In this post I will explain the basics of concealing and correcting your undereye area, and throw in a couple of product recommendations and fancy tips! This post is meant for total beginners as well as for those of you who have already played around with concealing and correcting.
For many women, camouflaging under-eye circles and discolourations is the one step that has the most impact on their looks. A smooth, bright skin around the eyes makes you look fresh and rested, and it also creates the perfect canvas for the eyes.
My under eye shadows are usually light, still I love how a concealer instantly brightens up my face. And of course it's a lifesaver for days when I haven't slept well and it shows.
Do you need a concealer?Take a look at the area below your eyes, the area between your inner eye corner and your nose, as well as your eyelid. If those areas are darker, or have a weird colour (reddish, or blueish, or green), than a concealer will make you look healthier and more rested (for a lot of women, this is the one step that instantly freshens the face). If you are one of the lucky ones that don't have any of this, feel free to skip this post!
Concealer vs correctorConcealer is a skin-coloured product that gives more coverage than a foundation. It works great if all you need it to lighten darker skin around your eyes.
However, if you have a weird colour around you eyes -- redness, yellow spots, green or purple hues in the shape of spots, patches or veins, a corrector is a great way to mask them (instead of using tons of concealer). Correctors come in different colours that neutralise the colours on your skin. For example reddishness gets cancelled by a yellow or green concealer. Correctors can be used for other parts of the face too -- for example many women have reddish veins around their nostrils. This lady explains how colour correctors work.
Remember that often manufacturers interchange the names concealer and corrector. For the purposes of my posts, anything skin-tones is a concealer, and if it is yellow / blue / green / violet then it is a corrector.
How to choose a concealer
You might notice that some correctors are a tad more yellowish (cancels reddish tones), some are more pinkish (for brownish discolorations . If you are not sure which tones will suit you best, buy a concealer wheel and experiment. If you have darker skin tones, try out the Coastal Scents Eclipse Concealer Palette.
If your circles are light and your skin is smooth, chances are most concealers will work for you. If you need heavy duty coverage, try Kryolan Dermacolor or PanStick MF -- they cover almost everything. If you have lines or wrinkles under the eyes, it takes a bit of trial and error (or reading a lot of reviews) to find a product that doesn't settle into the lines. Right now I am using the Alverde Camouflage about which I wrote here, others which I heard are great are Clik'n Conceal from Gosh, Misslyn correctors and Flormar Perfect Coverage Liquid Concealer.
Now, concealers come in many different forms: pots, tubes, pencils, and everything else. I can't really say that one is better than another -- it's a matter of personal preference. Each of these maybe harder / softer or creamier / drier, so it's impossible to make general statements about, say, concealers in tubes. I personally don't like pencils since I don't like to rub or press around that area; and prefer thick and creamier textures. The ones easiest to apply are that come in a thing that looks like a felt tip pen -- with a brush instead of a felt tip. The ones in tubes are usually thicker and harder to blend. The liquid ones are usually lighter and meant to be applied on top of foundation.
I don't recommend antibacterial concealer for the undereye area, since they contain ingredients like tea tree oil or salicylic acid which can dry out or irritate the delicate skin. They are meant for blemishes on the rest of the face, not for the fragile eye area.
How to choose colour correctorsColour correctors usually come in little palettes with a couple of shades -- that is great because you can experiment around and see which colours work best on your circles. Theoretically, green and yellow reduce red/pink, yellow also cancels blue/purple, pink corrects yellow, orange/apricot cancels blue/green, and lavender hides yellow and orange. However I really want to encourage you to buy a corrector palette and see what works best you. Obviously correctors can also be used on other parts of your face and not just under your eyes.
Personally I prefer correctors in powder form -- they are much easier to apply and blend. I have some from Lumiere Cosmetics and from Sweetscents which I love.
You can also buy palettes that have both concealers and correctors, for example the Coastal Scents Eclipse Concealer Palette.
How to apply concealers and correctors
- If your under-eye skin is dry, it helps to apply a light moisturizer before doing your eye makeup. It can be any moisturiser, as long as it is not too sticky. Give it a few minutes to sink in before you use the concealer.
- If your concealer gathers in the lines, start with applying a tiny amount of eye shadow primer -- it helps the concealer blend and stay in place.
- You can apply under-eye correctors and concealers before or after foundation -- both methods work, though you may get better or worse results depending on which foundation and concealer you are using. Just try both ways out and see what works for you. If you are applying concealer before foundation, try not to use too much since you'll be covering everything with another layer (of foundation).
- If you need a corrector, apply it now on spots that need it. Use small amounts (remember you'll be applying the concealer on top). Don't overdo it! You might want to apply it only on a pot or a vein with a fine brush. Also, corrector always goes below concealer / foundation.
- Conceal not only below the eyes but also above the crease and around the inner eye corner if necessary.
- Dab the concealer where you need it. This means: darker, discoloured places. This may mean not just below the eye but also above the eyelid crease or near the inner corner. Check the mirror, and don't apply it all over the place! If you have lines, use very little concealer and don't try to push the concealer into the lines (otherwise the lines will be even more visible).
- For primers and concealer, apply with either the fingers or a small brush with soft bristles. If you have a liquid or cream in a tube, you can squeeze out some at the back of your hand and take up some from there with a brush.
- Blend by using tapping or dabbing motions, not rubbing motions. Concentrate on blending the edges of the patch of concealer. You can use a moist sponge, or your fingers (the ring and little fingers work best) or a brush.
- It is better to apply several thin layers of the product than one thick one -- you have less chance of overdoing it, and the product will most likely stay in place.
- Pressing a small bit of powder on the top will help to fix the concealer and keep it from wandering.
- For brightening the eyes some more, dab on a highlighter just below the concealed area.
That's it, folks! Now over to you: Any questions? Also, which is your favourite concealer? Got any tips on how to apply it?