Color correcting is an art that most Indian women—like myself—are intimately familiar with. “Color correctors are the most important step for South Asian women, because we are genetically prone to extreme pigmentation, discoloration, and dullness,” says makeup artist Namrata Soni. “So it’s vital to cancel out the look of those before applying concealer and foundation.”
Despite my current close relationship with color correctors, it took me years of trying (and often failing) to learn how to properly use them. Whenever I tested any of the pink or light-peach correctors on the market, they put a spotlight on my pigmentation instead of concealing it. The reason? Most of those shades were made for lighter complexions with cool, blue undertones. “A lot of people get our undertones incorrect,” says makeup artist Puneet Saini. “People assume our skin tones are just like any other person of color’s skin. On the contrary, Indian skin is the most diverse and versatile in that it has a mix of olive to gold and pink undertones.”
Instead of opting for those lighter shades, brown-skinned Indian women can generally cancel out the dark blue undertones of pigmentation by choosing deep orange and red shades (the ones that fall on the opposite side of the color wheel), which creates a blurring effect on the skin. While the thought of dotting brightly pigmented colors under your eyes might sound daunting (and maybe even a little gimmicky)—trust me, it works. To help my fellow South Asian makeup lovers from making the concealing mistakes I made, I tapped some of the top Bollywood makeup artists for their tips on how to choose a color corrector. Plus, their best practices for applying it perfectly.
How to choose a color corrector
The first thing you’ll want to figure out before investing in a color corrector is what, exactly, you want to correct—whether that’s acne, under-eye circles, scars, the upper lip, or all of the above. This, says makeup artist Aliya Baig, will determine the shade you need. She explains that green is best for neutralizing acne, light orange or peach neutralizes light blue under-eye circles and veins around the mouth or face, and deep orange or red is best for darker under-eye circles and aggressive scarring. Essentially, the darker your scarring or pigmentation, the deeper you’ll want your color corrector to be. It’s worth keeping in mind that a single face may also have a diversity of undertones, which means you might need a deep orange color corrector to cancel out dark blue under-eye circles and a rich maroon one for masking pigmentation.
How to apply color corrector
The consensus among makeup artists is that the best mode of color corrector application is with either your fingers or a brush. “Never use a beauty blender or stippling brush to apply a color corrector,” says Baig. “Start with a small synthetic brush the size of the area you’ll be working on. Then, gently use a damp blender to apply concealer or foundation over the area to blend.” Essentially, the goal is to cancel out the color of the pigmentation, then layer foundation and concealer on top of it for seamless coverage.
The best color correctors for South Asian skin
“If you have mixed undertones like a lot of South Asian women do, a corrective shade like this one is perfect,” says Soni, who frequently uses this particular product on her clients. “When I use something like this, I have to apply a lot less concealer over it, too.” Makeup artist Arti Nayar is also a fan of Chanel’s color correctors. “They aren’t too orange and work on a range of Indian skin shades, whether you’re medium-toned or darker,” she says. “I use it on a daily basis with my clients.”
“I love this one for how easy it is to use,” says Saini. “This formula has a full range of orange correctors that work on a variety of shades.”
Shop now: Laura Mercier Secret Concealer in Color 3, $29
3. Clarins SOS Primer in Green Tea, $39
“A green primer, like this one, acts as a great base,” says Saini. “It conceals all redness and even skin conditions like rosacea. It also ensures the skin is moisturized which in itself makes your skin look healthier and plumper.”
Shop now: Clarins SOS Primer in Green Tea, $39
According to Saini, this peach corrector—which comes with a doe-foot applicator—is the ultimate for ease of use. “It’s one of the few trusted products I turn to in order to neutralize bluish or purple pigmentation,” she says.
Shop now: Giorgio Armani Master Corrector in Peach, $40
“No corrector is a one-color-fits-all situation,” says Saini. “But a rich orange one like this could even conceal a tattoo. Its deep shade is great for darker pigmentation.” If you need something beyond a single orange shade, Baig suggests the M.A.C Conceal & Correct Palette ($35). “These palettes are great for their range of shades to mix and match,” she says. “They offer various colors from mild peach for neutralizing dullness to deeper oranges for correcting dullness around the eyes or veins on the face.”
Shop now: MAC Studio Finish Skin Corrector in Pure Orange, $14
Makeup artist Ojas Rajani calls this peachy-toned color corrector “perfect” for South Asian skin. “It’s soft, blends easily, and doesn’t require much concealer on top of it with its dewy finish,” she says.
Shop now: Urban Decay Naked Skin Color Correcting Fluid in Peach, $29
“This range of Bobbi Brown’s correctors are my absolute favorite,” says Baig. “The ‘Dark Peach’ color goes with most Indian skin tones and is my favorite for neutralizing blue-toned dark circles or pigmentation around the mouth.” Nayar is also a huge fan of this corrector. “Bobbi Brown makes the best peach and dark peach correctors,” she says. “I use them on a daily basis with my clients.”
Shop now: Bobbi Brown Under Eye Corrector in Dark Peach, $29
Need a little inspo to get glammed up for your next Zoom meeting? Check out the video below.
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