Concealer is a godsend. It can hide the most stressful days and the latest nights, plus the damage left from one too many glasses of wine. But for under-eye concealer to work in your favor, it requires the proper application. Apply it wrong and you’ll look even worse than before you caked it on. “If you’re someone with extreme dark circles, whether caused by genetics or lifestyle factors, not utilizing the best technique will leave your under-eye area looking cakey, creased, and unnatural,” says Brandy Gomez-Duplessis, celebrity makeup artist and co-founder of Entitled Beauty. Here, the most common mistakes, according to makeup artists, plus how to apply concealer for best results.
Not testing the concealer
With countless concealers to choose from, it’s important to spend time selecting the shade that’s right for you. “Plenty of retailers let you test out products before you buy them, or they will let you return opened products that just weren’t the best for you,” says Hillary Kline, a Minneapolis-based makeup artist. If you can’t swatch the shade before you leave the store, choose a concealer that is no more than one shade lighter than your foundation color for the most seamless fit.
Not thinking about color correction
On that note, it’s also important to look at undertones. To counteract unwanted discoloration and dark circles, Los Angeles-based makeup artist Robyn Fisher suggests an orange-tinted concealer for blue shadows and a yellow-tinted concealer for purple shadows. “When you layer on an opposite color, it optically neutralizes,” she explains.
Using the wrong type of concealer
Thinner, more fluid textures tend to stay moist and tacky, allowing you to work them around the delicate eye area, explains makeup artist Geoffrey Rodriguez, whereas creamy textures dry quicker (making them better for blemishes or dark spots). “If you find the concealer is a too dry or difficult to blend, mixing it with a little foundation makes it easier to apply and provides a smoother finish,” he adds. Try It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Full Coverage Anti-Aging Waterproof Concealer ($26; sephora.com).
Not applying an eye cream first
Rodriguez suggests gently tapping a hydrating eye cream around the eye area, working in from the temple, to hydrate the skin and stimulate circulation. “This method prevents you from stretching the fine tissue around the eyes, which can ultimately enhance or create wrinkles,” he says. When concealer is applied the same way, he adds, it prevents the skin from stretching and causing the concealer to crease or accentuate fine lines.
Applying your products in the wrong order
The last thing you want to do is mess up your flawless face with shadow spills, right? This is why Fisher says it’s best to apply both concealer and foundation after any eye makeup. This technique will save you time – no cheek clean-ups! – in application.
Swiping it under your eyes
Instead of sweeping it across the length of your eye, draw an inverted triangle underneath. Not only does this fully conceal circles, but it also makes your eyes appear more lifted. Make sure you also apply concealer on the inner corners of your eyes, not just underneath, to brighten the area.
Laying it on way too thick
Thick and heavy concealer settles into fine lines and wrinkles, only drawing more attention to the under-eye area, warns Kline. For this reason, she says less is always more. Start with a thin layer, then add another if you need more coverage. “I truly believe that a little bit goes a long way,” Kline adds.
Not using the right tool to blend it in
While you can always use your fingers as tools, Rodriguez suggest using something that is designed specifically for blending concealer into the skin. His go-to: the BeautyBlender Micro Mini ($18; sephora.com) dampened with rose water or facial toner to make the product more moldable and enhance its staying power.
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