When it comes to makeup skills, perfecting your concealer technique is the ultimate achievement. But even the most dedicated beauty lovers can feel intimidated by multi-colored concealer palettes. In a world that tells you that concealer is meant to match your skin tone exactly, it’s easy to write off these peculiar-looking colors as face paint for a pastel clown. But the truth is that if you master these color correcting concealer palettes, your beauty game will be elevated beyond belief.
The secret? Color theory. There’s a reason that your under-eye circles or post-pimple redness are always just a little bit visible under your concealer: The blue and red tones inherent in those blemishes shine through your flesh-colored makeup. In order to hide them properly, you need to neutralize whatever color you’re trying to conceal, not just slather flesh-colored goop on top of it—which is where these strangely colored concealers come in. Here’s how to use concealer palettes to get completely perfect skin.
Pale green concealer
Green is opposite to red on the color wheel, which makes them complementary colors. Complementary colors effectively cancel one another out, so if you put some green concealer on top of anything red (like rosacea, acne or scars), that redness is immediately neutralized. The best part? It’s totally easy to do: simply dab a little pale green concealer over any red blemishes you have, allow it to set, then cover it up with a very light application of your skin-toned concealer. Voila!
Purple is opposite yellow on the color wheel, so pale purple concealer is perfect for concealing anything yellow or cooling down makeup that’s too warm-toned. Sallowness and hyperpigmented spots like acne scars can be effectively evened out with the slightest cast of lavender over them before adding your regular concealer overtop.
You have probably seen this striped all over Kim Kardashian‘s mid-contouring selfies—and for good reason. Yellow is opposite to purple on the color wheel, which means that dark, violet-toned under eye circles don’t stand a chance. Simply apply under your eyes and blend well with a sponge or concealer brush, then cover with powder in the same shade as your complexion. You’ll end up with a subtly brightened under-eye area; for a more dramatically contoured look, apply powder a shade lighter than your complexion over the yellow concealer and watch your concealer turn into chic highlights.
Pale pink/salmon concealer
If you have a darker or olive-toned complexion, you’ve probably noticed that your under-eye circles aren’t purple or blue; they have a greenish tint, and yellow concealer just isn’t cutting it for you. That’s where pink or salmon concealer comes in—red and orange are complementary to green and blue on the color wheel, so these shades are perfect for neutralizing your dark circles. To use this color, apply and blend the concealer overtop of your under-eye circles, then set with powder that matches your complexion. You can also use pale pink concealer as a gorgeous highlighter—add a little bit to the inner corner of your eyes, along your cheekbones, under the arch of your eyebrow and down the bridge of your nose. Blend well and marvel at your instantly perked-up complexion!
Originally published July 2015. Updated March 2017.