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."
Color Correctors vs. Concealers
You might think 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, 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."
What to Look for in a Color Corrector
Brooke says 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."
How to Apply Color Corrector
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," she adds. 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 affected area since color correctors have a thicker formulation, so you don't want it to look caked on. "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."
The Best Color Correctors for Dark Circles to Try
If you want to test them out for yourself, here's a list of the best color correctors recommended by makeup artists and editors.
Best Overall Color Corrector for Dark Circles: L.A. Girl Cosmetics HD Pro Corrector Concealer
Best Luxury Color Corrector: Chanel Le Correcteur de Chanel
"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."
Most Versatile Color Corrector: MAC Studio Fix Conceal & Correct
Best Lightweight Color Corrector: Charlotte Tilbury Magic Vanish Color Corrector
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."
Best Stick Color Corrector: Live Tinted Huestick Corrector
Best Color Corrector for Olive Skin Tones: Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Makeup Color Base
Most Pigmented Color Corrector: Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Wear Camouflage Color Corrector
Best Color Corrector for Redness: Bobbi Brown Under Eye Corrector
Best Color-Correcting Palette: Nyx Professional Makeup Color Correcting Concealer Palette
This palette has pretty much everything you need to hide those blemishes and discoloration. There are six shades here: light and medium brown to camouflage imperfections, yellow and peach to deal with dullness and dark circles, green for redness, and purple and pink to brighten.
Best Color-Correcting Pen: Maybelline Master Camo Color Correcting Pen
Best Color-Correcting Concealer: Clé de Peau Beauté Radiant Corrector for Eyes Liquid Concealer
Best Cream Color Corrector: Nars Radiant Cream Color Corrector
Best Waterproof Color Corrector: Maybelline Cover Stick Corrector Concealer
This article was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.