Using Color Correctors to Cover Up Dark Circles and Hyperpigmentation

Updated 04/28/19

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that concealer is the most game-changing product in your makeup bag. When sleep sounds like a luxury because busy is your default state, beauty products that give you a "fake it till you make it" slash "I have my shit together" (but I really don't) glow become your best friend. You might wake up with designer bags underneath your eyes and a blemish or two that showed up unannounced, but that's where color correctors come in. These concealers are available in an array of shades suited for all skin tones that conceal blemishes, cover up dark circles, hide hyperpigmentation, brighten your complexion, give your skin the ultimate sculpting effect for a snatched contour, and more. 

Color correctors can feel quite intimidating if you're unsure how to use them, especially because many of them come in unexpected rainbow colors that don't look like they belong on your face. Their purpose is to cancel out dark circles and dark spots. Trust, I've gone on and on and on about my dark spots in the past. The thing is, I spend so much time taking care of my skin, but I still suffer from hyperpigmentation. So when I want a flawless foundation look, color correctors cover up my problem areas like pure magic. 

I tapped pro makeup artists to lay out the full guide on color-correcting dark circles and hyperpigmentation. Glamsquad New York regional makeup expert Lauren Lebowitz and celebrity makeup artist Jenna Kristina of The Wall Group explain exactly how to color-correct correctly to address these skin concerns below. 

How to Color-Correct Dark Circles

Color-Correcting Dark Circles
@africanmelaninnn

With color-correcting, Lebowitz takes a simple approach and brings it back to color theory. "Opposite colors on top of one another will cancel each other out," she explains. "My rule of thumb is unripe bananas for cherries and oranges for blueberries." How amazing is that analogy? In other words, yellow and green color correctors counteract red undertones and orange and peach color correctors counteract blue undertones. We'll address even more on which color-correcting concealer shade works for your skin tone later. Apply the color-correcting shade that works for you underneath your eyes, and then apply a concealer shade closer to your skin tone on top of that corrector to cover up the dark circles. You'll be amazed at the results. 

Kristina follows the same color-cancellation routine for dark circles. "For eyes, I usually use something with a pink or peach tone, depending on skin tone, to help cancel out the blue tone of tired under-eyes," she says. "I tap that color in the fold under the eye and then I use the correct concealer color on top of that to blend with the client’s skin tone." 

In summary, 1) use the color corrector that works well with your undertones underneath your eye, and 2) apply your go-to, regular concealer of choice that's closest to your complexion on top of that color, and blend it out to cancel out the look of your dark circles. 

How to Color-Correct Hyperpigmentation

Don't stress over blemishes. They're easy to hide with color-correcting. Lebowitz suggests following the same routine as above for hyperpigmentation. "You want to neutralize the dark spot with a color corrector, and then put the product on top," she explains. "The only difference is to really make sure the coverage is opaque before adding a color on top to match the rest of your skin." 

Kristina relates color-correcting dark spots to a tattoo cover-up technique. She uses a color corrector fit for her clients' skin tones and then applies a generous layer of concealer on top to mask those spots. So think of it as a thorough spot-treatment technique. On your bare face, tap your color corrector on top of each blemish. Then, apply a full-coverage concealer and foundation of your choice on top to cover the blemish.  

How to Find the Right Color-Corrector for Your Skin Tone

The intensity of color-correcting shades varies depending on skin tones. A rule of thumb Lebowitz swears by is to keep your correctors a little warmer to neutralize without making the skin appear gray and ashy. "For deeper skin tones, going warmer is especially key because you want to keep the richness of your skin and avoid the skin looking too gray or purple," she explains. 

Kristina breaks it down like this: "For fair skin, I use a pink undertone to brighten. For medium to dark skin, I use a peach or apricot color corrector, depending on how dark the skin is. And for olive skin, I use a mustard tone with a slight hint of green to really blend in with the skin." 

Pro-Approved Color Correctors

The Sensual Skin Enhancer Concealer and Foundation Sx11 0.63 oz/ 18 g
Kevyn Aucoin The Sensual Skin Enhancer Concealer and Foundation #9 $48
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The Sensual Skin Enhancer Concealer and Foundation Sx11 0.63 oz/ 18 g
Kevyn Aucoin The Sensual Skin Enhancer Concealer and Foundation #13 $48
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Lebowitz loves using this concealer in shade #9 for lighter skin and #13 for deeper skin. "A little bit goes a long way," she says. "The concealer has honey and jojoba oil, so it won't crease on on you, giving your skin the most amazing natural, radiant finish." 

Radiant Creamy Concealer Marron Glace 0.22 oz/ 6 mL
Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in Honey $30
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"It's buildable, long-wearing, and easy to layer under your concealer," Lebowitz says. 

Born This Way Super Coverage Multi-Use Sculpting Concealer Butterscotch 0.50 oz
Too Faced Born This Way Super Coverage Multi-Use Sculpting Concealer $29
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Lebowitz loves this gem because of how versatile the coverage is. "You can use it anywhere on the face, under the eyes, to contour, or as a foundation. [It] truly blends your skin to perfection," she explains. 

Under Eye Corrector Dark Peach 0.05 oz/ 1.5 mL
Bobbi Brown Under Eye Corrector $28
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Kristina is a fan of these creamy color correctors because of the line's diverse shade range. "There are so many colors, so most skin tones can find a shade," she says. 

Under Eye Brightening Corrector Light to Medium 0.16 oz/ 5 mL
Becca Under Eye Brightening Corrector $32
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Kristina also suggests these correctors, which the brand describes as "eight hours of sleep in a jar." They're specially made for brightening the look of dark circles. The brand heard our cries and now offers a shade for medium/deep skin tones too.

Graftobian HD Glamour Creme Palette, Corrector Light $28
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Kristina loves this gigantic palette because it covers all concerns. It has correctors that work wonders for all skin tones. 

These are a few of our other fav color correctors we've spotted in makeup artists' bags, backstage at New York Fashion Week, on set at photo shoots, and more to treat dark circles and dark spots. 

MAC Studio Conceal And Correct Palette - Medium Deep
MAC Cosmetics Conceal and Correct Palette $40
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Nyx Color Correcting Palette $8
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Fix It 2-in-1 Prime & Color Correct 100 Blue 0.12 oz/ 3.4 g
Dior Fix It 2-in-1 Prime & Color Correct $36
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Color Correcting Stick Look Less Tired (Light) 0.12 oz/ 3.4 g
Smashbox Color Correcting Stick Look Less Tired $25
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Naked Skin Color Correcting Fluid Peach
Urban Decay Naked Skin Color Correcting Fluid $29
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Step 1 Skin Equalizer Primer Radiant Primer Peach - For Fair Skin 1 oz/ 30 mL
Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer Radiant Primer $37
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TOUCHE ECLAT Radiance Perfecting Pen 5 Luminous Honey 0.1 oz/ 2.5 mL
Stila Cosmetics Correct & Perfect All-in-One Color Correcting Palette $45
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