Concealer is the cosmetic equivalent of caffeine. It has the power to transform eyes from dark and drab to bright and bubbly. “If done the right way, concealer camouflages any darkness that you may have, whether it’s genetic or lifestyle,” says Julio Sandino, cofounder and creative director of Pucker makeup studio in New York. But if done the wrong way, it can have the reverse results. Yikes! Here’s how to make this wonder product work for you.


1. Use eye cream first. Apply a moisturizing eye cream before concealer to reduce the look of fine lines. After all, fine lines are caused by dry skin, Sandino says. He recommends a product such as Shiseido Super Corrective Eye Cream ($60), which works to fight wrinkles and sagging.

2. Choose the right shade. Applying too light of a color will cause raccoon eyes. But applying too dark of a concealer can accentuate under eye circles and create an orange tint. For just the right look, choose one shade lighter than your normal skin tone. “That way the concealer also acts as a highlighter,” Sandino says. And some concealers are formulated to create an extra highlighting effect. If you’re unsure which shade is best, schedule a makeup consultation to confirm.

3. Determine your coverage needs. The decision between liquid or cream stick concealers depends on the severity of your under-eye darkness. In general, Sandino says, stick concealers provide more coverage. Liquid concealers are best for those who don’t need a lot of coverage and just want to brighten up their eyes.

4. Dab, don’t rub. Always dab rather than rub in the concealer. “If you rub in concealer, you get more wrinkles because you’re pulling your skin,” Sandino says. “The eye area is the thinnest part of skin in the whole body, so it needs to be treated very gently.” In addition, be sure to use your ring finger when dabbing on the concealer, because it applies the least pressure to the eye area.

5. Add translucent powder. With a soft small brush, pad on translucent loose powder to set the concealer. This will prevent fine lines and caking, which can give an aged look. Check out powders such as Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder ($25), which sets makeup and adds a lightening boost.

What are your favorite concealer tips? Share them in comments!