I’m one of those girls that fights their under eye area. I have a little discoloration there, and depending upon how much sleep I get, I can have bags. Note, this picture is unaltered, pretty close up, and was taken after I was up every 2 hours all night, after about 9 months of never sleeping more than 2-3 hours, and I’m 38 now. So, I’m pretty happy with how my eye area looks! (Though that little bit of redness in the circle wasn’t visible in person. Thanks camera!) Trust me, before the steps below, things looked much worse that morning. And they could look much better if I photoshopped it, but that’s not really the point, is it?
You can also find a lot more concealer tips, tricks and reviews in my Concealer and Corrector Review Series.
Yes, there’s a lot of obsessing over the under eye area. But, given my “real” job (the one that makes me money!) and my 2 little girls, I don’t get much sleep. And I really hate having people ask if I feel ok or if I’m tired.
Here’s a peek at my favorite products for the under eye area and a few tips for how I use them. I’ve tried to include all price points, let me know if you have any questions! Don’t forget to check out my fellow Makeup Wars bloggers, they’re sharing their favorite under eye problem solvers today also!
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Skipping eye cream is not an option for me now that I’m in my late 30’s. I apply it first thing after washing my face, and then usually my BB Cream goes over it. While I usually use the same eye cream in the am that I use in the pm, that isn’t always true (I only use the YSL in the am). My criteria are a few anti-aging ingredients such as peptides and anti-oxidants, and caffeine to help shrink things and tighten, even if only temporarily. The main thing I look for is good hydration, and I want it to sink in right away. The hydration will help plump up my under eye area, helping it to look much better than it should otherwise!
iS Clinical Youth Eye Complex (buy it at DermStore or SkinStore): This eye cream was mentioned in my Best Eye Creams from Dermatologists post, and somehow has not had it’s own post though I’ve mentioned it a few times! It has vitamins C, E, Retinol, tons of hydration, peptides to increase collagen and it also fights dark circles. I definitely think it makes me look more awake because my concealer looks so much better over it. It is pricey, but the bottle lasted me 6 months!
Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado (at Kiehl’s or Nordstrom): I reach for this one mostly in the winter because it is heavier duty than the others in terms of hydration. A little dab goes a long way!
Rodan and Fields Redefine Multifunction Eye Cream (you can buy from Rodan and Fields, my consultant is in Michigan, let me know if you want her name): I’m using this currently after buying it from a high school friend, and so far I do really like it! It has peptides and anti-oxidants, not to mention some optical diffusers to make things look a little better.
Yves Saint Laurent Top Secrets Eye Roll-On Pen (get it at Nordstrom, Saks or Bloomingdale’s): This one also has optical diffusers and it absorbs very fast. I only use it in the am because it doesn’t offer as much in the anti-aging department, but it
When there’s a lot of discoloration, it can seem that many layers of concealer still won’t hide everything. A little color corrector under concealer can work a lot of miracles. You can read more about it in my post on How to Use Concealer and Corrector, but the general idea is that an orange or peach tone will help hide blue-brown discolorations under the eye. For more discoloration, you’ll need a more vivid tone. Pat it directly on the discoloration, then cover with concealer.
Note that most women need correction for brown-blue tones, personally I have mostly red tones under my eyes, so I use green corrector.
Bobbi Brown Corrector (at Bobbi Brown, Sephora or Nordstrom): This is the “classic” under eye corrector. There are a lot of different shades available, but they vary in how vivid the peach is and the tone of the underlying “flesh” is. Which means, there should be one for pretty much everyone!
FACE Stockholm Corrective Concealer (at FACE Stockholm or DermStore): This is the corrector that I reach for most days. It has a very faint tint, and a little goes a long, looooong way! I have had the same little pots of the redness and blue correctors for about 3 years and with daily use they aren’t even halfway used up.
NYX Concealer Jar (from NYX or Drugstore.com): The consistency of the NYX correctors is pretty similar to the FACE Stockholm products, but the colors are much more vivid, so great for those with darker complexions or more intense color to correct.
When it comes to under eye concealers, I look for very, very pigmented formulas that blend easily and don’t crease throughout the day. In large part this is because I have a visible capillary under my skin on one side (it’s been there since I was a kid), and if it’s visible about every 30 minutes someone tells me that I have an eyelash there. It’s annoying. So, I use more pigmented concealer.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve definitely found that this can cause issues. I have to use very light layers of the concealer, blend it well, and I don’t put much under the outer corner, where I don’t really even have crow’s feet, but a lot of concealer there definitely doesn’t look so hot. So, use these concealers at your own risk, if you have more under eye issues, skip ahead to the next section!
Clarins Instant Concealer (fron Nordstrom, Clarins or Bloomingdale’s: This is a new favorite, it was sent to me by Clarins for a post over the summer on 5, 10 and 15 Minute looks, and it hasn’t left my vanity counter top since! I really neeeed to stock up. It is well pigmented, blends easily, and lasts all day. I can add a little to a BB Cream to increase the pigmentation, and it looks perfect (I’ve mostly been using the Bobbi Brown CC Cream in Blushed Nude). I have 2 sitting in my Nordie’s cart now, waiting for me to spend my birthday gift cards!
It Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye (at It Cosmetics or ULTA): This is the most pigmented of the bunch, it really does. not. budge. in water! Yes, it’s great if you have any issues with disappearing makeup. It’s similar to the Clarins, but slightly more pigmented, and heavier duty.
Amazing Cosmetics Amazing Concealer (at Sephora, ULTA or DermStore): This one comes in a ton of shades, and is similar to the Clarins but with a little less pigmentation. I love that it also comes in a slightly smaller travel size!
LA Girl Pro Concealer (at Walgreen’s or Drugstore.com): This is the only “budget” concealer that I use now, though I admit that I use the others much more often. It is well pigmented (though less than the others) and it blends easily. It doesn’t stick around as well as the others when I’m outside and sweaty, but it outperforms anything else I’ve ever found at a drugstore.
As noted above, lots of concealer isn’t so great when you’re getting older (like me!). It can really emphasize every little wrinkle that might not be a wrinkle yet even. And if your under eye area is dry at all (this is why I insist on eye cream now)… forget it! Heavy concealer will fill in any slightly dry area and make you look much older.
So, that’s when it is time to look for something with less pigmentation and a bit of light deflection. There really are only 2 options to use “alone” in the under eye area I think (the YSL and Maybelline Dupe). Or, you can custom blend your own slightly more pigmented version, I will use the Smashbox with one of the above concealers, and add in a little eye cream. Then I mix it all up on the back of my hand and apply.
Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat (from Nordstrom, YSL or Sephora): This is an expensive classic, it offers just a little bit of coverage and the perfect light diffusion. I do think you need to be “of a certain age” to appreciate this product. I reviewed it about 4 years ago and kind of panned it, I just didn’t get it. Now on particularly rough under eye days (and the picture above wasn’t one of those days), I’ll grab this instead of concealer and it really does make me look more awake.
Smashbox Photo Op Under-Eye Brightener (get it from Nordstrom, Sephora, or Smashbox): This is a light rosy-champagne shimmer that would work anywhere you want to highlight, but is especially great to mix with a concealer! It diffuses the light and makes your eye area look better.
Want some more under eye products? Don’t forget to check out what my friends in Makeup Wars are using to look younger and more awake!