Back when I was entering my 3rd trimester, I was thinking about what topics I would be interested in covering shortly after my daughter arrived. I would need something interesting enough to spend a little time on it, rather than simply staring at the baby. (She's super cute as she sleeps! Obviously I must watch this for hours!)
Anyways, I decided that the things I would be most interested in would be speeding up my routine to get ready in a jiffy (hence, spending even more time staring at the baby) and looking for ways to look awake while I do so. I started to work on a concealer review series. A lot of my favorite brands have decided to participate, from Revlon and Cover Girl to Estée Lauder, Elizabeth Arden and even QVC favorite Dalton! The series currently has over 20 concealers, and will go on for quite a while. Watch for a new concealer review every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
In the meantime, I thought I'd share what info I have in my brain about undereye circles and taking care of them to look more awake. I've accumulated a lot of little tips over my years of beauty blogging, but most of them came from being a beauty obsessed medical student and resident. So, this post is ~90% reviewing covering up undereye circles.
Under Eye Prep
More so than discoloration, what women usually complain about is the bags under their eyes. There are a ton of reasons for the bags, ranging from genetic (aka- just suck it up and deal) to too much salt intake. Basically, there is excess fluid there. You can help minimize this by sleeping with your head up a little or by monitoring your salt intake. If you have time, tighten up the area and sooth the skin with a cold Chamomile tea bag or a cool eye mask. Cold/cool to the touch is what you want, not something really cold as this could damage the area or actually impede the fluid drainage, which negates the whole purpose.
Next, you'll want to moisturize the area to prepare for the next step- makeup. Everything will apply much more smoothly with the area well prepped. I admit to skipping this step and then always regretting it later. A well moisturized area allows the makeup to blend more easily and not look caked or sink into lines as easily. You can do this with a great eye cream (check out what Dr. Cynthia Bailey recommends in eye creams), I personally always look for caffeine as an ingredient to help tighten the whole area. I'm currently loving the Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye. If your preferred eye cream doesn't help quite enough, consider a product like Per-fekt Beauty Eye Perfection Gel, which has a very light coverage, light reflection and prepares the area for concealer as well. I haven't written reviews for either of these products yet, but watch for full reviews soon.
This is definitely the step that about 95% of women skip. This is a big mistake. By correcting the color with a light layer of corrector, you will need a lot less concealer. It will look less cakey. It will last longer. It will look more natural. Oh, and it will take less time. Have I convinced you yet?
First, you'll need to take a good look at your under eye area and be honest with yourself. What color are those circles? Are they purple? Orange? It really depends on your skin tone. Mine are frequently red, though on occasion they will appear a bit purple (which is what color the circles are for most white women).
Once you've picked your color, take a gander at the color wheel. You'll want to color correct with the color that is directly opposite. The darker your skin tone or the more intense the underlying color is that you are trying to correct will require a more vividly colored corrector. Correctors shouldn't scare you, the majority of them available are actually skin toned, but with a little tinting in one direction. And that little bit of tinting really does make a big difference!
You'll find correctors at pretty much every price point, though they can be difficult to find in stores. My current favorite correctors are from NYX and FACE Stockholm. Cover Girl also has one with peach tinting available from their Ageless Line (I like it, but I need a green corrector usually, hence it isn't my "favorite"). Simply apply with a light touch over the area that needs color correcting, patting lightly with your ring finger.
Finally, concealer! When looking for an undereye concealer, you want 1-2 shades lighter than your skin tone or foundation, easy blending and long lasting. Obviously you also don't want it to settle into fine lines and look cakey, but hopefully you've followed the previous steps and made this much less likely. Personally, I like a well pigmented undereye concealer as well, especially since I have a visible capillary under my left eye that can be very hard to hide. I like to use very light layers of concealer and build my coverage as I go.
The picture above is one I took a few months ago, I've blown it up to show you exactly where I apply each product. It has not been photoshopped, though I must have had some good lighting that day since I usually have a little more circle.
The dark pink area is where I usually apply my corrector, as this is the area of the most intense discoloration. You should apply this only in the area of discoloration, if you go outside of this area then you'll be tinting the other areas. Not good!
I then apply light layers of concealer in the area of the lighter pink, patting with my ring finger and being sure not to smear or tug as this will just remove product. Notice that I bring the concealer up into my inner eye area, up to my lower lash line and even down onto the side of my nose. A makeup artist for Laura Mercier once told me that most women ignore those areas, but without applying concealer there and then blending it out you basically have wasted your time. The concealer will make you look most awake and look the most natural if you apply to these areas as well and blend outwards.
I didn't really draw this area as a triangle (with the points being the nostril, and then each corner of my eye), but it almost is (yes, like all of those pins on pinterest!) The reason I didn't draw it that way is that by the time you get down to your nostril, you really should have your concealer pretty thinned out and blended in. If you start out trying to get a lot of concealer in the nostril area and around your outer eye corner, the concealer is going to accentuate every little pore, blemish, wrinkle or dry spot. Not good! So, concentrate the concealer in the light pink area and blend outwards in that inverted triangle.
Finally, set the whole area with powder for staying power!
The Concealer Reviews
Finally, I thought I'd let you know what will be included in each concealer review!
First, I can't have a review series without a fun graphic. I've decided to make it for levels of coverage I had with each concealer, hopefully this is pretty self explanatory. I've only found 2 level 5 concealers, and unfortunately a level 1 product (which is highly recommended all the time, I can't figure it out).
Each post will also include info on the consistency, blendability, if the coverage was easily buildable, how heavy the concealer felt on my skin, how long the wear was and if I had any problems such as caking or settling. I'll include a link to the company's website and info on how many shades are available as well. Let me know if there is anything else you want included in each review!
I've received samples of some of the products mentioned/pictured in this post.