May 9, 2011

The Secret of the Universe

We are going to talk about undereye concealing today,  because I heard a friend cry for help on the subject matter. (And, seriously, is there a better time than a Monday morning to talk about dark circles??) Most of you won't understand why this title right yet, but stay with me, that will soon become clearer.

I have struggled with dark circles and concealing them for a long time. About 2 years ago I found the perfect product and the perfect technique that work for me. I'm not saying by any means that I'm a specialist on that topic, but I just want to share my little knowledge and maybe it can be of some help for someone.

There are a couple of sad realities you need to accept when it comes to concealing dark circles:

1. You can never hide them completely.
2. Scratch that, actually you can. Well, you could - but it would take a ton of industrial strength products and you'd end up looking 10 years older because of the cakey pile of makeup under your eyes. I don't know about you, but that's not something I want to consider.
So, we must deal with it: we can't never hide them completely. It's photoshop that takes care of the issue for magazine pictures, don't let that fool you.

But there's one piece of good news as well: lots of women, me included, see their dark circles as much worse then they are in reality. I'd say 75% of us don't need much work to look fresh and awake, even though we might be convinced of the opposite.

So for most of us, me included, one product will be enough, and that's regular concealer. My absolute favorite: the Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer kit.

I haven't found anything that gives better result, on the condition that you get color matched correctly, of course. In this kit you will find 2 products: the concealer, and the Pale Yellow Powder. I find that this powder has her part to play in the story, the result isn't as good if you use the concealer alone. This powder brightens the face and sets the creamy concealer, and it doesn't set into fine lines. It used to come in a lose form under the concealer part, now it comes pressed next to it - it's less messy.
I have used other products, I like some as well (like the Estee Lauder one) but I truly think Bobbi Brown has the best concealer out there, also because there's a wide range of shades available.

Next to getting the right product, using the right application technique is key. A lot of makeup artists apply concealer prior to foundation. I don't (and some professionals don't, either). I find that foundation already hides a bit of my dark circles and that I need less concealer. Also, if you use concealer first, you might move it around when applying the foundation on top and lose some of the effect.
Most concealer brushes are synthetic and flat, but I don't like them. I use either my fingers in a patting motion (again, stretching it would lower the pigment concentration and lose some of the effect) or an eyeshadow blending brush like the Mac 224 (or rather its synthetic version by Illamasqua).

Placing the product the right way is very important, bad placement could actually be counterproductive. I have found that I get the best results with the technique shown in this video, that I was pointed to by someone on a makeup forum (whoever she is, she deserves my eternal gratitude!). We're referring to that as "the triangle technique".

I don't use 2 shades like the lady does in the video, it's too time consuming on a daily basis and I have a life to live. For me, one shade applied in this triangular shape does wonders already.
(FYI, the Laura Mercier concealers that she uses are excellent as well, I just prefer the Bobbi Brown because they have more shades available and there's the powder that comes with it. I can make the Laura Mercier one work for me in Summer but not in Winter, while BB has shades that are light enough for me all year long).

That's about it for my personal situation.

Now... if you are part of the group that really has extremely bad dark circles, there's an extra step that will help you. If your skin is really pink, you will probably see blue veins in the inner corner of the eye and blueish dark circles under the eye area. If your skin is more yellow or olive toned, the dark circles will appear more greenish or brownish. You will need to cancel out these tones with a corrector. Doing this, corrector will make the treated area look kind of ashy, which is why you can't stop right after this step. You're going to need to put concealer on top to restore a normal skin color.

What corrector to pick, and in what color? This can be seriously tricky, and I would advise again to get color matched at a Bobbi Brown counter. Seriously, the Bobbi Brown correctors are famous for the difference they make in hiding extremely dark undereye circles, so I'd recommend that product above anything else.

You can see those 2 steps explained by Bobbi Brown herself in this video. (Sorry it can't be embedded here).

See where the title of this post comes from now? As Bobbi Brown says, concealing undereye dark circles is making a huge difference in how we look, giving us a fresh, young and awake face; so it's the Secret of the Universe.

Hope this helps!


  1. Great post, I need to check out that BB concealer! x

  2. Thanks for a such a well-written post, very informative

    xx Emma

  3. I started reading this yesterday, but it was late, so I wanted to finish today, then comment. Oh my gosh! I always feel I should be taking notes when I read your posts like this! I learn so much. I'm not a big fan of spending a lot of money on makeup. I know, I know. That's like committing one of the seven deadly sins around here! But I'm willing to give this a shot. I also loved the video. She makes it look so easy! Plus, who knew you would put the concealer so low below the eye, like onto the cheek bone a bit? I always thought you did a half moon shape, avoiding the cheekbone! See? I know nothing!

    PS. I did just spent a ton of money on some makeup replacements. I threw in some new products, too. I thought about you the whole time. I'm not even kidding. I get the package in the mail soon. Yay!

  4. @ Marty: I wouldn't say that spending a lot on makeup is mandatory, it's a good thing for a few products: a good base (foundation+concealer) and a good eyeshadow primer that will make the crappiest and cheapest eyeshadows look good and stay on all day.
    Can't wait to know what you got and if you like it :-)


I love getting comments, thanks for sharing your thoughts!