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(Tarte, IT Cosmetics)

Tired of under eye circles? Correct and conceal them with these makeup artist tips

Maybe you didn’t get enough zzzzs after a super fun but way too late night with friends. Or you’re oh so lucky to have inherited them from a relative. I’m talking about under eye circles, those pesky brown, blue or purple marks that lead to continuous queries of “are you tired?” and make you never want to leave the house without a full face of makeup on.

I feel your pain, as I’ve gotten some of my fam’s bad genes and been cursed with those unsightly buggers too. And I’ve learned--as I’m sure you have too--that concealer alone isn’t nearly enough to cover them. The new secret weapon on beauty store shelves is the color corrector. Long used by makeup experts, liquid and cream correctors in seemingly non-natural looking shades (peach, orange, lavender, yellow, green and pink) are now available to the rest of us. Correctors work via the color theory, the notion that shades across from one another on the color wheel cancel each other out. (Orange, peach and pink tones can swiftly target under eye circles.) Beauty expert and makeup artist Alexis Arenas of The Beauty Expert Group recently told me how to use correctors as part of an under eye circle zapping regimen.

  1. Start with a serum. If you are using one, that is. These super-concentrated oils are chock full of vitamins and other goodies--like collagen for firmness and Vitamin A for discoloration--kind of like a supplement for your skin. I recently started using Tarte Maracuja Oil ($48), extracted from the passion fruit and rich in Vitamin C and fatty acids. Though it’s not technically a serum, it’s really great at reducing fine lines and giving you that dewy glow. No matter what you are using, a little (like, a drop or two) goes a long way.

  2. Nourish your under eye area first with an eye cream. Not only will the right eye cream stave away fine lines and potentially lighten those circles, it will also prevent your corrector and concealer from creasing and looking too noticeable--which would defeat the entire point, right? Arenas is partial to Clinique Pep Start Eye Cream ($26.50) and IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Eye Cream ($48); higher-end options include ClĂ© de Peau BeautĂ© ($255) and La Prairie Skin Caviar Luxe Eye Lift Cream ($340). Apply eye cream just along the cheekbone using your ring finger, which is the least muscular and therefore the most gentle. “Don’t put it too close to your eye, or everything will creep, from your liner to your mascara,” she cautions. Yeah, I’ve been there.

  3. If you are wearing eye makeup, apply it next, along with any primer and your foundation. If you suffer from under eye circles and want to do a smoky eye without looking like a raccoon, keep dark shadow just along the crease and in a v-shape at the corner of the eyes, suggests Arenas, applying brighter shadow on the upper lids. Also, forego really intense eyeliner and use dark shadow as close to the lash line as possible, then line the inner water lines with eyeliner. Some of the more intense smoky eye looks just might be too much for the dark circle-afflicted. Le sigh.

  4. Apply your corrector. There are lots of them on the market now, from single shade pots to concealer-like tubes with applicators. A color-correcting palette will give you the most bang for your buck though, says Arenas, as it has a bevy of shades to do everything from brighten and target sallowness (lavender) and combat redness (green.) She likes the ones from Make Up For Ever ($40), which makes five correcting palettes: #1-#4 are designed for specific skin tones, while #5 has color correcting shades for most skin tones. For dark circles, remember that color wheel. If circles are brownish in hue, use apricot; if they lean more towards blue or purple, apply those with rose or pink. (If circles are really blue, you can even try offsetting them with orange.) Apply the corrector with a fluff brush, making sure to pat--not rub or tug--the delicate eye area. Women with African and darker skin tones will probably be able to get by using a concealer that’s half a shade lighter than their skin tone, she says. A good option for a single corrector includes IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Corrector ($29), which comes in light, medium and rich.

  5. Apply your concealer. Remember: correctors don’t cover, per se, they just counterbalance a color you wish to hide. Concealers will help blend in the corrector color (especially if it’s an intense one like orange or apricot) and match the rest of your skin tone. Arenas suggests MAC Cosmetics Pro LongWear Concealer ($22) or IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Illumination Anti-Aging Concealer ($24). At the end of the work day, she swears by Clinique Airbrush Concealer ($20.50), which touches up what she applied that morning and has the ability to lighten, brighter and make her look fresher.

  6. Use a no-color setting powder on top of your eye area. Apply it very gently with a soft brush, which will help make all of your hard under eye covering work last throughout the day. I use Kat von D Lock-It Setting Powder ($30), but Arenas told me that RCMA No Color Powder is what in-the-know makeup artists use--and it’s only $12. But for her own daily use, she says pressed powder applied with a fluffy brush is actually easier than loose (and won’t spill in your purse or makeup bag). Try Make Up For Ever HD MicroFinish Powder ($36).