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Concealer vs. Color Corrector: Our Experts Breakdown the Difference


When it comes to achieving a flawless complexion, the world of makeup offers us an array of tools to address specific skin concerns. Among these, two key players stand out: concealer and color corrector. These products may appear similar at first glance, but they serve distinct purposes in the quest for a flawless finish.

But how do you decide which one is right for you and when to use? We asked the experts to tell us all. Whether you struggle with dark under-eye circles, redness, hyperpigmentation, or other skin imperfections, understanding the role of these products will empower you to choose the right weapon for your beauty arsenal.

About the Experts: 
Elaina Badro is a celebrity makeup artist.
Tisha Thompson is a makeup artist and the founder of LYS BEAUTY.

What Is Concealer?

Concealer is a cosmetic product that is specifically designed to hide or conceal imperfections on the skin. It is often used to cover up dark circles, blemishes, redness, and other discolorations.

Conclears typically come in creamy or liquid formulas, and they are available in various shades to match different skin tones. The main purpose of a concealer is to provide coverage and create an even skin tone by camouflaging imperfections.

How To Apply:

Concealers are typically applied after moisturizer and before foundation or powder. Using a small brush, sponge, or even fingertips, it is gently blended into the skin until the desired coverage is achieved. Many concealers are buildable, allowing you to layer the product to achieve more coverage if needed.

“Concealer helps to hide blemishes, sun spots, age spots, dark circles in the under-eye area, etc. Typically, its consistency is a bit thicker than foundation in order to spot-treat imperfections,” says makeup artist Elaina Badro.

Choosing the Right One for Your Skin Color:

It is important to choose a concealer that is the right shade, matching your skin tone or is slightly lighter to effectively cover imperfections. Additionally, selecting a formula with the right undertone - such as yellow undertones for counteracting darkness or green for neutralizing redness - can further enhance the concealer's effectiveness.

“I like to think of concealers as a two-part correcting and brightening agent for the complexion. The formulas on the market range from light-to-full coverage, concealing the look of dark spots, unwanted texture, or blemishes on the face. Most people opt for colors one to two shades lighter than their natural complexion to illuminate the face in the way that the sun naturally hits,” says Tisha Thompson, makeup artist and founder of LYS BEAUTY.

While concealers are versatile and can be used for various skin concerns, it is essential to keep in mind that they primarily provide coverage rather than treating the underlying issue. Therefore, if you are dealing with specific skin concerns like severe redness, dark spots, or discoloration, color correctors may be a better option.

What Is Color Corrector?

A color corrector is a type of makeup product used to neutralize specific tones or discolorations on the skin. It is typically applied before foundation or concealer to create a more even skin tone and improve the overall appearance of the complexion.

Color correctors come in various shades that target different skin concerns. “Color corrector uses color theory and the color wheel to help even out the look of the skin (so getting rid of redness, rosacea, dark spots, pimples and shadows) and is needed on a case-by-case basis. For many people, using a fuller coverage concealer can address any skin tone irregularities on the face, whereas others with deeper pigmented areas that need brightening may utilize color correcting for added camouflaging,” says Thompson.

For example, green color correctors are used to counteract redness, while peach or orange color correctors are used to counteract dark circles and hyperpigmentation on darker skin tones.

It's important to note that color correctors are not a one-size-fits-all solution, and the choice of corrector shade depends on individual skin concerns and skin tones. It's recommended to experiment with different shades and techniques to find the most effective color correcting routine for your specific needs.

Which One Is Right for You?

Knowing when to use concealer versus a color corrector depends on the specific skin concern you are trying to address. The main difference between them is while they both have the ability to conceal, they do so in different ways. Here are some guidelines to help you decide:


  • Dab on concealer when you want to cover up small blemishes, redness, dark spots, or under-eye circles.

  • Concealers are generally used to provide coverage and create an even skin tone.

  • If you have mild discoloration or isolated spots to cover, a concealer that matches your skin tone or is slightly lighter can be effective.

  • Choose a liquid concealer that blends well with your foundation.

“As of late, I’ve been using the LYS BEAUTY Triple Fix Brightening Concealer—almost exclusively—on my face to brighten and conceal. It has a weightless feel and layers beautifully, so I tend to grab it on both makeup and no makeup days,” says Thompson.

Color Corrector:

“Apply color corrector prior to concealer if you are trying to perfect a discolored imperfection. A little goes a long way when it comes to color correcting. It's best to stipple the concealer over the color corrector once the color corrector has dried," says Badro.

  • Use color correctors when you need to neutralize specific tones or discolorations on your skin.

  • Color correctors are designed to counteract color issues, such as redness, dark circles, hyperpigmentation, or sallowness.

  • If you have more severe skin discoloration or noticeable color issues, color correctors can be beneficial.

  • Select a color corrector that corresponds to the color you want to correct. For example, green corrects redness, peach or orange corrects dark circles, and lavender corrects sallowness.

  • Apply color corrector sparingly to the problem areas before applying foundation or concealer. Blend it well to create a seamless finish.

In some cases, you may also choose to use both concealer and color corrector. “You need color correctors if you're trying to conceal discoloration. Concealer alone won't do the trick because the color needs to be neutralized initially before coverage,” explains Badro.

For instance, if you have significant under-eye circles, you can use a peach color corrector to neutralize the darkness and then apply a concealer that matches your skin tone on top to provide coverage. If you’re looking for an all-in-one product, you can find many color correcting concealers too.

“I really like the Huestick Corrector by LIVE TINTED. It’s a buttery formula that dries down into a soft matte finish, making it the perfect starting layer for the face. For reducing the appearance of dark spots, specifically, I like the High Fidelity Balancing Color Corrector by EXA. It has a lightweight liquid formula in a range of pink and red shades that combat under-eye dark circles or spot correcting,” says Thompson.

Looking for the best color correctors and under-eye concealers? Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started with your own IPSY beauty subscription. Already an IPSY member? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and TikTok @IPSY.

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About the author
Olivia Cefalu
Olivia Cefalu
Olivia is a freelance beauty writer. With experience in influencer marketing at Tata Harper Skincare and editorial at Very Good Light, she loves covering Gen Z beauty, wellness, and nail trends. Read her work on Very Good Light and Well + Good.
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Article Last Updated October 26, 2023 12:00 AM