9 Super Simple Steps to Stop Your Under Eye Concealer From Creasing
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Do you ever feel like your under-eye concealer just looks a little… meh?
It’s the wrong colour, not hiding your dark circles or even making your eyes look brighter? And forget about the creasing.
Is there anything worse (in beauty terms, at least) than painstakingly applying your concealer only for it to end up creasing a few minutes or even hours later?
Luckily, the solution to getting the perfect concealer finish may be easier than you think. Plus, it comes from the minds of a few great makeup artists who have used these step-by-step solutions for the perfect concealer look for decades.
They use it on runways, in editorial magazine looks, like Vogue, or in real-life makeup looks from everyday to super glam.
And, as a makeup artist and beauty journalist, I have my fair share of experience tackling creased concealer and I’ve also enlisted the help of celebrity aesthetician Ian Michael Crumm to get his all-important expert advice on how to stop that annoying creased look.
I know that once you learn just 9 super simple expert tips for the ultimate concealer application, you’ll be surprised at how your technique can really make or break your total look.
Here are they are!
Step 1: Prep the eye area
Your makeup is only going to look as good as your skincare. So the most important first step is to prep the eye area.
Makeup artist Gucci Westman, who has worked for such brands as Revlon and Lancome, and now has her own boutique line “Westman Atelier” sold at Nordstrom and Sephora, is a huge believer in skincare before makeup.
“The one common thread is purity. I created a look that highlights the innate beauty of the face from the eyes to the lip to clear, shiny skin.”
So take a tip from Ms Westman and apply your proper eye cream or gel to the eye area.
Ian agrees, “dry skin can lead to creasing, so use a lightweight, hydrating eye cream to prep the area.”
Those with oily skin will want to use a gel-based lightweight eye product or serum, while people with dry skin will want a heavier eye cream that has some weight to it. Either way, go for thin layers of eye cream to avoid the product pilling.
Even if all you have to hand is a face oil, the better prepared and hydrated your skin is, the better all your eye makeup, including concealer, will go on. Smooth and perfect.
Plus, it’s less likely to crease on well-pampered skin.
Step 2: Let Your eye cream set
Now that you’ve done your skincare around the eye area, it’s important to let that sit for a few minutes to absorb correctly. It needs to sink into the skin to make sure that the concealer isn’t too slippery on top of the eye cream or gel.
Do something else with your makeup while you wait. Here’s a fun tip: exfoliate your lips with a yummy lip scrub while waiting for your skincare to set. Flaky lips can be the undoing of the perfect lip- plus a scrub is always fun.
Step 3: Use an eye primer
Since a concealer is meant to go under the eye and on the lid to disguise any discolouration or thin skin where veins may show through, it’s important to use an eye shadow primer under any concealer. You can even use it under the eyes for supremely long-wearing concealer and Ian says “This can create a smooth base and help your concealer adhere better,” says Ian.
Use a ring finger to gently apply this to your under eyes. Since this is some of the most delicate skin you have, any tugging or rubbing definitely won’t help in the quest for youthful, line-free skin.
Step 4: Pick the right concealer
With a plethora of concealers on the market, it’s too easy to end up with the wrong product formula for you. Picking the right one though can make all the difference to how your concealer looks.
“Opt for a concealer specifically formulated for the under-eye area, as these tend to be more lightweight and less likely to settle into fine lines,” says Ian.
And for a really dark under-eye area, you’ll want a full-coverage concealer. Creamy concealers are perfect for mature skin as they tend not to cake as much (which definitely doesn’t help with the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles).
Lightweight concealers are a great option for anyone whose circles aren’t too noticeable (lucky thing!) and are less likely to crease.
Step 5: Use the right shade
For dark spots or blemishes, pick a shade of concealer that matches your own skin tone as closely as possible. This creates a perfect canvas look across your entire face.
For your under eye area though, where dark circles and under-eye bags can easily create a dreaded panda eye look, you may want to pick a lighter shade to your overall skin tone. This will help to create a brighter, more awake, look.
Step 6: Apply your ideal concealer with a conceal brush
Once you’ve got a product ideal for your skin type- whether in a tube with a wand, cream-based in a pot, or thick in a palette for more full coverage- you’ll want the right tools to apply it.
And the key here to making sure it doesn’t crease is to use a concealer brush when applying.
This is a synthetic bristle brush that looks like a flat eye-shadow brush. It’s going to smooth on just the right amount of concealer in the perfect application for “best wear” results. If you don’t have one to hand, use your ring or middle finger to gently blend onto your skin instead.
Building up coverage gradually can help avoid excess product settling into creases.
Use it to apply your concealer in thin layers. “Building up coverage gradually can help avoid excess product settling into creases,” Ian says.
Trace from the inner corner of your eye along your lower lash line to the outer corner of the eye and down to any dark circles.
Make sure to only use a small amount of concealer though since too much product on the eye area is one of the most common culprits of concealer creasing.
Step 7: Pat or dust on translucent loose powder
The gold standard for getting cream-based or liquid makeup to not crease is to use a translucent loose powder. In a pinch, if you don’t have “loose”, you can make do with a pressed powder. Just make sure you don’t use too heavy a formula or it may crease.
That’s why a small-particle loose powder is the ideal setting agent. All kinds of brands make one in a wide range of skin tone shades, but Laura Mercier, Nars, or Cover Girl Clean make fantastic ones. Each is finely milled to make sure that it just adds staying power and not extra coverage under or over the eye area that may crease. Translucent powder is old school, but still the best way to set any liquid makeup.
Apply the setting powder with a fluffy brush or beauty blender, making sure to tap any excess powder off first (or risk having super white under eyes). Ian agrees: “Use a small brush to apply the powder to prevent over-powdering.”
If you’re applying it to your entire face after your full makeup though you can also use a powder puff to give a light dusting to your whole makeup look.
Step 8: Spray a mist of setting spray
Many makeup brands now make an overall makeup setting spray. This is a great last step to use that will help to stop any creasing or movement of your makeup sliding off your face as the day goes on.
This is especially helpful if you have oily skin. It can be very frustrating to put on a full face of makeup only to have it sweat or melt off in just a few hours later.
The right setting steps will go a long way into making sure that all your makeup stays put where it should be.
Step 9: Enjoy your beautiful crease-free face
Okay, this isn’t really a step, but just a gentle reminder to remember that makeup, especially makeup that you apply yourself, doesn’t have to look perfect.
A crease here or there? No big deal in the overall scheme of how gorgeous your makeup looks.
Plus, keep in mind that French girls find a little creasing in their concealer or cream eyeshadow is a sexy, lived-in look.
Don’t think that makeup has to be flawless all the time to look fantastic. Your face is your palette. An imperfection here or there just makes YOU look even more beautiful. And in the words of the famed French makeup artist, Francois Nars, who has his own bespoke line for decades…
“I never thought makeup was like brain surgery.”
In summing up, we’ll leave you with one last thought from the late great artist, Kevyn Aucoin, who rocked the entire world with his iconic looks, top-notch makeup line, and brave heart before he passed away in 2005.
“Perfection is boring. If a face doesn’t have mistakes, it’s nothing.”
Mr Aucoin could do a flawless face with crease-free concealer. But he also realised that a crease here or there could make any of his subjects even more perfectly gorgeous. Every person who sat in his chair felt like the best version of themselves when they got up, looked in the mirror, and saw his work. More importantly, they saw their own beauty in the most simple terms at the hands of a true artist.
So creases in concealer? If you don’t want them, great, use these steps. If you have other things to do with your time, you’ll be remarkable with or without crease-free concealer.
Meet the expert
Celebrity aesthetician and beauty expert Ian Michael Crumm is co-host of the BeautyCurious podcast with Dr Elyse Love.
Ian is known for his passion for skincare and sun safety and is actively involved in philanthropic efforts to promote skin cancer awareness, and believes that #ProtectedSkinWins.