Under Eye Darkness & Colour Correcting

Hiding under eye dark circles can make us appear more youthful and healthier and alll you need is a colour corrector and concealer!

It's a fact that most of us suffer or have suffered with the dreaded darkness under our eyes and as we get older, this can become more pronounced.

The good news is you can fix this!

What causes dark circles?

  • Sleep deprivation
  • Hyper pigmentation usually with deeper skintones
  • Genetics
  • Allergies
  • Fluid retention
  • Staring at computer screens
  • Bad diet
  • Lack of hydration 
  • Too much salt consumption
  • Ageing

I fall into a few of the above!

Before we dive deeper into the how, below are my 4 steps

Step 1

Prep & Prime Skin

Step 2

Apply Colour Corrector

Step 3

Apply concealer or foundation

Step 4


Step 1 Prepping Skin

This is an absolute must before applying any makeup on the face. Priming skin first will help makeup to last longer, while avoiding any slippage and patchiness. Generally if makeup is uneven and disappears before the day is out, it’s because the skin hasn’t been prepped properly.

Priming with eye creams and serums can also help to minimise darkness/puffiness.

Look for products with vitamin C (brightens) and caffeine (helps de-puff).

  • Origins Dark Circle Minimizer (Dr Weil) eye cream absorbs quickly, is not greasy or heavy and absorbs quickly. 

  • The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG contains a blend of anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories which work wonders to reduce puffiness and darkkness. 

  • Eye Masks/eye gels are great for rejuvenating & depuffing tired eyes if you have a spare 10 mins

  • MAC Fast Response Eye Cream 

Step 2 How to work out what colour to use on your dark circles?

We know that colour correction eliminates any unwanted colours on the skin.

The key is using the correct colour depends on the actual colour that you need to correct.

Colour theory helps to identify what shade works best and using the artist’s colour wheel makes this easier. Take a look at the colour wheel and locate the colour you need to correct then cast your eyes to the opposite colour on the wheel. This is the colour you need to use. For example, if you have redness, use green to neutralise.

Light/Medium Skintones

  • light Pink/ Peach - brown darkness on fair/light/medium skin

  • Green - redness light/medium skin
  • Yellow - redness & purple on light/medium/medium deep skin

  • Orange/ochre - brown/grey darkness on deep skintones 

If you have a mix of tones to correct then you may need to use more than one shade.

The intensity of the colour corrector you need will very much depend on the depth of your skintone and the darkness.

Simply pat the corrector onto the darkness gently with a small flat brush or your fingertip (use ring finger for least amount of pressure).

If like me,  you have more than one colour to correct, I find it's helpful to buy a palette with a mix of shades. NYX, MAC and Revolution have some great options.

Step 3 Concealer

Now that you've neutralised the darkness, you'll have this strange colour under your eyes that you need to cover so apply your regular concealer or foundation on top which matches your natural skintone. Carefully pat it on with a small fluffy brush making sure you don’t disturb the colour corrector causing a mixture of weird colours under your eye!  Blend out any hard edges for a seamless look.

There are so many concealers on the market but for more mature, dry or tired skin, these are lovely:

  • Clinique Even Better Concealer 

  • NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer

  • NYX Can't Stop Won't Stop Concealer

  • MAC Pro Longwear Concealer

Step 4 SET

I say NO to powder under eyes.  It tends to settle into lines and making us appear older and "cakey" looking.  If you've primed skin correctly then there should be no need to use powder.

Many concealers are transfer resistant so once set they stay put.  Other more hydrating concealers may need assistance to ensure they don't travel on your skin.  

If you cannot live without powder then please just use  a VERY VERY lightweight loose powder like MAC's Prep + Prime Transparent Finishing Powder..   Use a small fluffy brush for the lightest dusting.

An alternative to powder is a setting spray like Urban Decay's All Nighter Long Lasting Makeup Spray. 


So many people ask why under eye highlighters make dark circles look worse. It’s because many of these products are formulated to simply brighten/highlight the skin not correct and conceal.

Applied correctly, these highlighters will add light and dimension to your face. Choose a light reflective option to illuminate and help blur imperfections like fine lines/wrinkles. Beware of layering too many products which can look “too heavy”.

YSL’s Touche Eclat is one of the most popular highlighters and although they work to brighten, I find they don’t offer enough coverage nor enough shades to correct dark circles. However, YSL has added a new product into the Touche Eclat family called High Cover Radiant concealer which offers a solution to dark circles, scars and blemishes etc with a natural finish.

Which tools to use?

Brushes, beauty blenders, fingertips? It comes down to personal preference and I tell clients to use whatever they feel more comfortable using and whatever produces the best results for them. I personally find it easier to use a flat eyeshadow shading brush to apply colour corrector and a small fluffy brush for the concealer. MAC 242s (shader) and 217s (blender) brushes are fabulous (below right). Or for a more economical option, The Real Techniques Eye Shade and Blend Set is great value. 

So there we have it, 4 steps to looking even MORE fabulous

  1. Prep skin with eye cream and/or serum

  2. Apply colour corrector to neutralise darkness

  3. Apply concealer/foundation over the top that matches your skintone

  4. Set

I tried my best to condense this massive subject into a small blog which was tricky!  It may sound like a right kerfuffle but I promise you it takes longer to read it than actually do it!

I hope this is helpful and if you need more specific advice, please get in touch as I'd love to help you! 

Gail xx 


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