I have received countless requests asking all sorts of questions about concealer. Specifically, how to get rid of those dark circles under the eyes, how to deflate the bags that no one wants to carry around, and the best products to use to accomplish it all. I am pleased to present you with this, my latest post – Concealer: The Good, The Bad, and The Bags! Your one-stop reference for addressing those concerns. Let’s dive right in. I have good news and bad news. I want to start with the bad so we can quickly put it behind us and focus on the good. The bad news is the circles and the bags are hereditary and there is not much you can do to get rid of them short of seeing a plastic surgeon. The good news is there are products you can use to conceal them and steps you can take to deflate them. I am going to tell you which products are best for concealing different problemed areas and teach you how to apply them so you will always look your best. Let’s get started.
Concealing is something you may need to do all of the time or just something you need to do prior to applying makeup. Whatever your need just know you must prepare the canvas prior to applying it. By this I mean you must wash, moisturize, and apply foundation to your face prior to adding concealer. Concealer, like foundation, must have a base to adhere to. This includes the under eye area. Applying any product to an area that is not properly moisturized will offer no benefit and inaccurately age you decades. I recommend allowing the moisturizer to settle into your skin for about 10-15 minutes or so prior to applying foundation and/or concealer. Some of you may only need concealer to even out your skin tone and others may need full coverage. Whatever your need remember less is always more.
The problem: Dark, under-eye discoloration and puffiness (“bags”) are two of the most requested flaws I am asked to erase. We now know these are unwanted features you have inherited and that they are not going to go away on their own. What you may not know is that these features may be exacerbated from drinking too much alcohol and/or eating the wrong foods. Cold compresses, a good night’s sleep, or even the application of a topical cream with stimulating ingredients like caffeine can help, but the results are only temporary. In any case, concealer can save the day so consider it your new best friend.
The solution: You will want to choose a concealer that offers a light texture with light reflecting properties. (If you read over that last sentence too quickly, re-read it. It is the most important fact in this post.) I love Clinique‘s Airbrush Concealer and By Terry‘s Touche Veloutee. They both offer a light-as-air consistency which is what you want from an under eye concealer. Be sure to match your skin tone as best as you can to avoid looking like a racoon. Start by looking into a mirror straight away while standing next to a window offering ample natural light. (Avoid applying makeup in general under fluorescent lights as you will never get an accurate reflection of what you are doing.) Start by liberally applying the concealer to the darkened areas only. If you choose a concealer without an applicator, apply with a medium-sized foundation brush. (The two I mentioned have a brush applicator built-in.) Now, gently pat the product into your skin with your ring finger which will naturally apply the lightest pressure. Your natural oils will break down the product and blend it seamlessly into your skin. Continue layering the product until the darkness fades to light. You will need to set all of your hard work with a light dusting of a colorless setting powder. Please note the success of your application will way heavily on the consistency of the product used. If you choose a concealer that is not light in texture, you will find it creases and settles into the fine lines as the day goes on – aging you by the minute. Choose your concealer wisely. Chances are your under eye imperfection will be either dark circles OR bags, rarely both. For those of you carrying around the bags, you will need to use less product to conceal and more of an illuminating product. My secret weapon for giving the illusion of deflated bags is Tom Ford‘s Illuminating Highlight Pen. If you apply an illuminator directly over the crease (just under your bag), it will magically erase the demarcation and give the illusion of a smoother surface. Quite frankly the most magical product in my kit.
Lastly, let’s talk about other imperfections that may need concealing. Redness, sun spots, and acne scars are just a few. To cover these you will want to use a corrector or a concealer with a medium texture or consistency. Laura Mercier makes a fabulous product called Secret Camouflage and Bobbi Brown has two products that I believe work well with this type of concealing. Her foundation stick and corrector offer the perfect consistency for camouflaging facial imperfections. Using the same brush you used to apply the concealer, apply a generous amount of the product where needed. If it is a fresh pimple, apply the product to the red area only avoiding the head or inflammed area. For this or any other small imperfection, I would apply the product with a MAC 209 brush for maximum precision. Always pat, press, and layer the product into your skin until the desired coverage is reached and remember to set with a light dusting of a colorless setting powder.
Some final thoughts….. there are so many products that claim they cover and conceal. All you need to worry about is finding the one with the right consistency for the area you want to conceal. It’s that easy. We have a tendency in this society to complicate things and over analyze everything. When it comes to most things in life, including concealer, keep it simple.
I hope you found this post helpful. I look forward to receiving your feedback and comments. Keep an eye out for my next post, coming soon!