As we discussed earlier, concealer is used exclusively under your eyes to cover dark circles and brighten shadows. The formula you choose needs to provide coverage, so skip the sheer, liquidy concealers that don’t do much of anything. Your concealer also needs to be supple and hydrating, since the skin under your eyes tends to be drier and thinner than elsewhere on your face.

Some people can get away with no foundation, but I find most of them benefit from concealer.

The right colour

You want your concealer to be light enough to brighten the eye area and conceal your undereye circles, yet not so light that it doesn’t blend nicely with your skin tone. Make sure to avoid raccoon eyes, where the undereye area is noticeably lighter than the rest of your face.

Use the colour and tone of your undereye area as a guide to finding the best concealer colour. If your undereye area is blue or purple, then try warm beige-tone concealer. If your undereye area is yellow, green or brown, then try pinkish beige-tone concealer.

In some cases, there is puffiness under the eye that is white. In that case, you’d want a darker-tone concealer to recede the puffiness.

How to apply

Put some concealer on the back of your hand, using your hand like a painter’s palette, to control the amount on your brush. (If you’re mixing two shades, then do so now. Once the concealer is mixed, wipe the brush on the back of your hand to remove excess product.) You don’t want too much product on the brush. Multiple applications of light coats result in better, more natural-looking coverage. Applying too much at once results in obvious texture. Apply to the dark undereye areas, including the inner and outer corners of your eyes. If the skin under your lashline is dark or reddish, you can apply concealer there as well, but avoid this step if you don’t need it. You’ll just build too much unnecessary texture.

Covering large circles

If you have a large, dark, and flat area to cover with concealer, you can use your finger. Apply by gently blending the product over the area, so the darkness is cancelled out but brightened.

Setting your concealer

You need to set your concealer right after you’ve applied it and
before you apply camouflage and powder to the rest of your face. Don’t set the rest of your face before setting your concealer.

I prefer to use a special brightening powder and apply it under the eyes with a small powder setting brush. Put a tiny bit of powder on the side of the brush, and press gently over the concealer. Don’t drag the brush. Keep pressing it against your skin gently until you’ve covered the area and the skin feels soft and silky to the touch. You can use a puff and basic translucent powder if you don’t want to add more products and tools to your routine, but you will have less control over the amount of powder you apply.

Copyright 2006 by Laura Mercier. Reprinted by permission. Excerpted from
the book The New Beauty Secrets: Your Ultimate Guide to a Flawless Face by Laura Mercier, published by Atria Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.