If you're acquainted with the color wheel, you'll know that red is opposite green and orange is opposite blue, making them shades that “cancel' each other out to create a nice, neutral brown. It's a great trivial tidbit if you're in kindergarten and fresh out of khaki-colored crayons, but it's also the principle behind color-correcting makeup.
Have redness from irritated eyes (or zits—the concept works for those, too!)? Mint concealer will neutralize it more effectively than layering on luminizer. Bruise-hued under-eye bags that no amount of concealer can hide? A couple of sheer layers of salmon or tangerine coverup will fix it without looking caked on. The secret is, as with so many other things in makeup, nuance. And not every concealer will work on every complexion, so you'll have to experiment a bit. Here's how to pick your ideal shades for disappearing, tired eyes:
Think about how bright your redness is. If you have irritation, a recent blemish, or rosacea, a mint green like NYX HD Photogenic Concealer is best. But if you're dealing with something more purple/magenta-red, like acne scarring or upper eyelid discoloration, you need a yellow-tinged green like Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer in Color Correcting Adjust.
These come in every shade from tangerine to peach, and for good reason. There's a huge variety of under-eye hues, depending on your skin's undertones, thickness, and just how many all-nighters you've been pulling. MAC Prep + Prime Color Correcting Compact in Recharge is a workable shade for most people since it's a sheer, buildable powder, but Bobbi Brown Corrector is also great because it comes in a whole shade range so you can find the right pigmentation and tones for your skin.
Photos by Annie Kreighbaum.