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How to Cover Dark Circles on Mature Skin (Why Makeovers Are Important)

By Suzanne Blons September 04, 2023 Makeup and Fashion

Momma was my neighbor in Ecuador, and I never asked her first name. She was without a doubt one of the most loving and kind people I have ever met. She reminded me of an angel, and I told her so in broken Spanish, which led to us becoming close friends with Google Translate (my Spanish still needs work).

Momma was (very) reluctant to sit in my makeup chair, so her artist daughter, Vero, stepped in and managed to persuade her into my studio. Momma perched uncomfortably in the chair, and I kept worrying she would jump up and declare she forgot a Fritada de Chancho cooking on the stove.

To off-set her nervousness, I showed Momma the step-by-step process of the makeover in a mirror (I don’t normally do that), and if you watch the video, her transformation from being uncomfortable to gorgeous diva and her reactions throughout the process are priceless.

With that in mind, Momma has red and brown discoloration that hides her large, expressive, and watery eyes that I wanted to enhance. The challenge, as many of you know, is that foundation and concealer can set in fine lines and look, well, bad. In this article, I will spell out how I covered her circles so that it looks natural and brought out her best features.

Hydrate

There must be a zillion eye creams on the market, and only about two do anything useful. If I sound cynical, that’s because I am. There are about six active ingredients in skin care that benefit your skin, and if an eye cream doesn’t contain even a modicum of one of these, you might as well just toss it in the trash.

To save you money (always a good thing), I’d recommend not buying eye cream, and instead buy an oil soluble vitamin C (tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate or THDA), and use it around your eye area as well as your face and neck. It will do more to strengthen your skin barrier, add much needed nutrients, and provide antioxidant support on this ultra-sensitive area.

In the video, I toss on a combination of the above product, plus hyaluronic acid and fulvic acid to plump and hydrate so that the makeup doesn’t crease up or do anything else gross. Many of you probably don’t use foundation or concealer for this very reason, but take heart! Momma’s makeup held up beautifully with no issue.

Medium Coverage Foundation

Here’s another product for the trash – full coverage foundation. If you want to cover things like discoloration, age spots, hyperpigmentation, etc., use a medium coverage like I did in the video, and then use a concealer on top to better control the quantity.

Look for foundations that use words like hydrating, emollient, and moisturizing in the title and description to find a brand that works. For more information on how to shop for foundations watch this video. In the end, you will want to buy a quality product as the cheap ones look that way.

How to Shop for Concealer

I love the technical aspects of makeup. When I really get going talking about the right color tones to cover dark spots and circles, my close friends get that glazed deer-in-the-headlights look that I am all too familiar with. Because of this, here is my basic run-down of color theory that is hopefully understandable.

In order to cover under-eye circles, use the opposite color on the color-wheel (shown above). For example, find the purple on the wheel, and look opposite it and you will see yellow. Therefore, buy a warm (yellow) under toned concealer to cover purple. The opposite, complementary shade will automatically cover the discoloration of a specific undertone.

If you have a lot of brown around your eyes, use orange as brown is a mixture of all colors. If concealers turn ashen on you, it’s because they have too much pink in them, and you need to use a peachy tone instead. Peach, or orange, covers cool-toned under-eye discoloration as you can see on the wheel. (Please let me know any questions in the comments below.)

Back to Momma. Not to be irritating, but I used two separate concealers on her circles. The first was a peachy toned shade to cover the brown, and the second was a yellow toned one to hide the purple/red. I know that sounds complicated, but the result was that you couldn’t see any of her under-eye darkness, and because I used a good product, it doesn’t crease up or look over-done.

Why Makeovers

Momma is beautiful and so are YOU! I loved making-up Momma. This was one of my all-time favorite makeovers, and I’ve done a lot of them. Having said that, the word makeover can imply that we are not beautiful as we are, in our natural state.

Personally, I think we women are gorgeous and don’t need to add anything to that picture. What I love about makeovers is the transformational quality of using makeup, hair, and style to be creative and discover different sides to our femininity.

The goal is not to always spend an hour a day with perfect makeup; that’s boring and heaven knows I don’t live that way. What’s interesting is the ability to look however we choose, whenever we choose.

My advice is to be just as confident with zero makeup on, as when you create a full-face look, and to do it because it’s fun and you feel amazing not because you are in some way better. That’s just another thing to toss in the trash.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

What is the best method to get rid of dark circles, in your opinion? Has a particular product helped you in that direction? Please share it with the community!

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18 Comments
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Jergen

Also from accident. I had two black eyes from a serious accident and afterwards the darkness which I’d never had before never went away.

Suzanne

Hi Jergen, that’s interesting! I’d be curious to know why that was. Did the accident affect your kidneys/liver/gall bladder? Suzanne

sandy

great info. do you have any additional tips for people with discoloration due to bags under the eyes?

Suzanne

Hi Sandy, you might try a little hyaluronic acid under your eye as that can add moisture and lighten the skin a bit. Also, try taking out certain foods/beverages and see if that helps with lowering the swelling. I find that gluten and things like MSG make mine worse, and that doing a liver cleanse can really help flush out that part of the face. Just a thought!

Mary T. Lynch

Best method to get rid of dark circles is not to get them in the first place. Do not go out in the sun and bake your skin or your face for hours as most American women do. Wear an SPF at least 100 or more. Do not smoke ? do not drink alcohol, and also wear hats, especially in the summertime in the hot sun.

Joanne

Dark circles have nothing to do with sun, it’s mostly hereditary. I’m 64 and I’ve had dark circles since I was 16

Suzanne

Thanks for sharing, Joanne

Dee

What if you’re born with them. I was and so were my children. Careful when judging others.

Julie

Yep, me too!

Suzanne

Thanks for sharing, Julie!

Suzanne

Hi Dee, yes many people are born with dark under eye circles and sometimes they are caused by the liver being overcrowded with toxins. In any case, I’m happy we have makeup to help

Marita Tedder

I wish it was that easy. As others have mentioned, it is hereditary. Like Joanne, I am 64 (65 next month). I have been covering up my dark circles under my eyes since I was 13. Gratefully there are products available that really work for this. My favorite is Revlon Colorstay full coverage concealer. As Suzanne mentioned, I use a light to medium coverage foundation first, then concealer, then power to set it all. My friends who have had facelifts, come to me to help them cover the bruising. They know I know how to cover! What I tell them is totally different from what the Doctors tell them. But what I do works better.

Suzanne

Thanks, Marita! I bet your friends are very grateful you know how to cover bruising!

Suzanne

Thanks for your comments, Mary!

Pamela

Well you are very lucky. I have had dark circles since I was 8 or 9. Born that way, or maybe allergies? I don’t drink or smoke and I always wear sunblock and hats or caps and now I’m 69 years old and feel I am aging nicely. The most important tool in my make up box is concealer. It’s been a life long journey trying different brands through the years. I wear minimal makeup but always use concealer, mascara and lipstick.

Suzanne

Hi Pamela, sounds like you are on the concealer band-wagon and so am I. It becomes more and more my MVP including blush and lipstick.

Laura

Let’s see. I am now 66 years old which means super tanned bodies were the goal & the norm when I was younger. Who else used baby oil to tan? Wayyy later was information about the damage we were doing to our skin discussed. SPF – wasn’t a thing yet during my teen/young adult years. In other words the damage was done many years ago! I appreciate this article. Much needed!

Suzanne

Hi Laura, I can still remember my friend when I was on holiday in Portugal saying how great it was to use baby oil to get tanned. I had the worse burn of my life that week! I think my entire body peeled off after that. In any case, I think many of us are trying to recover from turning our faces into leather:)

The Author

Suzanne Blons, The Beauty Shaman, has been in the beauty industry for nearly 40 years. A former Revlon Charlie Girl, she is now a professional makeup artist and has worked with such luminaries as Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, and Arianna Huffington. Today, Suzanne shares her beauty secrets on her YouTube channel, The Beauty Shaman. Check out her store, blog, coaching, and beauty courses.

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