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If you’ve ever dealt with dark circles under your eyes, you know the struggle is real. It’s hard to mask the darkness in a way that looks natural and flawless. The trick here, though, is to find the right product—and that’s where color correctors come in.
“When you don’t want to cake on concealer to cover dark circles, color correcting will be your best friend,” explains makeup artist and groomer Janice Kinjo, whose clients include Mindy Kaling, Uzo Aduba, and Gabrielle Union. “It is a way to instantly neutralize discoloration, dark circles, and blemish marks underneath your foundation/concealer.”
You might think that color correctors and concealers are one and the same (I used to think they were interchangeable), but they’re two very different products. “Concealers are significantly different than color correctors,” says makeup artist Gina Brooke, whose clients include Cate Blanchett, Kim Kardashian West, and Kerry Washington. “Concealers are highly pigmented and meant to conceal and highlight the skin while matching your skin tone, whereas color correctors are specifically designed to neutralize imperfections by toning down the color of the melanin to create a seamless look.”
Brooke says that choosing a color corrector can be more complicated than choosing a new shade of foundation. That’s because they’re designed to work by neutralizing the skin using the opposite shade on discolored areas. She recommends looking for light formulas that are buildable.
“To keep it simple, for fair complexions, look for pastel color correctors,” Kinjo suggests. “For medium tones, yellow, orange, and peach correctors. For dark tones, [try] deep peach to dark orange. Shade-matching will be easier when keeping those tips in mind.”
Makeup artist Carolina Dalí-Trites, whose clients include Constance Wu and Storm Reid, says it’s important to prep and moisturize the under-eye area first so that your makeup can glide on and blend easily. She shared her prep routine, saying, “I start off by applying on clean skin the Russak Dermatology Clinic Chill Out CBD-infused under-eye gel mask—it helps de-puff, soothe, and moisturize the under-eye area. Leave on for 15 to 30 minutes while you’re doing your hair, choosing an outfit, or whatever else you’re up to in the a.m. For best under-eye mask results, store in a cool place or fridge. Follow with the La Prairie Skin Caviar Luxe Eye Cream—this cream is hydrating yet not oily, wears nicely under makeup, and has a touch of luminosity, which will help reflect light and instantly make the under-eye area look a little brighter. It’s important to choose a moisturizer that’s not too rich or oily because that will make the makeup crease.”
After prepping, Kinjo recommends applying the corrector just on the area—that’s because color correctors have a thicker formulation, so you don’t want it to look caked-on. “Then, apply your foundation or concealer on top and blend with your finger, brush, or sponge,” she says. “Again, color correctors neutralize color, so there is no need to pack on the foundation or concealer. All it comes down to is blending it with your foundation.”
If you want to test them out for yourself, here’s a list of the best color correctors, recommended by makeup artists and editors.
Kinjo recommends this one for all complexions. “You can’t beat the price point, and the creamy formula can be applied with the brush tip applicator,” she says.
“Some of my favorite color-correcting formulas are lightweight gel-based textures such as Le Correcteur de Chanel, which contains a soft-focus pigment that diffuses light to minimize the look of imperfections,” Brooke says. “It comes in four buildable colors and provides light-to-medium coverage. I use Rose to illuminate and brighten, Vert to neutralize the appearance of redness, and Apricot and Pêche to diminish the look of dark circles.”
“For all complexions, [I like] MAC’s Studio Fix Conceal & Correct because it’s a palette made for most skin tones, and you can play with the different colors in it,” Kinjo says.
Dalí-Trites recommends this one from Charlotte Tilbury. “Using my fingers, I apply it under the eyes—don’t forget to apply to the inner and outer corners of the eyes too,” she says. “Once I’ve applied and blended the color corrector, I follow with Nars’s Radiant Creamy Concealer. I like to build the coverage little by little, keeping in mind less is more. Applying too much concealer can have the opposite effect drawing negative attention to the under-eye area, and within minutes or hours, [it can] crease. Once I’m happy with the coverage, I seal everything in place to prevent creasing and help the makeup wear longer. I take a small powder brush and apply a light dusting of Dior Backstage Powder-No-Powder to the under-eye area.”
Kinjo also likes Live Tinted’s Huestick Correctors for all complexions. “They not only neutralize discoloration, but also they’re a multifunctional stick that can be used on lips, cheeks, and eyes,” she says.
Kinjo recommends this one for olive complexions. “It is creamy and blends very easily with any foundation and concealer,” she says.
This color corrector is ultra pigmented, which means it will cover up any dark circles and discoloration with just a pea-size amount. It comes in various shades for different skin tones—yellow, peach, orange, green, and lavender.
Not only is this corrector good for dark circles, but it also works on redness. The creamy formula is waterproof, sweat- and humidity-resistant, and long-wearing. It’s also infused with conditioning ingredients to nourish the delicate under-eye area.
This palette pretty much has everything you need to hide those blemishes and discoloration. There are six shades here: light and medium to camouflage imperfections, yellow and peach to deal with dullness and dark circles, green for redness, and purple and pink to brighten.
Maybelline’s color-correcting pen features a blender tip for easy and precise application. The creamy formula is highly pigmented and provides full coverage.
You’ll never get the old, “You look tired,” again with this corrector-concealer product. The liquid formula targets dark circles and dullness for brighter-looking eyes.
Nars’s concealer is always a makeup artist and editor favorite, so it’s no surprise its color corrector is a winning product, too. It neutralizes under-eye circles, dark spots, and pigmentation.
This waterproof formula blends easily and lasts for hours. In addition to dark circles, it can disguise blemishes and dark spots. Next, Our Under-Eye Circles Are Practically Nonexistent Now Thanks to This Product