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How To Apply Under Eye Concealer

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Dear Natalie,

Could you recommend a nice under-eye concealer? I want one that has good coverage and doesn’t enhance any lines. I tried one from Bare Minerals that was nice and creamy, but it made my skin peel, which was visible. I imagine that was due to an anti-aging ingredient in the formula. Others made my under eye skin look dry, or caused my eyeliner to seep into it. I’d also like a nice shade to match my skin, which has a yellow undertone. I am getting older, so my skin tends to be dry. I use my fingers to apply. Your thoughts?

Dear Georgette,

Under-eye concealers can be one of the trickiest parts of makeup application. The delicate skin under the eyes is prone to puffiness and discoloration quicker than other parts of the face.

Step 1: Properly Moisturize Your Under Eyes

Ole Henriksen Under Eye Cream

If your moisturizer game is on point, go ahead and skip to the next section. If it’s not on point, you may want to continue reading, since skincare, especially in the delicate underage area, is so important in makeup and concealer application.
Garnier Eye Roller

First, make sure you are using a good under eye cream or moisturizer (day and/or night). If you are like me, it’s okay to use your regular moisturizer under your eyes as well. This is pure laziness on my behalf! However, using moisturizer on a consistent, *ahem* daily basis, is key to phenomenal makeup application in general.

But back to the under eye.

For the delicate under eye area, I find that I love products with a stainless steel roller application, as it is cool on the soft skin and it stimulates the cells and instantly reduces puffiness. I notice a huge difference in when I use the roller ball!

Do Your Exfoliate Regularly?

If You Already Exfoliate, Then Skip This Section!

How often to exfoliate and what types of exfoliation products you use depend on your skin type. If you don’t know your skin type, take my skin type quiz here. I’ll break down all the types of products you’ll want to use as well as how often to exfoliate.

In general though, if you are moisturizing but still having the concealer issues you mentioned, make sure you are also exfoliate the skin 1-2x a week! Be extremely delicate when exfoliating under the eye.

Step 2: Use The Right Tool To Apply Your Under Eye Concealer

Application Is Everything, If You Are Applying With A Beauty Sponge, Skip To The Next Section


Beauty blender

Because you mentioned having oilier skin, I would not recommend using your fingers to apply under-eye concealer, as the oils on the finger tip + the oils on your skin = inconsistent application. It also won’t last as long. This may also explain why your eyeliner bleeds into your under eye area.

I would apply the under-eye concealer directly onto the skin and then finish blending and blurring with a dampened beauty sponge (preferably with cold water). This will really make sure the product stays in place, blends naturally, and doesn’t flake off. If it is flaking, you may want to consider investing in a new primer OR checking the expiration date. Normally it’s 2 years for cream products.

For my clients, I use a concealer brush. Check out my Makeup Brush Guide for more information on brushes/tools.

I use small, dense synthetic or dual-fiber brushes to apply concealer to cover pimples and dark spots on the face. To cover larger areas, I’ll use a  smaller foundation paddle brush for the under eye, jawline, and t-zone area. After I apply the under-eye concealer, I personally LOVE gently pressing the beauty blender into the skin to really melt the concealer onto the face.

You can use the original beauty blender (featured in the past here and here) or the less-expensive-but-just-as-good alternative by Real Techniques. Either way, this is a MUST do step in proper under-eye concealer.

Step 3: Set Your Concealer

If You’re Already “Setting” Your Concealer, Skip This Section!

If your moisturizer + exfoliation game is strong, and you are applying your concealer as mentioned above, and you are setting your concealer, then you may need a new concealer. If you are applying concealer before foundation, then you may be wasting product! Oftentimes on more mature skin, the concealer blends into the foundation and disappears into the abyss.


Coty Airspun Loose Face Powder

Regardless, you need to set your foundation, so if that’s how you do it and there’s no changing that, you may need a new concealer. If you’re open to it, I recommend that you apply concealer after you apply foundation. After you apply your concealer (as mentioned above), you need to set your concealer, which is where the brush comes in.

I love love love this brush SOOOO much. I have it for my professional kit and my personal kit. It’s the perfect brush for the under eye, t-zone, chin areas and does a great, even job of distributing product evenly. Setting your under-eye concealer is another step that cannot be skipped, especially with aging skin or people like me with really large crow’s feet (can’t stop smiling).
Concealer brush
As a general rule of thumb, it’s really important to “set” any cream/liquid products you apply, as creasing is bound to happen. If you have a pressed or loose translucent powder on hand that matches your skin tone (or is a little lighter than your skin tone), try that first! See if that helps.

Some amazing setting powders can be found by Laura Mercier, Ben Nye, and Coty. I personally love setting the under-eye, nose crevice, chin, and rest of t-zone with the Real Techniques Under Eye Setting brush  which I purchased a few years ago in a sale bin at Walgreen’s. Since then, I’ve not only added this brush to my professional kit but also my personal one. It is a mighty little tool, perfect for setting the smaller areas of your face and you can’t beat the price!

If you follow the above three steps and your concealer is still creasing, consider using an eye primer.

Primer Is Your Friend, If You Didn’t Already Know!

Eye Primers


Urban Decay primer


As far as your eyeliner is concerned, I’m assuming you mean your lower eye. Regardless, if transfer is an issue, that’s where primers come in handy! Primers can help concealer application if used properly. Primers are not necessary day to day but really help smooth out the skin before makeup application. You would apply primer before foundation (after moisturizer). You could also get an eye primer specifically formulated for keeping your eye makeup in place. I love Urban Decay’s eye primer potion!

Color Correction: Under Eye Circles


Color wheel

Normally the color under the eye is more purple or blue, regardless of the undertone of your skin. However, if your under eye area has a more yellow undertone, you’ll want to look for concealers that have a more lilac, lavender tint – that is if you are ambitious enough to dive into color correction.

I will caution that just because loads of YouTube makeup artists and celebrities are applying (seemingly) large amount of color correcting products does not mean you should too. This is largely because a) these vloggers are working with professional lights that are extremely bright; they need to use more product than you would use for normal day-to-day wear and b) they are able to edit their videos from any possible errors that occurred when applying other products.

Unless you are already using color-correcting products to neutralize your yellow undertones, I would ease into this by using tinted primers or concealers first.

As for recommending an under-eye concealer for your specific needs, I reached out to a beauty mentor of mine who has probably tried every concealer under the sun. My mother, who guest blogged for me here on what makeup to pack while traveling (see her post here). She is a subject matter expert in concealer! I know for a fact, minus the yellow undertones, she has struggled with your issue exactly. Here’s her product recommendations!

Listed here are my top three picks for concealer. Each offers something a little different from the other and range from sheer to full coverage. Depending on the occasion, I select the concealer for that occasion. All three formulas listed below are in liquid form. I prefer the liquid formula, since it doesn’t appear as cakey on the skin as a solid formula concealer.  I have been seeing steady improvements in solid formula concealers, so keep an eye out for updates.

It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye
IT Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer

IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer is my favorite full-coverage concealer. The tiniest amount of this creamy concealer goes a long way to make the skin look younger and it doesn’t crease. This concealer has a waterproof formula, which makes it long lasting. It is infused with anti-aging peptides, vitamins, antioxidants, hyaluronic acid, and high performance pigments. All of these ingredients work together to improve the appearance of wrinkles and conceal dark circles, bags, redness, hyperpigmentation, broken capillaries, age spots, and discoloration.

Buy at: Ulta.com and Sephora also carries it now.

Kiehl’s Dark Circle Perfector

Kiehl’s Dark Circle Perfector

Hands-down, Kiehl’s is one of my favorite products for skincare, which makes the Clearly Corrective Dark Circle Perfector one of my favorite choices for a concealer. The lighter formula provides an under-eye treatment and improves the appearance of dark circles, lines, and wrinkles and brightens the eye area with sheer coverage. This corrective concealer can be layered depending on the amount of coverage you like. Mineral filters in the formula protect the eye area from UV damage.


Mac Concealer

MAC Cover Up


There are several features I like about the MAC Select Cover Up medium-coverage liquid concealer. It has an affordable price point and can  be used anywhere on the face or body. This under-eye concealer has several color options to perfectly match your skin tone. With a matte finish, this concealer is more natural-looking and versatile and can double nicely as an eye shadow primer. The camouflage-like formula brightens and lightens dark areas, erases spots and evens skin tone for a flaw free complexion.


Under Eye Concealer Application Technique

The first thing to learn about applying concealers is that a tiny amount goes a long way. The tiniest dot is generally enough to cover the delicate eye. Concealer can be applied lightly either using your pinky or with a concealer brush designed for the eye area. If you have long fingernails, you will prefer using a concealer brush so you can apply product into the small area around the eye.

There are a number of companies that sell good quality concealer brushes in various price ranges. Look for a small brush made from fiber, which is shaped with a narrowing point.  The point will allow you to get into the tiny corners of the inside eye area and the small creases around the outer eye area.

Concealer brush

One brush I recommend trying is synthetic brush shaped like the Sigma F71 Detail Concealer Brush above. It is designed specifically for liquid and cream products, such as concealer. It features a larger, long wispy brush head and works great in small areas of the face.

Closing Thoughts

I really hope you found this post helpful and informative. I would love to know if this addressed and solved your under-eye concealer dilemma! Look forward to hearing back from you. As always, if any of you out there in internet world want to chime in or love the content, leave a comment below or subscribe to my site!

Be Beautiful!


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Beauty is about perception, not about make-up. I think the beginning of all beauty is knowing and liking oneself. You can't put on make-up, or dress yourself, or do you hair with any sort of fun or joy if you're doing it from a position of correction.

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