I am not a makeup artist. But after almost 20 years of doing my own makeup, I like to think I've learned a thing or two. When I was younger, covering my acne was my top priority. I had it pretty badly for a lot of years—but after three rounds of Accutane (yes, three—that's 12 months in total), that issue is, thankfully, under control. These days, I'm focused more on at least achieving the illusion of healthy, glowing skin—and Uncle-Fester-like under-eye circles are neither healthy nor glowing!
It literally took me years of trial and error to figure out what worked best on me. I hope, that in sharing these lessons with you, I'll save you some time, and you'll be able to look young, awake, and well-rested by this time tomorrow!
Here are the lessons I've learned, and what I use to hide my under-eye circles:
1) Prep is key. The skin under your eyes is delicate and prone to dryness, and you've got to take care of that if you want your makeup to look right. You can hide colour, but not texture, meaning you want to start with a hydrated, smooth base.
My weapon of choice: MAC Fast Response Eye Cream. It comes in a tube (so much more hygienic than the pot packaging of most eye creams, which I just don't get), and in addition to brightening and hydrating, it smoothes the skin under my eyes like a primer would.
2) Do colour correct. Not colour correcting, in my experience, leads to two problems: a) Way over-highlighting your under-eye area, which is just not pretty. I have a few too many photos of myself with whitish stripes under my eyes. *Shudder* b) Making your under-eye area look ashy rather than healthy. The solution for ladies with noticeable under-eye circles is to counteract the colour first, and then conceal. If you're like me and you're fair with blue under-eye circles, you'll want to use a peachy or salmon-coloured tone. Have you seen the video going around that advocates using red lipstick under your eyes? Same idea—it's simple colour theory, but for darker-skinned ladies. Don't be swiping your Lady Danger under your eyes if you're fair. Stick to salmon.
My weapon of choice: Giorgio Armani Master Corrector in Pink. It's a replacement for my beloved Chanel Éclat Lumière Highlighter Face Pen. The colour is very similar, but you get more hygienic packaging (a brush instead of a pen) and more product for less money.
3) Do not use the same concealer for under-eye circles that you do for blemishes. During my years of battling acne, I found the best concealer for pimples was, hands-down, MAC Studio Finish Concealer. It's easy to apply, long-lasting, and insanely pigmented. But it's also thick, and can absorb moisture. Good for pimples. Bad, bad, bad for under-eye circles. It can look cakey and dry, and we don't want that.
My weapon of choice: NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Vanilla. It's brightening, hydrating, and all-around amazing for under-eye circles.
4) Blending is vital. We don't want loads of products under our eyes—in addition to creasing, it can make us look older. Yuck. So the key is to apply very thin layers of product and tap them in rather than swiping them around. I've tried brushes, which are fine, but I find they absorb and move more product than I would like. Try a few different tools and see what you like.
My weapon of choice: My fingers, followed by the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge. I tap a thin layer of corrector followed by a thin layer of concealer under my eyes with my ring finger, and "bounce" to a natural finish with a dampened sponge. Remember to layer—simply mixing the products together won't work as well.
5) Setting is also vital—but don't use the same powder you use for your face. Unless you're about 12 (or you use a lot of Botox?), the skin under your eyes is going to move throughout the day—smiling, scowling, shrugging, etc. It's normal for our faces to move. It's therefore not realistic to expect a cream or liquid product to stay put, crease-free, without a little help. This is where some well-chosen and well-placed powder comes in handy. Now, you don't just want to pick any powder—many of us use powders that aborb oil to keep our complexions matte throughout the day. You don't want anything that absorbs moisture under your eyes—you'll start to look crinkly and aged very quickly! You also probably don't want anything tinted—I've found that can look a little funky and over-pigmented. Go with something very finely milled and translucent—ideally something with light-reflecting properties. Then, apply a teeny-tiny amount with a soft brush. Not too much—over-apply powder and you'll end up with that dry, crepey look that no one likes.
My weapons of choice: Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder applied with a Real Techniques Setting Brush. The LM powder is translucent, finely milled, and brightens the under-eye area without being shimmery. The RT setting brush is soft and sparse enough that it doesn't pick up too much powder. First, I give the pot a bit of a shake—just enough for a very light dusting of powder to settle on the inside of the lid. Then I unscrew the lid and swipe half of the inside with my brush and pat gently for one eye. Then, of course, I repeat on the other eye. Make sense?
Here's what the finished product looks like on me.
Here's the rundown:
- MAC Fast Response Eye Cream - $37, maccosmetics.com
- Giorgio Armani Master Corrector in Pink - $37, sephora.ca
- NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Vanilla - $30, sephora.ca
- Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge - $9.99, London Drugs
- Real Techniques Setting Brush - $7.99, iHerb.com (available at London Drugs as part of the Real Techniques Collector's Edition Sculpting Set)
- Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder - $29, sephora.ca
I hope this was helpful! Please share your tips and tricks in the comments. If you try the method and/or tools above, let me know what you think!
Disclosure: All of the above products except for the RT sponge were purchased by Eyeshadow Addict. The sponge was provided by PR for my consideration.