How to conceal dark circles under the eyes

I’m often asked by many of my clients how to conceal dark circles under the eyes especially when the skin in this area  is a much darker pigment than the rest of the face.  The common mistake of trying to match the pigmented area to the skin tone results in a grey tinge which can sometimes look worse.  So here are my list of tips for concealing the under eyes from natural coverage to full cover:

  • Make sure the skin is not dry so start by applying a thin layer of eye cream, don’t apply too much, if you have then blot the excess by pressing a tissue over the skin. A light primer can also be applied too.
  • For a light coverage use foundation as your concealer finished with a light dusting of powder.  I like to use loose powders as they are finer in consistency but either loose or compressed will do.
  • For a medium coverage use a creamy concealer, they usually come in tubes (not the thicker compressed ones in pots).  Press this onto the inner half of the under eyes starting at the inner corners using either your finger or a brush, blend the edges into the rest of your foundation without moving what you have just applied to the darker area (so a wiping action on the edges only). If you need to blend the concealed area a bit more then keep pressing and patting rather than wiping as this will just move the concealer off.
  • For a full coverage use the heavier full coverage concealers that are usually pressed into a pot.  Some full coverage cream foundations are also just as heavy as concealers and can also be used as your concealer by just changing the action of how you apply it.  A wiping action will spread the product giving you less cover, pressing and patting the product on will give you full cover.  So in that same inner half of the under area press on the concealer blending just the edges around where you are covering into the surrounding skin.  Finish with powder to set, make sure you smooth out any creases first as the more coverage you have the more creasing you can get (of course age also has a lot to do with the amount of creasing too! Less is better as you get older).
  • For dark pigmentation under the eyes start with a concealer or colour correct that is warm in tone such as orangey peachy colours, this will help to balance out the blue hues. You want to apply enough to cancel out the dark tones but not too much either as you need to apply a layer of concealer on top.  Next apply a full coverage cream concealer by carefully pressing it on top of the previous layer and blending down and out into the surrounding skin.  If you need to smooth out any creases before powdering then gently sweep the brush lightly over the area or if you are using your fingers then I find the smooth surface of my nail does this quite well without moving the make-up (always use a brush for clients, I use fingers when doing my own make-up). Powder straight away but make sure you press the powder on preferable with a small brush that fits under the eyes (round eye shadow brushes are what I use). If you feel it still has a grey tinge (probably due to not applying enough of either one of the concealers) then you can gently sweep over a warm toned powder to finish off.
  • The heavier the coverage the more creasing you are prone to, I usually find that after about half an hour any excess that’s going to move will have moved by now and just needs to be blended away either with a brush or if it’s on yourself then a gentle wipe with your finger.
  • In general choose a concealer that’s closest to your skin colour or go one shade lighter, this will softly highlight the under eyes and can help brighten this area although I wouldn’t recommend this for those with the pigmentation under the eyes – stick to the warm tones. To further highlight the under eyes you can finish off with a sweep of highlighting powder, for medium olive to pale skin your highlighter will be a white powder, for darker skin tones your highlighter will be a pale yellow tone.
  • If your full coverage concealer is too dry try mixing it with some liquid foundation, you can mix it on the back of your hand to create a nice creamy consistency, it will also thin down any concealers that are too heavy. This is what I do when applying my own make-up.
highlighting powders
MAC highlighting powders.

These are the shaping  powders by MAC used for highlighting, the lightest one on the left is ‘Emphasize’ and the yellow toned one on the right is called ‘Soft Focus’.

Just a quick note on light reflectors such as the YSL Touche eclat, these are not going to give you coverage like a concealer, I would suggest that they are best used as a refresher product throughout the day when you just need a touch up on top of your under eye concealer. Place it on the area you want to conceal (usually the inner corners) and then gently press it into the skin (don’t disturb your coverage by wiping), this will help to lighten and refresh the under eyes.

Hope this has been of some help!


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