color correcting

The big beauty trend of 2016 so far seems to be color correcting. Although this technique has been used in the industry pretty much since the beginning, every brand these days is pushing this “trend.” Beauty Blender came out with a collection of color coordinated applicators, Tarte has a new cream palette, NYX has colored setting powders, MUFE has primers, the list goes on. And yes, I color correct everyday, I need it and I enjoy it. I do it on myself and my clients, but it is important to understand that there is no universal way to color correct. Just like everyone has their own shades of foundation that work for their skin tone, everyone has their own individual color correcting needs. I have seen far too many outrageous Instagram and YouTube “tutorials” on this technique, and feel that nearly 90% of what is out there is so unnecessary and is not coming from a place of knowledge or experience, but rather just hopping on the trend. If you’re one of the countless people out there looking at these videos and thinking “How the F*#% do I do that and why would I need to?” then stick around for this post. I’m going to lay out the color correcting basics for you and hopefully help you begin to understand what might work for you and your needs, and what is just completely wrong.


The first step in color correcting is knowing what it means. Color correcting is a technique used in the makeup industry to correct, conceal, and perfect any blemishes or discoloration on the skin. It is meant to be done before any application of foundation (however there are setting powders that can be used after foundation is applied) and should be completely unnoticable after completed. There are 4 basic color categories:

Orange/Peach– For severe dark circles/shadowing on the face (recommended for medium/deeper skin tones)

Salmon/Pink– For brightening/highlighting in the undereye/high points of the face (recommended for light/medium skin tones)

Lilac/Lavender– For muting yellow tones/overall brightening, typically in the areas you highlight

Green– For redness/blemishes

Yellow– For brightening/highlight

Now that we’ve gone over the colors, we can move onto technique. There’s a wide range of products available based on your needs. First, identify what type of correction you might need. Next, determine the severity of the need- is it minor discoloration or severe? You may have only a couple of blemishes that need a pop of green concealer, or you might have sever shadowing and undereye circles. Now that you know what colors you need and how much coverage you need, you can determine what products will suit you:

Concealers/Creams- These types of products tend to have the highest pigmentation and are designed for maximum coverage. If you have severe dark circles, try an orange or peach based concealer, then go over the top with a concealer that is the SAME as your skin tone (you can use a highlighting concealer afterwards). For rosacea and acne prone skin, green concealer can be used as a spot treatment or all over the affected area. Many brands offer pink/salmon toned concealer to help brighten the under eye area (MUFE Ultra HD concealer). If you have severe yellowing of the skin, swipe on a lavender concealer around the nose, cheekbones and forehead.

Primers– This method is generally for less severe color correcting, as a primer is not meant to be seen through the makeup, just as a base. MUFE, Smashbox, and Stila are just a few brands that carry primers like these. For example, MUFE has a green primer that can be used to neutralize overall redness and restore even pigmentation before makeup application. Smashbox has a great lavendar based primer for an overall brighter appearance.

Powders– Again, this method is for minor correction. Using a peach or lavender based setting powder under the eyes or in areas that need brightening can help lighten your complexion without looking unnatural. There are also green based setting powders that I would reccommend applying BEFORE a face or translucent setting powder. And of course, every contour kit in the world has a yellow based powder for highlight/setting the undereyes/high points of the face.

Now that you know the basics, let’s sum it up. You do NOT need to color correct your entire existence. If you have dark circles, ONLY apply corrective makeup to that area, as it will discolor any other part of your face or will simply just be a waste of product. If you have 2 pimples on your cheek, you don’t need to spread green concealer all over the right side of your face. There’s no need for you to be drawing shapes and designs all over your face in different colors, it’s not doing anything for you. Identify your needs and practice different techniques and you’ll be on your way to a better balanced complexion!

I hope you found this post helpful because I really felt the need to explain it to some of you. Makeup trends on the Internet can be hard to keep up with. I absolutely LOVE color correcting when it’s done right! This post is meant to educate you, not to discourage you from trying new things. If you want to drag orange and green all over your face and that works, then by all means, do it! But it is absolutely not for everyone. You might not even need any corrective makeup (and I really envy that!) So see what you like and roll with it. Thanks for reading!

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