How to Color Correct Dark Undereye Circles
Dark circles begone.
It's no secret that the last year has brought too many sleepless nights to count (thanks a lot, COVID-19 pandemic). While we always advocate for trying your best to catch more Zzzs, there will inevitably be some sleep-deprived days when your undereye dark circles are, well, wide awake.
And even if you do get plenty of sleep, dark undereye circles still affect some of us frequently, whether it be genetics, allergies, excessive sun exposure, or other factors that are hard to control. Below, we've enlisted the help of two makeup artists for their best tips on how to color correct undereye circles effortlessly.
What is a color corrector?
Color correcting is using complementary colors (which are opposite on the color wheel) to cancel each other out. Unlike using just regular concealer, using a color correcting shade in a complementary color will essentially neutralize whatever imperfection you want to hide. "When you color correct on your face, you apply a complementary color over the portion of your face that needs correcting," explains celebrity makeup artist Jamie Greenberg. "Complementary colors cancel each other out—for instance, a green color corrector will cancel out any redness because green and red are complementary colors."
How to find the right color corrector for your skin tone
Color correctors can feel quite intimidating, especially because many of them come in vibrant rainbow hues that look like they don't belong on your face. If you have dark blue undereye circles, you want to opt for an orange or peach color corrector, since orange lies on the opposite side of blue on the color wheel. "To find the right color-corrector for your skin, saturation plays a role," says Greenberg. "For instance, if your skin tone is lighter, you must use the lighter version and so forth." Test the product in natural daylight and use the side of your face to try the product to make sure it's a good match—lighter skin tones should use a peach shade, while darker skin tones should try an orange shade.
How to color correct dark circles
When it comes to correcting pesky under-eye circles, think sunny colors. According to Quinn Murphy, a celebrity makeup artist and host of In My Chair podcast, the best way to counter dark circles is to apply some variation of orange. "The key is to apply it only where there is darkness, so that you don't see the orange hue," he says. First, you want to use a fluffy concealer brush, like Veil Cosmetics Concealer Brush ($28; veilcosmetics.com), to apply a cream peach- or orange-based concealer, like Cover FX Correct Click Under Eye Circles ($18; coverfx.com), or MAC Studio Fix Conceal and Correct Palette, $30; nordstrom.com) on hydrated undereye areas. Swipe the peach color corrector over your dark circles in a "V" shape (so the tops of the "V" are at the inner and outer corner of your eye), then blend the "V" shape into your under-eye area using the concealer brush.
Next, you'll want to apply a concealer close to your actual skin color on top of the color corrector—Murphy loves Koh Gen Do Moisture Concealer ($70; amazon.com), Bobbi Brown Under Eye Corrector ($29; sephora.com), and Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Face and Under-Eye Concealer ($38; sephora.com). "Once you apply your true skin tone foundation on top, it will blend in with the skin," he says.
If you have dry undereyes, Murphy suggests staying away from powders. But if you tend to have oiler skin and find your foundation sweats off throughout the day, a light dusting of translucent powder can help. "Colorescience's Mineral Corrector Palette SPF 20 ($56; dermstore.com) is a great powder palette that you can use under the eyes and on blemishes," says Murphy.
Keep in mind not to apply too much product on your undereye area. "Start light, as if you were painting a pointillist," says Greenberg. "The easiest and most popular mistake is layering too much, which creates another concern to deal with (read: clumpy concealer that counterproductively makes you look more tired)."