Kylah Benes-Trapp

Quick, No-Nonsense Tips For Color Correcting As A Black Woman


I have no clue how to apply makeup correctly.

I have adult acne, so I learned early on how to cover up most of my dark spots and blemishes. It's almost the same every time: a dark lip, light powder, eyeliner and mascara. I never get all fancy with contouring for dramatic effect and rinse my makeup away at night to fend off potential breakouts.

Though I'm minimalist with my makeup, I need more coverage to keep my dark marks from peeking through. I need to learn how to truly conceal my problem areas, and that's where color correcting comes in.

Color correcting, the art of hiding your dark or red spots by counteracting them with green, orange, pink, lavender and yellow shades, is the beauty industry's new thing. As a woman of color, though, I never know which shades will neutralize my dark brown scars.

So, I recruited Amber Amos, makeup artist with The Only Agency, to help me weed through the dizzying amount of options for color correcting. I didn't want to go at it alone because, left to my own knowledge about concealers, I'd end up looking like clown.

First, moisturize and prime.

Kylah Benes-Trapp

All this makeup magic is useless if you don't take good care of your skin first.

"Drinks lots of water, cleanse and moisturize twice a day, exfoliate and of course never sleep in your makeup," Amos says.

Before you begin slathering on concealers, apply a moisturizer, then a primer. While the moisturizer protects your skin from drying out under layers of makeup, the primer lays a base for your concealer and foundation.

This step also adds some life to my dull, washed out complexion, which I owe to acne and dehydration. Did I mention I hate smiling?

Try: Skyn Iceland Pure Cloud Cream, $48, AmazonSephora Collection Perfecting Ultra-Smoothing Primer, $28, Amazon

Next, use an orange color correcting stick to lighten dark marks and blemishes.

Kylah Benes-Trapp

The winning color correcting shade for dark brown girls is orange.

Peach or yellowish-orange shades perform better on women of color, as they hide dark spots with dark blue or violet undertones. Sounds confusing, right? Amos breaks it down a bit more.

"Think of the color wheel theory," she explains, adding that the apricot hue cancels out brown. "The orange or salmon tones help neutralize the dark brown area to make it easier to conceal."

For lighter-skinned women of color, lean toward yellow.

Take your color correcting stick and fill in your dark marks. Make like a Kindergartener and don't worry about staying inside the lines. Keep dotting your face until you've gotten all the marks out of the way.

Try: Smashbox Color Correcting Stick in Orange, $18, Amazon

Or, use a full coverage concealer to cover your spots.

Kylah Benes-Trapp

This is an alternative to color correcting with a huge Crayon-like utensil (and not as fun, TBH). However, it is a time saver when you're in a rush, since it can basically double as a foundation.

"I'd suggest using a full coverage concealer like this one, and spot treating your dark marks to save time on your daily routine," Amos says.

Since I'm leery of heavy makeup that looks caked on, Amos informs me there are some fantastic light, full coverage concealers on the market that will still cover my marks without creating an overdone Miss Hannigan-style look.

Try: Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer in Chocolate, $34, Sephora

Then, blend your color corrections with the multipurpose Beautyblender.

Kylah Benes-Trapp

Whether you choose a peach color or full coverage concealer, blending is key.

Thankfully, a dampened Beautyblender is the only tool you need to color correct like a pro. Seriously, the $20 sponge does most of the work for you.

"It is seriously the complexion application holy grail," Amos says, praising the Sephora find. "It makes applying foundation and concealer a no brainer and anyone can get perfect results."

Use the Beautyblender in a push-and-roll motion to distribute the makeup evenly over problem areas. Stipple it over your makeup instead of swiping, as you could completely wipe off all your corrections.

Pro tip: Don't forget to wet the sponge before applying.

Lastly, add a full coverage foundation over your corrections and blend. This will complete your evenly toned makeup look.

Try: Black|Up Full Coverage Cream Foundation in HC14, $44, Sephora

Fluff your hair up and pose. Duh.

Kylah Benes-Trapp

Remember, color correcting makeup isn't just for acne-prone brown women like me. It can also be used to cover tattoos or an oddly shaped birthmark.