Main content
How To Color Correct Like a Seasoned Pro

The Ultimate Color Corrector Guide: How To Use Color Correction Makeup

19 Dec 2023

Most of us have at least one concealer in our makeup arsenal. But if you have redness, dark spots, or stubborn under-eye circles, you’d also benefit from a color corrector. Unlike your flesh-toned concealer—which covers up imperfections—color-correcting makeup uses the principles of color theory to neutralize unwanted tones for more even-looking skin. To help you get started, we’ve put together this comprehensive color corrector guide, detailing what color correcting is, how to use color corrector, and how to choose the right shades for specific skin concerns. We’ll also introduce you to a few color-correcting makeup formulas worth adding to your collection. Find the details, below.

What Is Color Correcting?

In the most basic terms, color correcting involves using tinted makeup (specifically, color-correcting makeup) to help balance out skin discolorations, such as dark circles, redness, or sallowness. Unlike concealers, which, well, conceal, color correctors work their magic by visibly neutralizing unwanted tones. As such, they’re not skin colored but instead come in a variety of shades, from yellows to reds to greens.

Where Should You Put Color Corrector?

Like a skin-toned concealer, you only apply color corrector to certain spots—it isn’t used all over like foundation. You only want to apply it to the specific areas where you have discolorations to neutralize (for example, to cover a blemish or cancel out dark under-eye circles). This means that where you should apply color corrector differs from person to person and can even vary on a daily basis.

What Color Corrector Should You Use?

You don’t need an in-depth knowledge of color theory to understand the basics of color-correcting makeup. What can help, though, is to visualize the color wheel. Colors that lay opposite one another on the color wheel (think: red and green or purple and yellow) are contrasting colors. When mixed together—or, in the case of makeup, applied on top of one another—they can cancel one another out. In effect, color-correcting makeup can help promote a more even-looking skin tone.

Like concealers, color correctors come in a plethora of shades. Our Pro Fix Stick color-correcting concealer sticks, for example, come in 24 distinct shades for color correcting and concealing a range of skin concerns on various skin tones. Knowing which one to use (and when) is largely dependent on the skin concern you’re looking to camouflage. Your skin tones and undertones play a role in determining the right shade for your needs, too (our article Meet Your Match: How to Match Your Foundation and Find Your Formula is full of tips on determining your skin tone and undertone). Ahead, we’ll dive into the details and explain what color-corrector shades to use for various skin concerns.

What Does Green Color Corrector Do?

If you have redness (like that from breakouts or irritation), you can visibly tone it down with a green color corrector. The minty hue helps cancel out unwanted red and pink tones on all skin tones for a more even-looking appearance.

How to Color Correct Redness

Use Green Color Corrector

Apply a small amount of green color corrector to areas where you see redness and blend until the red is less noticeable. Start small: You can always add more if needed.

Pro Tip: Use clean tools (sponge, brush, or fingers) and be gentle when you blend out your color corrector, especially if your redness is accompanied by breakouts or irritation.

What Does Purple Color Corrector Do?

Purple color correctors can help brighten and add life to sallow, dull-looking skin. Lavender shades in particular can help cancel out light yellow tones in the skin. Apply a lavender color corrector only where needed to even out your skin, and blend it well before layering on your foundation and concealer (if needed).

How to Color Correct Dullness and Add Brightness

Use Lavender Color Corrector

You don’t need to apply lavender color corrector all over to brighten up dull skin. Instead, apply a few dots to areas you’d like to target, like your chin, forehead, and under-eyes, and blend for a subtle brightening effect.

Pro Tip: If dullness is your primary concern, opt for dewy rather than matte makeup to help give your skin a soft, natural-looking glow.

What Does Blue Color Corrector Do?

Light blue color correctors, like lavender, can help neutralize unwanted warmth. They’re particularly helpful for disguising orange tones and can work well on all skin tones. Deeper blue shades may also be used to cool down overly warm foundation or concealer.

What Does Pink Color Corrector Do?

Pink or peach-toned color correctors are ideal for those with fair skin looking to balance out bluish-looking under-eye circles.

What Does Orange Color Corrector Do?

Deeper peach and orange color correctors help counteract bluish hues, which makes them great for neutralizing dark spots and dark circles on those with medium to deep skin tones. If you’re unsure which to choose, consider your skin tone and your undertones. Or, grab a color-correcting palette with several shades, like our Color Correcting Cream Palette, and experiment to find what works best for you.

What Does Yellow Color Corrector Do?

Purple discoloration—think dark spots and some under-eye circles—can be balanced out with a warmer yellow-toned color corrector. Choose a paler, more pastel yellow if you have fair skin, or a darker, more golden hue if your skin is on the deeper side.

How to Color Correct Dark Circles

Use Pink, Yellow, or Orange Color Corrector

The main obstacle in color correcting dark circles is finding the right color for your skin tone and underlying hues. As we explained above, peach and pale yellow shades are ideal for those with fairer skin, while deeper orange shades are best for those with medium to dark skin tones. Once you find your hue, apply a small amount to your dark circles and gently blend with your preferred tool.

Pro Tip: Pop on our Face Freezie Reusable Cooling Undereye Patches before color correcting your dark circles to help de-puff and refresh your eye area.

How to Color Correct Dark Spots

Use Yellow or Orange Color Corrector

As with dark circles, there are a few different shades that can help color correct dark spots, depending on your skin tone. Once you pick the right one, the actual color-correcting process is a breeze: Just apply a small dot to areas of concern and blend.

Pro Tip: Pair your color-correcting makeup with a full-coverage foundation to give your skin an even yet natural-looking finish.

How to Color Correct: A Step-by-Step Breakdown

Once you’ve figured out which shade you need, applying your color corrector is pretty straightforward. First, you’ll apply primer, then dot on your color corrector where needed and blend. Finally, you’ll layer on the rest of your base makeup (specifically, foundation and concealer). Below, learn exactly how to apply color corrector properly for an even finish.

Step 1: Prime Your Face

Start by prepping your skin with a makeup primer. A primer will help your products grip better (and allow them to last longer). Many formulas can also help with specific concerns: Some blur pores and help mattify the skin, others brighten and give the skin a glowy look. If you’re unsure which primer is right for you, our article Prime Time: How To Pick The Right Makeup Primer can help you find your formula.

Step 2: Apply Your Color Corrector

After giving your primer a minute or two to set, take your Pro Fix Stick color corrector and apply the creamy formula directly onto areas where you’re experiencing discoloration. If you have dark circles, that means you’ll likely be focusing on your under-eye area; dark spots, redness, and blemishes, meanwhile, can be spot-corrected as needed.

Here’s a quick cheat sheet on which color-corrector shade to use:

  • For redness: Neutralize red and pink tones with a green color corrector.
  • For dark circles and dark spots: Use a peach color corrector if you have fair skin, or a deeper orange shade if you have medium to dark skin.
  • For sallowness: Balance out unwanted warmth with a lavender color corrector.

You can use your fingers, a brush, or a sponge to blend out the pigment; choose whichever tool works best for you. Note that there may still be a tint left on your skin after blending, and that’s fine—your foundation and concealer will help cover that up.

Step 3: Layer On Foundation

Next, apply the foundation of your choice. For buildable coverage, we recommend trying Bare With Me Blur Tint Foundation. Use a pea-sized amount of the hydrating foundation to start—you can always add more if you find you’d like a little more coverage in some areas.

Step 4: Add Concealer Where Needed

After foundation, reach for a Pro Fix Stick in a shade that matches your natural skin tone. Using it the same way as you did for color correction, apply the velvety formula anywhere you’d like a bit of extra coverage.

What Color of Concealer Should I Use?

If you already have a favorite foundation, you can use it to pick a concealer shade. The concealer should match your foundation. You also can test different products on your skin to see what looks best—you want the concealer to really blend with your skin tone for the most natural look. Trying concealers in-store with testers is one option, or you can also use our virtual try-on tool to easily put different concealers to the test.

Pro Tip: On more minimal makeup days, you can skip the foundation and concealer. Just be sure to sheer out your color corrector, so you’re not left with obvious patches of color.

Step 5: Set Your Makeup

Once you’ve color corrected, concealed, and blended your base to perfection, set it all in place by misting your face with a setting spray.

Next: How to Use Cream Highlighter Sticks for Radiant-Looking Skin

Show us how you use your Pro Fix Sticks! Share your creativity on social media and tag us @nyxcosmetics.

Color Correction & Concealer FAQs

What Concealer Is Best? Liquid, Cream, or Stick?

There is no objective “best” where makeup is concerned: Ultimately, it boils down to personal preference. Concealer sticks offer precise, targeted application, which is helpful if you’re looking to conceal or color-correct only specific areas. Liquid concealers, on the other hand, tend to be more fluid and spreadable. Choose whichever suits your needs and preferences best.

How Should I Blend a Concealer Stick?

After applying concealer with your concealer stick, you can blend out the color with a tool (such as a densely-packed brush or makeup sponge) or your fingers. If using your fingers, make sure they’re clean and dry.

Is Color Correcting Better Than Concealer?

Color-correcting and concealing are used for different purposes. It’s not a matter of which is better, but which is better suited for your needs. If you’re looking to tone down visible discoloration, a color corrector will help. Concealers, meanwhile, are used to cover imperfections and help create a more even-looking skin tone.

Can You Wear Color Corrector By Itself?

If it’s sheer enough, you could wear a color corrector by itself. However, you’ll find you get the most natural-looking results if you layer a skin-colored concealer or foundation over your color-correcting makeup.


Orientation message
For the best experience, please turn your device