Hiding skin problems is one way of dealing with them, either while they are being slowly treated, or in cases of scarring, for example, that will never disappear completely. Using colour theory means you can get the most out of concealers to completely hide your colourful skin.
Colour correction – what does that mean?
Every colour sits opposite another colour – the colour that cancels it out, or neutralises it. This isn’t as simple on skin as it is on a colour wheel, but it’s not far off. Skin can present as many different colours – orange, red, pink, deep red, deep pink, purple, brown, or any combination or hue – and it may also appear differently in adjacent areas. Thus, using colour theory to neutralise blemishes on your face can be achieved without too much trouble. Here we share the basics – the rest is up to you to experiment with.
Skin conditions and their classic colours
- Orangey-red: pityriasis rosea, tinea, seborrheic dermatitis
- Red: rosacea, acne scars, acne
- Blue: veins
- Purple: under-eye circles, lichen planus, bruising
- Yellow: bruising
- Deeper red: cellulitis, Sweet’s syndrome, rosacea, psoriasis, acne scars
- Purpley-red: vasculitis, lichen planus, eye bags, veins
- Browney-red: pigmentation, some acne scars, sarcoid
- Brown: lentigines, melasma, seborrheic keratosis, pigmentation, moles, café au lait spots
Figuring out what skin type you are on the Fitzpatrick scale
|Skin type||Typical Features||Tanning ability|
|I||Pale white skin, blue/green eyes, blonde/red hair||Always burns, does not tan|
|II||Fair skin, blue eyes||Burns easily, tans poorly|
|III||Darker white skin||Tans after initial burn|
|IV||Light brown skin||Burns minimally, tans easily|
|V||Brown skin||Rarely burns, tans darkly easily|
|VI||Dark brown or black skin||Never burns, always tans darkly|
Hiding red (acne, rosacea, scarring)
Skin types I, II, III: use green-based concealers or primers
Skin types IV, V, VI: use yellow-based concealers or primers
Hiding blue (veins)
Skin types I, II, III: use a peach or salmon-coloured concealer or primer
Skin types IV, V, VI: use an orangey concealer or primer
Hiding purple (under-eye bags, lichen planus, bruises)
Skin types I, II, III: use a yellow toned concealer or primer
Skin types IV, V, VI: use reddish concealer or primer
Hiding yellow (bruises)
Skin types I, II, III, IV, V, VI: use purple or lavender-toned concealer or primer
Hiding brown (lentigines, melasma, pigmentation, moles, café au lait spots)
Skin types I, II, III, IV, V, VI: Brown can be hard to conceal well. The darker the pigment, the more grey appears under the concealer, so as a rule, the lighter the pigment, the easier to correct. Peach usually works the best, with the concealer or primer lighter than the skin tone.
Hiding everything in between
Skin types I, II, III, IV, V, VI: If you use these guidelines, you should be able to accurately figure out how to make the combination of colours that suit your skin and blemish colour. Check the colour wheel, and experiment until you get to the coverage you desire.
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