clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

A Simple Guide to Color Correcting

Why you should put green concealer on red patches

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

Lately, I’ve been confronted with the completely baffling mainstream acceptance of applying green and orange concealer to my face in seemingly random patches. Like most people of my generation, I fancy myself an artist, but I have no concept of how color, depth, composition, or general aesthetics work together. And also like most of my peers, I’m also obsessed with my own face, but I don’t know how to enhance my features in the right ways.

"When applied to the human face, the same sort of cancellation happens on the skin as it would on canvas."

I talked to Amy Zdunowski-Roeder, a New York-based makeup artist, about how applying a thick green gloop to my pimples and thick orange gloop to my eyelids could possibly work to make a more beautiful me. Turns out, makeup artists have been adopting basic color theory for as long as television has existed. And now that getting more than 11 Instagram likes makes us all feel that we’re amateur makeup artists, this secret trick has become conventional. But we’re not all doing it right.

"If we look at the color wheel, we will see each of the primary, secondary and tertiary colors," said Zdunowski-Roeder, "Directly opposite each one of them is a color that has the exact strength to cancel the other one out and negate its intensity." For example, red is across from green; they cancel each other out. The same goes for blue and orange and yellow and violet. When applied to the human face, the same sort of cancellation happens on the skin as it would on canvas.


"Say you wake up with a red blemish or suffer from rosacea," said Zdunowski-Roeder. "Applying the green corrector first cancels out the redness and then applying the correct foundation over top will give you a smooth and even appearance."


Green concealer under foundation cancels out acne, sunburn, rosacea, and visible capillaries.

Yellow concealer lightens darker skin tones and combats purple under-eye circles or bruises.

Peach concealer conceals under-eye circles on olive skin tones, and counterbalances deep blue skin associated with the weariest of under-eye darkness.

Pink concealer brightens the complexion and combats sallow undertones in fair to medium skin tones. Purple does the same.


Blue concealer adds radiance to skin and brightens porcelain and fair skin tones.

Caramel counteracts ashiness on medium and dark skin tones.

Wait, so where is everyone getting purple concealer from?

On the weirder parts of the beauty internet, The Teens advise mixing food coloring into primer or foundation to correct tone. I’ll probably do this because I love ruining my face for a few days at a time at least every week, but it’s a better bet to use products strictly intended for color correcting purpose. Zdunowski-Roeder likes Makeup Forever’s Camouflage Cream Palate for full coverage, NYX Color Correcting Concealer, Bobbi Brown Corrector and Concealer, and believe it or not, Mob Wives’ Drita Davanzo’s Lady Boss PRO Color Corrector Palette.

Want more beauty tips & tricks? Follow our Pinterest board:

Follow Racked's board Beauty on Pinterest.

Farewell From Racked

Best of Racked

Best of Racked Essays

Best of Racked

Best of Racked Funny Stuff