Understanding Color Correcting Cosmetics

I have a little makeup lesson for y’all today!

One of the most important makeup lessons I’ve ever learned was how to color correct. When I say that I mean how to take away red spots, conceal dark undereye circles, mask hyperpigmentation, etc. When you create a flawless face, everything else just looks better.

I’ve heard tons of women say that they can’t find the right concealer for underneath their eyes because nothing seems to work. Or nothing covers up their redness. There could be some simple adjustments you can do to really give you some results!

In order to understand where I’m going with this, I’m going to take you back to art class and basic color theory. Let’s take a look at the color wheel, shall we?

Every color has one directly across the wheel from it. That color is it’s complementary color. For example, across the wheel from green is red. Not only do those colors look fantastic together (maybe that’s why green and red are Christmas colors), but one can cancel out the other.

Now let’s apply basic color theory and how it can help your complexion. I’m going to address some real problems you might want to fix and offer some solutions and product recommendations.

The Problem: Blue Under Eye Circles
The Solution: Peach Corrector
Product Recommendation: Bobbi Brown Corrector in one of the Peach tones (I use Light Peach)
This is me to a “T.” I have bluish under eye circles, and I was using the wrong product all along. I was using “brightening” products that were formulated with a pinkish undertone that really didn’t address the color correction I needed. As soon as I started using something with a peach undertone, it completely fixed my problem! The theory behind using these Bobbi Brown correctors is that you use it underneath your concealer to correct the color first. I find that I don’t really need to add a layer of concealer over it because it does that great of a job of masking my under eye circles. You can see another review I did of the Bobbi Brown corrector here. This is my HG (Holy Grail) under eye concealer. I will never stray from this!
The Problem: Brown Under Eye Circles
The Solution: Pink Corrector
Product Recommendation: Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Dark Circle Treatment (in Brightener)
Many people don’t realize that the circles under their eyes actually have a brown-ish tint to them. Look at yourself in natural light and really analyze the color. If you see more of a brown color, you ought to go with a concealer/corrector/treatment with a pink undertone to it. I actually own this product and I feel it doesn’t address my needs of color correction. However, I find that when I use it under my Bobbi Brown corrector, it does a great job of brightening up my eye area. I sometimes use this all around my eyes for a nice brightening effect. They also make a Bobbi Brown corrector in Bisque, if you are interested in using that.
The Problem: Redness
The Solution: A Green Primer/Concealer
Product Recommendation: Smashbox Photo Finish Color Correcting Foundation Primer
Perhaps those cheeks are a little too rosy for your liking, or you are dealing with a skin issue like rosacea. Using a green primer will definitely help neutralize those problems. You can also find a green concealer for spot treatment. I have used a green concealer on fading acne scars with much success.


The Problem: Yellow-ish, Sallow Skin
The Solution: A Purple Primer
Product Recommendation: Smashbox Photo Finish Color Correcting Foundation Primer
This product will probably work best for ethnic skintones with yellow undertones. If you find yourself looking a bit sallow, you might consider using a purple primer or corrector. This does not apply to me, as I have skin with a pinkish undertone to it. However, I have used purple shampoo to cancel out the brassiness/yellow in blonde hair and it works wonders! If you have had success with purple-based primers/correctors, let me know!
The Problem: Skin Dullness
The Solution: A Yellow Powder
Product Recommendation: Bobbi Brown Sheer Finish Loose Powder in Pale Yellow
What I like about Bobbi Brown’s setting powders is that they all have a yellow base to brighten the skin. That’s one of Bobbi’s things – she really believes in putting a yellow base in a lot of her face products. While that may not work for everyone, it sure does work for me! Dusting this over your face to set your makeup will give it some extra oomph in the process! This powder is finely-milled and has lasted me forever.
Problem: All of the Above
Solution: Make Up For Ever Camouflage Cream Palette
This palette addresses just about every need you might have when you want to color correct. Maybe you just weren’t blessed with the most cooperative skin tone and coloring. That’s okay, because you can fake it! I have not used this palette, although I have used quite a bit of Make Up For Ever’s products (including concealers) and I trust the quality and color payoff of their products.
So there you have it!
If you have any additional tips or product recommendations for color correction, please leave them in the comments! I would love to hear your input!


  • Reply
    March 12, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    Great tips Meg! I use a green concealer on my face as my first step. I have a rather large birthmark and find the green concealer helps me use less of my other makeup to cover it.

  • Reply
    March 12, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    What would I do without you and your makeup tips?!

  • Reply
    Life With Lauren
    March 12, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    I use the Smashbox Green and it works wonders.

  • Reply
    Jennifer B
    March 12, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    Of course you’d write a blog post about something I’ve been wondering about for forever! I have pinned the Smashbox green primer so I remember.

    Next, you should totally do a highlighting/shadowing lesson…unless you already have and I have forgotten…lol

  • Reply
    March 12, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    awesome post!

  • Reply
    Jewely Bug
    March 12, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Thank you for the tips. Now I am going to go stand in the light to look at my undereye circles. LOL

  • Reply
    March 12, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    Smarty pants. Thanks for all the greatness!

  • Reply
    March 12, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    You amaze me every day Meg! You have no idea how happy I was to see you had written this post. I am still having a hard time with my under eye circles, and one of my cheeks is rosier than the other.. this makes perfect sense! 🙂

  • Reply
    March 12, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    I will never be able to thank you enough for turning me on to the bobbi brown corrector 🙂

  • Reply
    March 12, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    Thank you so much for the info! I’m still learning about makeup and how to use certain products and have really been wondering what all of the color correcting products were about. I’m definitely going to try the bobbi brown corrector! 🙂

  • Reply
    Molly Jac
    March 12, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    you are a genius! now if I could only tell the color under my eyes 😉

  • Reply
    March 12, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    you, my friend, are a makeup genius! sharing this on twitter right now!

  • Reply
    March 12, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    LOVED THIS. so helpful — I never thought to try the purple tint. This might solve my problems for days when I don’t feel so pretty! 🙂

  • Reply
    March 13, 2012 at 2:20 am

    Wow! This is really helpful and interesting. Thanks chica!

  • Reply
    March 13, 2012 at 7:43 am

    I know nothing about makeup and I’m using one of these products, so I’m feeling pretty proud of myself. 😉

    Thanks for the helpful info!!

  • Reply
    March 13, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    I’m very “less is best” make up and stick to only eye liner and mascara but when I do get a zit, once every 3 years or every day while pregnant, my green concealer was my go to product!

  • Reply
    March 14, 2012 at 10:43 am

    Great tutorial! Color correcting really works wonders, and it’s not so complicated once you get the hang of it. And I swear by Smashbox primers– love them! Thanks for posting!! 🙂

  • Reply
    March 14, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    You are my go-to girl for beauty tips! Always so helpful!!

  • Reply
    Cajun Cowgirl
    March 15, 2012 at 7:30 am

    This post rocks! Now we should meet up and you help me to a whole makeup shopping trip!

  • Reply
    Vittoria @ The Beautiful Things
    March 19, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    great info! i’ve never seen a purple primer before!


  • Reply
    March 22, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    I loved this post so much I included it in Lots of Link Love for this week! So insanely informative!!

    Come check it out, and snag the button if you want to share with your readers!


  • Reply
    April 1, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    Playing some major catchup tonight, and wanted to tell you thank you for this post! I have massive under eye circles with a blue base, and I have bookmarked this for the next time I am makeup shopping. That Bobbi Brown concealer will be mine 🙂

    Hope you and your super cute family are having a great night!!!

  • Reply
    5 High End Beauty Products Worth Trying
    August 29, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    […] 2. BOBBI BROWN CORRECTOR I have talked before in this post about how much I love this stuff, and I have never been able to find anything in the drugstore quite like it. This is an under eye corrector, which is not to be confused with a concealer. It cancels out the dark circles under your eyes. It’s important, however, to get the right color for it to work correctly. If you need help with understanding color correcting cosmetics, check out my post here. […]

  • Reply
    tinnitus miracle system
    September 22, 2014 at 1:21 am

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    Understanding Color Correcting Cosmetics – Meg O. on the Go

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