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How To: Color Correctors and Neutralizers


Painting by Henriette Harris

Now who said makeup isn’t art?! A simple artist’s color wheel can give us great information on colors with makeup application. It can determine what colors compliment each other (like what eye shadows will suit your eye color.) In this case though, I want to talk about using it to help neutralize discolorations we may find on our face.


Basically, to neutralize a color, you find it on the color wheel, and use the opposite color in place. Color correctors and neutralizers are found in foundations, concealers, makeup bases and sunscreens for the different skin tones and problems.

Here’s some common discoloration problems, and what colors will fix them:

  • Yellow and Peach (depending on your skin tone):  Yellow and peach (or salmon) corrects blue areas like bruises and dark circles. Peach also livens up fair skin tones, and balances out slight discoloration.
  • Pink: Pink correctors neutralize greenish skin, green facial veins, etc.
  • Green: There are many green based foundations and concealers (that require another layer of makeup to cover up the green). The green counters redness like blemishes, zits and flushed skin.
  • Purple/Lavender: Purple neutralizes yellowish complexions and covers sallowness. It evens out overall uneven skin tone, and gives a healthy glow. This color is found in many makeup bases, to prep skin with a even complexion before makeup.

Not sure where to find these magic products? These color correctors were once “hot” makeup items a few years ago, so a lot of them are long gone. However, here are some that are still around today; with some I use and can definitely vouch for:


  1. Laura Mercier Secret Concealer (buy here): This peachy-salmon colored concealer is “made” for under eye circles. The formula is also creamy so that it blends easily for the delicate under eye area.
  2. Napolean Perdis Pro-Palette Correct and Conceal (buy here): This palette includes three softly pigmented correctors to address discoloration for a beautiful, even skin tone. The green shade neutralizes redness caused by blemishes, rosacea and/or capillary damage, the lilac shade brightens sallow complexions and the tangerine shade evens blue discoloration, such as under-eye circles. This is used underneath concealer.
  3. Make Up Forever 5 Camouflage Cream Palette (buy here): Highly concentrated in pigments, it is “perfect for covering dark spots and other skin blemishes and unifying the complexion, even when wearing light make up”. The shades are said to be especially effective to hide dark circles or puffy eyes, pigment stains and scars. Comes in 5 different color palettes for different skin tones and needs.
  4. Benefit Boi-ing concealer (buy here): This yellow concealer – said to be “the world’s best concealer” is perfect for covering blue dark eye circles and visible veins.
  5. Bobbi Brown Corrector (buy here): “A wakeup call for tired eyes.” This corrector is to be used under concealer for extra “strength” in color correcting. It is a pink- or peach-based (there are many colors available) to neutralize under-eye darkness.
  6. AVON Jillian Dempsey for Avon Professional Corrector Palette: Jillian says: “My new 4-in-1 corrector palette is my secret weapon for looking flawless. Before applying foundation, just dot and blend on areas that need perfecting. It addresses every concern… all in one compact.”
  7. Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Talc-Free Mineral Correcting Powder (buy here): This mineral powder color corrects the most common skin imperfections, smoothes skin texture and evens out skin tone. This versatile powder colors blend together to create a perfect canvas finish: Pink brightens, Green tones down redness and Yellow adds warmth. Said to be a “High-tech Japanese formula” and natural looking.

What do you think? I personally stopped using yellow concealers and stuck with peach ones for my under eye circles (I use Laura Mercier’s Secret concealer) and I’ve never looked back. If anyone has anymore information on actual products that neutralizes the colors said here, I’d love to hear about them!

{ 9 comments… add one }

  • penelope January 29, 2013, 11:14 am

    Have you tried the complexion perfection powder from elf!? It’s a steal at 3 bucks, and contains four color correcting powders (yellow, blue, green and pink). I like to mix the yellow and pink and use them as an eye brightener!

    • Renee January 29, 2013, 12:03 pm

      Thanks for the rec, Penelope. :) I WISH we have elf here because I’ve heard a lot about it. Actually, I think there was a shop here that sold a few of their products but it seem to disappear. :( I remember Shiseido had a full range of color correctors back in the day, but that seems to have disappeared as well!

    • Cass April 9, 2014, 8:24 am

      I love elf! What is blue used for?

  • Vivi January 29, 2013, 1:43 pm

    I’ve always wondered how to use these things!

    For dark circles that are ‘grey’, do you think the yellow + peach combo will work? My problem is that, sometimes, when I use certain concealers, my dark circles turn greyish. Someone once told me I need a good color corrector to solve that.

    • Renee January 29, 2013, 9:59 pm

      Hey Vivi! Oh I have never heard of gray before! Yes, I think you are correct – what I would do is put a thin layer of yellow first and then pat peach on top, blending it together. Let me know if that works for you! x

  • Morag January 29, 2013, 5:07 pm

    I love green concealer/pigment and I think it makes a GREAT difference to my complexion (under make-up of course!). I’m not sure if you have No7 out there but it’s what I’m using right now, however I don’t think I’d recommend it. My favourite so far has been a green concealer from Gosh which, again, I’m not sure if you get in Singpaore – but it’s so far my most high recommended one!

    • Renee January 29, 2013, 10:00 pm

      Thanks for the suggestions Morag! Yeah, we don’t have either brands here BUT there is always online shopping. ;) I’ve heard a lot about GOSH cosmetics, would you know where it is from?

      • Morag January 29, 2013, 10:41 pm

        As in which country it’s from? If so then I believe it is a Danish company. However if you’re wondering where I buy it from then it’s a highstreet shop called Superdrug which is Gosh’s exclusive retailer for the UK. They have a website (but don’t appear to deliver internationally): http://www.superdrug.com/

        • Renee January 30, 2013, 12:38 am

          Ah thank you! :) Yeah, I meant country… I had a feeling it was Danish for some reason, maybe I read it somewhere (I’m half Danish), so when I’m back I’ll definitely stock up! xx

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