You could have a fully snatched makeup look with perfect contouring and sharp eyeliner, but if your under-eye bags are prominent, they’ll pull attention from the rest of your look. Under-eye bags are notoriously hard to cover. However, we’ve got some tips and tricks from professional makeup artists that will help get them under control. Of course, makeup can help cover up the swelling and darkness beneath your eyes, but if it’s a chronic issue, you should try a few steps to help clear away the bags before application.
Celebrity makeup artist Sooyon Elina Kim says, “the best thing to do is drink lots of water and get enough sleep,” which we know is easier said than done. “Makeup can only do so much,” says Kim. “So we want to prep the under eyes with a cool compressor to depuff” and fold serums targeting the under-eye into your daily routine. If you still have noticeable under-eye bags after trying these tricks, here’s how to cover them up.
Don’t forget to use an under-eye cream the night before
Celebrity makeup artist Judi Gabbay knows “under-eye bags can get the best of us, even with eight hours of sleep and your morning cup of joe.” One of her top tips to lift and brighten the under eyes is to apply eye cream the night before you plan to wear makeup. Her favorite is Charlotte Tilbury Cryo-Recovery Eye Serum ($68). “This will ensure a hydrated under eye that won’t crease for blendable coverage.”
Depuff your under eyes before applying makeup
Gabbay suggests using a depuffing product before putting on any concealer. She suggests using Milk Makeup Cooling Water Eye Gel Stick ($28). For a pricier product, celebrity makeup artist Hailey Hoff recommends Sunday Riley Auto Correct Brightening and Depuffing Eye Contour Cream ($65).
Hydrate your under-eye skin
Just like you would never apply foundation to dry skin, you should never apply any products to your under-eye without a good deal of moisture. Celebrity makeup artist Kelli Anne Sewell suggests investing in hydrating oils, like Elaluz Beauty Oil ($39) or Supergoop Daily Dose Hydra-Ceramide Boost + SPF 40 Oil ($46) to work in under the eyes “to make sure they’re really hydrated before you apply makeup.”
Use color corrector before concealer
Many people simply rub some concealer beneath their eyes and hope it does the trick, but experts say a color corrector is the key to flawless under-eyes. Using a color corrector before concealer can “give an illusion of brighter under eyes and help cancel out the darkness if any,” explains Kim.
Celebrity makeup artist Ehlie Luna adds that a color corrector should also be used to “address that fold that tends to live around the puffiness causing a dark discoloration.” Hoff suggests using Charlotte Tilbury Magic Vanish Color Corrector ($32).
Pick the right shade of color corrector
When it comes to color correcting, it’s all about picking the right shade for your skin. “Orange for deep skin, peach for medium and salmon-colored for lighter skin is a great general rule of thumb,” says Luna. “If the discoloration leans more purple, try opting for yellow tones to correct.”
Consider using an orange color corrector under your usual concealer
Although it might look jarring in the packaging, celebrity makeup artist Cara Lovello says it’s the best shade for dark under-eye circles. She recommends putting the orange color corrector on, then your usual concealer, followed by foundation for the ultimate coverage.
Use a concealer with a hydrating formula
Once you’ve applied a moisturizer, an oil and a color corrector, you can then layer on your concealer. Sewell suggests using a product with a hydrating formula that provides medium coverage. Tried-and-true options: NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer ($31) and Dior Forever Skin Correct ($38). Hoff likes to mix an Hourglass Concealer ($16-$36) with a Two-Faced Concealer ($34) “to get full enough coverage to cover up dark eye bags.”
Avoid using brightening concealer
While a brightening concealer may seem like a good idea to counteract the dullness of your under-eye, experts warn against it. “I would avoid using a concealer that is too brightening as it can highlight the puffiness/bags,” says Luna. “Instead, opt for matching the skin tone, first using as little product as needed, then go one to two shades lighter if you like a little extra lift.”
Make sure you’re using the correct shade of concealer
“When choosing your concealer color, use one that matches your skin tone, not one that is lighter or brighter as brightening puffiness will only emphasize it,” says Bobbi Brown Cosmetics National Makeup Artist Michele Shakeshaft. The same goes for color correctors. “When you are trying to correct darkness and not bring attention to under-eye bagginess, you want to neutralize darkness by choosing…the best color and depth for the darkness you are trying to get rid of.”
Double up on concealers
Lovello suggests doubling up on concealers. “Use one close to your skin color to conceal,” she advises. “Then go with a dot of a concealer five shades lighter in your inner corner to really brighten up the eye.”
Don’t use too much concealer on the actual under-eye bag
“My biggest tip for covering under-eye bags is to put as little makeup as possible on the actual bag,” says celebrity makeup artist Courtney Hart. “Concealer will sometimes highlight the puffiness even more. The trick is to color-correct the shadow that the bag creates.” She explains that light brings things forward. Therefore, when you apply a brightening concealer just in the shadow, it helps diminish the appearance of the under-eye bag and even out the puffiness. Her favorite concealer for this trick is the aforementioned NARS Creamy Concealer ($31). “It’s a beautiful formula and has an amazing shade range!”
Similarly, Gabbay suggests only applying concealer to the inner third and outer third of the under eye. She prefers Tarte Shape Tape Concealer ($31). “Wait a few seconds before blending out with your beauty sponge for more coverage.”
Take a natural approach
Shakeshaft says a natural approach is ideal. To achieve this, she recommends a lightweight, long-wear concealer, especially because you don’t want any creases to give you away. She recommends Bobbi Brown Skin Full Cover Concealer ($33), which boasts“16-hour skin-perfecting power that resists creasing and settling.”
Tap out your under-eye
To ensure a seamless look, don’t skip this step. Luna says you need to “tap out the under-eye in case any creasing occurred.”
Set your under-eye makeup
After all your hard work, you’ll want to set your beautiful creation so that it doesn’t shift. Gabbay recommends setting your under-eye makeup with a finely milled powder for extra staying powder. Luna suggests using a blurring powder to achieve “longevity and a smooth finish.” ONE/SIZE by Patrick Starr Ultimate Blurring Setting Powder ($30) comes in two shades to set the under-eyes with zero caking in sight.