When it comes to combatting dark circles that just won’t quit, sometimes logging in that extra hour of sleep just isn’t enough. That’s where your makeup bag can help—and why brightening concealers are your new best friend. More than just a skin-toned cover up, brightening concealers erase darkness and even improve skin’s condition over time, making them an indispensable weapon in our fight to look well-rested.
So how are these under-eye miracles different from regular concealer? According to celebrity makeup artist Suzy Gerstein, the underlying goal of brightening concealers are to color-correct dark circles under the eyes, and that the primary difference is in the tone and texture.
“Concealers meant for blemishes on the face tend to be drier and more yellow-based in color to stick to and counteract red blemishes,” she tells us. “Whereas under eye brightening concealers have a more fluid consistency so as not to sink into fine lines, and tend to have a peach or salmon hue to counter the blue tones of under eye circles.”
These undertones may sound strange, but Suzy tells us that it’s really all about techniques we learned in elementary school art classes. “It comes down to color theory—orange is opposite blue on the color wheel, so concealers with those colors in them will cancel those shades out.”
Gerstein also tells us that the new breed of brightening concealers include components to cure, or at least hide, dark circles. Givenchy’s Mister Instant Light Corrector Pen ($35, sephora.com) contains pearl pigments to reflect additional light, giving your skin added radiance. Charlotte Tilbury’s Mini Miracle Eye Wand ($45, charlottetilbury.com) contains hyaluronic acid to add extra moisture to that delicate area. Eve Lom’s Light Illusion Concealer click-pen ($40, barneys.com) even includes caffeine, a superstar ingredient that’s always concentrated in under-eye creams and serums.
But there’s an option for everyone—and at just about every price point. Gerstein loves BeautyCounter TouchUp Skin Corrector Pen ($28, beautycounter.com), a natural option for brightening up dark circles. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly buy, FLOWER Beauty Lighten Up! Brightening Concealer Pen ($8, walmart.com) is total genius.
When it comes time to applying these buys, Gerstein has a few tricks up her sleeve. When your dark circles aren’t so noticeable, she recommends using the concealer on its own. However, for severe dark circles, she’ll mix a brightening concealer with a more pigmented product—think a major full coverage concealer for maximum circle-hiding. “I mix the two on the palm of my hand, use a synthetic brush to apply the mixture to just to the areas where I see darkness, then pat into place with a small BeautyBlender sponge. They’re perfect for reaching areas that require more precision like the inner corners of eyes,” she explains.
After applying the concealer, she suggests skipping the powder and setting your look with Tatcha Blotting Paper ($12, tatcha.com) that will help the formula sink into the skin while absorbing excess oils.
But be wary of how close your concealer gets to the bottom lash line—Suzy says this is what will make it crease. She also warns us of over-concealing, which can lead to horrible too-light circles under your eyes. Nobody wants to look like a reverse panda, and this is a guaranteed way to make your dark circles look even worse than before. Color match with care!
And when it comes to the rest of your makeup, Gerstein tells us to take it easy and aim for a natural look. She suggests applying cream blush high on the apples of the cheeks and blending the lines with a luminizing tinted moisturizer to give your complexion a luminous boost that coordinates beautifully with your newly radiant under eye area. You’ll look fresh and gorgeous—and like you just got a full eight hours of sleep. That’s the kind of makeup look we can get behind.
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