By the time most of us find out what causes dark under-eye circles—mainly genetics or bad lifestyle choices—the damage has been done. Now we’ve got to slather on vitamin-K- and vitamin-C-rich eye creams and makeup to diminish the unsightly color that lets everyone know we’re not getting enough sleep.
It’s hardly surprising that under-eye concealer remains a must-have. Even if you don’t wear a full face of cosmetics every day, a small swipe of this stuff disguises blemishes with little effort. Unfortunately, it can do the opposite when applied incorrectly. So if you need a refresher, here’s exactly how to do it the right way.
Finding Your Shade
Like your foundation, color-matching matters with under-eye concealer. When you utilize the wrong shade, you risk cakey-looking skin or worse, emphasizing the darkness of your already dark circles.
According to celebrity makeup artist Min Min Ma (Hailee Steinfeld, Zosia Mamet, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jared Leto), the best way to cancel out under-eye darkness is with a pink or warm-color base. This counterbalances that blue-gray darkness and also brightens the area, creating a glowy, highlighting effect.
Liquid Versus Powder
Although powder concealer may be more appealing to those with oily skin, Ma actually finds cream or liquid formulas much easier to apply, blend and maintain, regardless of your skin type. It also looks the most natural.
“I never use powder concealer because it looks cakey as the powder gets into the fine lines and wrinkles. Instead I recommend sticking to cream/liquid,” she says. “Cream based for those with dry and pre-mature skin. Since it’s less oily, liquid can be used for normal, oily and acne-prone skin types.”
Once you’re ready to apply your under-eye concealer, start by applying your foundation first. “The foundation can camouflage a bit of under-eye darkness so you don’t have to use a lot of concealer,” says Ma. From there, you’ll need a small, flat synthetic brush to spread evenly under the eye.
“I do like using brushes for application because it makes the job easier and the application more smooth-looking. I like flat- shaped brushes best, such as Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage Brush and Hourglass No 8 Large Concealer Brush,” she says. “Note that blending is also important to the final result. Lightly tap the concealer with your fingertip to ‘set’ the work and remove excess concealer. If you’re using a nongreasy concealer, I would forgo setting powder altogether.”
If you need a starter list of formulas to try, Ma’s favorites are the Lilah B. Virtuous Veil Concealer, Hourglass Hidden Corrective Concealer, Lancome Effacernes Waterproof Protective Undereye Concealer and Tom Ford Waterproof Concealer and Foundation.