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The envy of panda-eyed people everywhere: Laneige’s luminous ambassador, K-Beauty icon Song Hye Kyo

Beauty junkies, quiz time: What’s the one makeup addiction you don’t see yourself breaking anytime soon? If your mind skipped straight to tinted sunscreen, we applaud you for your conscientiousness, but if it’s concealer you’re craving, then consider yourself a cherished member of a covert community of “undercover” international agents!

All jesting aside, the market for eye concealer is a seriously big business, not least of all in Asia. Jason Matthews, skincare expert from the R&D division of The Body Shop, says that studies have shown that up to seven out of 10 Asian women complain of dark circles: “41 percent of these women say the eyes are a key concern, making it the number two skin care concern in Asia.” Translation: There’s a good chance that the women you see prowling your local cosmetics aisles are panda-eyed people in desperate need of a fast fix.

Orange you glad for concealer?

The great beauty about covering the beauty beat is the “sheer” amount of skill involved – which, not to get too punny about it, is “buildable” over time. To wit, the most striking tip I’ve snagged from a fellow skincare scribe is this: If you’re in dire need of a touch-up, use a coral coloured cream lippie as an emergency undereye concealer.

Yes, this year’s must-have makeup essential – in Spring’s must-have hue, to boot! – does triple-duty as an emollient eye cover-up.

If smearing lipstick directly onto your lids is too outré for your sensibilities, here’s a “proper” eye product that makes use of orangey tints to mask dark circles. A savvy suite of Shiseido scientists – no doubt assisted by an assembly of marketing execs – have coined a catchy, camera-related moniker to the unevenness in tone around the eye area: “Colour noise”.

Beauty Basics: How to conceal dark eye circles Shiseido

Shiseido Sheer Eye Zone Corrector, $45 for 3.8ml, available in six Asian-friendly shades

To “cancel” said colour noise, the Japanese beauty brand’s new hero product – an exceedingly good one, we might add – contains a carefully curated patchwork of pink pigments that create what’s evocatively referred to as a luminous “lace curtain” (these cosmetic copywriters are quite the wordsmiths, aren’t they).

The glowy gossamer gauze “grabs” onto complementary coral tints to cancel out the dullness of dark circles, while letting just enough light to filter in to give the illusion of beguilingly bare skin.

Tip: Shiseido’s international artistic director Dick Page says the Sheer Eye Zone Corrector can double up as an on-the-go luminiser. Use the blunt end of the paddle-shaped applicator to brush on a thin layer over strategic areas of your face (and go one shade lighter in this instance): Brow bone, nose bridge, cupid’s bow; wherever you think would do well with a touch of tangerine.

Indeed, orange, in all its glorious citrusy cheeriness, appears to be the new colour code for beauty aficionados we spoke to. Laneige Singapore’s resident trainer Tina Oh, for instance, says that the end goal of undereye concealer is to brighten up the area. Tina suggests selecting a salmon tint for that purpose: “For blemishes that are bluish in hue, use an undereye concealer with an orangey base, as the yellows in the formula will cancel out the blue-black tones of your circles.”

Other points to note: If you’re oil-adverse, it’s incredibly important to accept that strategic spot treatment will go a long way. For a thirst-quenching fix, try layering a creamy textured concealer, like Laneige’s Dark Circle Concealer Kit, over a rich eye cream – this will help soften those crepey, spidery lines that are the ominous beginnings of deeper-set crow’s feet.

Take it from the expert: “A cream-based product that’s infused with soothing oils is your best bet, because the chances of unsightly caking and creasing are drastically reduced if you keep the delicate skin well hydrated and perfectly moisturised,” adds Tina Oh.

The craft of concealment

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Laura Mercier Secret Concealer, $41, and Camouflage Powder Brush, $46

How you conceal is arguably as important as what you use to conceal with. Tools at the ready? Here’s how. Get started by grabbing an angled synthetic brush – celebrity makeup artist Larry Yeo is a fan of Laura Mercier’s excellent Camouflage Powder Brush – and use the blunt edge to dab on your concealer of choice.

“Cover obvious blue-grey areas with a peach-toned corrector, then dust on a yellow-tinted setting powder, like M.A.C’s Loose powder in NC 5,” Larry says. Less is most definitely more in this instance; pat on just a pinch of the powder, starting from the inner corners and fanning out.

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Laneige Dark Circle Concealer Kit, $35, Satin Finish Loose Powder, $52, and Water Supreme Finishing Pact, $55

If you’re more of an enthusiastic, hands-on type of girl, Laneige trainer Tina Oh cautions against exerting excessive pressure: “Warm up the product by rubbing it between your thumb and forefinger, then use your non-dominant ring finger to pat it in.”

When you think about it, using your left hand (if you’re right-handed) makes a great deal of sense, since the relatively weaker muscles will keep you from tugging too hard on the delicate orbital skin.

On to application proper. Start by dotting your concealer in a line under your eye, working from the inner corner and sweeping outwards. Note: If you can’t find an orange-tinted product, Tina also recommends a tiny bit of translucent powder – we like Laneige’s Satin Finish Loose Powder – under your eye to “freeze” the pigments so that the concealer doesn’t slip and slide down your nose.

Now, when covering circles, we should go round the entire eye, right? Wrong! The terribly unflattering “reverse panda” look ranks right up there with lipstick feathering as the most vexing of our beauty pet peeves. Here’s a personal tip: Look down into a mirror placed flat on a table to locate the crescent-shaped wedge beneath your eye, then blend outwards with a damp sponge.

Key takeaway? Always apply judiciously, and only on the shadowy inner area!

Curate your own concealer closet

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Lancôme Le Correcteur Pro Professional Concealer Palette, $62

By now, it should be clear that when it comes to concealers, one shade most certainly doesn’t fit all. Instead, create concealer couture, so to speak, by building up a wardrobe of flesh-toned dresses, to be layered over each other when the occasion calls for it.

If this custom concealer approach comes across as tedious and daunting, that’s because it is. There’s no short cut to beauty … or is there? Right now, we’re coveting Lancôme’s seriously cool Le Correcteur Pro Professional Concealer Palette, a killer three-in-one solution that’ll take care of just about all of your cover-up jobs.

Lina Tock, national makeup artist for Lancôme Singapore, recommends stashing this “little black dress” of a product in your concealer closet, for targeted touch-ups throughout the day: “If you’ve been pulling all-nighters, your blood circulation will become sluggish, resulting in a pronounced bruise-like effect.”

To combat the tainted tint of tiredness, use the palette’s accompanying brush to pick up the orangey base at the leftmost side of the Lancôme palette: “Pay particular care to the purple wedge directly under the inner eye corners, which is the most visible sign of fatigue.” When you’re done, use the fluffy end of the brush to set your makeup with powder.

If you have a couple of minutes to play around with while waiting for your date, Tina Oh from Laneige suggests blending a bit of your fluid foundation on top of your concealer: “This extra padding of skin-toned colour will create a really seamless, polished look.”

To make sure your concealer stays put, you may want to pat on a little extra powder on the inner corners. Cut through all that matteness by adding some light-bouncing flair by way of a slick or two from a highlighting pen. Viola! A dewy, semi-sheer finish that will leave you looking like you had the nap of a lifetime!

Shiseido Sheer Eye Zone Corrector, $45 for 3.8ml, is available at all Shiseido counters. For more information, visit www.sg.shiseido.com and follow the brand on Facebook.

Lancôme Le Correcteur Pro Professional Concealer Palette, $62, is available at all Lancôme counters. For more information, visit www.lancome.com.sg and follow Lancôme Singapore on Facebook and Instagram.

All Laneige products featured above are available at all Laneige counters. For more information, visit www.laneige.com.sg and follow the brand on Facebook.

Laura Mercier Secret Concealer, $41, and Laura Mercier Camouflage Powder Brush, $46, are available at all Laura Mercier counters. For more information, visit www.lauramercier.com and follow the brand on Facebook.

Larry Yeo can be contacted at www.larryyeo.com.