Base Makeup Sephora

Color Correcting for Beginners

March 17, 2016

Last week I stopped by Sephora at South Coast Plaza for a Correct and Conceal Mini Makeover to learn more about the color correcting trend happening right now. I was curious to see if there was anything that could cover dark spots and redness better than a full coverage concealer or foundation. I had a session with artist Dre who was one of the most knowledgeable artists I’ve ever worked with. She was very thorough in explaining color correcting, going through all the options and application techniques, gave me awesome skin prep recommendations and I could not have had a more fun experience. If you’re like me you and consider yourself a novice or beginner when it comes to color correction you might be intimidated by the whole concept. I’ll share my makeover experience, what was used, what I bought and some thoughts on the product testing process. I hope this will help give you some tips and ideas of what to try on yourself. If you have a Sephora near you I highly recommend you call them to schedule a mini-makeover. They can be as quick as 15 minutes and I think you will be impressed with how much you learn – I learned a lot. Scheduling one in advance is probably best to make sure they have someone on site to sit down with you although they can accommodate walk ins sometimes and they are free of charge!

First a quick run through of the mini-makeover I had at Sephora. She started by assessing my skin type and skin concerns. I mentioned I had super sensitive skin and told her about a few products I had allergic reactions to. Personal concerns for my skin were to improve texture, cover dark spots from scars that were healing, under-eye darkness and redness in general. I also mentioned that I liked a streamlined easy approach to applying base face makeup so she picked out her four favorite color correcting products for my skin type that would be easy to use and incorporate along with some skincare items for me to try for calming and radiance.

For a bit of background on Color Correcting it’s not a new trend but it has been very popular right now. The concept of color correcting is that you can use certain colors to counter or diffuse others. Green will correct red, peach will help with dark spots and undereye circles, pink and purple will counter dullness and brighten the skintone. I initially thought using a full coverage concealer or foundation would be sufficient but I often find it leaves the face looking a bit flat and sometimes those dark spots still show through. This is where color correcting can help. Here’s a look at the Sephora Beauty Studio in store – it varies per store but most have a station with mirrors, makeup remover and tools for artists to apply product on your face.

A run through of all the products she used on me from start to finish:

Step 1: Prep the skin

She started by having me remove my makeup with the Ole Henriksen The Clean Truth Cleansing Cloths which are super gentle and non-irritating for my sensitive skin. This one cleans, balances and hydrates in one step which is convenient for on-the-go makeup removal. Next she used the First Aid Beauty Radiance Pads to help with surface texture. She followed with the Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum and Ole Henriksen Nurture Me since I mentioned my face was prone to irritation and flare ups. Skin felt smooth, nicely hydrated and calmed down.

Step 2: Base

Dre’s theory of using color correcting was to use apply in steps and use it with your current foundation routine. She started by applying the Algenist Reveal Concentrated Color Correcting Drops in Blue to help brighten the overall skintone as a base which did indeed brighten the skin without looking scary blue. Blue helps to neutralize sallow skin. She followed with the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Stick in 128 mentioning one’s foundation will do a lot of the color correcting as a starting point to neutralize uneven skintone or dark spots.

Step 3: Color Correct

At this point even with a fuller coverage foundation on my skin you can still see dark circles under the eyes and dark spots from acne scars that are healing still show through. Rather than layer on the foundation color correcting helps add coverage without caking on product. I was skeptical but was really impressed with how literally all the dark spots disappeared with a green color corrector and undereye circles disappeared with a peach/melon corrector. She applied the Sephora Collection Bright Futures Color Correctors in Green and Melon. The key here was to apply and let set so that colors don’t get muddied when you blend them wet. For the green she dotted on spots and then blended with a detailed concealer brush in a cross hatch method to help blend and cover naturally. For the melon she applied directly under my eyes in a downward swiping motion and blended with the sponge tip applicator.

Step 4: Conceal, Set and Finish

Once the color correctors have properly set (takes maybe 3 minutes at most, as long as you don’t pile on the creams) finish by taking concealer or foundation and pat it on top. She used the Sephora Collection Pro Foundation Brush #47 which is a more affordable similar version of the Marc Jacobs Beauty Sculpting Foundation Brush to roll and dab on the foundation over the corrected spots gently and then blend everything out gently with a beautyblender. You don’t want to take a sponge or brush and press too hard on the face or else it will drag and mix colors to make it look muddy. The final step she used was to set with a loose powder. She showed me the difference between the Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Powder and also the Besame Brightening Face Powder in Violet (both applied with a puff). She said the Laura Mercier is her favorite (it’s one of mine too) but if I wanted to try something new she recommended the Violet to brighten the skin, for fairer skins she recommended the Pink (which I already own).

Step 5: Add color and makeup

She added a bit of blush and bronzer on my skin so my face wouldn’t look flat from all the base makeup, but I asked her to keep it minimal so I could see how the correctors and foundations performed through the afternoon. We skipped everything else and I was impressed that my makeup lasted well into the late evening without any touchups needed. Her skincare recommendations and application made it so nothing budged or creased or faded. Once I use up some of my moisturizers I will need to buy some of the items she used on me.

I have never been so impressed with a makeup session as I have been with my visit to Sephora. Dre taught me so many things – I really appreciated her taking the time to go through application tips and recommending products specific to my needs. My brother tagged along to help me take photos and afterwards I asked him if he thought my face looked ok. He said yes, it looked natural and he couldn’t tell that there were any weird colors. So it passed the brother test πŸ™‚ In discussing the different color corrector options, I asked her why she recommended the Sephora Collection Color Correctors over the ones from Urban Decay Correcting Fluids or YSL Touche Eclat Neutralizers or even the ones that come in cream compacts. She said it was a matter of preference – the cream palettes can definitely multi-task with all the options for color correction and concealer, but to keep things simple she said the Sephora Collection correctors were her favorite for consistency, texture and coverage. (I bought one each of the Urban Decay and YSL to test against the Sephora Collection and I’ll say right now she was right.)

Next up is a run through review of everything I bought and tried along with a mini tutorial of how I’ve been recreating the color correcting look to diffuse dark spots and dark circles. Here are the items she used on me during the makeover. I bought all the items she tried with the exception of the Violet powder because I already own the Pink although I’m seriously considering going back to the store to pick it up this weekend.

Left to right are:

  • Micro Mini Correct Four by beautyblender – there are some new beautyblender options, for the color correcting trend they launched a set of four in different colors, I really like these for blending under the eyes or in the creases of the nose, it’s nice to have different colors on hand to match the correctors so you don’t have to worry about mixing colors together 
  • Algenist Reveal Concentrated Color Correcting Drops in Blue – you can use these alone or mixed in with foundation to help color correct the skin. I’ve been using this as a base, almost like a primer to help counter my sallow undertones with my olive yellow skin. It brightens the skin without looking too blue. You can even mix it in with moisturizer to blend all over to make it a bit more sheer. I really like the way this performs. 
  • Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Stick Foundation in 128 (looks dark but blends out to a slightly lighter finish, that being said I am getting lighter right now so I will probably have to purchase a different shade soon to mix) is one of the most amazing foundation sticks I have ever tried (it rivals Tom Ford’s) – I’ll have a separate review in the upcoming weeks once I’ve given it a thorough test drive but it offers medium to full buildable coverage that looks amazing
  • Sephora Collection Bright Future Color Correctors in Green and Melon – After testing this compared to YSL and Urban Decay, I have to say that my favorites for texture and consistency on my face are the Sephora Collection ones, they don’t crease or emphasize fine lines and they have enough coverage and pigment to truly neutralize my face issues, the Urban Decay Naked Skin Color Correcting Fluid in Peach has a similar coverage to the Sephora ones and looks great on the skin but if I don’t have enough primer under my eyes it emphasizes all the fine lines that I don’t want to show up, the YSL by comparison is a lot more sheer in finish and I need more coverage
    • A quick side note, during my make over I mentioned my favorite under eye concealer of the moment was the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Concealer and that I liked the ones with peachy tones (mainly R32) to warm up and brighten under eyes, Dre did mention that this was also one of her favorites to use, but she showed me the Sephora Collection in Melon for me to try something new
  • Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay In Place Flawless Wear Concealer in Warm Light Medium – she used this to highlight my face and I was so impressed with the coverage and texture I had to try it out – it offers smooth flawless coverage and really does stay in place without caking or creasing through out the day
  • Besame Brightening Face Powder in Vanilla Rose (she used Violet on me in store)
  • Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Powder – I already own this and have repurchased numerous times, it’s one of my favorite loose setting powders, if you haven’t tried it I will say you need to
A simple step by step mini tutorial showing before and after. I took the tips learned at my appointment to recreate a flawless base at home. I hoped to take an after show last week but the store lighting wasn’t ideal. In the first shot I did prep my skin with a thin layer of foundation, but as you can see dark spots and dark circles are still highly visible:

Below are the tools I recommend using, but you can shop your stash and find what works:

A look at packaging and different applicators for each kind of color corrector that I’ve been testing out ranging from droppers, sponge tips, squeeze tubes and click brush applicators:

Side by side swatches of the color correctors and some concealers:

A look at the Sephora Collection Bright Future Color Correctors, note there is also Orange/Deep and Lavender available online but when I was in store they didn’t have those colors yet:

In case you missed the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Concealer post, here are all the shades swatched:

I hope you enjoyed this overview on color correcting! If you’re a novice like me I hope the rundown of my makeover, all the options I tried and swatches help make the color correcting concept seem less confusing or intimidating. I went into my appointment thinking that there wasn’t going to be much that could be done for my dark spots but I went in with an open mind and learned so much. Sometimes makeovers can be a daunting process especially if you get a pushy artist or one who just doesn’t listen to your needs or who doesn’t care preferences. I really recommend trying to book an appointment at your local Sephora – I am already planning on going back for a second appointment hopefully in the next couple of months because my experience was that good. If you’re in the area of South Coast Plaza try to book one with Dre – she’s awesome. If you can’t make it into the store, there is an online survey on the Sephora Color Correcting Makeup page to guide you and help narrow down the picks according your specific concerns and skin type.

Have you tried color correcting recently or is it something you’ve always done for your base makeup routine? Please let me know what you’ve tried and your thoughts. I always learn new tips and tricks from you and would love to hear about what you have been testing or if you have any favorites.
This post was created in partnership with Sephora. As always all opinions my own. Most products picked out and purchased by me, press samples include the Besame Powder and Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Concealers.

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  • I only ever colour correct under my eyes and then i have slight redness from breakouts on my chin. I definitely want to try the UD Colour Correcting Concealers as i love the original one.
    Emmy | Emmys Beauty Cave | GIVEAWAY | Win Makeup Geek, Morphe & More

    • I love the original UD concealer too! The fluids aren't bad for redness – just doesn't work as well for me under eyes.

  • I've been using color correcting mostly for under my eyes, but it also helps my facial redness as well. The YSL Touche Eclat neutralizers are definitely my favorite for it

    http://www.makeupmusicbooks.com

    • Oooh good to hear you have a favorite!

  • You can really see the depth and lift in the last picture in the trio of shots. That's amazing. I've stayed away from this trend so far but the pictures differences between Step 1 / 3 are incredible.

    • Thanks Amanda! If you have good skin then you can get by with just foundation and concealer. My skin has been on it's way to getting back to the normal state but I have scars from acne that are healing and dark spots I wish would just disappear.

  • Wow! This was an epic post, Sabrina. Thank you for all the time you put into it as it as very informative. Give a big "Thanks!" To your brother as well. I'm sure he had things he'd rather be doing than hanging out at Sephora. LOL

    I'm not a novice when it comes to color correction because this is not the first time the trend has come around. I must say, though, that after the fad faded the first time, I stopped doing it. It just seemed like a lot of trouble and so many of the products gradually disappeared from the shelves and counters. Now that the trend is once again in vogue, I'll have to book an appointment at Sephora to see what's new. I'm sure the products have improved dramatically in the intervening years and I could use a bit of help with the darkness at the inner and outer corners of my eyes, and the redness around my nose. Great post, Sabrina πŸ™‚

    • Awww thank you Eileen – yes my brother is the best! I think color correcting is definitely something that takes more effort because of the extra steps but for someone like me who has really bad dark spots I think it's a game changer.

      Would love to hear about your appointment if you end up going to Sephora!

    • Booked an appointment and will be going on Monday–after my tax appointment! LOL

  • I color correct my undereyes and above my top lip every time I wear makeup, and thanks to this post I will now let it set completely and gently apply foundation, instead of the usual way which was only giving me "ok" results.

    • I think letting it set is key. Taking a sponge and dabbing/pressing foundation into the skin on top of the correctors is just really amazing! Hope it works out!

  • Dre sounds awesome! I've been mislead by a few Sephora makeup artists, so I'm really glad you had Dre show you the ropes of color correcting. Thank you for this very thorough post on the products and the process. Think I might go pick up a green Sephora stick to color-correct random breakouts!

    • Thanks! Yes artists in general can be hit or miss. I was very relieved to find one so knowledgeable. There are displays sorted by color option with different brands showcased next to each other which I found nice to be able to look at say all the peach options in different formats (same goes for green, yellow, pink, purple).

      There are so many options to play with, definitely go if you have time!

  • Thanks for such an enlightening post Sabrina. It was definetly very informative and helpful to me. I use correctors only under my eyes! I think I need to give green correctors also a go for my acne scarring. Thanks XX

    • Hi Eesha – I'm so glad you found this post helpful! I hope you find some new things to try that work for you πŸ™‚

  • I've just been getting into color correcting too so this was really helpful for me! I tried a purple shade the other day to brighten my under eye area and it really really works!

    • Awesome! Purple is a great one for under the eye!

  • Wow, all I can say is thank you. You spend so much time making these posts informative and super awesome. I am a color correcting newbie, and really needed this advice. I am going to investigate the products and will try a few. From your recent post on Surratt lips, I purchased the Prismatique in ChiChi and LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!

    • Hi Mary-Irene – thank you, so glad you found this helpful and thrilled to hear you love Chichi as much as I do – it's so so gorgeous!

  • Anonymous

    Step 2 picture is labelled that the Peach Sephora corrector was used under your eyes, but text reads that Melon was used. Which is shown in your picture?

    • Oops, sorry about that! Thank you so much for catching that! Text is correct, I used Melon. I just updated the photo with the correct name which is the Sephora Color Corrector in Melon. Thank you again!

  • Nice rundown of everything, I'm definitely planning on checking out color correcting. And now I'm considering making an appointment at Sephora. I've been eyeing the tarte color correcting palette, idk I'll see when I get to the store.

    • Hi Tali – I'm late to responding but I hope you were able to make an appointment! I found mine so helpful πŸ™‚

  • Christina

    This is a fantastic post! I'll definitely need to try some of the Sephora correctors out. I have some post acne scars as well, and concealer alone does not seem to cover them. I also didn't know that I was supposed to use the correctors after foundation; I've been using them beforehand, so that might be well they don't work as well.

    • You can use correctors a number of different ways – check out the tutorials on Sephora.com – they are really helpful!

  • Fantastic review! Estee Lauder makes some seriously good concealers – probably my favorite to date.

  • This is such a great, in depth post! Thanks!

    • Thank you Lena – glad you liked it!

  • NJ

    Thanks Sabrina! I just ran up to my local Sephora and got a sample of Algenist drops in green. I suspect I may need one of the spot correctors for my more intense pigmented discolorations but I like to experiment slowly (reactive and extremely dry skin). Also I'm really looking forward to your MUFE stick foundation review. I have the Tom Ford stick (in Fawn) – the color is just very slightly off, not a deal breaker, but it does cover scars nicely. I like the idea of color correcting though. Your process photos are stunning!

    • Hi NJ – I'll review the MUFE Stick as soon as I can but it might be a while since I have some summer items to post first. I think the MUFE is a great alternative to the Tom Ford. I can wear the MUFE all over the face without it being too heavy or greasy while the Tom Ford I have to use only on spots layered on regular foundation. If I use the Tom Ford all over the face it's too heavy feeling for my skintype.

      The MUFE covers very well, doesn't irritate the skin and doesn't cause any breakouts for me. If you have time visit Beauty Professor's blog – she has swatches of all the colors.

  • What a great post! How would you compare the Sephora Bright Future in Melon to the MUFE corrector in R32? I wear the same shade as you in the MUFE Stick foundation and wasn't sure if the R32 or the R40 would be a better match. Also, have you considered the Cover FX correctors?

    • Hi Jaime – I haven't considered the Cover FX correctors, I tried a few of their foundations and they cause an allergic reaction on my skin, although I do really love their primers.

      For the Sephora Melon v R32 – there is a swatch comparison in the post above (the font might be small but you can click to enlarge). MUFE R32 is lighter in color and for me matches my skintone more while the Sephora Melon is clearly orangey on my skin and works to counter dark circles as a corrector.

      It depends what you want to cover/correct. If this is for under eye you probably want to go with R32 – it will brighten the under eye area. R40 may be too dark for under eye.

  • Thank you for this!

  • Love the tutorial! Thank you so much

  • What a informative post! I went to my local Sephora, and while I didn't have a formal session, the girl was so helpful – giving ideas on which ones would be good for me, and which were more "eh". I have the green Sephora wand (I want the peach, but it is always sold out!), The Cover FX sticks in yellow and lavender, and the green and yellow Urban Decay one.

    Do I really *need* these? No, I am pretty lucky with my skin tones. But, darnit, it is fun to play around with these, and for me, that is what makeup is all about! πŸ™‚

    I love shopping at Sephora – all the employees at the stores I have been to here in the Bay Area are so nice and helpful.

    • Hi Larsen's – glad you liked the post! Glad you stopped in store! I know the peach one is hard to find. I was only able to find the tester to swatch. Hopefully it will be back in stock soon!

  • I went to Sephora today at lunch and tried out the Cover FX in Peach for under-eyes – what a HUGE difference!!! I immediately grabbed it as it was the last one in the store – along w some mini blenders as I've been meaning to get those for awhile. Thanks so much for this post!!!

    • Hi SherBear – so glad you found one that worked for you! I agree peach under the eyes is AMAZING! Works wonders and yay for the mini beauty blenders πŸ™‚

  • Hi Sabrina, Hope you post a review of the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Stick Foundation soon!