend if you’re just starting out playing with the whole idea of color correction. But it’s not just cheap, it’s actually a quality product.
Here I’ve gone a little crazy with the NYX colors, but at that price, why not? I used the peach under my eyes, the green on my red discoloration, and around my nose, because, honestly, who doesn’t have red around their nose? I used a little purple for that dullness near my jawline that I can’t stand. Here in the after pic you can see a noticeable difference, don’t you think? The sun is glaring in my face at the moment this picture was taken, and this is sans foundation. This is just the NYX palette, so I’d call it a success, but naturally the next step would be to put some foundation on top of this. NYX has a ton of color correcting products in general, so they’re a great affordable resource for this type of thing.
New product to be on the lookout for:
Marc Jacobs Beauty Cover(t) Stick just came out at Sephora. These little gems are great for novices and/or lazy girls, like myself. Ok, maybe girls-on-the-go is a better term. I’m not LAZY, I’m just too busy running around to stop and do a full face of makeup. They are creamy, marbled color sticks meant to target 3 different scenarios: Bright Now is for dullness, Co(vert) Affairs is for redness, and Getting Warmer is for hyperpigmentation. I used Bright Now under my eyes, Co(vert) Affairs around my nose and on some zits, and then Getting Warmer on a hyperpigmentation spot on my jawline. I usually throw something brightening in that area for ruddiness, but I wanted to try and see if Getting Warmer worked on my hyperpigmentation, and it did. Honestly, I want to use Getting Warmer all over my face and body, but that’s a whole other story.
The coverage is light, but effective. In my final picture, I put some foundation and blush on over the Marc Jacobs Cover(t) Sticks. What do you think of the results below? I’m pleased with the results, personally. Eyes are perked up a bit, the redness is reduced around my nose, and the hyperpigmentation on my jawline is faded. But the important thing, for me, is that it wasn’t a lot of work, whereas trying to cover those spots up with regular concealer might not do the trick.