And just like that, color-correcting makeup is back with a vengeance. Peach, red, green, yellow, pink, purple—new takes on the seemingly outdated staple are popping up left and right, with everyone from YSL to Marc Jacobs getting in on the trend. See also: Stila, Smashbox, Urban Decay, Cover FX, Sephora, BECCA, and probs more. This is in the last two months alone.
Seriously, they’re everywhere, to the point that it’s becoming suspicious, as if every makeup brand ever met up in some kind of secret society and collectively decided that color correctors would be the new “thing.”
Color correctors are genius, in theory. Color theory, that is: Each corrective shade exists to counteract and cancel out the color opposite it on the color wheel. The way they work is deceptively simple, but if you wouldn’t know what to do with a pot of pale yellow pigment if it punched you in the face, thereby leaving a purple bruise that would necessitate said yellow to counteract it, you are not alone.
A breakdown courtesy of makeup artist Michael Anthony, who’s worked with celebrities such as Katy Perry, Gigi Hadid, Poppy Delevingne, and more: “Green is great for rosacea on the cheeks and forehead and for fair, transparent skin that flushes. Peach [and pink are] ideal for brightening a dull complexion. Use orange to counter purple under-eye bags, or to balance tonal issues on dark skin. Yellow is good for balancing areas of the face that need to be brightened, like around the mouth and nose. Red is great for extreme black or blue pigmentation, birthmarks, or concave under eyes. Use purple to balance a sallow or yellowish skin tone, which can make you look sick [or tired].”
With this approach, there’s a way to address pretty much every skin-tone issue you can possibly have, whether it’s minor scarring from a zit you picked three months ago or the under-eye circles genetics gave you.
But it’s important not to go overboard—the key to applying color corrector, Anthony says, is knowing how much to use. “You may need to experiment with layering your concealer or foundation over the corrector, so start with a very sheer layer applied with a Beautyblender or a fluffy dual-fiber brush, like MAC #187,” he advises. “I believe in a light touch,” emphasizes makeup artist Julie Harris.
Also, let’s establish the fact that color correcting, while great for its purposes, adds an extra step to your makeup routine that you may not want or need. If you like to keep things on the low-maintenance side, feel free to take a pass.