Have you every stared into a mirror and wished away your dark circles? There’s another alternative that’s far more effective: colour correctors.
These valuable make-up tools offer the quick fix you need, when you’re expected to look your best at an event or party, on short notice. Unlike dark spot correctors, which usually focus on hyperpigmented skin, these kinds of correctors use colour theory to balance discolouration on the skin by cancelling it out with the opposite shade on the colour wheel.
When should I use a colour corrector?
Colour correctors act like concealers, except they’re offered in a range of colours to help balance discolouration. While they’re an excellent tool to have in your make-up kit, you won’t find yourself using them every day, says Sana Afzal, a bridal make-up specialist with five years of experience, based in Dubai, who runs her own business @youbysana.
She said: “The average person just doesn’t need that much correction for their day-to-day routine, as colour correctors are highly pigmented and need medium to high coverage foundation that matches the skin. Otherwise, it will end up as a grey patch.” However, she added that “it’s a must” when you want to achieve flawless foundation with a certain level of coverage.
Skin conditions that might flare up every now and then can cause some discolouration. If that's the case for you, then a colour corrector should be indispensable in your pouch. Arti Bhatia, a Dubai-based beauty and lifestyle blogger of over a decade, who goes by the alias @divabeautyae, battles redness from rosacea flareups with a green corrector.
"Colour correctors are for anyone who wants to neutralise their skin tone, cover up problematic areas, like hyperpigmentation and acne, and have an even-toned canvas to begin their make-up with," said Bhatia. "I will usually need two different colour correctors, to cover up my rosacea and dark circles, whenever I'm going for full coverage."
Which colour corrector is right for me?
Before picking one, identify your area of concern. Is it redness you’re looking to conceal, or dark circles? Hyperpigmentation or discolouration? Once you have that down, Afzal advises selecting a colour corrector that corresponds to the area of skin you want to correct. She shared this colour guide of primary shades to get started:
- Green: Neutralises redness and acne
- Peach/Orange: Conceals dark circles and blue/purple discolouration
- Yellow: Balances mild redness and brightens dull skin
- Lavender/Purple: Counteracts sallowness and yellow undertones
- Pink/Salmon: Reduces dark spots and dullness on fair skin
- Blue: Corrects orange or overly warm tones
Another way of cracking the colour code is by referring to the colour wheel (pictured), says Bhatia. "We go by the colour theory to correct undertones - basically, you should pick the complementary or opposite colour on the wheel. For instance, if my skin looks dull, I'll use purple for brightening," she explained.
When it comes to hyperpigmentation, however, your choice of corrector depends on the complexion of your skin. Fair skin tones with dark circles should always correct with a peach colour, while medium skin tones will find orange a better option. And, deeper complexions, says Bhatia, can opt for correctors that lean towards red.
Choosing the right form of colour corrector – whether a cream or stick or palette – is also important, and is based on your skin type. Most products usually specify whether they work better for dry or oily skin, so it’s worth paying attention to this detail before buying.
"Cream-based correctors are for dry skin, but these can be difficult to set. Beginners should opt for a more fluid texture," said Bhatia.
The next and most crucial step is applying it correctly. Afzal said: “For flawless results, start with clean and moisturised skin, then apply the right colour corrector on the specific spot or area of the skin. Follow it up with your regular foundation and concealer routine.”
You could tap the corrector in with your finger or use a damp beauty blender. Bhatia finds setting the colour corrector with powder, before applying foundation, a useful trick to avoid grey or orange undertones. She advises against brushes, which end up absorbing most of the product.
While it’s not a difficult process, choosing and applying a colour corrector does require care, attention to detail and a little research. Afzal said: “Ultimately, choosing the right color corrector involves considering your specific concerns, desired coverage, skin compatibility, application, tools required and personal preferences… Remember, everyone's skin is unique, so what works for one person may not work for another. It's always a good idea to read reviews, swatch or test products when possible, and consider your specific skin concerns before making a purchase.”
We’ve saved you time and effort with our research-based list of the best colour correctors out there, right now. Buy it during Beauty Week, which is currently on, and pocket savings. Pick up the one that suits you best with Amazon Prime and get it as quickly as tomorrow.
1. Best Overall: Urban Decay Naked Skin Colour Correcting Fluid
A top choice for Afzal, Urban Decay’s Naked Skin colour correcting fluids come in a range of shades to address various skin concerns, such as discolouration and dark circles. Their green correcting fluid, for instance, neutralises redness. Afzal said: “The lightweight formula blends easily and provides buildable coverage. Urban Decay is well-regarded for its pigmented and long-lasting products.” Our pick is their yellow correcting fluid, which provides optical blurring, illuminates the skin and corrects dullness. Reviewers commend how its cream base is easy to use, and blends to give the skin a matte finish, without drying it out. The formula is made with antioxidant-rich vitamin C and vitamin E, along with pearlescent pigments that diffuse light to create flawless skin.
2. Best for Foundation: L.A. Girl Pro Color Foundation Mixing Pigment, Blue
Most foundations, despite the wide ranges of shades in the market, fail to account for neutral undertones that are neither too warm nor too cool. It's why we sometimes go without full coverage, lest our face ends up looking 'too orange'. To really nail that perfect colour match, L.A. Girl's Pro Color Foundation Mixing Pigment customises your existing foundation for your skin tone. Our pick is in the shade blue, which adjusts excessive warmth or orange pigment in foundations. There are other colours available in white, yellow and orange, for different correction needs, as well. Bhatia also recommends the brand's individual concealer correctors.
2. Best All-in-One: Maybelline New York Master Camo Concealer and Face Correcting Kit
If you’re not up to buying a separate concealer and highlighter, consider this palette by Maybelline, which carries both, along with a face correcting kit. Afzal calls it a versatile and affordable pick that delivers consistent results. It comes in three swatches – we picked medium for shades that are not too deep, and provide a natural effect on the skin. Reviewers say the texture is soft and creamy, and it’s easy to use. First, you can neutralise tone issues with the corrector swatches. Next, conceal dark circles, imperfections and blemishes with the concealer. Finally, highlight to brighten shadows and enhance features.
3. Best Primer: Touch in Sol No Pore Blem Primer Base 1.01
A lightweight formula that neutralises redness even as it helps cover up pores, Touch in Sol’s Primer Base is our K-beauty pick. Even before you start your make-up routine, apply this primer to problem areas on your face – it will even out your skin tone and its green-toned base will correct redness and moisturise, thanks to key ingredients, like the medicinal herb centella asiatica, and hyaluronic acid. Reviewers with oily t-zones say the primer leaves their face feeling soft and velvety, without excess oiliness, but also crucially, without drying out the skin. Those with acne-prone skin have also seen excellent results.
4. Best Stick: e.l.f. Cosmetics Colour Correcting Stick
When you’re constantly on the go, make sure e.l.f.’s convenient colour correcting stick is within reach. This easy-to-use product is available in three shades – we’ve picked the one for deep skin tones – and works brilliantly when you want to get rid of dark circles. The creamy formula blends evenly into the skin, reviewers say, without feeling heavy or chalky. Infused with vitamin E to produce soft, hydrated skin, all you need are a few dabs on your area of concern for it to work.
5. Best Budget: NYX Professional Makeup Colour Correcting Palette, 04
What if you could keep all shades on hand, at all times? NYX’s palette features six creamy colour correcting shades that you can layer and blend as you prefer. Afzal said its biggest appeal is its versatility and convenience: “It contains a range of shades to target different areas of concern, allowing for customisation based on individual needs. NYX is known for its affordable, yet high-quality makeup products.” So, whether you’re looking to camouflage imperfections, conceal redness or brighten a dull complexion, all you’ll need is this compact palette. Reviewers say it looks natural and is long-lasting – many have even used it to cover problem areas, while leaving the rest of their skin bare, without any issues.
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