If you’ve read this blog recently or any new interviews with me, you probably already know that I’m not too enthusiastic about contouring — but last week I confided to Vogue’s Jenna Rennert that another makeup technique trend is making a comeback: color correcting. Like contouring, color correcting has been around since the ‘90s, but instead of giving you a new face, it’s about perfecting your skin naturally. Color correcting is a way for a woman to make her skin look flawless at any time of the year, any time of the day. A lot of beautiful women have different color issues in their skin, like hyperpigmentation. By color correcting, you can make your face look like you really do have even skin—a true “no-makeup makeup” look.
When I started working as an editorial makeup artist, I had no formal training, but I studied magazines to learn about how light falls on the face. Back in the ‘80s, none of the products for color correcting worked: I’m sure you remember those green and lavender pencils meant to counteract under eye circles and red spots. In my experience, they don’t work very well. Anyone can learn how to color correct—so let me teach you the basics, the Bobbi Brown way:
Yellow-toned skin makeup can correct redness
If you have areas of hyperpigmentation or redness on your face, a yellow-toned CC cream or foundation will do the trick. Both my CC Cream SPF 15 and my entire line of foundations feature shades with yellow undertones to combat your redness issues. It’s simple: start applying the makeup around your nose. Once your nose is the right color, you can blend the makeup outwardly into the rest of your skin. And if you’re just looking to correct a few red spots on the face, consider dabbing the Skin Foundation Stick in the problem areas.
Peach- or pink-toned skin makeup can correct a sallow complexion
An unhealthy-looking sallow complexion is another common color problem I’ve encountered in the course of my career. If you think you’re looking a little too yellow, you should use the CC Cream SPF 15 in a peach or pink tone to add a slight tint change to the skin. Many women of color use a brown color, like Rich Nude, for the same effect.
Bronzers will color correct without covering up
As a former editorial makeup artist, I know that makeup can easily look flat on camera without the correct usage of lighting and shading—but you don’t have to go as far as contouring. Your skin naturally has different colors on different areas, and if you made your entire face the same color, the effect would be flattening. Bronzer is an excellent sheer color corrector if you use a fluffy Bronzer Brush, or a Full Coverage Face Brush for an extra oomph of coverage. Many women with darker skin tell me that they use the Bronzing Powder as a sheer face powder—a brilliant trick that I hope you try out, too. I love using my fingers, but when it comes to bronzer, please use a brush.
Look beyond the foundations and concealers
I love learning from my amazing makeup artists around the world. Some of them told me that they use the Pot Rouge for Lips & Cheeks in Milk Chocolate to color correct darker skin. It’s a creamy formula that blends seamlessly into your skin. My Corrector is also made especially for discoloration around the eyes, with warm undertones to brighten up your face, whether it’s Monday morning or Saturday night.
Retouch, don’t reshape
In her book Bossypants, Tina Fey said this about retouching: “[I]t’s okay to make a photo look as if you were caught on your best day in the best light.” With a similar sentiment, I developed my Retouching Powder. This powder combats shine while giving you an airbrushed look through soft sheer shades like Peach, Rose, and Yellow. Consider it the last product you put on your face before you head out the door—a real-life retouch, no Instagram filter needed.
And because I know this is a lot of information to digest, I’m hosting a live Periscope demo at the Bobbi Brown HQ in NYC on Thursday, March 24, at 12 p.m. EST. Join me—and let me know if you have any questions in the meantime!