Fact: Color-correcting is confusing. I’m a beauty editor with a lifetime of hardcore love and devotion to studying makeup, and I still have to take a second when faced with a concealer palette filled with 60 shades. And if you’ve got darker skin—as in, olive, golden, or almond shades that tend toward greenish undertones—color-correcting can be an even trickier endeavor, because most concealers were not made with your skin tone in mind. Because the makeup industry, well, let’s just say it’s come a long way but we’re not quite there yet.
But that’s where red concealers come in. Yes, bright-red, lipstick-looking concealers, which are swiped over dark circles and dark patches to cancel out the green-ish, blue-ish undertones present in darker skin tones (it’s all about that color wheel, yo).
And though this isn’t a new “trend” by any means—women of color have, after all, been color-correcting their faces for centuries—it is finally getting more mainstream attention, with makeup brands finally creating blood-red and orange-y red concealers, and beauty vloggers, like Nabela Noor, below, showing how to use them in videos.
In the video, Noor covers her under-eyes, jawline, upper lips, and cheeks—everywhere she has some dark pigmentation–with Maybelline’s FaceStudio Master Camo Pen in Red BUY IT, then blends it out with flat brush before covering with foundation and concealer. Though Noor’s lighter skin tone would generally fall into the orange-y concealer category (we’d recommend trying red only if you have a deeper skin tone), she still blends it out enough for her skin to look totally bright and even, with zero dark marks.
It seriously is that easy. Of course, slathering red concealer on your skin is going to leave you with a pink-y peach cast, especially if you have a lighter skin tone or apply too much, which means I’d recommend keeping your color-correcting super sheer and pairing it with a foundation and concealer. And if you’re still totally lost on how to color-correct, watch this video from makeup artist Anchal, who uses an orange-y red concealer to color-correct her dark spots. Try it out on yourself and fall in loooove.
Chloe Metzger Senior Beauty Editor Chloe Metzger is the senior beauty editor at Cosmopolitan, obsessively writing about new makeup launches, the best hair products (curly girl here; whattup), and the skincare formulas that really work for every skin type (follow her on Instagram to see behind-the-scenes pics of that magazine life).
I Tried Red Lipstick As A Concealer, Plus 4 Ways To Use Other Lipstick Colors In Your Makeup Routine
If you’ve been on the Internet at all, you are likely fully aware of the viral craze that is using red lipstick as concealer. As a true skeptic of non-traditional beauty hacks and also as someone who struggles with dark circles under my eyes, I knew I had to test it out. I’ve tried everything — concealers, highlighters, anti-dark circle cream, you name it. Coincidentally, I have an even bigger struggle with overusing and over-buying red lipstick. So when I learned that you could use red lipstick as a concealer, it seemed perfect for someone like me. But the more I thought about it, the crazier it seemed. To my surprise though, after watching beauty vlogger Deepica Mutyala experiment this technique on herself, using the product to mask pesky dark circles is actually pretty brilliant.
Here’s why: we all know that makeup is a work of art. Similar to oils and paint, we’re basically using mascara, shadows, and foundations as tools to make a masterpiece. Now, let’s apply the color wheel idea to the way we do our makeup. Today Style explains, “Dark circles are usually blue or green in tone. If you look at a primary color wheel, the exact opposite of those colors are oranges and reds. Applying a bright red color underneath your eyes actually neutralizes the color you’re hoping to cover.”
That was enough to convince me to try it out myself. So here’s my play-by-play:
I started applying the red lipstick under and around my eye circles with my normal concealer brush. I also applied it on other dark spots and blemishes. Don’t apply too much though because the lipstick might be harder to cover up with concealer. Pro tip: try using a cream-based lipstick. You’ll thank me later.
I have olive skin so I used the Revlon SuperLustrous Lipstick In Fire And Ice which wasn’t too bright or too dark. I wouldn’t recommend using lip-lasting or a matte type of lipstick.
Revlon SuperLustrous Lipstick In Fire And Ice, $7, Amazon
The Original Beauty Blender, $20, Amazon
Next, I used actual concealer and blended using a beauty blender around my eyes. I’m in love with the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer and thought it worked perfectly for this hack. Another tip: use liquid concealers instead of stick concealers. It’s easier to blend, especially if you’re going for full coverage. Don’t be afraid to be heavy-handed with your concealer. You might have to apply it generously to cover up all the red lipstick.
NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, $30,Sephora
And voila! The results were mind-blowing. My makeup game will never be the same.
Enlightened, I wanted to experiment more with other shades of lipsticks to see if I could use them for other beauty hacks. During this process, I came to the conclusion that if all makeup users were wizards, our wands would obviously be lipstick. Why? Because you can use lipstick i so many other magical ways.
Because cream blush and rose-colored lipsticks are practically the same product.
Sephora Collection Lip Last In Brown Is Back!, $14, Sephora
Using lipstick to contour might seem weird at first, but it actually helps make my cheekbones pop and gives them a lift. Try to stick to natural/nude lipstick tones for this one.
If I’m using lipstick as concealer, why not use it as an eyeshadow? Lipstick definitely stays on longer too, so there’s no need for a primer.
Try using a deep red wine lipstick for eyeliner. To apply, use a regular eyeliner brush. Dab it into your lipstick and smudge it on the corner of your eyes for a smoky effect. It gives a romantic, yet intense look with purple undertones.
Sephora Collection Color Lip Last Lipstick In Elegant In Brown, $14, Sephora
Here’s my final look after using lipstick as a concealer, eyeshadow, contouring cream, eyeliner, and blush:
Not too shabby, right? Whatever way you decide to use your lipstick, just remember to be creative, apply it liberally, and most importantly — have some fun!
Images: Danelle Sandoval
If you’ve been on Pinterest in the past few weeks (and, let’s face it, who hasn’t?), you’ve probably seen one of the most recent beauty hack trends: using red lipstick to cover under-eye bags.
Everyone from Pinterest beauty die-hards and YouTube makeup vloggers to the Today Show has gotten in on this viral technique. The seemingly bizarre process consists of applying lipstick with red or pink undertones under your eyes, over dark circles, as a base for your concealer. We are obsessed with beauty hacks and would normally be totally on board . . . except we’re not sure that this one actually works.
While some bloggers have touted this technique for solving the pesky raccoon-eye problem, others have been let down by the lingering red hues still visible in the finished result. The one thing pretty much all who have tested this technique have agreed upon is that this hack is not for people with extremely sensitive skin (because, you know, lipstick is meant to only be applied to lips) and that the color needs to be chosen with your individual skin tone in mind. It seems like this hack works better on deeper complexions, which absorb the red hues better than fairer faces do.
To try to understand whether or not we’ve stumbled upon a new genius hack or a Pinterest fail, we’ve taken a look at tutorials and reviews that come down on both sides of the issue.
It might sound like a crazed act of desperation, but red lipstick really can help conceal under-eye circles—if you know what you’re doing.
Think you’ve tried everything to conceal your dark under-eye circles? Consider the latest beauty craze: applying red lipstick under the eyes to colour-correct dark circles. As scary as it sounds, some beauty bloggers swear by the technique.
So does it work? That depends on the hue of your dark circles, not to mention your skill with applying cosmetics. If you’re a beginner or a bit beauty-challenged, red makeup around the eyes might make you look like a zombie at worst… or Helena in Orphan Black at best.
Still, everyone with dark under-eye circles knows they’re painfully stubborn and hard to conceal, so red lipstick is worth a try.
Understanding the Red Lipstick Trick
Red lipstick won’t conceal your under-eye circles. Instead, this trick neutralises the blue-green hues of most under-eye circles to make covering them easier. You’ll still need a good concealer, a steady blending hand, and a foundation that doesn’t settle into lines.
Red lipstick won’t work for everyone, though. Some people have reddish circles under their eyes, especially during allergy season. If your circles look more red than blue, or if you struggle with redness on your eyelids or around your eyes, the red lipstick trick probably won’t work for you.
Choosing the Right Formula
As with all things cosmetic, the key to success is choosing the right formula for your needs. Consider the following:
Matte lipsticks will settle into fine lines and wrinkles, potentially making you look tired. Because these formulas dry quickly, they’re also more difficult to blend.
High-gloss lipsticks may smear all over the place, making blending nearly impossible or creating a hyper-greasy look.
Cream lipsticks work for most people, but you’ll need to experiment. Benefit Benebalm is a great choice, because its sheer pigments makes it easier to apply and blend. If your skin is oily, you’ll want a slightly drier formulation, and you may need to use primer before you begin.
Applying Red Lipstick as a Concealer (Without Looking Bloody)
You’ve selected your lipstick and decided to take the plunge. Now what?
Red lipstick as a colour-corrector is a decidedly advanced technique, so give yourself plenty of time. Don’t be surprised if you need a few do-overs before you get it right. To master the technique:
- Clean the area under your eyes and apply a moisturising eye cream. Give the cream 5 to 10 minutes to fully absorb.
- Apply a primer to correct skin texture and tone. BECCA Eye Priming Perfector fills in wrinkles and lines while offering subtle colour-correction.
- Dab on red lipstick with your fingers or a beauty brush. The dark area should be completely covered, but there’s no need for multiple layers. Err on the side of a light shade of red, rather than going for full-on crimson.
- Blend, blend, and blend some more. The area should look pink when you’re finished, and there should be no visible clumps or globs.
- Apply your favourite under-eye concealer. Cream formulas tend to offer better coverage and blend better with lipstick. Since you’ll need to conceal the redness, you may need to switch to a formula with higher coverage. Try the Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer Kit.
- Finish with your favourite foundation. To avoid smearing your expert concealing, dab foundation under your eyes rather than aggressively blending it in.