Spectrophotometric Color Measurement Helps Perfect Color Correcting Makeup


Posted on May 6, 2016

For the past several years, contouring has been all the rage in cosmetics. By carefully applying shadows and highlights in the forms of creams and powders, you’re able to bring out your best features and reduce the visual impact of those you’d rather minimize. But as with all trends, the contouring craze may be coming to an end.

Tired of the heavy cosmetics and time-consuming application process, consumers are increasingly craving a more natural look and turning to color correcting makeup to even out the complexion for a beautiful, fresh-faced appearance. “I love that this is becoming a new trend, because it allows everyone to think more like an artist and wear less full-coverage makeup,” says Darais, a makeup artist for Lancôme. “In spring, especially, we want a fresh approach to our skin.”1


Color correcting makeup works by using the basic concepts of color theory to diminish flaws and create a balanced skin tone. Green corrects for redness, peachy tones hide dark undereye circles, and purple and blue shades combats sallow, yellow skin. The key is to not overdo it; according to Dell Ashley, director of makeup artistry at Yves Stain Laurent, consumers should be sure to use a light touch. “This technique is used to neutralize the skin and should be undetectable when you are finished.”2

Truly getting the best results from color correcting makeup, however, isn’t just a matter of application, it’s about selecting the best products. For cosmetics companies, that means precisely formulating color correcting products to create a seamless blend between the applied color and the skin tone being corrected. If the color isn’t exactly right, it’s easy for consumers to end up looking more like a modern painting than someone with a flawless complexion. Spectrophotometric color measurement gives cosmetics companies the ability to monitor color throughout development and manufacturing to ensure that color correcting products give users the beautiful, natural results they are looking for.

The Essential Role of Spectrophotometers

Spectrophotometers are designed to measure color the way the eye sees it … only better. By integrating sophisticated optical geometries, these instruments are able to capture objective color data, translating it into CIELAB values or any other color system you choose. This data is essential to product formulation, giving users the feedback they need to tailor cosmetic recipes and evaluate process variables. Using spectrophotometry, you are able to rapidly measure the color of all types of color correcting products, from liquids to creams to loose and pressed powders both in laboratory and factory settings. Once a product is in commercial production, non-contact, on-line spectrophotometers can be easily integrated within production lines to continuously monitor product color throughout the manufacturing process without disturbing the product itself.

Evaluating the Performance of Color Correcting Makeup

The true test of color correcting products, however, doesn’t happen in a production line or in a cuvette; it happens when the products are applied. After all, an unopened tube of pale green concealer tells you little about whether the product will truly counteract redness to enhance appearance or just look like, well, green concealer. But color quality isn’t the only variable; not only must color correcting products have the right kind of pigmentation, they must also disperse that pigmentation evenly across the skin surface to ensure a pleasing, natural look. As such, the final evaluation of a color correcting product is only possible by testing the product on human skin. This is where portable spectrophotometers come in.

Portable spectrophotometers are lightweight, portable instruments that allow you to capture color data virtually anywhere. At HunterLab, our portable spectrophotometers are equipped with dual beam technology, giving you the most accurate color measurement possible more rapidly than traditional single beam instruments. As non-contact instruments, portable spectrophotometers gives you a simple and non-invasive method of measuring the color of color correcting products on a human subject, allowing you to assess both color quality and formula consistency. As a result, you are able to objectively evaluate real world performance of your products to ensure optimal results.

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