How to Use Undereye Brightening Powders to Look Less Tired

Long gone are the days of having time for bonafide beauty sleep. Today, it seems like most of us pine after soothing eye masks and workhorse concealers in hopes of brightening the shadows under our eyes. I, for one, slap ungodly amounts of Allure‘s Best of Beauty-winning Nars Soft Matte Concealer over my hereditary dark circles. When I clock in seven-plus hours of sleep, concealer suffices, but for the days when I’ve stayed up past my bedtime, even the most pigmented formula spackled on in multiple layers won’t conceal my visible lack of sleep. For those days, I’ve started enlisting undereye brightening powder.

It’s like insurance for your concealer:

“Undereye brightening powders are the perfect way to elevate your concealer to the next level,” explains makeup artist, Vincent Oquendo, who works with Hailey Baldwin and Bella Hadid. “If you have stopped being impressed by what your favorite concealer is doing under your eyes, or if you didn’t get enough sleep and your dark circles are peeking through, it’s the perfect insurance plan.”

They’re easier to choose than setting powder:

Unlike choosing skin care — or even a foundation geared toward your skin type — choosing an undereye powder is not dependent upon whether you’re oily or dry, notes Daniel Martin, brand ambassador for Dior and creative color consultant for Honest Beauty. (In other words, you could snag one without an overwrought crisis of indecision in a Sephora and it’d probably be a safe bet.)

All the coverage without the weighty feel of a thick concealer:

Both Martin and Oquendo opt for colorless undereye powders; specifically, the Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder ($28), a talc-free formula comprised of light-reflecting pigments that create a less shadowy and more bright-eyed look. (Side note: E.L.F. has a near-comparable dupe at a fraction of the price.)

Becca Under Eye Brightening Powder

Becca also recently launched its Bright Eyes Collection, a three-product eye-brightening set with an undereye primer, concealer, and yes — an undereye brightening setting powder. The powder in question sets your concealer, but it is also formulated with light-reflective pearl powders and antioxidants to pull double-duty in combatting undereye shadows and puffiness.

Martin, who works with Elizabeth Moss and Priyanka Chopra, loves Laura Mercier’s powder because it works on a range of skin tones to “brighten the eye area without the look and weight of concealer.”

Just a light touch is needed:

Choosing an undereye powder may be straightforward, but application takes some direction. For starters, you can’t just whip out your Beautyblender. “Applying with a sponge can deposit too much powder,” Martin explains, “which will look heavy and metallic in photos — not cute.” For the same reason, he warns against “baking” with undereye powder. Instead, Martin recommends using a small, fluffy blending brush, such as the Morphe G24 Blending Fluff Brush, which he says “picks up the right amount [of product] and deposits just enough to brighten what you need.”

Oquendo agrees on the small, fluffy brush front; he suggests applying concealer first and then “lightly dust[ing] the powder over [the top]” with one. (Note: You’ll definitely want to designate one of your brushes specifically for that undereye area — I’ve grabbed seemingly clean eye shadow brushes only to find they’re laced with glittery black shadow.)

Until someone invents a breakthrough way to squeeze in some extra z’s (while still getting everything done that needs to get done), at least with brightening powders you’re only a few sweeps away from looking like you got them.

More bright ideas:

  • How to Get Rid of Bags Under Eyes and Dark Circles the Affordable Way
  • The 12 Best Undereye Concealers for Dark Circles
  • How to Actually Get Rid of Dark Undereye Circles for Good

Dark cirlces, be gone: