Why You Might Not Need to Colour Correct After All

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Colour correcting is all over Instagram. Brands are taking advantage of this trend by making it the focus of their advertising campaigns and launching new products. I love a trend as much as the next person, but these things inevitably get taken too far. I don’t wanna say that it’s Instagram’s fault but it’s Instagram’s fault.

Let’s backtrack a little bit. At the risk of sounding super hipster and snobby, I’ve been colour correcting since before colour correcting was cool. I’ve got stubborn, hereditary under-eye circles that aren’t helped by the fact that dat grad student lyfe necessarily entails a lack of sleep. Because I really only use orange colour correctors, this post will mainly deal with them. Briefly, though, orange neutralizes blue; red neutralizes green or blue-green and green neutralizes redness; purple neutralizes yellow, eliminating sallowness, and yellow brightens up any purple areas. This is basic colour theory – thanks, grade 9 art class!

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Now that we’re all on the same page, I want to emphasize something: not everybody needs to colour correct. I know, I know – shocking, but stick with me for a sec. If you apply your foundation and concealer and can still see the imperfections you’d like to hide peeking through, I have good news for you – colour correcting can help! If you apply foundation and concealer and are happy with the result, why add an extra step to your routine? As much as I love product, I’m a pretty lazy efficient person and am always looking for ways to streamline the makeup process. If you can skip it, skip it.

So you’ve decided that you really do need to colour correct – how do you choose one? Well, formula is a matter of preference, but like foundation or concealer, shade is not. There is a shade that will work for you and probably several shades that won’t. Someone with very light skin probably shouldn’t use a deep orange colour corrector like the LA Girl HD Pro Orange one because it will be too dark and just create a new discolouration that you’ll have to pack on concealer to hide. No bueno. The goal of colour correcting is to neutralize the discolouration, and the best way to do that is to choose a colour corrector that is just pigmented enough for you. For oranges, for example, I prefer MAC Peach Luster and Becca Peach for under my eyes rather than the LA Girl corrector. The LA Girl one will sometimes make my under-eye areas look too orange – warmer than the rest of my face – after I apply my concealer. If you’ve got very fair skin, go for a light peach corrector instead of full-on orange or red.

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A good rule of thumb is to look for a colour corrector that, when applied over the area in question, blends in so well that you could almost skip concealer. As you can see in the swatches, the MAC and Becca options blend into my skin tone better than their LA Girl and NYX counterparts.

Finally, for those of you who are curious, here’s a quick rundown of the pictured Colour Correctors and what I use them for:

MAC Prep + Prime Highlighter in Peach Lustre // $31 // MAC // This baby is HG status for me. The one photographed is actually completely done (I had to fight to get it to swatch for me!) and waiting to go Back 2 MAC. It’s not too light or too dark – just right for my NC45/NC50 skin. The formula isn’t too moist, thick, thin, or dry – it blends like a dream. If they discontinue this, I will riot.

LA Girl HD Pro Orange Concealer // $15.50 // Amazon.ca // I’ll use a very small amount of this under my regular concealer under my eyes or to correct stubborn dark spots. I emphasize a very small amount because otherwise I end up with orange panda eyes with this one.

NYX Colour Corrector Palette in Dark (Orange) // $12 // Shoppers Drug Mart, Rexall, NYX Website // This is okay in a pinch, but I find it a little bit dry, which is not great under the eyes because blending then creates tugging. Side note, I really enjoy the contour shade in this palette though!

Becca Backlight Targeted Colour Corrector in Peach // $34 // Sephora// I’ve been loving this one. By far the most unique formula (it’s kind of a gel-balm consistency?) and the shade is not too light or too dark for me. I use it all over – under my eyes, for dark spots, and to conceal my moustache. LOL.

Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer Primer in Caramel // $45 // Sephora// I use this exclusively in the summer when my skin is darker and my sunscreen creates a noticeable grey cast on my skin. This cancels that out and brightens things up beautifully.

Becca Backlight Targeted Colour Corrector in Papaya // $34 // Sephora// I’ve literally swatched this from a sample Sephora sent in my last order. I haven’t tried it, and am not sure if I will – the shade seems too deep for me.

(PS: for the love of all that is Holy Grail, only put the colour corrector where you need it. If you have dark spots, put a peach or orange on the dark spots – don’t slather it all over your cheeks.)

(PPS: I just really needed to get this off my chest, okay? I guess I’ve seen one too many Instagram videos of NC 15 folks packing Becca’s Papaya under their eyes to stay quiet any longer.)

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  • Like I mentioned… I love your style of writing.. I cracked a couple of laughs. But in all seriousness, I love, love colour correcting and believe in its usefulness but…. it’s being taken out of major context and practicality. Like yeah… why are NC15 gals using papaya to correct…….. what on earth??! That drives me bonkers as well. It’s just like contouring, though–not everyone needs to do it but everyone caught a bad case of FOMO so they had to buy the contouring palettes and brushes and yadayada.

    As an aside, I tried the BECCA targeted corrector in Peach.. the colour was good yes but I found the formula super greasy and slippery. It made its way back to Sephora 🙁 Maybe I should give it another try now that you mentioned it, though…

    • Thanks so much! Yes we’re on the same page with this one for sure. As for the Becca corrector, I really like it now, but I’m not sure how the formula will work for me when I’m oilier in the summertime because, like you said, it is really really slippery. I like it for now though!