You Asked: What's The Best Way To Conceal Dark Under-Eye Circles?

The very best way to cover up any eye darkness while still looking natural (and two things NOT to do).
Publish date:
March 21, 2014
mac, How-To, advice, YSL, Make Up For Ever, concealers, loreal, dark circles

Hi, guys! No video this week, but that’s just because this subject leant itself better to lots of clear photos. Our question today is from Deepanjali, who writes...

I have really horrible, no-good, genetic dark circles. My skin tone and the severity of the circles makes it REALLY hard to conceal them. I also don't wear foundation, like, ever, which I think makes it worse because when I wear concealer, it sticks out more if that makes any sense. How do I conceal them without looking like a scary reverse raccoon?

This is an excellent question, and one that a lot of people have asked me about! I myself have some pretty awesome circles, so I am well-qualified to talk about covering them up.

I'm going to show you the three main ways that people cover up their under-eye circles. Two are wrong and only one is right.

The first way that people cover up their circles is by going nuts with a super-thick concealer and heaps of powder, like this:

This isn’t a bad way to cover up certain types of zits, but it’s really bad under the eyes. Unless your face is perfectly expressionless all day, your eyes--especially your under-eyes--move around A LOT. That means they wrinkle up a lot, like so.

Movement plus thick concealer and powder equals WEIRD MAKEUP LINES. The product will settle into the naturally occurring lines under your eyes, and the buildup looks dreadful. Nobody wants to look like a dehydrated powdered donut. Do not do this.

The second way that people hide their undereye circles is with what I like to call “Kardashian Koncealer.” This involves finding a concealer much lighter than your real-life skin tone and going nuts under your eyes, blending down towards your cheeks in kind of a triangular shape.

This is totally fine if you are applying a full face of very heavy stage makeup, but most people are not doing this. Essentially, what I’ve done here is added a really severe highlight to my face without the shadow or the midtones to balance it out.

Makeup like this is meant to be photographed, so you may be looking at that picture and thinking “Alle, that doesn’t look so bad.” But please believe me when I tell you that in real life, this was bizarre. Sometimes makeup that looks good in photos doesn’t work in real life, and this is an excellent example of that.

If I contoured the heck out of my face, did really dramatic eye makeup with lots of fake lashes and then walked a red carpet, this undereye concealing method would look great. I’d be gorgeous in every shot. However, it isn’t for everyday wear, and especially not if you keep the rest of your skin minimal.

This last way to hide your circles is the best.

Use a lightweight concealer with a slight colour-canceling undertone and blend well. The colour of your circles will depend on the undertone that you go for. If your circles are purple or blueish, look for a concealer with a salmon or orangey tone; if your circles appear black or greenish, look for one with a slight yellow tint.

Generally (but not always), light complexions will need the salmon tones and darker skin will need the yellow. This is far from a hard and fast rule, though--everyone’s skin is different, and you really do need to try a bunch out and see which works best for YOU. This is just a place to start.

I use YSL’s Touche Eclat. It’s my favourite, because nothing in the entire world has ever concealed my dark circles so well while also looking so natural.

Here’s a swatch so you can see what I mean about the tint. My shadows are blueish, so I use a light shade with a slight salmon tint, and it really works.

That oh-so-slight colour correction really cancels out the darkness under my eyes. The depth of this undertone and the shade that you pick will depend on your skin tone, so be prepared to test out several colours to find your perfect match. The right shade should vanish into your skin when you try it on.

Whether you wear a lot of makeup or not much at all, you never want your under-eyes to look like they “stand out.” I get the best finish by patting rather than rubbing the concealer to blend, then setting it with a very light powder that matches my skin exactly. Even if I’m not wearing any other makeup, my circles are concealed so naturally that I look totally refreshed and lovely, rather than like I haven’t slept in a week.

Hre are a couple other products that I like for under-eye concealer:

MAC Mineralize Concealer: This is a lightweight formula with great coverage and an easy-to-use little brush. Their colour system makes it pretty easy to find a shade with a warmer tint.

Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer: It’s waterproof, it’s blendable, it dries to a really beautiful finish and it comes in a bajillion colours. Plus, it really resists getting into lines, which I love. It’s truly full-coverage, so you only need to use a little.

L’Oreal True Match Concealer: King of the drugstore concealers, in my opinion. There’s a really great range of shades, and they’re really comfortable to wear.

One more tip! Don’t forget to put concealer on the little spot between your tear duct and nose. I’ve mentioned it before, but this place shows dark colour, too. Be comprehensive in your covering-up!

I hope that this is helpful! As always, if you have questions for me--send them on over! You can message me on Facebook, Twitter, or in the comments!