Dark circles happen to the best of us, whether hereditary or as the result of a restless night. While we often try to hide them with a heavy-handed layer of concealer, sometimes even our best efforts result in obvious signs of a cover-up. The point is to diffuse the darkness, not replace it with makeup that looks cake-y or settles into fine lines. That’s where under-eye brightening powders come in.
These brightening powders contain light-reflecting particles, such as micronized pearl powder, to lighten the look of dark circles and blur fine lines without adding weight. “Unlike concealer, under-eye brightening powders offer zero coverage, which is kind of the point,” explains makeup artist Andrew Sotomayor. “They are translucent, but they bounce light to brighten the eye area.”
“Brightening powder gives the eye area a little extra love,” adds Stoj Bulic, a makeup artist for Streeters. You can apply it over a thin layer of concealer to enhance the coverage and prolong its wear, or by itself for a brightening finish that’s sheer. Either way, she suggests applying the powder with a medium fluffy brush, like the Cozette S140 Highlight Stylist ($23). “Dip the brush into the product, tap off the excess powder, and then lightly dust it under the eye,” she says. Add a little to the inner corner of eyes and down the bridge of the nose for an extra-luminous effect.
Because most under-eye brightening powders are formulated for all skin tones and types, it’s hard to screw up. Just steer clear of super shimmery powders, warns Sotomayer. “If there’s too much shine, you’re actually going to accentuate dips and dark areas of the bone structure and skin below your eyes,” he says. The finer the powder, the better. Be wary of those that contain silver pigments, too, as they can make the under-eye area appear gray, adds Streeters makeup artist Yuki Hayashi.
Check out some of our favorite under-eye brightening powders below.