Do colour correcting concealers really work?

I’ve read a lot of different accounts of colour correcting concealers, or “Clown Contouring”, and no, I’m not thinking of making up my face to look like Ronald McDonald! Through a combination of extreme highlight, colour correcting and contour, the aim is to create a flawless base on which to apply your makeup. In theory, I can see how this may work. The practice side of things, I have yet to test. 

To provide a little history for those that may not know, clown contouring is a way of creating a flawless base by using coloured concealers to eliminate problem areas, and blending this underneath your normal concealer and foundation. It is called clown contouring because the use of coloured concealers creates the effect of a circus clown’s makeup. This isn’t a new craze; it’s actually been around since the 60s, but has only come to trend recently.


This theory is based around the idea of the colour wheel, the idea being that colours opposite each other on the spectrum will neutralise or ‘cancel out’ one another. So for instance, bluish bags under your eyes can be cancelled out with an orange based concealer, or redness from a spot can be neutralised by a green based concealer.

(FYI: This can also be used to find colours to compliment eye shade, but that’s a whole other concept!)


So using that basis, different colour concealers are designed for different things:

  • Green Concealers: As previously mentioned, any problematic areas of redness on your face (spots, blemishes, rosacea etc) can be neutralised with a green concealer. For larger areas or more severe redness, a green primer can be used instead of a regular primer.
  • Purple concealers: Any yellow undertones or sallowness in the skin can be gotten rid of with a purple concealer, which will lift your skin tone and provide a brightening effect to key areas, namely the under eye area or across the tops of your cheek bones. Again, a coloured primer can be used for dull complexions.
  • Pink/red concealers: Whilst red may seem a little scary to apply to your face, salmon might be a more accurate way of describing this. For those of you who, like me, suffer from dark under eye circles, this will become your new best friend. Not only neutralising your under eye circles, your skin will be brightened and more radiant.
  • Yellow concealers: Very similar to pink, a yellow based concealer will rid you of any purplish hues, such as bruises or dark eye bags. Similarly, they will lift a complexion and conceal veins, so make great eye primers too.
  • Orange concealers: Perfect for slightly darker skin tones, as they do the same job as a pink/red concealer.
  • White concealers: Used primarily for highlighting key areas of your face, such as upper cheekbones, forehead, brow bone, inner eye, and down the centre of the nose. I would avoid using this all over unless you want to look sickly!

Sounds easy, right?

Well, my biggest gripe when it comes to my skin is mainly my dark under eye circles and a little sallowness around my mouth. I’ve tried a number of different concealers, with little to no avail, so I thought I’d give this a go!

Firstly, I brought the NYX Full Coverage Concealer, in the shade CJ13 Orange. As I only have a small problem area, I thought this would be ideal for a more precise coverage. This NYX range comes in a full spectrum of shades, ideal for different problem areas so there’s something to suit everyone.

This was a really thick concealer that was very creamy, so I applied only a small amount underneath my foundation, patting it underneath my eye, and gentle buffing it in. Once applied, I added my foundation and concealer as normal.

I did notice a difference in the dark circles, and their appearance was noticeably reduced, although you could still see discolouration. It also felt incredibly heavy under my skin and there was a little creasing from the amount of product under my eyes. It definitely worked for discolouration, put is probably more suited to facial discolouration rather than the under eye area.

I then decided to try a colour correcting palette, and brought Makeup Revolution Ultra Base Corrector Palette (RRP £6.00, Superdrug). This appeared a lot lighter and creamier in texture, so seemed like a more ideal product for my under eye discolouration. This palette contains 8 shades, including a lavender and green, so is definitely better in terms of the corrector options.

I used the salmon pink corrector on my undereye bags, followed by my usual foundation and concealer, and it was noticeably a lot more smoother to apply. There was no undereye creasing, and definitely a reduction in dark circles. I then applied a light coat of lavender to brighten the area, and was actually impressed with how good this area looked once set. I think my dark eye circles is a genetic thing, and no matter how much product I apply here they are still present, but this did neutralise it.

Generally speaking, I think this is a little bit of a gimmick, to be totally honest. And whilst I can see the benefits of colour correcting for skin blemishes and discolouration, I just don’t see how it will benefit me for my under eye circles. Although I was able to reduce their appearance, my under eye areas felt too heavy with product, and there was definitely a lot more creasing throughout the day.

If I get any spots, I’ll definitely be turning to this technique. But for my under eye circles, I’ll just have to learn to live with them!

Have you given colour correcting a go? Please let me know in the comments how you got on! 


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