Adventures with Color Correctors!


COLOR CORRECTORS. Is it me, or are they all over the damn place lately? (Side note: perceiving an increased incidence of things/events where no increase actually exists, because the thing/event is suddenly relevant or of particular interest to you is called Observational Selection Bias. Which may NOT actually apply to this blog, since I used that term in a comment-reply the other day. :D) Anyway, it’s EXPERIMENT TIME. A while back, I procured a couple of these little guys :


They’re minis of Algenist’s Reveal Concentrated Color Correcting Drops! The full-size bottles are .5oz and run about $38 each at Sephora and elsewhere — these “travel size” ones are about half the amount, and can be had on Algenist’s site for $20/.23oz, or a set of all four for $65. They come in a teensy frosted glass bottle with a dropper built into the cap. The dropper is actually kinda too skinny, and doesn’t schlorp much product up into itself — mostly you’re just using it as a stick to dribble the stuff off of. (I feel strongly that this stuff would be MUCH more appropriately packaged in a pump bottle with a very tight/small nozzle.)

The formulation is pretty basic, but does include Algenist’s trademark algae extracts. They also have talc (and titanium dioxide) waaaay up at the top of the ingredients list, so if you’re a talc-avoider, take heed. On my tetchy, reactive, acne-prone skin, I don’t think they really give me any problems? Or if they do, it’s definitely nothing very dire (I’ve been having slightly more frequent small/NBD breakouts since I’ve been experimenting with these, but I can’t definitively blame them, since there are — as usual — other factors in play.)

INGREDIENTS : Water (Aqua, Eau), Dimethicone, Mica, Nylon-12, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Talc, Titanium Dioxide, Glycerin, Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Algae Exopolysaccharides, Chlorella Protothecoides Oil, Aphanizomenon Flos-Aquae Extract, HDI/Trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, Isododecane, Magnesium Sulfate, Silica, Methicone, Hydrogen Dimethicone, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Propylene Carbonate, Aluminum Hydroxide, Sodium Chloride, Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysat, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Benzoic Acid, Dehydroacetic Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol, Ultramarines (CI 77007), Iron Oxides (CI 77492, CI 77499), Titanium Oxide (CI 77891).

The consistency of these is VERY watery, and when applied to bare skin or over oils/moisturizers (as you might guess from the talc and titanium dioxide), they tend to give my face a kinda chalky cast. Here’s what they look like on their own :

As you can see, they’re more “whitish” than strongly blue or green, and the pigment looks a bit chalky on the skin (and also has a tendency to settle into fine lines/texture if not very thoroughly blended). I find that the blue, while technically “brightening,” is too chalky on its own to really work well, and the green is both a bit chalky and also too sheer to be really effective at neutralizing strongly-red breakouts or scars — and note that my skin is pale AF, so this “chalky” effect would likely be even more pronounced on anyone with a complexion darker than “jesus do you EVER go outside?” However, if you’re quite pale, and have more evenly-distributed redness (genetically pink cheeks, rosacea, etc) that you’d like to mitigate? Then this might work fine for you!

SIDEBAR : my personal take on color correctors of this type in general is that they’re better applied AFTER foundation — 1. because you’re going to get a stronger effect if you don’t bury them under a bunch of other pigments, and 2. because assuming you’re wearing some kind of foundation, the amount of color-correcting you actually NEED is going to change after you’ve applied it, and 3. because if you put a wet thing on your face and let it dry and then smear ANOTHER wet thing on top of it, you’re just going to lift up the first thing and smear it around. So if I want to use a green color corrector on a pimple — which can in theory be great, because it may allow you to “erase” something with less product, which means less chance of cakiness or other weird texture issues — I’d do foundation, then dab on the green, and maybe top it with the barest amount of concealer or skin-matching powder foundation. 

However! I had another particular use in mind for these — I’m getting low on my most-used foundation (Guerlain Lingerie de Peau), but I also have an almost-full bottle of Clinique Even Better in shade 02, which, compared to my actual skintone, is the equivalent of “Suntan” color pantyhose : it’s both far too dark and unrealistically orange. BUT MAYBE I CAN EDIT IT?

On the left, my Guerlain LdP in shade 01. It’s very light indeed! It’s not ultra porcelain pale, which is fine, but it is slightly too yellow for me. (Color-wise, it does work much better on my face than on the inside of my wrist.) In the middle, Clinque Even Better in shade 02 “Fair,” and I will take this opportunity to complain about A) how hilariously OFFFFFF the fake-ass swatches are on Sephora’s site, and B) the fact that Clinque’s site designates each shade by both its number and name — as do Ulta, Macy’s, and others — but Sephora’s does not, and lists only the shade name, which is the LEAST-helpful element…especially since the actual product bottles only have the shade NUMBER, not the NAME on them. Ugh.

Anyway! On the right is one drop of CEB in 02Fair mixed with an equal amount of the Algenist drops in blue. WHOA. This is both much lighter and much cooler-toned! Huge improvement! And actually a better match for my skintone than the Guerlain! What happens when you mix it with green tho?

That’s unedited CEB 02Fair in the center, and mixed with blue Algenist drops on the left, and green ones on the right. Predictably, mixing it with green yielded a much more sandy-yellow result. Terrible for me, maybe great for you!


One interesting note : I usually use two little drops of foundation — one of the left side of my face, one on the right — over moisturizer/sunscreen to get what I consider “acceptable” coverage. (My preference is for sheer-to-medium, as I’m just not psychologically comfortable with hyper-perfected mask-like coverage, and also I’m so freaking oily and I get sweaty-faced so easily that *maintaining* a full-coverage spackle job just is notttt feasible.) You would THINK that I’d thus use two drops of product total — one of the foundation, and one of the blue corrector — to get the desired coverage? But NOPE. Probably due to how thin/watery the Algenist drops are, I actually still need two drops of foundation, combined with an appx equal amount of blue, or else it’s way too sheer. Perhaps the drops are also absorbing into my skin, or evaporating quickly? I don’t know, but if you were considering these and hoping they’d be a foundation extender as well as corrector, nah.

Wear-wise, I feel like I’m getting roughly the same wear out of my foundation as I get without the drops mixed in — they don’t seem to make [this particular] foundation break down, or exhibit any other atypical behavior. I do have to be careful and not add too much because, again, CHALKY.

THE VERDICT : Since this little blue (almost white) guy turned a whole bottle of foundation from “trash” to “yep, it’s fine now” — thumbs up! Are they worth twenty bucks on their own, just as a color corrector? I’d say probably nah. (I got one of mine as a Sephora “Reward” and purchased the other from Algenist.) There’re so many blue/green/apricot/etc correctors available right now — MAC, NYX, MUFE, et cetera infinitum — and in so many [potentially more useful/workable/impactful] formulations like thicker creams and heavily-pigmented liquids, that I feel like you can probably find a more-effective version for less. DO YOU NEED IT? If you have very fair skin AND have an unreturnable foundation that’s both too dark AND maybe heavier coverage than you prefer AND is too yellow or too orange, AND you need something that’ll blend easily with it and does NOT contain a bunch of acne-trigger ingredients commonly found in correctors/primers/etc (cyclomethicones, stearic acid, and the like)? Then sure, this is a viable option! I’ll happily continue to use mine, but if it runs out before that Clinique foundation does, I’d definitely shop around before just repurchasing this.

COLOR CORRECTORS : good shit or bullshit? Got a fave?