@turquoise-- I use face creams that claim to make skin tone more even. I have one which works pretty well and it's a multi-purpose cream called BB cream that helps with all issues of the skin. It has whitening, anti-aging and blemish healing qualities. It's also tinted, so I just wear this instead of using foundation. I agree with you that it's better to try and improve the skin rather than trying to cover it up with heavy makeup.
You can also use face peels. These work like face exfoliating products and remove the dead skin so that new, fresh skin can come up from underneath. If you want dramatic results, go to a spa which offers chemical peels and similar treatments. They can help you even out your skin tone much more quickly.
The best method for even and better skin tone however, has to be prevention. You need to follow a skin care routine religiously. Wash your face twice a day, exfoliate once a week and always moisturize with oil-free and mattifying lotions. This is how I keep my face clear and even.