When it comes to skin care concerns, tackling dark under eye circles is top the list with a majority of my Twitter followers. I get more questions about dark circles on Twitter, facebook and when I appear on Cityline than any other issue. So this week, I thought I would delve into the topic and find some practical solutions.
To start, genetics plays the biggest role in dark circles. If you inherit thin or fair skin under the eyes, then blood vessels close to the skin’s surface will show through more easily. It is the blood in these blood vessels that gives the circles their dark hue. When blood pools there, capillaries can stretch and leak resulting in a dark shadow under the eye. Some skin tones such as South Asian and very fair Caucasian are more prone to this condition. And it is no surprise that sun tanning can accelerate this process by causing collagen to break down. Seasonal allergies can also inflame blood vessels thanks to the release of histamines in the body. This results in swelling which, in turn, causes those dark circles to appear.
“It’s important that when we look in the mirror we identify exactly what type of dark circle we have,” explains Lancôme’s National Makeup Artist Myles Sexton. “This is more important so that we can target the dark circle with the proper skincare. A young mom who is lacking sleep has a ‘fatigue dark circle’ which needs to be treated with more anti- fatigue skincare. Whereas a women who genetically gets dark circles has more of a hyper-pigmentation issue under the eye which is better treated with skincare that smoothes texture and brightens the underwhelming pigments. Though these two types of dark circles might be different by their cause you would still fix them both in a similar manner.”
He says the biggest mistake he sees regarding dark circles is lack of good skincare and using too much heavy concealer. Both actually accentuate the problem.
Myles says a good brightening eye serum is a secret weapon of pro makeup artists. “The combination of caffeine and vitamin B5 helps to instantly brighten the eye and helps prevent the appearance of dark circles over time.” He recommends you apply your favourite eye cream over the eye serum. “Colour correcting is the next step. I use peachy-pink for fair skintones or Lancôme’s Cushion Blush #31 for medium-to-dark complexions.” Colour correctors work on colour theory – you want to use a colour opposite of your dark circle shade on the colour wheel to neutralize it. This is the way to tackle blue, purple or green tones under the eye. Don’t forget to powder lightly to set the concealer. Myles like to apply a tiny amount of Lancôme’s 24h Tient Idole Ultra Foundation as the finishing touch. “Since I started colour correcting, I stopped using concealer and just apply my foundation on top. It instantly masks any darkness and makes my clients look like they’ve had a full night of sleep.”
“The biggest issue for me is how can I cover and make a clients dark circles disappear while looking natural. I think that dark circles always need to start with skincare in combination with makeup.”
“For South Asian women, sometimes darkness under the eyes can be more genetically pigment-related rather than a lack of sleep. Their best friend is actually using my little artistry secret by placing a very orange colour corrector on top of their dark pigmentation. I like to use our cushion blush in shade 31 as a colour corrector and then follow with their favourite concealer or foundation.”
For olive skin tones, he likes to use a combination of yellow and peachy pink colour correctors. The reason being is that an olive skin tone the under eye can sometimes be a bit sallow. This can pull a lot of green tones. The combination of these two colour correctors will brighten the shallowness under the eye and colour correct at the same time. Then you would follow with your favourite foundation or concealer.
Proper appplication is key to a flawless result. “I would suggest using a fluffy brush like our #17 eye shadow brush to deposit your foundation or concealer under the eye. Fluffy eye shadow brushes will help create more of an air-brushed effect with your products where fingers or flat brushes only deposit product rather then deposit and blend them like a fluffy brush would.” This single tip can make a world of difference.
“Picking the right concealer shade can be hard because we all have such drastically different undertones within our skin. It’s important to identify if you have a warm, yellow undertone, a cool pink or red undertone or a neutral undertone that is a combination of the two. At many retailers, there are tools and very talented makeup artists that can help you quickly identify your skin’s under tone. “If you want to discover it for yourself, colour swipe three concealers on your cheek. Most concealers are labeled with a W for warm yellow , N for neutral and C for pink and red tones. When you stripe all three on your cheek, you will see that one of the three will blend in or even disappear on your skin tone. That is the one that best complements your skin. If the colour stands out, it means that the under tone of the colour is fighting with your skin.
Remember to change your concealer with the season. Typically you should have a summer concealer colour and a winter concealer colour. I like to mix them together to transition in between seasons. “The most important thing for women to know about dark circles is don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are so many retailers full of trained makeup artists that together can help you say goodbye to your dark circles. All you have to do is ask.”
Lancôme is available in Canada at Hudson’s Bay stores and thebay.com