Color Correction Concealer

Makeup Tutorial

Concealer not hiding your under-eye darkness unless you pack it on?  Sometimes stubborn darkness under the eyes requires more than just a concealer, you might need COLOR CORRECTION. But before we harness the power of color theory to conquer this concealer challenge, we need to understand why it happens.

Let's begin with a little medical education…

  • Deoxygenated blood is dark violet-red. Most veins carry deoxygenated blood, which is a darker color than oxygenated blood. The deep color of blood makes veins appear dark, too.
  • Skin absorbs blue light. Subcutaneous fat only allows blue light to penetrate skin all the way to veins, so this is the color that is reflected back. Blood also absorbs light, so blood vessels appear dark.
The skin under the eyes is very thin (approximately seven layers deep) and more translucent than any other area of the body, where the skin is approximately 20 layers deep. Discoloration under the eyes is not always due to fatigue. It is often caused by blood leakage from fissures in the capillaries/veins under the eyes. NOTE: This is a common occurrence, so don’t run to your doctor thinking you have internal bleeding. Gravity causes the leaked blood to pool in the lower portion of the eye socket and the thinner, more translucent skin under our eyes reveals this, making the under-eye appear dark. To disguise this unfortunate phenomenon, sometimes we need to go beyond regular concealer and employ a technique called “color correction”. When blood that has leaked and pooled is viewed through the very thin translucent skin under the eyes, the two colors (skintone and subcutaneous blood leakage) mix creating an unattractive new muddy color.  It can range from blue/violet grey (light complexion) to taupe (medium complexion) or even black-ish brown (dark complexion). Standard concealer will not disguise this discoloration effectively.  This is where color theory is applied to “correct” the challenge. Colors diagonally opposite each other on the color wheel will cancel each other out.  The color that cancels out blue-violet tones is yellow-orange, so this is the tone we will use to correct discoloration under the eyes.
Complexion color is determined by how much melanin (pigment) there is in the skin.  The lightest complexion has the least amount of melanin.  A deeper complexion means there is more melanin present.  This is very important information to keep in mind when choosing your corrective color. Complexion products (foundation and concealer) are a combination of iron oxide and ultramarine mineral pigments blended to produce a variety of skin colors. Titanium Dioxide is the white mineral pigment used to lighten them.  Because a darker complexion is more densely pigmented (with melanin), it requires a corrector with a large amount of  “color” pigment and very little white.  As complexions become lighter (less melanin), the corrector remains just as opaque, but the “color” pigments will be diluted in varying levels with Titanium Dioxide. EXTRA INFO: UV exposure triggers melanin production in the skin, that’s why we “tan”.

Let's look at the color wheel...

The most common undertone for discoloration in the under-eye area falls in the blue or blue/violet category. Here’s a list of the appropriate color correction, by skin-tone, to counteract that challenge:
  • Deep Rust Corrector (dark rusty orange to copper) for the deepest complexions.
  • Rich Orange Corrector (deep true orange) For moderately deep complexions.
  • Salmon Corrector (medium orange with yellow undertone)  for medium complexions.
  • Pale Coral (palest orange with yellow undertone) for the lightest complexions.
Correct application is essential: The color correction concealer should be applied before foundation or regular concealer and used ONLY on the discolored areas.  After you cover the discoloration, lightly “stipple” (dab) foundation or concealer over it and then blend the edges. VERY IMPORTANT:  When covering excessive darkness under or around the eyes, always use a correcting concealer color that matches your skin depth (lightness/darkness).  Using a color lighter than your skin to “highlight” the area will not correct the problem, it will accentuate the darkness you’re trying to hide.
These Professional Color Correction Concealers are some of the best available: Ben Nye – MediaPRO Concealer & Adjuster Palette Kryolan Professional Makeup – Concealer Circle “Neutralizer” Graftobian – Global Corrector Super Palette Eve Pearl – Salmon Concealer® Cinema Secrets – Ultimate Foundation Correctors (600 Series)

Looking for more than just a cosmetic fix?

There’s a lot of targeted under-eye skincare available that will help reduce some of the discoloration (I said SOME, not all). Retinols will stimulate collagen production and make skin denser and less transparent. Also, look for products with caffeine to help constrict the blood vessels, and Vitamin C to help brighten the darkened areas. Top Row (L to R): @kiehls – Clearly Corrective Dark Circle Perfector @firstaidbeauty – Eye Duty Triple Remedy @lancomeofficial – Genifique Light Pearl Eye Illuminator Bottom Row (L to R): @origins – Ginzing Refreshing Eye Cream @tatcha – The Pearl @olehenriksen – Banana Bright Eye Cream


If you have some serious $$$ to invest, look into laser treatments. Many have minimal downtime and will super stimulate collagen growth and greatly reduce the vascularity that shows through thin skin.


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