We Tested 21 Color Correctors On Our Dark, Shadowy Under-Eyes And These Let Us Fake A Good Night’s Sleep

Shadowy under-eyes are infamous tattletales — concealing dark circles is tricky as their stubborn appearance loves spilling all the juicy details behind a sleepless night or our battle with allergies. While eye creams and serums can help diminish their appearance over time, the best color correctors for dark circles instantly brighten and conceal problem areas within seconds. How exactly? As professional makeup artist Cat Mignano explains: “Color correction in makeup revolves around understanding color theory, she says. “If you look at the color wheel, you’ll find that correcting involves using colors opposite to the ones you’re trying to balance.” 

We found oodles of options to choose from, including palettes that allow you to blend multiple colors, pots with illuminating cream and powder potions, and sharp, pointed crayons that wipe out deep creases. However, our team of editors huddled together before we individually tested 21 of the most promising color correctors based on expert insight and buzzy reviews. Each of us, with different skin types and tones, evaluated the color corrector based on whether it washed over our skin with even lightweight coverage, noting if the formula felt creamy and blendable and if its applicator made the process seamless. And, of course, we judged its final look and whether the color corrector was truly pigmented enough to conceal or significantly reduce the appearance of dark circles completely. 

Best Overall

Stila Correct And Perfect All In One Color Correcting Palette


What We Love: This moisturizing formula feels weightless but covers dark circles (plus, redness and shine!) flawlessly. 

What We Don’t Love: This multi-shade palette offers more than just under-eye coverage. If you’re looking for something to merely cover dark circles, save your money with a simpler product.

Stila Correct & Perfect Color Correcting Palette is our top pick for its all-in-one ability to color correct a full face — from under-eye circles to forehead shine — all while nourishing the skin with essential skin-brightening vitamins A, C, and E. Despite providing full coverage and completely covering our dark circles and rosacea-induced redness around our cheeks, it felt so smooth and moisturizing, like we didn’t have a stitch of makeup on our face. 

We appreciate the handy infographic that showcases where to use each of the seven colors, and, as a bonus, the palette also includes two tinted finishing powders for when you’re ready to set your face and say goodbye to shine for the entire day.  

Type: Cream, powder | Shades: 7 colors per palette | Key Ingredients: Vitamins A, C, and E | Finish: Natural | Size: 0.46 oz

Best Drugstore

Amazon Catrice Cosmetics Under Eye Brightener


What We Love: You can pat this secret weapon on right over makeup and immediately perk up tired eyes. 

What We Don’t Love: There’s a limited shade range.

Who knew that this little pink pot of goodness could have so much potential? Seemingly unassuming in size and price, the under-eye brighter boasted impressive results, bringing our vampire-esque under-eyes back to the land of the living. The pink undertones complemented our baby blues so they had a slight twinkle with a much brighter all-over appearance.

The cream corrector also had a similar effect on our makeup and skin that re-setting spray might: It perked up creasing concealer and plumped out our skin with its lighter-as-a-feather formula. Infused with hyaluronic acid and shea butter, the formula doesn’t sink into creases and fine lines, nor will it pill around flakey skin — a pro-pick to have on hand during arid, cool months. Plus, the velvety cream consistency was one of the silkiest, lightest feeling options we tried (Making it seem much more expensive than it really was.) Since we’re such huge fans we wish the shade range had a few more options, but on the flip side the light rose colorway is nearly translucent and promises to be a universally flattering shade. 

Type: Cream | Shades: 2 | Key Ingredients: Shea butter, hyaluronic acid | Finish: Radiant | Size: 0.15 oz

Best Brightening

Smashbox Becca Under Eye Brightening Corrector


What We Love: This color corrector evens out discoloration and has an illuminating effect.

What We Don’t Love: It has a bit of shimmer in it, which may not be for everyone.

If you’re looking for a product that will brighten your under-eye area while simultaneously covering dark circles, there’s nothing better than this illuminating corrector. The color corrector’s tint cancels out the dark blue and purple hues of dark circles, while the backlight technology makes skin appear radiant. It is also formulated with vitamin E to keep your under-eyes hydrated and moisturized, which helps prevent makeup from cracking or creasing. It went on smoothly and made an immediate difference in both covering redness and dark circles. Simply warm the product up between your fingers and then lightly pat it to apply. 

Type: Cream | Shades: 4 | Key Ingredients: Sunflower seed oil, rhus verniciflua peel extract, squalane | Finish: Radiant | Size: 0.15 oz

Best for Redness

Pat McGrath Sublime Perfection Blurring Under-Eye Setting Powder


What We Love: The powder didn’t feel drying in the slightest and its radiant finish made our under-eyes look healthier. 

What We Don’t Love: It’s a little difficult to pick up the power with a brush.

Red puffy under-eyes aren’t limited to springtime allergies alone, but leave it to Pat McGrath to leave us looking ready for the runway when we inevitably face this dose of double-trouble from an eczema flare-up or the effects of a series of sleepless nights. The yellow shade worked wonders at neutralizing redness, particularly around the out corners of our under-eyes, while the subtle radiant finish averted attention away from shadowy bags.

We wore it alone for a luminous, even-toned appearance on our no-makeup days, often reaching for the pocket-sized palette for a midday refresher, and used it to set our concealer for all-day staying power, too. Although the powder dusted on breezily without catching over dry spots or sinking into deep creases, the application is definitely more finger-friendly because picking it up with a brush proved a little tricky (it didn’t want to stick to the bristles). 

Type: Powder | Shades: 4 | Key Ingredients: Corn starch, coconut oil, glycerin | Finish: Radiant | Size: 0.14 oz

Best Liquid

EXA High Fidelity Balancing Color Corrector


What We Love: The convenient tube packaging and doe foot applicator make for easy use. 

What We Don’t Love: This product isn’t crease-proof.

Even after going viral on TikTok a few seasons ago, we can say we still love this sensitive skin-safe liquid formula that boasts clean ingredients and impeccable blendability. The creamy consistency provides a potent color payoff with strong coverage. Trust us, you can use less product than you think you’d need. 

The shades looked very natural with our complexion and brightened our under-eye area in a major way. Though it goes on a bit thick, its velvety consistency blends easily with a finger or small brush, and even successfully covers raised acne spots and persistent T-zone redness. The one downfall: We noticed the product settled into our fine lines and caused some creasing by the end of the day. 

Type: Liquid | Shades: 6 | Key Ingredients: Marshmallow root, rice bran, licorice root, kaolin clay | Finish: Natural | Size: 0.25 oz

Best Full-Coverage

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Vanish Color Corrector


What We Love: It boasts a glowy finish that feels moisturizing and durable.

What We Don’t Love: You may need to use a primer to increase longevity.

Charlotte Tilbury, a makeup artist herself, developed a must-have hero product that fellow MUA Mignano calls her “absolute ride or die” for covering dark circles, especially ones that appear as very intense violet and blue hues. “This product has absolutely changed the under-eye game for me.” 

It’s a no-nonsense full-coverage corrector that brightens dark under-eye circles quickly and glides on like butter. It’s specially formulated with carnauba wax, which prevents creasing, as well as flavonoids, soothing antioxidants, to help reduce the appearance of puffiness. To top it all off, the formula also boasts mica for a glowy, illuminating effect — lightweight and buildable with a natural finish, you’ll only need to blend a dab of concealer over top, but you may want to layer it over a primer to ensure lasting power. 

Type: Cream | Shades: 4 | Key Ingredients: Bentonite clay, mica, vitamin E | Finish: Natural | Size: 0.09 oz

Best for Dark Skin Tones

Live Tinted Huestick Corrector


What We Love: This color corrector comes in packaging similar to an oversized crayon, making it super easy to use. 

What We Don’t Love: Though this all-in-one stick provides excellent coverage for dark circles and redness, it’s less successful in concealing veins or blue/green tones.

This multi-use crayon is ideal for quick touch-ups and life on the go. Its chubby pencil-like packaging and creamy consistency make it convenient to throw in a bag and easy to apply no matter where you are. Even though it’s creamy, it set fairly quickly, went on smoothly, and didn’t sink into deep creases. More than that, the color payoff was very impressive

In addition to smoothing under-eye circles, correcting redness and neutralizing dark bags, the Huestick can be used as a lip, cheek, and eye tint to add a subtle flush of semi-matte color. It’s the South Asian-founded brand’s hero product and it’s available in five distinct shades to complement a diverse range of skin tones. Just be aware that while it does work as a magic eraser for dark circles, it’s not the best at concealing veins or blue/green tones. 

Type: Cream | Shades: 5 | Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, squalane, vitamin E and C | Finish: Semi-matte | Size: 0.1 oz

Best for Fair Skin



What We Love: The creamy, lightweight formula provides full coverage.

What We Don’t Love: Some creasing may occur with this product.

Whether you’re struggling with dark circles, lots of redness, or dull skin, the ultra-pigmented Lancôme camouflage corrector proved to tackle even the most irritated areas. Not only was it easy to layer, providing us with full coverage, but the unique squeeze bottle allowed for a smooth, precise application. With seven shades to choose from, there’s more opportunity to find the ideal neutralizing or highlighting effects you’re after. 

Unlike many other correctors that you have to gop onto your under-eye to get results, this one nailed a Goldilocks-type consistency — it didn’t feel too thick, but it felt just weighty enough to reassure us it wouldn’t fade midday. What’s more, the lightweight formula helped spread the color evenly without any smudging or pilling. Although it initially has a very hydrating, dewy finish, it becomes less prominent as it dries down. 

Type: Liquid | Shades: 7 | Key Ingredients: Chamomile flower extract, cucumber fruit extract | Finish: Natural | Size: 0.4 oz

Best for Mature Skin

Bobbi Brown Under Eye Corrector


What We Love: It comes in a ton of shades and is totally budge-proof. 

What We Don’t Love: It doesn’t come with an applicator.

This Bobbi Brown dark circle erasing concealer is a very popular option and for good reason: Not only is the cream corrector infused with moisturizing ingredients, notably vitamin E and kaolin clay, to keep your under-eye area looking smooth and hydrated, but it’s also waterproof, sweatproof, and humidity-resistant, so it will stay put all day. The product went on in light, thin layers without any smudging or creasing

Plus, with 12 shades to choose from, you should be able to find an option that works for your skin tone. Regardless of which hue you select, each one has a pink or peachy base, which is great for canceling out the bluish-purple tone of under-eye bags. While it doesn’t come with an applicator, it blended out easily within seconds using our fingers. 

Type: Cream | Shades: 12 | Key Ingredients: Kaolin clay, vitamin E, mica, lanolin oil | Finish: Natural | Size: 0.05 oz

Best Palette

Makeup Forever Ultra HD Underpainting Color Correction Palette


What We Love: Palettes don’t usually come in multiple shade ranges, but this one is available in four different colorways. 

What We Don’t Love: The formula can have an oily feel on some skin types.

With four different shades included in this all-in-one Make Up For Ever Palette, it truly does it all. At first glance, we thought the palette might be too powdery, but it actually uses a signature blend of powders, oils, and pigments all blended together to create one very luscious cream texture and easy-to-apply formula. There was no smudging or creasing at all after we applied it to our under-eyes. 

We noticed an instant difference in the intensity and tone of our dark circles. As we dabbed the ultra-pigmented formula from the inner corner of our eye outward, our shadowy under-eye area began to soften and even out with a natural finish. In particular, the peach and yellow tones in the palette helped to hide the ashy look of our dehydrated skin. Although we didn’t need to layer too much in order to get a great result, the formula is buildable if you want extra coverage or a touch-up later in the day. While we love the hybrid formula, it can feel slick on some skin types — particularly if you have oily skin. 

Type: Cream | Shades: 4 colors per palette; 4 palette colorways | Key Ingredients: Vitamin E, evodia rutaecarpa fruit extract | Finish: Natural | Size: 0.23 oz

What to Keep in Mind

  • Shade: Color correctors are as simple as understanding the basic principles of the color wheel. “Green is used to neutralize red, making it great for covering up acne flare-ups, sunburns, and rosacea,” says La Banco. “Yellow is a super versatile concealer color that brightens sallowness. It cancels out purple tones, like veins or bruises, while still neutralizing mild to moderate redness.” Mignano agrees, adding that if you want to tackle several tones and intensities at once, yellow is your answer and it works especially well on olive and medium skin tones, she says.

    Dark circles tend to appear as flashes of blues and purples, and these tones tend to be particularly intense on deeper skin tones, says Mignano, meaning that warm reds, pinks, and oranges help fade under-eye darkness.

  • Coverage: You can count on liquid or cream formulas to deliver strong coverage with a natural, hydrated finish with fewer swipes of product. In some cases, they may allow you to skip concealer or foundation altogether, but this will vary from person to person, depending on personal preference and desired coverage.

    Powders won’t totally transform the darkest under-eyes into a bright, well-rested appearance, but they are fantastic for layering on top of creams or liquids to lock your makeup in place so it lasts all day. Mignano opts for a slightly peachy-toned powder to add extra brightness under the eyes.

  • Finish: Color correctors come in a variety of formulas and finishes. For a hydrated, dewy look, liquids are your best bet, while powders will provide a totally matte base. For something in the middle, go with a cream, although you’ll want to swatch several different formulas on your hand before purchasing, as some can be quite silky, while others lean more dry and matte.

    But there’s one non-negotiable feature that every color corrector should have, according to celebrity makeup artist Lisa Aharon. “I almost always choose something with some brightening or radiance,” she says. “It not only covers but also helps reflect light and draw less attention to the darker area.” 

Your Questions, Answered

What is the best shade to cover dark circles?

Remember, think back to the color wheel — you’ll want to use complimentary colors to conceal the problem area. “So, purple is for correcting sallowness, orange can be used for blue tones, pink for brightening, and green for red tones,” says Aharon. She explains that light skin tones will likely use a peach tone versus orange, and darker skin tones will use a red versus a pink tone.

How do you use a color corrector for dark circles?

To begin, Mignano recommends prepping the under-eye with a moisturizing eye cream to prevent texture and creasing. Then, “I like to use the warmth of my fingers to apply and press intentionally into only the area of the under-eye with discoloration,” she says. Next, whether you apply the color corrector with your fingers, sponge, or brush, Aharon says you should continue to pat and build until you’ve covered the area. “There’s no need to let anything dry, although I do like to leave a moment between any layer of building color or product on the face, just to let it set in,” she adds.

However, Aharon notes that unless you’re using a shade for brightening, concealer and foundation always go on top of the color corrector to camouflage the green, orange, purple, or yellow tones.

What does a color corrector do?

Essentially, a color corrector is similar to a primer in that it sits under makeup to prep the skin for more product. It neutralizes unwanted tones, like dark circles or redness, so that your concealer doesn’t have to do as much work. Color correctors are a great step to add to your makeup routine if you struggle with complexion concerns, such as dark under-eye circles, redness, dullness, or hyperpigmentation. They also provide a good base for the rest of your makeup, hydrating your skin and illuminating your under-eyes. 

Why Shop With Us

Irene Richardson is a fashion and beauty writer for InStyle’s commerce team. She updated this article with additional information and product recommendations, along with insights from celebrity makeup artists Lisa Aharon and Cat Mignano. 

Linne Halpern is a freelance beauty, fashion, and lifestyle writer.

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