Face Off: We compare the two budget orange correctors under P350

As the resident queen of dark circles, correctors are my life-long advocacy. I believe that people who are cursed with too much pigmentation in their eye area should be equipped with the means with which to defend and correct themselves. I, thank you.

Kidding aside, color correction is one of those ‘level 2’ makeup tricks. It’s not the first thing you get into when doing makeup, but once learned, can completely change your makeup game for the better. As more drugstore brands expand and improve their offerings with professional level formulas, I'm happy to see orange correctors becoming more accessible. But how well do they work? I test two locally-available budget correctors to find out.

The Idea of Color Correction

Dark circles form due to two factors: so many blood vessels in the under eye area, and very thin skin under which to hide them. When the red and blue blood vessels intersect and combine, they appear as dark patches. Depending on your overall skin tone, the color profile of dark circles may lean purplish, bluish, or brownish.

A very opaque concealer should cover this but a thick formulation on such thin skin is just a recipe for creasing. Oftentimes as well, the huge color difference between the dark circle and ‘normal’ skin remains perceptible when painted over with one uniform layer of foundation or concealer. To even out the discrepancy, color correction becomes necessary.

A very dark blue ‘lightens’ when mixed with orange. Image via Pinterest

A very dark blue ‘lightens’ when mixed with orange. Image via Pinterest

Color correction is a way of concealing imperfections by neutralizing undesired color tones. The basic concept is that applying makeup in the color opposite of your blemish will “pull” the color into something less intense, and thus making it easier to cover with skin-toned concealer. In this case, orange is the shade that complements my bluish dark circles so I use that to neutralize the pigmentation.

Ground rules: I decided to apply one layer of corrector on each eye, using as much of each product I need. I figure I should let each product shine, and use them according to their own strengths. Next, I covered them with one layer each of my standard Club Clio Kill Cover Pro Artist Liquid Concealer. This concealer is extremely high coverage, but I still see my dark circles through it so I will be able to easily tell how the two correctors work. One layer of concealer isn’t enough to cover my dark circles, but it will be a great point of comparison to see how far each corrector has neutralized the pigmentation.

Swatches, from left: LA Girl HD Pro Conceal in Orange, Makeup World Cover Up Corrector in Orange, and Club Clio Kill Cover Pro Artist Liquid Corrector

Swatches, from left: LA Girl HD Pro Conceal in Orange, Makeup World Cover Up Corrector in Orange, and Club Clio Kill Cover Pro Artist Liquid Corrector

What I’m looking for in a good corrector is not necessarily something opaque. A good corrector should be, first and foremost, very thin. You will need to layer it with concealer or foundation, so a lightweight product will look most skin-like after so many layers. Next, I need the formula to interact nicely with concealer or foundation. Something that slides or pills is a no-go. Lastly, I need it to neutralize the discoloration, of course.

The LA Girl Pro Conceal in Orange (P349 for 8g, BeautyMNL) comes in a brush-tip tube. This is not the most hygienic thing, especially since the eyes are highly susceptible to infection. I like to brush a little on the back of my hand and dip my brush in that instead.

This corrector is watery, thin, yet super pigmented. A little goes a very long way! You may apply it thinly to neutralize, but I’ve decided to completely paint on the orange simply because it is able to go that opaque. This isn’t color correction inasmuch as it is completely applying a new color, but for such deep discoloration as mine, that’s not a bad thing. The only problem I have with this corrector is that the watery formula takes deceptively long to set, so if you’re not careful with making sure that it's completely dry, you may end up smearing your deep orange corrector with your concealer.

The Makeup World Cover Up Corrector in Orange (P129 for 10ml, BeautyMNL) comes in a hygienic, long-nose tube. The color is white-heavy; it’s more peachy than actual orange. It's quite easy to use, and if my circles weren’t so pabibo, it could even be worn without concealer over it, simply blended out into the skin.

However, I really did not like how patchy this corrector is. It’s very moussey, which has the added bonus of filling in fine lines, but whether by tapping with my finger, sliding with my finger, or brushing with my brush, all caused such patchy application that would end up in holes and chunks. It would stick on some areas, and refuse to adhere on others. While it does neutralize my dark circles, I still see the shadow peeking through my concealer.

LA Girl Pro Conceal in Orange was the clear winner between the two. In terms of my first two criteria, both were thin and seemed to work well with the concealer, even if Makeup World applied poorly by itself. LA Girl was so good at fully neutralizing the discoloration that it actually fucking obliterates it into complete orangeness. Not always a plus, but for my Vanta black circles, it worked!

The difference isn’t that obvious to the naked eye, especially at conversational distance, but the LA Girl side looks more lifted and flat. It takes a little practice to apply it correctly, especially considering the unbelievably tiny amount you need and how weirdly long it takes to set, but for hopelessly dark circles, it does the dirty job.

The light color of Makeup World isn’t really able to stand up to that – you can still see the outermost ring of my dark circle. While the corrector did help to bring light back to my eyes, it’s not worth adding to my routine. Too much work for too little payoff. I was also not a fan of the patchy, silicone-y formula. That said, I can see other people making it work, and even favoring it as a one-step dark circle corrector.

On most days, I opt not to fully cover my dark circles but it’s nice to know that I can, if I wanted to. Do you have dark circles? How do you deal with them?