Makeup 101: Setting under-eye concealer

  • 30 Oct - 05 Nov, 2021
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Beauty

For lots of people, if there was only one makeup product they could use, they'd opt for under-eye concealer, no contest. But even when you use concealers made just for the under-eye area, it never really stays on. Your bags and dark circles are concealed for about two hours, then midday rolls around and it's all cracked or creased and generally looking even messier than before you put concealer on. Sure, obviously there are much greater problems in the world right now, but those also contribute to why we need a good under-eye concealer routine in the first place. Below are tips on how to apply and set your under-eye concealer once and for all, so it actually stays put. Like anything worth doing, it's worth doing right, so while this may seem like a lot to remember, trust us – it'll pay off.

Hydration, hydration, hydration

Before it's time to worry about makeup, skin care comes first. We would never apply foundation before slathering on moisturiser, the same logic applies to under-eyes. We always begin by hydrating the under-eye area with a good eye cream. We recommend La Prairie Platinum Rare Cellular Eye Cream.

Choose your formula carefully

A five-star application technique can easily be thwarted by a sub-par formula, so it's important to choose products that compliment your skin type. The type of concealer you use makes a big difference. Anything too thin, too dry, or too moisturising can call cause creasing. Use Becca Ultimate Coverage Concealer, which moves with skin and has good coverage.

For especially heavy bags or dark circles, we prefer M.A.C. Studio Finish Concealer – a thicker formula with heavier coverage that still manages to stay crease-free.

Use your hands

While some people swear by the light touch of a concealer brush, we prefer to use our hands. Applying under-eye concealer with the fingers helps it meld into the skin instead of just sitting on top of the skin. Literal hot tip: warm hands help the makeup melt into the under-eye area so make sure to warm your mitts up a bit beforehand.

Stretch your canvas

What came first, the creased under-eye makeup or the crinkly under-eyes? You can't apply concealer over fine lines and expect it to even out. Look up and lightly stretch the skin, almost like you're applying mascara on the lower lashes, to create a virtually flat surface. Tread very lightly with this one since routine tugging on the delicate skin around the eyes could contribute to fine lines, so be gentle with this one. If there's no creasing when you set your concealer, it's all the more likely that makeup will stay crease-free throughout the day.

It's all about layers

Even if your under-eye bags call for more full coverage, we recommend you layer on concealer instead of going for the darkness-reducing gold in one application. The more you prep skin and lay down sheer layers beforehand, the less likely you'll have runny or cakey concealer. We suggest starting with a thin layer of sheer liquid concealer applied to the entire under-eye area. Once you've set your base, layer on a more full-coverage concealer until you reach your desired level of coverage.

Set it and forget it

Seal in your newly cake-free, crease-free under-eye makeup with the baking technique, which involves dusting a thick layer of setting powder over your under-eye concealer, allowing your body heat to bake them together for a few minutes, and then brushing off the excess powder. This final step adds an extra few minutes to your morning routine, but for a long day out and about, it's worth it. We suggest a translucent powder that has some built-in moisture to keep it from clinging to any spots of dry skin. Our favourites are Huda Beauty Easy Bake Powder or Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder. The powder helps keep concealer fresh all day as a light barrier from whatever environmental and circumstantial onslaughts may befall your makeup.