How to Apply Color Corrector to Get Flawless-Looking Skin

And how it fits into your makeup routine.

How to use color corrector_woman having makeup applied

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If you’re like us, your TikTok algorithm has been feeding you #ColorTheory for months. As a result, some people have taken to wearing complementary colors in their closet to make their complexions appear as bright and even-toned as possible, while others are doing the same for their eyes using eyeshadow palettes and graphic liners.

But one of the oldest tricks in the color-theory book is color correcting, or using opposing shades on your skin to address concerns like hyperpigmentation, dark circles, and redness. That said, some color-correcting products can be daunting at first look: lavender, mint green, and creamsicle don’t seem like shades fit for blemishes or your under-eyes. And yet, according to makeup artists, they are. Here’s the run-down on how to use color corrector. 

How do color concealers work?

It turns out that those little palettes filled with powders and creams in rainbow shades can actually be used in a number of ways, according to celebrity makeup artist and Stila Cosmetics Global Creative Director Charlie Riddle. They can help camouflage “discoloration, dark under-eye circles, sunspots, dull skin, redness, and breakouts — just to name a few,” he says.

Regardless of use, Riddle recommends opting for a cream formula, as color corrector is a product most people will use as a step before foundation or concealer.

What color corrector should I use? 

According to Riddle, both your skin tone and the effect you’re trying to achieve factor into which shade of corrector to choose. “You need to first shop for what color correction issues you want to address," he says. "It is also very normal for people to have a few different concerns at the same time."

This is when the good old color wheel comes into play: for example, green tones will neutralize redness. Meanwhile, to brighten dark under-eyes, Riddle recommends a pink formula for fair skin, peach tones for light to medium skin, apricot for medium to deep skin, and orange and red for deep skin.

Makeup artist Kelly La Banco previously told InStyle that she keeps Smashbox x Becca Undereye Brightening Corrector in her kit. Some color correcting kits even come with multiple shades depending on your skin tone and concerns; if you’re looking for this kind of versatility, Riddle recommends Stila’s All-In-One palette.

When do I apply color corrector?

Color corrector works best when used as the base for your look — yes, even before foundation and concealer.  “When I apply to clients, I start by doing a normal skincare routine, priming, and then color correction,” says Riddle. “This way, I find I end up using less concealer or coverage because I’ve already addressed the concerns with color correction.”

For a product that saves time, Riddle recommends YSL Beauty’s Touché Eclat All-Over Brightening Concealer Pen. “A classic. The pens act as a subtle color corrector, concealer,  and brightening highlighter all in one.”

Bottom line: Adding color corrector to your makeup routine can offer a more natural finish, making it a must-have if you're going for skin that looks like your own — just better.

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