Sometimes, you want the world to know just how tired you are. Those dark circles under your eyes can be valuable evidence that your week was really as long as you say it was. But other times, you might want to hide those telltale signs of long days and late nights.
Whether you conceal your undereye circles or not is up to you. But if you decide to do it, you might as well get the best results for your effort. Successfully hiding dark circles is all about using the right products and techniques—here’s what you need to know.
Even if you don’t wear makeup to hide your undereye circles, you shouldn’t skip this step. The skin around your eyes is delicate and tends to age faster than the rest of your face, so make sure to take proper care of it.
Start by applying moisturizer under your eyes. You can use a specific eye cream, but many people find that a high-quality regular moisturizer works just as well. Pat it on gently with one finger (the ring finger is great for a gentle touch and precise application). Avoid rubbing or tugging at the delicate skin. And make sure your eye moisturizer contains SPF since sun damage tends to show up first around the eyes.
If you plan to apply makeup next, choose an eye cream with a lighter texture, and save the heavier ones for nighttime application. While heavy formulas are great for moisturizing, they often cause makeup to slip off.
If your undereye area is swollen and puffy, you may also want to reduce the swelling before you apply makeup. Anything cold will make the swelling go down. You can keep your eye cream in the fridge, or use a classic trick like applying cold spoons or cucumber slices to the area below your eyes. As always, use a gentle touch with any method you choose.
Now, you have a clean, de-puffed canvas that’s ready for makeup. Don’t reach for your concealer yet, though—begin with a thin layer of foundation. This will allow you to use less concealer, so you won’t end up with thick layers of makeup that form creases under your eyes.
If your undereye circles are tinted with a blue, green, or purple shade, consider using a color corrector.
Color correctors neutralize colors you don’t want by applying the opposite shade on top of them. If you have blue undereye circles, for example, you’d want to reach for an orange or peach shade. You can consult a color wheel to see which color will neutralize your undereye circles best.
Concealing comes after color correcting. But if your eye circles aren’t very pronounced, you may want to do both with a single product. You can find concealers with subtle color-correcting abilities, so you don’t have to layer on so much makeup. The fewer products you use, the less they’ll crease and slip throughout the day.
A concealer that’s a shade or two lighter than your skin tone will do a good job of canceling out dark circles. You can apply it with a soft concealer brush, or use your finger to pat it on and then use a brush to blend it in. Your finger will apply more product for fuller coverage, while a brush gives lighter, natural-looking results. Use light pressure as you apply and blend so that you won’t push the products out of place.
If your makeup starts to crease before you can set it, use a q-tip to smooth the creases away gently.
To keep your undereye makeup in place all day, add a layer of translucent setting powder on top. Use a fluffy brush to apply the powder lightly. And, once you’ve finished the rest of your makeup, a setting spray will help keep the whole look in place.
Makeup is all about expressing yourself the way you want to. Some days, you might let your undereye circles show the world how tired you are. Other days, you might cover them up with a bold dose of glitter. But when you just want them to disappear, these steps will do the trick. And for more cool ways to use your concealer, check out our guide to covering tattoos with makeup.