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12 Color Correcting Concealor Mistakes You’re Probably Making

The art of color correcting is the answer to masking your sallow skin, dark circles, scars, and discoloration... but these mistakes could make your complexion look worse.

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Not problem solving correctly

Since color correctors come in all kinds of varieties (liquids, powders, creams) and in countless shades (pastel yellows, chiffon, brick reds, peach, lavenders, blues, and greens) mastering the technique can seem daunting at first. But what exactly is it and why is it useful for you to learn how to properly pick up the skill? “Color correcting means canceling a darker skin tone pigment like dark circles, sun spots, acne scars by using a colored concealer,” explains Sebastien Tardiff, co-founder and CEO of Veil Cosmetics. “As a general rule, a golden or yellow corrector is best for canceling out sallow, olive, and brown undertones, while a pink or peachy corrector works great for canceling out any signs of blue, purple, and red marks.” Your color correcting beauty routine will be exclusively unique to your own skin’s needs, so don’t compare your routine with your friend’s. Make sure you check out these tricks to mask scars, spots, dark circles, too.

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Color correcting only with bright colors

Sure, half the fun of color correcting is getting to use fun colors like blue, purple, and green but you can also color correct with traditional concealers colors with different undertones to get huge results. “Choose a corrector (the Veil Cosmetics Complexion Prep is super travel-friendly) that is a full shade darker than your skin tone,” says Tardiff. “For example, if you have a porcelain complexion, choose a light corrector. If you have a medium complexion, use a tan one.” Although you might be used to tackling your under eye circles with a light concealer, canceling out your dark under eye circles first will prevent that grayish murky look that can make you look twice as tired. For more big results, check out the easy beauty tricks that make your face look slimmer.

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Forgetting to blend and highlight

“To bring back the corrected area to the same skin tone as the rest of the complexion, reach for a highlighter of the same undertone as the corrector to lift and brighten the area,” suggests Tardiff. “The highlighter needs to be a full shade brighter than your actual skin tone. Apply a sheer layer of highlighter (Urban Decay’s Liquid Illuminating Mix-In is buildable and flattering on all skin tones) all over the corrected area, then dab dry. Repeat and layer until the corrected area smoothly blends with the rest of the complexion.” (Here are six easy ways to fake flawless skin, by the way.)

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You picked up a random brush

When you’re color correcting, a natural finish will make your skin look flawless, so you want to avoid streaks and dreaded cakiness caused by using the wrong makeup brush. Using clean fingers is fine as you’ll be able to really blend the corrector into your skin, but a small concealer brush will also help you concentrate on specific areas on your face—you don’t want to use a large foundation brush as this will smudge away all your previous work.

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You avoid experimenting

From soft pastel tones to bright colors, there are so many color correcting options for you to experiment with- and you’ll have to play around with different shades of color correcting colors (like red, blue, pink, peach, yellow, and brick) to see what undertones work best for you. The Stila Color Correcting Palette comes with a wide range of colors for you to use for different discolorations and scars so you can be well-equipped with the right colors should redness or darkness appear overnight.

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You use one color for everything

When correcting discolorations and acne marks it’s important to give each section of your face the attention it deserves. What color corrects dark circles (a yellow to a peachy tone), won’t mask the redness caused by Rosacea (when a green tone would work). Battling acne? These blemish-fighting face masks will do the trick.

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You use the wrong shades for your skin tone

Color correcting is definitely not a one-size-fits-all type of technique. Different concealer shades have been designed to work properly on light, medium, tan, dark, and deep skin tones. If you have a tan, dark or deep skin tone, you’ll want to use a red instead of a peachy shade to cancel out dark circles and a yellow shade for masking redness and dark spots on lighter skin. While you’re at it, you’ll want to find the right lipstick color for your skin tone.

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You’re applying it to the wrong places

“Use the color correcting concealer where you would use concealer,” shares Shara Strand, a New York City-based makeup artist and owner of the mineral-based makeup brand Shara Cosmetics. “The most common areas would be down the bridge of the nose, under the eyes, and above the brows.” Strand also recommends avoiding color correcting near your cheekbones if you plan on contouring as you’ll want to focus on building definition in that area. Click here to find out which products help you fake a good night’s sleep.

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Using too much product

Just like eyeshadow and contour, you’ll want to add in color correcting products gradually rather than adding a large amount of product at once. “Use a little bit at a time while blending it out,” Strand advises. “Then slowly build up your coverage.” You’ll be surprised at how a little bit of product goes a long way.

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Applying color corrector after concealer

Color correctors aren’t a finishing touch to your makeup look, they should be used as a building block from the very moment you apply concealer. “Color corrector should be used before concealers, so that they look more natural when blended into the base makeup.” explains Strand. Applying color corrector before concealer will also allow you to mix the corrector with your usual concealer so that you use only the amount you need.

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You didn’t prep your skin

Maggie Esmond, a makeup artist at Makeup by Shara who specializes in airbrush and SFX makeup recommends giving the sensitive area around your eyes a little TLC before going in with your makeup. She suggests using a gentle eye cream like the Clinical Peptoxyl Eye Treatment to ease puffiness and hydrate your skin so that your concealer applies seamlessly. Avoid using an eye cream with Retinoids as it can be too drying underneath your makeup.

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Not choosing the correct formula

Depending on your skin type, you’ll stock your makeup bag with creamy, liquids, and powder versions of your favorite concealers and foundations. When it comes to color-correcting though, Esmond strongly recommends sticking to a cream based concealer rather than a liquid-based one. (The Color FX Corrector Correct Clicks are creamy and super blendable.) Liquid corrector can appear very noticeable on the skin if not properly blended before drying and a creamy texture is easier to blend and dab into the skin.