Colour correcting is the newest, biggest trend in beauty. Sephora is chockablock full of brands launching their version of these innovative products. People are getting really excited about the whole thing. I, on the other hand, am taking the grumpy hipster approach to it all. For one, colour correctors ain't nothing new. They've been around for ages. The only difference is the industry has now taken the whole thing to ridiculous levels. There's a lot of bullshit to wade through on the shelves – a lot of products no human would ever need. So my friends, I'm here to help you navigate that bullshit. Please, come with me on a journey of realistic expectations.
What colours actually do what:
First of all, I just want to say that the average person doesn't need a million colour correctors. One or two colours would be plenty. This trend of covering your face in rainbow lines is wholly unnecessary (she said crustily). Let me take you through the common tones we see in colour correcting and explain what they're actually useful for.
Green: Small amount of green can be used to cover intense redness. If you've got wicked rosacea or a bright red zit, green will be your friend. But remember, if you slather yourself in loads of green, you will still have a green cast to your skin even after foundation.
Products to try: Lancome Cushion Corrector in Green (for fair skin tones), Urban Decay Naked Skin Corrector in Mint (for fair to light skin tones), Algenist Correcting Drops in Green (for light skin tones), Sephora Collection Colour Corrector in Green (for light to medium skin tones).
Yellow: Using yellow to cover redness is a much safer bet. It does roughly the same thing as green, but without the risk of looking sickly. Yellow is also much better for covering older zits and scars that have a slight purple cast to them. Green will end up looking ashy over those areas.
Products to try: Urban Decay Naked Skin Corrector in Yellow (for fair to light skin tones), Bareminerals Primetime Neutralizing (for light to medium skin tones), Marc Jacobs Cover Stick in Covert Affairs (for light to medium skin tones), Sephora Collection Colour Corrector in Yellow (for light to medium skin tones), Giorgio Armani Master Corrector in Yellow (for medium skin tones).
Pink: Light pink is a good under eye or general skin brightener for fair to light skin tones. Peach is the ideal colour to cancel out blue/green under eye circles, but most fair/light skin tones can't take a peach tone (it ends up looking darker under the eye overall).
Products to try: Sephora Collection Colour Corrector in Pink (for fair to light skin tones), Urban Decay Naked Skin Corrector in Pink (for fair to light skin tones).
Peach: For medium to tan skin tones, peach makes an excellent under eye corrector. It'll knock out those blue/green tones brilliantly. It will also cover dark sun spots and acne scars quite well. Just be careful about the depth of the peach you're choosing. It shouldn't be any darker than your skin tone.
Products to try: Sephora Collection Colour Corrector in Peach (for light to medium skin tones), Sephora Collection Colour Corrector in Melon (for medium to tan skin tones), Urban Decay Naked Skin Corrector in Peach (for medium skin tones).
Orange: This is where things get a little ridiculous. I keep seeing pictures of light/medium skin toned girls using bright orange corrector under their eyes. That is not a good idea. Orange might counteract blue/green, but it'll also make your under eyes look (you guessed it) dark orange. Never go darker than your skin tone! The only people that should be using true orange tones are those with deep, deep skin tones. In that case, it's also useful to correct some of the darkness that can appear around the mouth.
A note for darker skins: peach/orange colour correctors are about the only ones you will need. Darker skin tones don't tend to show true redness or yellowness, etc.
Products to try: Marc Jacobs Cover Stick in Getting Warmer (for tan to deep skin tones), Becca Targeted Colour Corrector in Peach or Papaya (for deep skin tones).
Purple: Very few people will ever need a purple colour corrector. If you truly suffer from strong yellow sallowness, then it must come in handy. But for the most part a pink corrector will do.
Products to try: YSL Touche Eclat Neutralizer in Violet (for light skin tones), Urban Decay Naked Skin Corrector in Lavender (for light skin tones).
Blue: Straight up, nobody needs a blue corrector. It's just a gimmick.
A note about application:
Colour corrector should be applied before your foundation and concealer. That will ensure that your skin is completely balanced in tone. But what can happen is that when you go to apply your foundation you end up pulling the colour corrector back off of your skin. In order to prevent this from occurring you might need to set the colour correction with a light layer of powder before your foundation. I would recommend using a silica powder (like the MUFE HD Powder or the NYX HD Powder) for this, as it won't look cakey like a talc powder. That will help to lock the correctors into place. Also, make sure you're applying your foundation/concealer with patting motions, rather than wiping motions. Concealer should still always be the main source of covering problem areas. Colour corrector is just a helping hand.