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Color Corrector Guide: How To Color Correct Dark Spots, Redness, and More

Let’s all give a big thank you to color theory.
  • Leann Garofolo
March 20, 2024

If your brightening concealer seems to draw more attention to that angry red pimple or those persistent dark circles, you may want to consider adding a color corrector to your routine. Color-correcting makeup helps neutralize the appearance of discoloration so your go-to concealer can cover it more effectively. But the key to color-correcting is to find the right color for your skin concern—and with shades like lavender, orange, and even green, we’ll admit that it can be tricky to figure out where to start.

To help, we’ve put together a color corrector guide that breaks down everything you need to know about how to color correct under-eye circles, dark spots, breakouts, and more. We’re also sharing some of our favorite L’Oréal Paris makeup products to use along the way. Keep scrolling to learn the art of even-toned coverage.

What Is Color Correcting?

Color correcting is a technique that involves applying tinted (often, candy-colored) makeup to help neutralize unwanted discolorations, such as redness or dark spots. Color correctors, which usually come in the form of cream or liquid-based concealers, range from yellows and reds to greens and purples. It’s important to note that these products aren’t intended to match your skin color. Instead, their bold hues are specifically designed to address concerns like dark circles, dark spots, redness, or sallowness before you layer on the rest of your makeup.

What Color Corrector Should You Use?

Color correction is guided by the principles of color theory. Think back to when you learned about the color wheel in elementary school. You were probably taught that colors opposite of one another are complementary and, therefore, cancel each other out—that same principle applies to makeup. So, determine the color of the imperfection you want to disguise, then visualize the color wheel, and reach for a corrector in the contrasting shade. If you need more guidance, keep reading—we’ll explain how to color correct different discolorations below.

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Peach and Orange Color Corrector

Dark circles tend to have a bluish undertone, so shades of peach and orange are ideal for canceling them out. Those with lighter skin tones should reach for a peach color corrector. Anyone with tan or deep complexions, on the other hand, will fare best with an orange color corrector like the Prime Lab OA Up to 24H Dullness Reducer from L’Oréal Paris.

Typically, you’ll want to follow up your under-eye color corrector with a brightening concealer to help further improve the appearance of dark circles. We’re partial to L’Oréal Paris True Match Radiant Serum Concealer. Use its doe foot applicator to apply the hydrating formula in an upside-down triangle beneath each eye and blend well.

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Yellow Color Corrector

Use a yellow color corrector if you have any purple discoloration, such as dark spots or violet-toned dark circles. Yellow can help counteract the purple tint, leaving you with a more even-looking skin tone.

When choosing a yellow color corrector, consider your skin tone. Paler pastel shades work best on fair to light skin, whereas deeper golden hues can help balance purple discolorations on darker skin.

Green Color Corrector

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A green color corrector is the holy grail for toning down redness. Since green sits opposite red on the color wheel, a green concealer is your best bet for taming ruddy tones.

Those prone to all-over facial redness (like from irritation or rosacea) may want to opt for a green primer or BB cream instead of a spot-treating concealer. A priming option we love is the L'Oréal Paris Prime Lab OA Up to 24H Redness Eraser. Its green non-comedogenic formula instantly minimizes visible redness, evens skin tone over time, and extends makeup wear for up to 24 hours.

As far as BB creams go, consider L'Oréal Paris Magic Anti-Redness BB Cream For All Skin Types. This multi-tasking, ultra-light lotion delivers four beautifying actions in one step: It neutralizes the look of redness, evens skin tone, hydrates, and perfects your complexion. And, while it applies green, the unique cream instantly transforms to match your skin tone for a flawless-looking, bare-skin finish.

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Purple Color Corrector

Combat dull or sallow skin with the help of a lavender color corrector. Simply apply it wherever your skin could use some extra luminosity (like your chin, under-eyes, forehead, or cheekbones) and blend well to add life to your look.

Editor Tip: If your main goal is to target dullness, opting for a radiant or dewy-finish tinted moisturizer can also help your skin appear more lively. Try adding L’Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Glotion Natural Glow Enhancer to your routine—the viral tinted moisturizer illuminates and adds a tint of color for glowy, healthy-looking skin. Discover some of our favorite ways to use the versatile formula in our article Conquer Glowy Makeup With Lumi Glotion—4 Ways to Use the TikTok Favorite.

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How to Color Correct in 4 Easy Steps

Now that you know just how beneficial color correcting can be and which colors do what, all that’s left to learn is how to apply it. First, you’ll want to perform your go-to skincare routine and then use your preferred primer to prep your skin.

Then you can get to work. Follow our step-by-step color corrector guide below to nail the makeup technique.

Step 1. Apply color corrector

As a general rule of thumb, you should apply color corrector before foundation. The corrector helps mask discolorations, while the foundation adds coverage and helps create an even, uniform skin tone.

If you want all-over correction before your base, a color-correcting primer like L’Oréal Paris Prime Lab OA Up to 24H Redness Eraser or Up to 24H Dullness Reducer is the way to go. That’s in contrast to color-correcting concealer, which should only be added to areas of your face that need neutralization. Simply use a small concealer brush to blend your chosen concealer onto problem areas for targeted coverage. We recommend starting with a thin, light layer and building it up as needed.

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Step 2. Layer on foundation

Let your color corrector set before evening out your skin with foundation. For buildable medium coverage, consider L'Oréal Paris True Match Super-Blendable Foundation. The liquid foundation offers a skin-like finish and a precise color match, with 47 shades to choose from.

For no-makeup makeup days, you can’t go wrong with L'Oréal Paris True Match Hyaluronic Tinted Serum. It offers sheer, lightweight coverage and helps brighten and hydrate the skin.

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Step 3. Add concealer

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If your imperfections still need extra coverage or brightening, add your regular concealer over any areas you applied color-corrector makeup. L’Oréal Paris Infallible Full Wear Concealer up to 24H Full Coverage is our most pigmented formula, giving you full coverage with a matte finish that lasts up to 24 hours. Or, use the aforementioned L'Oréal Paris True Match Radiant Serum Concealer—it offers medium coverage and feels hydrating on the skin, making it a great pick for those with dry skin.

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Step 4. Set your makeup

Once you’re satisfied with your base (and those discolorations are a distant memory), set your base. Opt for a setting powder, like L’Oréal Paris Infallible Up to 24H Fresh Wear Foundation in a Powder, if you want a matte finish, or reach for a setting spray for a more natural look. We’re partial to L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Spray and Set Make-Up Oil-Free Setting Spray to help prevent makeup from settling into fine lines and extend your look. Shake the bottle well, then mist the spray over your skin in “X” and “T” motions to ensure you cover every last inch of your makeup.

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