5 Makeup Tips to Know About If You’re Trying to Disguise Tired Eyes

I am no makeup whizz, trust me. I can’t do winged liner (despite years of trying), I have no idea how to contour like people on TikTok do, and any attempt at lining my lips is guaranteed to end badly. Truthfully, my lack of artistic ability is probably the reason I like to keep my makeup natural-looking and as quick and easy a possible. 

There is, however, one makeup technique I consider myself a master at, and that’s my ability to brighten up my constantly tired eyes. My incessant dark circles, puffy eyes and persistent under-eye bags mean that I’ve become somewhat of an expert in disguising tired eyes. I have absorbed every tip and trick that I have received throughout my eights years as a beauty journalist from makeup artists and learned how to achieve a look that hides every hint of tired eyes. So without further ado, this is everything you need to know about how to use makeup for tired eyes.

This is by far the most game-changing tip I have ever picked up. When it comes to dark circles, covering them up with concealer often isn’t enough—the purple-hued circles will likely always peep through. Beyond that, slathering on layer upon layer of thick concealer risks making your face look flat and two-dimensional. The best thing you can do to counteract dark circles is apply a colour corrector before applying your concealer. Purple tones are counteracted by apricot-orange hues. Tapping an apricot-toned colour corrector over dark circles and then layering concealer over the top will limit the amount of dulling concealer you need to apply and ensure dark circles are well covered all day long.

After applying your eye cream, scribble this colour-correcting pencil under the eye area and tap it in with your ring finger—the creaminess of your eye treatment will allow the pigment to melt and give it some more blendability.

This colour-correcting, under-eye concealer from Charlotte Tilbury is a favourite amongst beauty editors and makeup artists. Simply warm up the cream in your fingers and pat under the eye. The shades are stretchable, meaning for serious no-makeup makeup days, you might be able to get away with forgoing that extra layer of concealer.

Once you’ve nailed your colour-corrector application, it’s not just a case of slapping on as much concealer as you can. Many makeup artists have told me in the past that under-eye concealing is at its best when it doesn’t stretch all the way up to the lower lash line. Instead, dot the concealer along the darkest area of your under-eye circles (this tends to stretch in a quarter-circle from the inner corner downwards) and pat and blend with your ring finger. Applying your concealer too close to your lower-lash line will risk making your makeup look unnatural and flat.

One of the best concealers out there for natural-looking results, Glossier Stretch melts into skin with unparalleled ease. Just dab your finger in and pat into whichever areas you feel you need it most.

Easily one of the best concealers out there for full, under-eye coverage, Double Wear lasts for hours on end without any need for setting powder.

When you’re feeling tired and your eyes are showing it, it’s important to reach for makeup products that work to brighten things up. While dark liners and shadow can make tired eyes look heavier and smaller, that’s not to say you shouldn’t reach for liner at all. In fact, one of the biggest tricks that makeup artists use on set to widen and awaken the eye area is by applying a nude liner to the lower waterline. It also helps brighten up the whites of your eyes, creating the illusion of a wider and brighter look.

New from Victoria Beckham Beauty, the nude liner trick has been one that VB herself has turned to many times over the years.

It’s common for makeup-artist brands, such as Charlotte Tilbury, to have a nude liner on offer. The reason is that the founding artists have long used the nude liner trick on sets and red carpets.

This might not be an obvious trick at first, but believe me when I say that brushing up your brows can help make tired eyes look more alive. The simple act of brushing up brows helps to lift the eye area, taking the eye away from any areas of heavy puffiness. Using a clean spoolie, brush brow strands up and across to create lift, and finish by fixing with a brow gel.

This brow gel has a thicker brush than many others, lending itself to supercharged lift, right from the root. Most impressively, though, it also fixes strands in place without a hint of crispiness or flaking.

This is my favourite brow gel. The plastic comb means you can skip the spoolie step altogether and just go straight in with the comb. It grabs every brow strand on its way up, creating a lift that conditions brows while it works.

I’ve only adopted this tip recently, as it’s taken me a little while to get right—but it’s easily the most eye-brightening makeup application technique out there. The trick is to apply a small amount of luminous highlight to the inner corner of your eye and to the outer edge of the brow bone, just underneath the brow itself. The light-reflecting properties of highlighter will create the illusion of brightness, opening up the eyes to counteract every hint of tiredness. The key to this technique, I have learned, is to adopt a less-is-more approach. Remember, you can always build intensity, but you can’t take it away. Going in light with the highlight at first helps prevent the light-reflecting pigment migrating into areas you don’t want it.

This new eye shadow duo from Rose Inc contains a shimmering powder shadow and a creamy base. Use a fine-nibbed brush to apply the highlighting shade into the corner of the eye and warm the product up under your finger to press the powder lightly under the brow bone.

If, like me, you don’t have great belief in your application skills, this luminous cream is a great option. With a subtle, skin-like finish, it’s virtually foolproof.

Next up, I have dark under-eye circles—these are the only 11 concealers that work for me.