When I was 16, I begged my mom to buy me Kevyn Aucoin’s “Making Faces” book. I don’t remember how I knew the book even existed … but I knew I wanted it badly. At $30 for the hardcover edition, it seemed like an absolute fortune for one single book. But, my mom gave in to my pleading eyes and got it for me.
If you’ve never read “Making Faces” or don’t know who Kevyn Aucoin is, here’s a quick debrief. Aucoin was an incredibly famous makeup artist who passed away in 2002. I won’t rehash his life (you can read about it on Wikipedia), but the bottom line is that this guy knew his stuff when it came to makeup. He authored a few books, but “Making Faces” is probably his most famous. It’s filled with instruction on how to create a variety of looks with makeup – from the most basic face to theatrical looks. His models include some incredibly famous women like Julia Roberts, Naomi Campbell, Janet Jackson, Drew Barrymore, Kate Moss, Tina Turner … basically it’s full of ridiculously beautiful women with amazing makeup.
I spent days pouring over that book, trying to replicate each and every look with my modest collection of makeup. I learned a lot about fundamentals during that time. In fact, it was the closest I’ve ever come to true makeup instruction … until just recently when I took my first real makeup instruction class.
The Career Academy of Beauty in Orange County offers free monthly makeup classes on a variety of topics. When I stumbled upon this information, I immediately got on their email list so I wouldn’t miss out on future classes. This month’s class – Concealing and Correcting – was a must.
Concealing is all about creating the illusion of flawless skin. If you already have flawless skin, lucky you! But I’d venture to guess that must of us have something we’d like to conceal on our face. My biggest issue is dark circles … and it’s getting worse the older I get. Apparently I’m not alone. Our instructor, Miss Jane, said that dark circles are usually the top concern of clients. And, as we age, our circulation gets worse around our eyes, which leads to darker circles. Given that this is a problem that plagues so many of us, I chose to focus this particular blog post on dark circles.
Miss Jane explained that dark circles create a shadow under the eyes, which brings weight to the face. That added weight makes you look older. When you correct that discoloration, it’s like an instant eye lift. Your face will look instantly more youthful and uplifted.
So how do you do that? A common misconception is that you should pick a concealer in a shade lighter than your skin tone. Totally wrong. All that does is create a reverse raccoon look on your face.
The key is in the undertone of your concealer. If you’ve ever taken an art class, you’ve probably seen the color wheel before. Each color has another color directly across from it, called a complementary color. When those colors are put side by side, they complement each other. But when those colors are mixed, they neutralize each other.
To correct flaws, you need to look for makeup colors that are across the color wheel from the color of the flaw you want to fix, thereby neutralizing the flaw. For dark circles, which are blueish in tone, you need a concealer that has more of a peachy/orangey tone. For acne or blemishes, which are red or pink, then you need a concealer with a more green tone.
You’ve probably seen crazy color correctors in the store and wondered what in the world they could possibly be used for – I’m talking the ones that are overtly green, yellow, purple, etc. That’s exactly what these products are made for.
But, color correcting products are also pretty intimidating. I mean, you’re putting green, purple or orange pigment directly onto your skin, and unless you are a whiz at blending, that can go very, very wrong. What I learned at this class is that you don’t necessarily need to use something so overtly pigmented. As long as the products you’re applying have the right undertones – peach undertones to conceal blue, green undertones to conceal red/pink – then that’s all you need.
When Miss Jane demonstrated the color correction process on the model, who had both blue toned under eye circles and red acne marks on her face, it was pretty amazing how her flaws disappeared. So at the end of the class when she asked us whether we’d like to be matched to products that can address our problems, I was literally the first in line.
She used only Make-up Designory (MuD) products during the class, which is a line of makeup created by the renowned makeup artistry school of the same namesake. To conceal my under eye circles – which are particularly bad in the inner bridge of my nose, an area she said is common for many women – she used a brush to lightly feather on the MuD Corrector concealer in Blue Corrector 1. It’s the lightest of the four blue corrector shades they make.
One important thing to note is that she applied the product only in the areas where blue was apparent, then blended it into the rest of my makeup with her brush. In an instant, the circles disappeared, and my face looked much more lifted. I was sold! I went home with my own supply of the stuff, as well as the brush she used to apply it.
Here’s a quick photo that shows just what a difference it makes. I applied it under the eye on the left side of the photo, and you can see how much more awake that side of my face looks. This photo isn’t retouched at all, and the only other product I have on my face is my foundation (Make Up Forever Face & Body – my absolute fave!). ‘Scuse the towel … I always do makeup before hair.
I’ve rounded up a few products that are all great for blue correction – including some that are more readily available than the product I personally used!
- Make-up Designory Blue Corrector (blue corrector shades are labeled BC; red corrector shades – for use on acne, broken capillaries and other red/pink flaws – are labeled RC)
- Bobbi Brown Corrector
- Benefit Cosmetics Erase Paste
- IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Corrector
- Laura Mercier Secret Concealer
Remember, you only should apply corrector to the areas you need to correct. No need to slather it under your entire eye!
Have you tried corrective concealing before? Do you have a favorite product I haven’t shared above? Tell me in the comments below! I’d also love to hear your stories about how you learned to do makeup!