Concealing undereye circles without highlighting undereye creases
March 15, 2009 6:21 PM   Subscribe

How do I cover up my undereye circles without the concealer sinking into the skin creases and looking terrible?

I have rather dark circles under my eyes. I always have. They aren't going anywhere. So I use concealer to cover them up.

The problem is that I also have creases (lines? wrinkles?) under my eyes. When I put concealer under my eyes, it inevitably either sinks into the creases so that I have light-colored lines under my eyes, or doesn't go into the creases at all so that I have dark-colored lines under my eyes. Either way, it makes the creases really noticeable and it doesn't look good. I've tried Googling for how to combine undereye concealer with wrinkles, but I haven't been able to find anything. Surely I'm not the only person with this problem?

I've tried liquids both very thin in consistency (Clinique Quick Corrector) and somewhat thick (Neutrogena 3-in-1 Concealer for Eyes, which even says it won't settle into fine lines). I've tried applying with my ring finger and applying with a small makeup brush. I set it with translucent pressed powder afterward. The closest I've come to success is mineral powder concealer, which looks very natural, but I haven't been able to get great coverage (the circles under my eyes are quite dark) and it seems to wear off very quickly. (I might be applying it incorrectly. Also, perhaps I am not supposed to be using mineral makeup right below my eyes?) I haven't tried that many different products or methods because I don't have much money or time to spare for such things and because every time I walk into a Sephora I break into a cold sweat.

People who have had similar problems and/or makeup artists: please tell me what kind of concealer I should be using (liquid? the kind that comes in a little tub? powder?) and how I should be applying it. Describe as though you were explaining it to a three-year-old who for some reason wears makeup. I guess I'd also welcome advice on getting rid of the lines under my eyes, but I have a feeling those are here to stay.

Possibly relevant facts: I'm female. I'm in my mid-twenties. I have very pale, thin skin that's dry in most places but I think a bit oily under my eyes. I don't use foundation. I do use a moisturizer with SPF, but not directly under my eyes. I'd prefer not to spend too much money. I've been wearing makeup to some extent for the past 8 years but for some reason I am still completely clueless and I have no idea if I'm doing it properly. I have really nice blue eyes that are probably my best feature, so I'd like to resolve this issue. I'm a little ashamed that I just wrote that much about makeup, but there you have it.
posted by pluckemin to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (22 answers total) 47 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Used to work in a beauty store and demoed mineral makeup for people. If you want concealer to last most of the day, you need to prime the area underneath. I'm a huge fan of makeup primers/bases because they look great on their own and make everything on top go on smoother and last. Alternatively, try a base of a moisturizer with a thin layer of translucent powder, then your concealer, then more powder on top.
posted by slow graffiti at 6:35 PM on March 15, 2009

Best answer: You need some foundation primer. Watch these videos:
How To Apply Under Eye Primer
And the related ones below, and educate yourself!
Primer totally works. It is the difference between just slapping a little makeup on and it going away in a few hours and all-day makeup success.
posted by Mizu at 6:39 PM on March 15, 2009 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I'm very fair with dark circles under my eyes too. I use a yellowish covergirl concealer in the shade closest to my skin tone to neutralize the bluish circles (sorry i can't figure the specific type, the label wore off! but it was like $6, in a twist-up tube and a medium consistency liquid). I dab a little bit only on the dark areas and use a makeup brush to blend it in as best I can, but you can use clean fingertips. Then I brush on a little face powder to set it - i use bareminerals foundation powder. Key point: use a light dusting of powder to keep the concealer in place. Loose powder isn't as heavy, you can find some in a translucent color for your fair skin.

I personally don't find that the mineral foundations work well all by themselves, they tend to turn into little cakey deposits on my face when just used with moisturizer (i have combination skin). I use my concealer on my eyes, around my nose and on my chin to hide the problem spots (red and blue) and then use the foundation powder on top of it. Together they work much better for me. Quite honestly, consulting a makeup artist at Sephora would probably help you out a lot in terms of technique, since you seem pretty nervous. I like going to learn new things and I am already pretty good at putting makeup on imho :)

There are moisturizers that are good for wrinkles and can be used around the eyes, like my NeoStrata stuff - yes it's a little pricier but it lasts a long time. I think you're safe just finding an inexpensive moisturizer recommended for use around the eye area though. If you're not using a really harsh moisturizer (like something with a high concentration of hydroxy acids) then you can lightly pat some on around the eye area, just don't use it directly on the eyelids and stay maybe a quarter inch away from your eye in general.
posted by lizbunny at 6:46 PM on March 15, 2009

Best answer: I am extremely fair skinned as well and when I don't get enough sleep (which is often) I get very dark circles under my eyes. My skin isn't as smooth around my eyes, so sometimes my concealer used to get cakey as the day progressed, which sounds pretty similar to your problem. I agree with the other suggestions, a good quality primer could really help you. On really rough days I also use a product called "photo op under eye brightener" by smashbox. They sell it at most Sephora and Ulta beauty stores and I've found that it really works. Plus, it's so thin that it can easily be blended into any concealer and still look natural.
posted by Buttons at 7:07 PM on March 15, 2009

I've found that using an eye cream before putting on the concealer helps minimize this issue
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:24 PM on March 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

The primers suggestion is a good one, you'll notice a significant difference. I have a similar issue and I have to either apply over a moisturizer I've just applied or over a primer, otherwise the makeup looks cakey and has weird effects in creases. I use this concealer. Finish with a translucent loose powder, as people have said, to set it.

One thing - be sure to moisturize your undereye area daily! It's extremely fragile skin, and if it dries out at all you'll just make your creases problem worse.
posted by you're a kitty! at 7:24 PM on March 15, 2009

Following up on you're a kitty's advice, use a moisturizer specifically for under the eye. Most of the regular moisturizers for the face are way too much for that delicate under-eye skin.
posted by pised at 7:30 PM on March 15, 2009

Best answer: Primer, primer, primer, like the others said. Mineral makeup below your eyes is fine -- that's what I use.

You can get eye cream with SPF. I use one, because I want to protect that skin. No sense in taking care of the rest of your face and neglecting your eyes.

lizbunny, if mineral makeup is caking on your skin, try letting your moisturizer or primer sit for a few more minutes before you put the foundation on. I found that took care of any cakiness problems I had.
posted by sugarfish at 7:32 PM on March 15, 2009

My holy grail for this problem used to be a product made by Arbonne (discontinued). Since then I've been using Paula Drof's Baby Eyes - sort of like a cream colored pencil eyeliner......technically you're supposed to use it on your lower lash line, but I've found good results similar to my old Arbonne product by using it as an dark eye circle concealer.
posted by texas_blissful at 7:33 PM on March 15, 2009

Oh, also, I used the Smashbox photo op eye lightener yesterday and liked it very much. If you're interested, I have a picture of my makeup from yesterday on flickr -- you can see it on my profile. My glasses are pretty reflective but you can get an idea of what my undereyes look like. I typically have fairly dark circles, though I've used a couple of products lately meant to lighten them so I don't need so much concealer.
posted by sugarfish at 7:35 PM on March 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Aha! Primer! I had no idea such a product existed. I will go to Sephora and check out the options. Then I can see what concealers work best on top of it. And I should probably also ask someone to show me how to put on makeup properly, because really, I ought to be able to put on eyeshadow at this point in my life.

Thanks for the help!
posted by pluckemin at 9:23 PM on March 15, 2009

Do the circles show up with lack of sleep? Could they be discoloration?

I went to the dermo and he gave me a bleaching cream, and voila, 3 mos later I only put a little bit of yellowish concealer in the center next to my nose. The bulk of my dark circles (melasma) are now gone. I'm 32.
posted by carolekorea at 2:21 AM on March 16, 2009

Check out youtube - panacea81's make up tutorials did go a long way to educate this clueless 31 year old..
posted by koahiatamadl at 6:52 AM on March 16, 2009 [2 favorites]

sugarfish, that cakiness was at the end of the day on the oilier parts of my skin, despite using primer, and I found I had to use a lot of the mineral foundation to work as concealer on its own. So the concealer + mineral foundation was just what works best for me in those problem areas that needed color evening - the rest of my face is fine.
posted by lizbunny at 7:15 AM on March 16, 2009

The advice above to moisturize is key, and a primer will help (I use Monistat chafing relief gel which is not marketed as a primer but which oddly has basically the same ingredients as Smashbox Photo Finish Primer but for a fraction of the cost).

Even doing that, though, I never really found an undereye concealer that was exactly what I wanted until I used Make Up Forever's lift concealer. I think this stuff is wonderful and I haven't wanted to even try anything else since using it (I've been using it for at least two years now, I think).

Another thing that helps with my under-eye circles is applying a little bit of self-tanner to my face. It seems to even out my skin tone overall.
posted by Polychrome at 7:22 AM on March 16, 2009

Also, for applying concealer; with liquid, just apply a small dot on the ring finger of your dominant hand and lightly pat it into your skin. They can definitely show you at Sephora.
posted by Polychrome at 7:24 AM on March 16, 2009

Ok, I have a question. What exactly is primer? Are you talking about a foundation? Oil? I have never heard of this, and I thought I was pretty savvy with the makeup.

I really like the Everyday Minerals Sunlight Concealer. It's got a hint of yellow that really covers my dark circles. I use their whole line of makeup; great quality and it lasts a long time.
posted by Lullen at 11:03 AM on March 16, 2009

Lullen, primer is meant to go under your foundation. I typically use the Bare Escentuals Skin Rever-Upper as a primer, but there are a ton of different options.
posted by sugarfish at 5:00 PM on March 16, 2009

Sugarfish, thanks, I can't believe I didn't know about this! I've had the same issues as the OP. I hope I am not derailing when I ask if this is something you can get at a regular store, or do most of you purchase online? It would be nice to actually check out the feel/texture before buying. (sorry, OP, I had to ask!)
posted by Lullen at 5:32 PM on March 16, 2009

Can you get to a Sephora or an Ulta? Or even a department store counter, actually. It depends on what price point you're looking for.

Polychrome above mentions the Monistat anti-chafing gel, which you can get at any drugstore in the feminine products aisle. I haven't used it but I hear it works really well.
posted by sugarfish at 5:52 PM on March 16, 2009

pluckemin, I might be like you, mid 20s, very pale, thin skin, HORRIBLE under eye circles that will not go away no matter how much $$ I spend on primers and 'base' makeups.

I was given a gift pack of L'Occitane's Olive Express Eye Treatment which has been amazing - you wouldn't even recognize old pictures of me. It's available in the $10 size as a part of their promo trial size bags (~14$ iirc).

Good luck.
posted by Lizc at 3:49 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

** hit post too fast - the bags come with face cream and facial cleanser.
posted by Lizc at 3:53 PM on March 31, 2009

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