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If you have chronic redness like me, then you know that it's incredibly difficult to cover with traditional makeup. My flushed skin is due to a slight case of rosacea, which has been something I've struggled with since high school (one morning, I noticed a tinge of redness crossing my forehead, nose, and cheeks, and it's stayed put ever since). Other people struggle with redness caused by blemishes or chronic sensitivity and irritation. Either way, it's all the same. Even the most heavy-duty concealers and high-coverage foundations struggle to keep the redness contained. That's where green concealer—otherwise known as color corrector—comes into play. It might sound (and look) intimidating, but it's honestly one of the most effective anti-redness makeup tools out there. It's surprisingly simple to use, too—once you know the proper application technique. We asked makeup artists Ashley Rebecca and Mary Irwin how green concealer works and the right way to apply it to camouflage acne and redness.
Meet the Expert
- Ashley Rebecca is a New York-based makeup artist who has worked for celebrities and in an editorial capacity. She contributes regularly to Byrdie and is currently represented by Sarah Laird & Good Co.
- Mary Irwin is a New York-based celebrity makeup artist.
What Is Green Concealer?
Green concealer is a great, easy way to use color theory to neutralize redness and discoloration. It may seem confusing when you first see it on a makeup shelf—how can green makeup look good? Just like orange can be used to correct dark undereye bags, when used and applied correctly, green concealers—and all color correctors—can combat all types of imperfections on your face. (Not that you have any, you're perfect).
Green Concealer Uses
- Great for covering breakouts
- Can help cover redness caused by rosacea and inflammation
- Neutralizes skintone
How Does Green Concealer Work?
To explain how it works, we have to take a trip back in time to elementary school art class. Remember when we learned about the color wheel, namely how certain colors are placed opposite one another? Well, green is placed opposite of red, meaning when you layer a green makeup product over a red blemish, it works to neutralize the color. The same thing works with bluish under-eye circles. If you color-correct with a peach-colored concealer, the circles won't look nearly as dramatic. Because, again, orange is placed opposite of blue. Who knew elementary school art class would come in handy like this? Not us.
"When I use this on models, I take into consideration the natural skin tone—super fair skin, which is also a bit more prone to redness, gets a very pale mint. Slightly darker skin does better with a darker green, and it also depends on what you’re covering," Irwin explains. "If you’re working with a little bit of redness from acne, you’ll need a lighter green than if you’re covering a port wine stain."
"When using green corrector, it's best to use it on fair and medium skin tones where the color can still be blended to look natural on the skin," adds Rebecca.
How to Apply Green Concealer
- After finishing your skincare routine, apply your primer and foundation.
- Lightly tap the green corrector in areas you want to conceal.
- Finish with a flesh-toned concealer on top to blend everything together.
Prior makeup application will show you which red areas are hidden by a single layer of makeup and which ones need a little extra help. In other words, applying your foundation first will stop you from applying too much product.
There's no complicated layering or product mixing. Simply apply the green color-correcting product to the red area after foundation, and then put a regular concealer on top. Easy peasy.
Shop Our Favorite Green Concealers
As for Rebecca's favorite green color-correctors, she recommends CoverFX's Green Correct Click, which is a highly pigmented and ultra-blendable cream stick formula. Since it's a stick and not a wand, you have more control over how much you use, which is great if you're a first-timer worried about looking like the Hulk.
She also likes Urban Decay's Naked Skin Color Correcting Fluid, which, in our experience, is super easy to apply in precise and targeted strokes thanks to the doe-foot applicator. Each of the color correctors is infused with vitamins E and C to condition and protect the skin.
Using a buildable foundation can help control how much coverage you use—you don't want too much foundation to look like you're trying to cover something up, but you also want a foundation that will cover up the green concealer shade.
This budget-friendly liquid concealer offers medium to full coverage, depending on how sheer you blend it, (which, in all transparency, can take a little time and elbow grease). The result is worth it, though. After we applied a skin-matching concealer over it, all redness was minimized.
L.A. Girl is responsible for another drugstore green concealer that works as well as high-end options. It's crease-resistant, too, which means it won't settle into any fine lines around the nose, mouth, and forehead (three common places for redness). Ulta customers say it's drier than other formulas on the market, but once it sets, it lasts all day.
Most color-correcting products require a separate blending tool, whether that's a beauty sponge, brush, or (let's be honest) your fingers. This one is unique in that it comes with an attached blending tip. While it might not totally erase redness, it will reduce the appearance of it substantially.
This K-beauty redness corrector is a cream that contains Centella Asiatica, a medicinal herb traditionally used to expedite wound healing and soothe irritation. It also has sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium to boost moisture levels and radiance.
"One of the products I swear by for correcting my chronic redness is this green concealer stick from E.l.f. Cosmetics. It's only $4 and lasts for months, which means I don't feel bad about applying it wherever I need to," says Rebecca. "In other words, it's not an expensive product that I feel like I have to conserve for special occasions. It's a daily go-to."
For something that goes beyond makeup, try using this Stila three-in-one primer, serum, and color corrector. Green is mixed with lavender (which corrects dullness) and peach (which brightens). It's meant to be applied post-cleanser and pre-makeup application.