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Makeup Memo - concealer lesson

Kristen Arnett
Is a Solution for:
Dark Circles
September 9, 2011 Reviewed by Kristen 13 Comments

Truth  #3

Yellow and light colored concealers don’t cover under eye circles, nor is concealer supposed to go all the way under the eye.

The funny thing is that yellow and white-ish concealers are exactly what most beauty consultants will sell you. Plus they’ll apply them in one big semi-circle underneath your whole eye in an attempt to diffuse the darkness, but that’s oh, so wrong!

Under eye darkness usually has a tone of blue or purple for those with more Caucasian coloring and those with dark skin have a deep grey/brown cast, which causes them to look tired.

Elementary art class teaches us that yellow and blue mixed together make green.  So why anyone would suggest yellow concealer is beyond me.  It makes eyes look sallow and diseased.

To that same point, if one mixes white into any color it becomes a lighter version of the base color. By doing that with makeup under your eyes you’ll have a lighter version of blue, purple or grey. Again, not the effect that we are going for.

What you want to do is find a concealer which is no more than one shade lighter than the rest of your face AND which has a peach, salmon, melon, or pink undertone to counteract the blue.  For dark skin, as described before, you’ll need to choose something in the same tone of your skin but with a bright orange hue.

A staple in my makeup kit concealers is the natural and mineral based Jane Iredale Circle Delete Concealers. For fair to medium skin use Jane Iredale Circle Delete Concealer #2 (use the peach side for color correction and beware of using too much of the light because it can get too white very quickly). For darker skin try the Gold/Brown shade (use mainly the gold side for color correction and mix in the lighter shade as needed).

Here is the second most important part, placement.

99 times out of 100 concealer is not needed on the outer third of the eye.  Putting concealer there will only draw attention to crow’s feet and creepiness.  Where concealer should be concentrated is wherever you see darkness.  Think of it as a comma shape that begins next to the nose and the inner corner of the eye and extends to where you can feel your ocular bone.

If you still need help understanding where exactly your discoloration is, try this scary exercise: Look in the mirror, tilt your chin down and turn your face slightly to the side.  Now you can’t miss it!  I warned you it would be scary, so please don’t obsess over it.  Just concentrate putting your concealer there with patting motions, using either a finger or brush rather than wiping.  When you feel you are done give one last boost with a dab of concealer in each inner corner of your eye.  Then pick your head back up and walk confidently away from the mirror.

Looking forward to hearing how this works for you!

  • June 10, 2012

    by Suely B-E

    Hi Kristen: Thanks for the info. I watched the video and it helped me lots! Now after some more prods try, what I found really works for me is the Laura Mercier SC2 (it has a lighter powder as well as the peach powder. The peach color counteracted my dark eye color and amazed as it can be, he peach made me instantaneously look years younger,coverngall my dark circles!!!...(well, friends and family comments :)...but surely I can tell how nice it works). Thanks for the instructions and if it wasnt for you I'd be forever still wearing those yellw concealers that did nothing for me (I mistakenly wrote either one instead "neither one" in my comment above...) Thank U thank U thank U!

  • June 2, 2012

    by martha

    Hi, I was wondering if you also recommend Jane Iredale's Active Light Under Eye Concealer and if so what shade would you recommend? Also, does this product need to be set with powder? Thanks for the memos and videos!

  • May 2, 2012

    by Kristen Arnett

    Hi Suely (and Ha), there's a video up on exactly how to conceal under the eyes. If you go to the category called 'Makeup Memo' you'll see it somewhere in there. Suely, your darkness is exactly where everyone's is, so it's the same advice. That's why I suggest people avoid the outer third of their eye. How is your concealing with the JI #2 going now?

  • February 23, 2012

    by Suely Beccaro

    Oh thank U thank U thank ...going 40some and still alternating between the yellow and the light because either one were doing a good job :)...Now will order the JI #2 and give it a try. Still have a question on...I always believe I have dark under eye circle but it is quite not under my eyes...it starts in the inner part of the eye, by the nose, and kind of goes down more following the line of the nose than actually following the semi circle under the eye...it gives me a tired looking which I hate and always try to "camouflage"...any tips on that, besides what already in the lesson? Thanks again

  • September 15, 2011

    by Kristen Arnett

    It's so great to see all of your comments!
    Oksana is right on and I love RMS Beauty too for covering up any redness.
    Susan, my compadre! How great to hear these tips echoed from such an established colleague. Thank you and Joy, I hope that helped clear up any confusion for you.
    Julie, you seem to be quite the makeup maven, glad to always see you sharing your experiences here.
    Pam, you can definitely put your liquid foundation on the rest of the face, it's just that concealer is more heavily pigmented and the texture tends to be thicker which isn't as flattering around fine lines.

  • September 15, 2011

    by Pam

    Question: If you use a liquid foundation on the rest of the face, do you recommend not putting foundation around the eyes at all (and only using concealer around the inner third of the eye?)

  • September 14, 2011

    by Julie Kay

    When I began my "mineral makeup craze," the first thing I learned was to use one-tone lighter on my dark-circle orbital rings, AND to only dust the first third; not the entire undereye area- exactly as stated by Kristen. Since I have very dark orbital rings, I do touch up the very outside underedge (just in spots) before I dust my face w' loose foundation. I also spot touch the spider veins on my upper lids. But when finished (w' the foundation) I am completely satisfied with the results! ~jk

  • September 14, 2011

    by Susan S.

    I've been a make-up artist in Los Angeles for 30+ years and I totally agree with what Kristen is saying. True, yellow counteracts purple, but most dark circles aren't really purple ... they're more of a grayish blue green. Orange counteracts blue and red counteracts green, so peachy-pink is absolutely right.

    When a make-up artist needs to cover a bruise, (and really, what is a dark circle if not a somewhat bruised appearance), we use a really bright orange color to mask it and then use a skin color to blend it. If you use yellow it bleeds right through. Also, because concealer is already more highly pigmented and covering, you really don't need to go lighter. I frequently find that matching to depth of skintone actually covers better.

  • September 14, 2011

    by Joy

    Virtually every MU artist suggests yellow based concealers/correctors, and I'm still not clear why you disagree.

  • September 11, 2011

    by catlover2x

    Excellent article. Really enjoying this series.

  • September 10, 2011

    by Marta

    Ha, you are right and we'll be putting together some videos in the coming weeks.

  • September 9, 2011

    by ha

    For make up tutorials, I think it's best to have short videos on these or pictures!

    Great advice though! :)

  • September 9, 2011

    by Oksana

    JI concealer #2 may look a bit too peachy in the pot, but only a tiny dab needed, and it looks so natural under eye - gives very rested look. It never slides or creases. However, I find RMS UnCoverUp doing a really nice job as well, although the entire line has yellowish undertones.

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