3 Versatile Makeup Looks That Play Up My Dark Under-Eye Circles
It’s been 5 years since I learned to love and accept the dark shadows under my eyes. No, I’m not sleepy or constantly pulling all-nighters, it’s called genetics and I’m pretty content with mine. My deep-set eyes are a spitting image of my father’s and together with my full brows they’re a friendly reminder of my Puerto Rican and Mexican heritage.
The turning point on my journey to loving my under-eye circles was a random day in my freshman year of college when I snoozed my alarm one too many times and ended up running late for my morning classes. I decided to skip my usual simple makeup routine and instead dashed barefaced into the world. To my surprise, when I caught myself in the bathroom midday, I didn’t want to quickly cover up what I saw. Sure, I was most likely sleep deprived and running on coffee, but I realized that my dark under-eye circles were (and are) an inherent part of who I am.
However, since then, whenever I try to gather more information about under-eye circles, whether it be skincare- or makeup-related, every article that pops up revolves around how to make them non-existent. As somebody who strongly advocates owning the features that make you unique, it’s quite frustrating. Of course, there are days when you simply want to treat yourself to a full-face of makeup, which will most likely include a layer or two of concealer, and that’s ok. Yet, I truly believe that if there were more beauty articles that focused on how to own and emphasize dark under-eye circles rather than hide them, people wouldn’t be so self-conscious in the first place.
So, it’s time to start shifting this conversation. Milk Makeup is all about celebrating one’s features, dismantling stilted beauty constructs, and putting a spin on your typical makeup looks. I’m no beauty guru, but these 3 concealer-free looks ahead never fail to make me feel my best. They’re simple looks that a makeup noob like myself can easily do, and each one can be served separately or be built upon. They’ll bring out the best of a feature that’s usually seen as a burden, because they work with under-eye circles instead of diverting attention away from them.
I paired up with NYC-based hairstylist and makeup artist, Shideh Kafei, to dream up the looks. First things first, these key items will serve as the base for all three looks. Meet the ultimate duo: Ubame Mascara and Sunshine Skin Tint (I wear it in Sand).
These two are partners-in-crime in all my concealer-free looks, because Sunshine Skin Tint evens out my skin with only one light layer and Ubame Mascara instantly opens up my eyes by giving my lashes natural dimension and length.
So, once your face is evened out and your mascara is done, you can proceed to try your look of choice:
1. All of the gloss:
There’s something about a glossy lid that makes any (and all) beauty looks appear effortless-yet-editorial. This is the elevated version of the days when I used to splatter Vaseline all over my face when eczema exacerbated my under-eye circles. The skin around my eyes was especially sensitive to pollen and Puerto Rico’s humidity, and would turn red or deep purple.
However, this time around, the star of this look is Face Gloss. I applied it freely on my eyelids, cheekbones and lips with my fingertips — but keep in mind that a little goes a long way. Now, if you want to achieve an even more glossy, dimensional look, you can pair it with Eye Vinyl in Bridge. As for my brows, I kept it simple by using the the brush end of Gel Brow to put them in their place.
2. Go bold or go home:
Who doesn’t feel automatically confident once they’ve put red lipstick on? The magic of a bold lip is that it balances dark under-eye circles. For this look, I applied Gel Brow liberally, then toned Face Gloss down by removing the excess with a makeup remover wipe. I wanted to make the bold lip the true MVP. When it comes to blush, I like to use Lip Color in Name Drop on my cheeks to keep the colors cohesive; just rub your fingers against Lip Color and dab onto the apples of your cheeks using a bit of Face Gloss for easier blending and a dewy finish. For a bit of added shine, I swept the Holographic Stick in Mars on the highs of my cheekbones, and was left with a not-so basic, bold look (if I do say so myself.)
Baby hairs are the perfect match for this makeup moment, but they’re totally optional!
3. Another type of shine:
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to shy away from a smoky eye if you have prominent under-eye circles; it can actually be the best look to highlight them. You know what they say: if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. A smoky eye — courtesy of Eye Pigment in Hotel Lobby and Silent Disco — emphasizes dark under-eye circles in all the right ways. Sure, dark color can be intimidating to apply, but it’s nothing that your fingers and a good fluffy eyeshadow brush can’t achieve. To craft this look, I used my fingers to spread a bit of Eye Pigment in Hotel Lobby on the inner corner of my eyelid all the way up to my brows and then, with a smaller eyeshadow brush, blended Eye Pigment in Silent Disco from the center of my eyelid towards the outer corners of my eyes and eyebrow, as if creating a bold cat-eye, but without the fear of it not being perfectly sharp. Now, combined with a just-bitten lip color — which you can easily achieve by placing a bit of Lip Color in Name Drop on the center and the inner rim of your lips and gently dabbing Face Gloss on top to smudge it out — this look is one that oozes witchy mystery.