How to Conceal Dark Circles

How to Conceal Dark Circles

Dark circles under the eye or around the eyes are a big reason why so many of us are reaching for our concealer each morning. Finding the best concealer for dark circles takes experimentation, but with our shopping and application tips, you’ll know what color concealer to choose for dark circles and how to conceal them.  Everyone will see your beautiful eyes, not dark shadows.

The first step is to determine whether your dark circles are more bluish purple or grayish brown. The latter is more common if your skin tone is medium to dark; those with fair to light skin tend to have blue- to purple-tinged undereye circles—although some people have shades of blue, brown, gray, and purple in their dark circles—there are concealer tips for each:

  • Fair to light skin tones with blue-to-purple dark circles should look for full-coverage concealer shades that have a subtle salmon-pink to peach undertone. These undertones neutralize the bluish discoloration.
  • Medium to dark skin tones with blue-to-purple dark circles should look for full-coverage concealer shades that have a brighter peach (but not orange) undertone.
  • Fair to light skin tones with brownish gray dark circles should look for full-coverage concealer shades that have a yellow to neutral beige undertone, as these will neutralize the grayish brown tinge.
  • Medium to dark skin tones with brownish gray dark circles should look for full-coverage concealer shades that have a soft gold to neutral tan undertone, as these will neutralize the grayish-brown tinge.

Concealer Application Tips for Dark Circles

There are numerous types of concealers, and because each type offers an option with full coverage—typically the level of coverage those with dark circles need—you can choose based on personal preference. No matter which type of concealer for dark circles you choose, here’s how to apply it:

  1. Prep the eye area with a lightweight eye gel or moisturizer, allowing a few minutes for it to absorb.
  2. Apply your foundation before the concealer; doing so automatically means you’ll use less concealer, which will look more natural.
  3. Use a concealer brush, small sponge, or clean fingertips to gently dot concealer onto the dark circles. Focus on the darkest areas first.
  4. Blend from the inner corner of the undereye outward. Use a soft touch and don’t rub, as rubbing will sheer out the concealer and make dark circles worse.
  5. If a bit of the dark circles remains visible once your concealer has set, apply another layer until you get the desired level of coverage.
  6. Use a fluffy brush to set the concealer with a sheer layer of loose or pressed powder. Note: Before powdering, you may need to use a flat concealer brush to lightly buff out any excess concealer that has collected in the fine lines around the eyes.

More Concealer Tips

Generally, a moisturizing concealer with a satin or soft matte finish works best to cover dark undereye circles. The goal is to find one that has enough slip to make blending easy, but not so much slip that it quickly creases into lines under the eyes. (We just hate that!)

The Estee Lauder, Make Up For Ever, M.A.C., Maybelline, and Kevyn Aucoin brands sell at least one concealer that meets the needs of those with dark circles, and each brand offers a wide range of shades for all skin tones, including some “brightening” options that can more precisely color-correct the look of dark circles.

You want full coverage, but not to the point of being completely opaque, which can make the undereye area look dull and lifeless. If you’re struggling with getting a full-coverage concealer for dark circles to look natural, opt for a medium-coverage concealer—just know that you’ll likely need to layer it to best camouflage undereye darkness.

Now that you know how to conceal dark circles around the eyes, learn about what causes dark circles and the solutions that go beyond what concealers can do. Although this common undereye concern can’t be completely eliminated (we wish that weren’t the case), the right mix of skincare and makeup can lead to a substantial improvement that’ll have you smiling!

References for this information:
The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, January 2016, pages 49–55
Indian Journal of Dermatology, March-April 2014, pages 151–157
Dermatologic Surgery, August 2009, pages 1163–1171
Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, September 2007, pages 211–215


About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books about skincare and makeup. She is known worldwide as The Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare. Paula’s expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international radio, print, and television including:

The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and providing expert advice that solves your skincare frustrations so you can have the best skin of your life!