Do Color Correctors Actually Treat Dark Circles? We Investigate

Say hello to brighter undereyes.

by Natasha Marsh
Originally Published: 
color-correctors for dark circles
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Whether you have them from genetics, excess sun exposure, allergies, or lack of sleep, dealing with dark circles can be a real pain. “Dark circles are often genetic, though as we age, we lose volume under the eye which causes more shadowing,” says Emma Peters, makeup artist and founder of clean beauty brand Aleph Beauty. And while you can attempt to get more sleep and stay out of the sun, there will inevitably be some days where under-eye dark circles will thrive. Fortunately, finding the right cosmetic product can aid in your mission. Enter: color correctors for dark circles.

“Color correctors are the slightly more pigmented and matte cousin of concealers,” says Jenny Patinkin, celebrity makeup artist. “Instead of camouflaging and blending the way that concealer does, color correctors cancel out discoloration by neutralizing it and making dark circles and blemish marks less obvious.”

These types of products are available in an assortment of shades suited for all skin tones. However, because of the wide shade range, it can be confusing in selecting the color right for you that not only blends in with your skin tone but actually manages to help with your dark circles.

Ahead, TZR enlisted the help of five celebrity makeup artists for their best tips and tricks on color correcting under eye circles for a natural, non-cakey finish. Plus, the expert-approved products to help get you there.

What Are Color Correctors?

You might believe that color correctors and concealers are interchangeable, but they're two very different products. The main difference? Concealers are a highly pigmented product, set to conceal the underlying skin and are usually slightly lighter than your other complexion products. On the other hand, color correctors are designed to neutralize imperfections by decreasing the color of melanin, for a natural, seamless look. “Color correcting is a little trick that makeup artists use to create different effects from countering dark circles, disguising redness, or brightening a sallow complexion,” shares Peters.

While you might wish that there was a magic cure-all for this condition, it actually takes a multi-pronged approach to keep dark circles at bay. In addition to adequate sleep and hydration, Melissa Collazo, OMNIA brush artist, encourages a proper skin care regimen that includes eye creams and serums, to tend to the discoloration long-term. “Color correctors are not only quick but also highly effective for making those dark circles disappear,” the expert tells TZR. “They are an immediate fix and can complement your skin care routine in minimizing dark circles.”

How To Find The Perfect Color Corrector

With so many options on the market, picking the right shade of color corrector can seem like a daunting task. As a general rule of thumb, Bina Khan, makeup artist and co-founder of Just B Cosmetics, says, “The darker the pigmentation, the darker the corrector will need to be.” For this, Khan and the other experts follow the color wheel, placing the opposite color on skin to negate the discoloration.

So how does that work? Unlike concealer, color-correcting uses complementary hues (opposite on the color wheel) to cancel each other out. That's because they're designed to work by neutralizing the skin using the opposite shade on discolored areas. “We start by determining the color of the issue needing correcting and choosing the opposite shade on the color wheel,” Peters tells TZR. “Using opposite colors together creates a neutral tone.”

According to Peters, dark circles under the eyes are often blue-toned, prompting your color-correct to have orange (the opposite color) or peach tone in it. “For sallow skin that has yellow tones, a color corrector would contain purple tones,” says the pro. “For other areas, avoid a straight green to cover redness, [as] this will end up taking too much color out of the skin, rendering it washed out.” Instead, opt for an olive-based foundation of concealer which will be infused with green tones.

How To Apply Color Correctors For Dark Circles

The actual application of a color corrector is fairly simple. All the experts agree that the first step should be a clean and moisturized canvas. “Under-eye concealer, no matter how perfectly it can correct darkness and match your skin color, will not look good or natural when applied on top of dry or flakey skin,” celebrity makeup artist Katey Denno tells TZR. For this, she suggests a lightweight eye cream like Pangea Organics Eye Cream for its non-greasy formula that absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave skin shiny or tacky.

Emily Tomae, makeup artist and owner of Blushing With Emily Rose, recommends tapping the color corrector in, versus using a brush, to ensure none of the product is lifted away. “The heat from your fingers blends the makeup more evenly and will not leave a streak mark behind,” the pro tells TZR. “Moving the product all over the face and transferring the product off of your brush or blender to other areas on your face will undo the work you did to help shine the dark area, moving pigments into the wrong areas,” Tomae continues.

According to Patinkin, the same rule is applied when using liquid color correctors. “Tap the liquid corrector in and let it dry and thicken for a few minutes before applying makeup over it so that it doesn't slip or lift away.” You can apply a color-correcting shade for underneath your eye and top with a concealer that's closer to your skin tone to hide the look of dark circles (and help your makeup last throughout the day). Khan recommends applying your normal concealer from the outside of your eye to the inside, using your finger in a patient patting motion. “Make sure to keep the skin stretched and keep patting until you feel the concealer drying down.” To finish, set with a fine powder using a small, tightly packed brush to ensure proper coverage and application.

In need of a few products to help minimize your dark under-eye circles? Check out a few of the best options on the market, below.

We at TZR only include products that have been independently selected by our editors. We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

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