So where do we even begin? I get asked all the time how to cover dark circles (and puffiness, but not the same!) so I thought I’d give you some tips on how to combat dark circles in the first place, and along with a mini concealing tutorial on how I’ve learnt to both cover and ensure that coverage lasts and doesn’t crease. If this is a major concern for your wedding day, my first and foremost advice would be to ensure you hire a professional makeup artist for the day who’ll cover them – so you have nothing to worry about. They’ll have a plethora of tips and tricks of their own to ensure you are covered, literally and metaphorically.
The skin around the eyes is super thin, which is why this area tends to show everything – first signs of aging, illness, tiredness, dehydration, fine lines, deeper lines. The more transparent and thin the skin, the darker the circles can appear because the blood passes through the vein closer to the surface of the skin. If you have a deep set eye with a hollow bone structure, physical shadow can also contribute to the eye looking dark and tired – this is often hereditary and is very common in olive skin tones.
~ Sleep – I know this is obvious, and I know this is easier said than done, but I have to say it is true! When I went to take pictures for concealing, I did notice my dark circles are currently significantly better than they usually are, and I’d put that down to having a week off and making an effort to rest! Think too about the quality of your sleep – try no mobiles or iPads for at least half an hour before bed as they stimulate the brain, and squinting at screens for hours isn’t good for the skin around the eyes either!
~ Hydrate – dehydration can also be a key cause to darkness (and puffiness, which is largely caused by water retention) so ensure you are drinking plenty of water – we are told this so often because it really is the best thing you can do for your skin. Too much salt, sugar, caffeine, alcohol – unfortunately all of this will also show around your eyes, often in the form of grey, purple or bluish tinges to the eyes and lids.
~ Good eye-area specific makeup remover – scrubbing daily at that delicate skin around the eyes with an alcohol-ridden face wipe is not going to do you any favours. You need to be as careful as possible with the eye area, and the best thing to do this is an oil based makeup remover, as this will break down waterproof and stubborn makeup, meaning you can sweep away the product much more easily. Shake your remover and apply a little to a cotton pad, then you should be able to hold over the eye area for 30 seconds and easily swipe away. Products now are designed to last for as long as possible, meaning they are stubborn to remove and require more effort than they would have years ago!
~ Eye cream – now if you are predispositioned to dark circles there isn’t an eye cream on earth that will make them magically disappear, no matter what claims they make ( Caroline Hirons says it well here) However they will take the edge off and they should also help with dryness which can make things look worse, and can also make your concealer sit more heavily and sometimes more patchy.
~ SPF – again, thin skin = delicate = sensitive to the sun. Protect it as much as you can.
So, I like to think I’ve got the concealing down to a fine art (especially tested when I had to help one of my brides cover up a black eye from a nasty accident!) The difficulty with concealing under the eyes is two fold – we all want coverage that really well covers but doesn’t look heavy, and that lasts all day without creasing or travelling.
So, my routine for dark circles is as follows –
Eye cream – something light, like a gel or serum tapped around the eye – just a tiny amount, but after your morning cleanse and before your moisturiser is perfect. Choose something with caffeine in if you experience puffiness.
I don’t apply my foundation under the eyes up to the lash line – I’m generally of the consensus that a full coverage concealer and corrector are more than enough product – add foundation into the mix and you’ll likely have a heavy finish which can show up fine lines and unnecessarily overloaded product which may be more likely to crease. Primer is ok, but again, it’s a face product not eye area specific, so don’t make a point of apply extra product to that area. To the lids I apply nothing except an eye primer – not foundation and not face primer.
Colour corrector – Pixi Undereye Brightening Corrector is a peach toned creamy product which is fab to help to brighten and counteract dark circles. A little product goes a long way so resist applying a lot, simply work a little from the corner of the eye outward with a blending brush. This step will stop your concealer looking ashy over purple skin tone.
Conceal ~ I have an obsession, and it’s Estee Lauder Double Wear Concealer. I get through bucket loads, because it’s a full coverage fluid which sets and doesn’t budge. I know people love waxy products like Mac Studio Fix concealer and Benefit Boing, but I just don’t have faith in them not creasing due to their creamy formula. I also don’t find products like Touché Éclat offer enough coverage alone so EL is my go to.
Set ~ a little translucent powder on a concealer brush pressed over concealer to set will give super staying power. Makeup wise, if you aren’t super confident avoid anything smoky or dark, and try a cream or flesh toned liner in your bottom waterline to brighten.
So there you have it – if you try any of these techniques do let me know how you get on!