Color correcting is one of those trends in the makeup community that likely confuses most people. And by most people I mean anyone who isn’t a hard core makeup enthusiast. And I get it. It looks freaking weird and frankly it’s confusing. Where’s the logic in sticking a crazy color on top of another color to make it go away? Seriously how is sticking a random purple shade on your face possibly going to make anything better? And why do makeup gurus always use so much?
But here’s the thing: color correcting is easy as pie. It’s an incredibly simple theory that anyone can use with great results. If you’ve never played around with color correcting before, here is everything you need to know to get started.
The Basics of Color Correcting
Makeup is an art. Like by definition. And as such, like any art that you can be trained in, there are theories and concepts that hold true for any artist or creator and their given medium. One such concept is that of color theory, practical methods for color mixing and color combination. This is prominent throughout any visual art, and drives everything from color selection in masterpieces to why certain colors appear together in a textbook.
For color correcting, the theory is most notably applied in order to cancel out undertones in the skin. You know how some people have dark circles or dark spots, or redness? That sort of thing. Color correcting is utilized on top of the skin to cancel out the tones underneath, to create a uniform shade. Keep in mind this is to alter the tone of the skin, and not the actual shade. I’ll get into that later though.
Have you ever noticed that when you cover a spot with concealer or foundation, and it still doesn’t seem to quite go away? Sure for the most part it looks like it’s gone, but the general tone is still there! This is where correction comes in. Just because you covered whatever it was, doesn’t mean you canceled it out. Depending on the saturation and/or value of the color that you’re trying to cover, concealer may not be enough on its own.
Color Wheel Basics
Here’s the stupid easy part. Want to know why certain colors are used? Just check out this color wheel.
You’ll see that every color is across from another, and this is important because these are the shades that cancel each other out when layered. A great example of this is green concealer recommended to cover a zit. Red and green are across from each other on the color wheel, and by color theory will cancel out when layered and then covered with foundation.
When you see a color correcting palette, or a selection of color correcting concealers or primers, you’ll see most general shades from the standard color wheel. This is because there are many tones in skin that you may want to cancel out. You may also see a couple options that look similar, like with pinky orange correctors. This is because certain shades won’t work on lighter or deeper skin tones.
What to Color Correct and How
Dark circles are probably the most common, along with redness. Dark circles tend to be purple or blue in tone. For very fair skin, a light pink corrector will suit you best. If your skin is light to medium, a peachy or yellow shade will work. For deep skin, a more orange one will do the trick. This is where skin tone itself plays the most part in selecting what color to correct with. Deeper toned skin will generally require a deeper color. Keep in mind what shade your spots and circles are though. Some find that theirs are more purple or blue. If yours are more purple, choose a more yellow corrector. Do they look more blue? Try a more orange shade. This also works for dark spots!
Redness is another incredibly common one. Redness is canceled out best with green, usually a more minty shade. This holds true for any skin tone.
Sallow tones are quite common as well, especially if you’re tired or fatigued. This is not meaning your overall skin tone, but for yellowing areas. This can arise from a lot of things, but you can generally identify it by checking to see if your skin looks tired. In this case, lavender correctors will help brighten the appearance of these areas.
Tips and Advice
- You need very little when applying. A single small dot or two generally covers whatever you need. The unwanted color should fade as you blend out the corrector, but the corrector should not become an overly dominant color. Many gurus actually apply far too much! This can make the corrector shade come through when you use your foundation or concealer.
- Don’t color correct what isn’t there. Often, mild or even moderate discoloration can be covered with concealer or foundation! Again, this can cause discoloration when you use your base products. You shouldn’t have to use full coverage foundation after correcting then concealing just to cover the corrector color.
- If what you’re trying to correct is a bit more widespread, like redness across the cheeks, consider a color correcting primer! It saves on product, plus it’s a multitasker. My recommendations are the Smashbox Photo Finish primer or ELF’s tone adjusting primers.
- As for order of application, I recommend primer → corrector → concealer → foundation. This allows you to maximize coverage but minimize product.
- If you’re new to color correcting, I recommend getting a (possibly inexpensive) palette to try shades and see what works for you and what you like to use! I have pictured above a few affordable options, from Wet n Wild and NYX. This way, you’re not breaking the bank but you’re covering the basics!
I hope that you guys got something out of this! I know color correcting can be kind of a racket, but it really doesn’t have to be. If you want to see some other tips and tricks I’ve posted, check out my post on common skincare mistakes, or easy ways to get better at makeup! And please let me know if there are any beauty related questions you may have, I love to help get questions answered!
Peace out, guys.