A Beginner’s Guide To Makeup Color Correction

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Your make up bag contains some of the most powerful face-altering products that money can buy, but when you look at your face in the mirror after 30 minutes of primping, you still see things that you would like to hide.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to cover some of your face’s more visible imperfections, but sometimes your favorite concealer just doesn’t cut it. Thankfully, more and more beauty brands are coming out with color correcting formulas. Think of them as real life Instagram filters that you can wear on your face all day long. Just a few dabs of color can give your skin a radiant glow, make your skin look more awake, or cover up years worth of acne scars and marks.

Yes, adding unnatural colors like purple and green to your face may seem a bit scary, but don’t worry. Unlike contouring, which is one of the hardest beauty skills to master, color correcting is as easy as blending out your favorite foundation. Grab your beautyblender and listen up, because we’re about to revolutionize your beauty routine!

Getting to Know the Colors

Before you even start applying non-natural colors to your face, it is important to know what each color does and where it is typically applied.



Used for: reduces redness from skin irritations, hyperpigmentation, or acne scars and marks.

Usually applied to: anywhere there is excess redness.


Used for: helps skin to give a natural, radiant glow.

Usually applied to: wherever you would typically apply highlighter.


Used for: helps skin look more awake and gives natural hue to tired skin.

Usually applied to: under the eyes is the most common use, but if you don’t have dark eye circles, you can apply it like a highlighter.


Used for: dark spots not typically related to acne, though depending on your skin tone this could be an acne scar or mark corrector for you.

Usually applied to: anywhere on the face where dark spots are found


Used for: lightening dark under eye circles.

Usually applied to: under the eyes.

How to Apply Properly

Color correction products will usually come in a liquid or serum consistency, a solid stick, or a cushion. It doesn’t matter which type you use, but it is best to pick a formula based on your skin type. Oily skin may work better with a solid stick applicator while dry skin may be more responsive to hydrating liquid, serum, or cushion formulas.

NYX Color Correcting Concealer Palette, $39

When applying color to your skin, it is best to use the corrective products before foundation and concealer. This will ensure that everything you are looking to conceal or highlight is properly covered while not leaving any traces of green, purple, or any other unnatural colors on your skin.

Only use a little bit of product at first and blend it out really well. Seriously, more than you have ever blended anything before. Blend until you can see a visible difference in your skin or until you can only see a light tint of color corrector. What you use to blend can be up to you, but a blending sponge is best at blending all three types of corrector.

Beauty blender sponges, $4

Apply your foundation or BB cream next, making sure to cover up any remaining color correcting product on your face. You should see a visible difference in the appearance of your skin where you applied the corrector. If you still see some green or peach, use a tiny bit more foundation and blend out on that area. Applying too much product over the color correction weight down your skin and give the appearance of a caked on face, so only apply small amounts of foundation at a time. If the area you are working on typical requires a normal concealer, apply a small amount after the foundation has been applied.

Lorac CC Correcting Cream, $30

What About Those Weird Online Tutorials?

While a popular trend has been to find funny ways to paint various colors on your face, like a clown or a tribal war paint style, it is not required to intricately apply every color to your face in a particular pattern. Some faces may only need color correction or concealing of dark under eye circles, while others may need everything. Don’t rely on overly complicated tutorials to learn your color correcting basics. Instead, only apply where your skin is in need of extra attention to start, and then experiment with other colors and areas of the face as you see fit.


If you still need a few pointers, the video below is helpful in understanding modest (non-clown) color correction. 

Brooke Schuldt is a freelance writer interested in fashion, beauty, lifestyle and feminism topics. Her work has been featured on various print and online outlets, including Parents Magazine, fitness.com, Ed2010, and Deux Hommes.

When Brooke is not focusing on her magazine career goals, she can be found knitting, teaching herself French, or updating her personal blog. Her bucket list includes traveling around the world, a shopping spree at Kate Spade, and writing a New York Times Bestseller.



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