Aging’s not fair. Nor is it gradual. Seems as if you wake up one morning and your undereye bags are big enough to pack for the weekend. Using all-over foundation but skipping the concealer, as we did at 25, isn’t going to cut it anymore. Here, from the pros, camouflage techniques that really work.
- Try a secret weapon. Makeup artist Julie Tussey, 46, uses brushes, not scalpels, on her clients, who have included Christie Brinkley and Tory Burch. Her surprising first step: a generous dab of Preparation H under the eyes to reduce swelling. "You’ll feel a subtle warmth, tingle, and tightening," Tussey says. Wash off after two minutes (the stuff is greasy) and apply silicone primer to smooth and firm and ensure that concealer glides on and lasts.
- Fight shadows with peach tones. Dot a dark peach concealer on any brown, blue, or purple discolorations and the puffy part of the bag. The orangey hue neutralizes the shadows, and the deep tone optically flattens the puffiness. It’s an illusion that works. In a pinch, Tussey mixes a dab of red or pink lipstick with beige concealer for similar results.
- Get a makeup "eye-lift." Brush on a pale, shimmery pink highlighter at the inner and outer corners of your eyes, to create a more open, lifted look. L.A. makeup pro Agostina, 50, uses this on Ellen DeGeneres and Cheryl Hines.
- For darker skin, use darker concealer. Bags and circles are double trouble for women of color, says makeup pro Cynde Watson, 41. "Concealing cool gray or purple circles gets more complicated when your overall skin tone is a warm brown with yellow or orange undertones." Her fix: a rich, opaque dark apricot concealer — anything lighter will look chalky and ashy. Apply it over (or mix it with) eye cream.
- For really intense circles, layer pink over peach. Hollywood makeup artist Barbara Farman, 42, says: "First, use a peach concealer to lighten circles and bring them closer to your overall skin tone. Then apply a high-pigment pink concealer directly over it where bluish shadows are resistant to coverage."
- Use the right brushes. Good concealer brushes are essential, Farman says — both the broad, flat kind (for blending) and the skinny, tapered kind (for accurate application from a tube or pot).
- Don’t skip the eyeliner. Even if you’ve never used it before, make it your new best friend: Dark liner (pen or powder) along the upper lashline diverts attention from the puffiness below.
- Underplay the eye shadow. Stick to sheer shades in warm golds and bronzes. Avoid cool colors (pinks, blues, violets) that will emphasize the newly covered flaws. A smoky eye will just put the shadows back.
- Keep the rest of your face natural. Full-coverage face makeup along with serious eye cover-up looks old, no matter how terrific a camouflage job you do.
Originally published in MORE magazine, June 2008.