Covering skin blemishes via colour correction is a basic trick all make-up artists, (and women in general) should learn. Perfecting your skill at cover ups is essential as an artist. For a fashion show, you’ll cover up what you don’t want the camera to see, for a wedding you’ll do the same for the bride. As an everyday make-up geek, you’ll cover up your own blemishes on your skin. It’s an essential skill. However, for a better result we should correct the blemish, then cover up. Using just foundation is not the best way on its own, too much and it will look cakey. If you have deep blemishes to hide, or if you have a scar, or an area of skin that needs a more fuller coverage, the best way is to colour the blemish correct first, to cancel out what you don’t want to see. With a little understanding of the colour wheel, and following these easy steps, you’ll learn how to colour correct areas of your skin, before you apply a base foundation. Always a good trick to know as an alternative. I have used my left hand is used as a demo area.
Above is the kit gathered together for this colour correction demo: BH Cosmetics “warm” eyeshadow pallete, Sleek “Au Natural” eyeshadow pallete, Sleek Control Oil and Shine face primer, MAC shade NW45 Studio Fix Foundation, MAC NW40 shade concealer, baby wipes, foundation brush, flat eyeshadow brush, fluffy blusher brush, beauty blender sponge, make-up remover and cotton wool. Only the BH Cosmetics Pallete (the large pallet) was used. However, two were selected so there was a variety of colour, and correct shades used. You can use any eyeshadow pallete that offers a range of the correct colours for correction, you personally need.
Step One: To start off with cleanse the skin with baby/face wipes, or an everyday cleanser.
Step Two: To demonstrate I drew my name on my hand using a blue bio pen. This is my “blemish” to correct. On darker skin undereye circles or scars often come up with a blueish/ dark purple tone. Hence why a blue pen has been used to represent the tone of blemishes on darker skin. On fairer skin blemishes can come up with red/pink tones. It’s suggested that those with fairer skin select the correct colour to correct their skin tone’s natural blemish tone.
Step Three: I then primed the skin using Sleek Oil and Shine Control Face Primer. Primer is always a must before you apply any make-up. Otherwise all your hard work will go to waste, as it slides out of place in a humid environment, and the finish is not as vibrant.
Here is the colour wheel:
As you can see we have primary colours, the colour opposite a primary colour is a complimentary colour (that will cancel out the primary in this case). If you have warm skin (goldish, bronze, orange, redish undertones) and want to cancel out your blueish/purple blemish or scars, you would use an orange/red colour. This will correct the blue dark blemish tones you want to cancel out, and bring your skin back to its natural tone–warm. In fair skin, it’s common for blemishes to come up pinkish/red you and you’ll likely have pinkish red tones to your skin being fair. Therefore, you would use a green colour to correct the blemish, and bring it back close to its tone. This will cancel out the redish/pink blemishes. It sounds crazy, but this is how the colour wheel works as a basic introduction to using make up to cover up and correct skin blemishes.
If you would like to know more or a little confused, check out my article “Understanding the Colour Wheel: To Find The Best Make-up Shades For Your Skin’s Tone.” For a deeper understanding when it comes to the colour wheel and how make-up artists use it to select the right shades, of lipstick or blush. For example, many women feel they can’t wear a certain shade of lipstick, you can once you find the shade with the right undertone to match your skin. One of the biggest myths in make-up is “I can’t wear this.” Meh! Just find the right tone for you and that should help. Obviously, there are certain shades that will suit certain skin tone’s better, but with some colour wheel theory, and clever make-up tricks you’ll be rocking any shade you want.
Step Four: Upon inspecting my skin and consulting the colour wheel, I have a red–orange undertone to my med–dark tone skin. Also, I am more on the warm side of the spectrum on the colour wheel of the orange tones. My blemish is deep blue. Look at your skin and see where you fall, for tone vs your blemish tone. Are you warm, cool or neutral naturally? And what colour are you cancelling out. How you would tell is easy:
- Look at your veins on your wrist, do your veins look greenish or blueish? Greenish = warm tone. Blueish = cool tone. Somewhere in the middle = neutral tone. (You lucky thing you).
- Do you look better in gold or silver jewellery. Gold jewellery goes really well with warmer skin, silver really well on cooler skin. If you look good in either, as I said you lucky neutral toned skin person.
Step Five: To cancel out the blueish tone blemish of under eye bags or scars on med- darker tone skin that’s warm, an orange is the shade to correct it. With this knowledge, I selected a matt orange from the BH Cosmetics pallete. I went with matt as I have oily skin, I also did not want any shimmer to the cover up. For my skin type I always go with a natural flat matt finish for everything. Shimmer would probably highlight the area covered up more. This is my advice if you have oily skin. If you don’t I’d still advise a matt shade as you don’t want to draw attention to your cover up with skimmer, that’s not a cute look!
The technique I used to apply the matt orange colour (using the flat eyeshadow brush) was to “pack on the colour”, rather than to smooth or swipe it over the design on my hand. This is more effective at covering and ensuring that the colour stays put, rather than applying the colour as if I was doing my normal eye makeup. Over the matt orange shade, I packed on (a tiny bit) of a skin tone suited natural brown eyeshadow, to help blend a little with the orange. I then added a bit more orange as the main colour needed for this correction and cover up against my skin tone, is orange. The below picture shows the matt brown shade selected.
The below picture shows the result, once both colours were blended and packed on over the blemish to cover. The matt orange and brown shades were used. As you can see the orange shade with a dab of the skin tone brown shade, has cancelled out my blue tones of the blemish/ biro pen/ undereye puffiness and bags let’s say. Ta da! But we’re not done, if this were a face cover up there’s no way we’re walking out the house like this.
Step Six: Now we have corrected it’s time to cover up. I then took some of the MAC shade NW40 concealer, and covered the area using a flat foundation brush. I then applied MAC shade NW45 Studio Fix Full Coverage Foundation, with a flat foundation brush also. These are my shades in MAC range cosmetics, or I’d use Kat Von D’s shade D71 an excellent close match to MAC, with a slightly less warmer tone. Also, around the same price and very full coverage. Kat Von D’s product is more potent than MAC I find for coverage. For lower end drug store/affordable close shades as an alternative which is really cheap I recommend looking at this range below my shade is shown:
- Revlon colour stay “Cappuccino.”
For step six you would use your shades that you would normally use for foundation and concealer. Step six is about covering up now we’ve corrected. Make sure you,“buff out” the skin to even the coverage using a fluffy blush or large brush. I carried out this process until the blue design was no longer visible, and foundation was nice and blended for cover up. Below is a picture of the fluffy brush I used.
Step 7. Now we set it all in place. Using Soap and Glory “One Heck of a Blot” translucent powder, I finished and set the foundation with a kabuki brush and ta da! All covered. This blot powder is really good for oily skin. And for women of colour there is no white ghostly ting to the finish. It’s more warm for our skin, good choice for olive, med- dark tones. And well suited to warmer fair tones.
The Result: All covered, via a correction technique using the colour wheel theory.
And that is how you cover up blemishes using eyeshadow to correct a blemish and bring your skin back to its normal tone, then cover up with foundation and concealer. My name in blue biro is no longer visible.