Concealing Under-Eye Circles
Understanding your under eyes
Thought moisturizing was the first step in masking those under-eye problems? Our beauty experts beg to differ. They place emphasis on first identifying the type of problem.
Our experts explain most under-eye woes will fall into one of the following categories.
Red under eyes: Choose a concealer with a golden tone to eradicate red or irritated looking skin the fastest. MAC's "NC" range is a good example of a color to use for this type of discoloration, recommends Bianca Alexander, director of makeup artistry at MAC Cosmetics.
"It's important to choose a golden shade that will add a balance of tone underneath the eyes or on the eyelids," Alexander says.
Alexander suggests MAC Studio Finish Concealer in NC20, NC25 or NC30 for fair to medium skin tones; for deeper skin tones, she recommends NC35 or NC45. All shades in the NC range are golden toned.
Dark under eyes (includes blue/green/purple discoloration): Our experts tell us that warm-toned concealer is key for this type of under eye problem. According to Alexander, the red-orange undertone of a warmer concealer will diminish the appearance of blue-green circles. MAC Studio Finish Concealer in the NW range is suitable for battling blue-green circles. For fair skin, use NW20, NW25 or NW30; for deeper skin tones, use NW40 or NW45.
Since this type of under eye problem may appear to be the darkest, Bobbi Brown beauty team's Tanya Miller, recommends doubling-up concealer with corrector to achieve a more natural finish. Bobbi Brown bisque-toned corrector can be used to neutralize and brighten any blue or purple tones under the eye, while Bobbi Brown peach-toned corrector is ideal to neutralize green tones under the eye.
"The tip is to layer the corrector with your concealer so the end result will look like skin. You don't have to wear too much product under the eye when using the corrector," Miller says.
Crepe texture (includes raised dots, sun damage, visible veins and other 'extreme' textures): Contrary to popular belief, this type of under eye problem demands less coverage. A light, delicate application of concealer is all that is needed. Alexander's favorite for this type of under eye challenge? MAC Studio Touch-Up Concealer Stick. With its silicone-based formula, it makes for better sheen and longevity when dealing with textured under eyes.
"A little bit of this product goes a long way, evening out light-to-medium skin discolorations while looking fresh and natural in finish," Alexander says.
Miller classifies another under eye problem in this category- "droopy eyes," where skin at the outer corner of the eye hangs low. Miller says to apply a dab of concealer at the corner of the eyes to give a more "lifted" look.
Puffy vs. hollow under eyes: Any of the aforementioned under eye scenarios can be coupled with puffy or hollow under eye regions. To eliminate the look of raised, puffy skin under the eye, Miller recommends applying Bobbi Brown corrector just on the lower skin lining the eye socket, then adding concealer on top.
"The brightness just in the lower part of the eye will lift that skin forward and diminish the appearance of the uneven levels of skin," Miller says.
Highlighting puffy areas with a concealer that is too yellow will only emphasize the raised skin, Alexander warns. She recommends using a neutral-warm concealer in MAC's "NW" range over puffy areas, then blending with a golden toned concealer in the "NC" range. The golden-toned concealer should be applied only where needed, which tends to be the very inner or outer corner of the eyes.
Miller suggests using Bobbi Brown Extra Eye Balm to help treat puffiness at night.
"It's amazing. When you apply at night and wake up the next day, it will still be there treating the skin because of the balm-based texture," she said.
Concealing puffiness in the morning is less challenging when using the balm.
For hollow under eyes, where the skin appears to be concave under the eyes and around the bridge of the nose, use a concealer that is creamier in nature. Alexander's favorite is MAC Select Moisturecover Concealer, which provides light-to medium coverage in a silky, natural-matte formula. The formula is creamy enough to build coverage in the hollow regions of the under eye without appearing too heavy.
Pictured above left: Bobbi Brown concealer.
Tip for all discolorations: No matter what the discoloration or texture of your under eyes, Kate Leydon, founder of Ruby Room Spa, tells us it's always beneficial to use creamy concealers. Leydon prefers using Ruby Room's makeup bar concealers that are in a pot container as opposed to a stick or liquid concealer.
"They tend to be more hydrating to the skin throughout the day," Leydon explains.
Pictured above right: Products available at Ruby Room, 1743-45 W. Division St., 773.235.2323.
Aim to distract, not attract
It may sound like the obvious, but diverting attention away from the under eyes should be the main focus when selecting a concealer. According to our experts, the most common mistake women make is choosing a concealer that is too light.
"If the concealer is too light, it can make your eyes appear smaller and sometimes ashy," says Miller. She recommends looking at the skin under the brow as a guide to choosing the correct shade of concealer. The concealer should match that brightness or be one shade warmer.
To get that perfect complexion match, consult beauty professionals at department stores such as Macy's or Bloomingdales or beauty salons. These professionals can assist in selecting the best products, plus, many beauty salons offer make-up lessons for those who would like extra help.
"Women should definitely get help at a makeup counter when it comes to choosing proper concealer matches. If anything, you get to 'try before you buy,'" suggests Alexander.
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize
While choosing a creamy concealer is helpful, moisturizing the under eye region is just as important.
To prep face before applying concealer, use Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye Cream.
"It has a built in primer to help with the smoothness of the eye area and the wear ability of the concealer. Plus, it dries down matte which is the biggest key point-it gives great texture for concealer application," says Miller.
Moisturizers that are greasy in nature should be avoided, especially if the under eyes have fine lines and wrinkles.
"The greasier the eye cream, the more likely it is that the concealer will crease and dissipate throughout the day," warns Miller.
Pictured above left: Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye Cream.
Tools and techniques - proceed with care
Now that you know the importance of prepping the under eye region before concealer application, it's time to discuss some tools and techniques. Be extra careful - the skin around the under eyes is the thinnest, most delicate area on a woman's face; according to our experts, the concealer tools should reflect this.
"The tools used around the eyes should be precise, delicate, and soft in nature. Your concealer brush should be able to work in extreme detail, using a minimal amount of product, and should actually feel soothing around the eyes, not prickly or harsh," says Alexander.
MAC brush #194 is her favorite brush for concealer application.
Alexander likes to apply concealer after foundation. The foundation helps her balance out uneven skin on the entire face first, before dealing with under eye discoloration.
"This will keep you from using too much product and going too light around eyes," she says.
She finishes off with a sweep of mineral powder using a soft dense brush.
For concealer application, it's safe to use a brush or fingers. Miller applies Bobbi Brown corrector with even strokes, smoothing out the product over the skin and blending with her finger. Next, she layers a skin-tone concealer using a small concealer brush, blending over the entire area under the eye to smooth out uneven skin and cover the corrector. Finally, she sets the concealer with powder.
"This will brighten and lift the eye area at the same time smooth the skin for a fresher appearance," says Miller of her technique.
Tip: Leydon prefers to use her fingers when applying concealer because it warms up the product and allows it to glide on the skin.
More than skin deep
While the highlighted products will give your under eyes a fabulous fix, Leydon reminds us that leading a healthy lifestyle is key in leaving your skin looking fresh.
"Good nutrition, lots of water...yoga, meditation or some type of stress release which pumps blood and oxygen to your head will enhance the overall look of your skin, while leaving your body and mind refreshed," says Leydon, referring to services offered at Ruby Room.
"When you are suffering from imbalances on the inside, they are going to show on the outside. Your skin will be the first place to showcase the habits of your lifestyle," she says, agreeing with this mantra.
At the same time, she warns not to underestimate the benefits of a good concealer.
"The biggest mistake women can make is skipping concealer all together. Taking care of 'circles' can take away years of exhaustion on anyone," says Alexander.
◊ October 2007
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