7 ways to prevent your concealer from separating & looking Cakey

Many women use concealer under their eyes, but it ends up looking dry or cakey. If you’re tired of getting a flaky concealer look that highlights your wrinkles and fine lines, then it’s time to add some changes to your beauty routine.

Concealers can separate under the eyes and there are many reasons why this can happen. It’s either your skin is too dry, too oily or you’re choosing the bad concealer formula. In some cases, keeping your concealer past its expiration date might cause it to break up and perform badly on the skin.

Everyone’s concealer might look flaky from a close-up especially at the end of the day. It’s not always possible to prevent your concealer from cracking but many tips and tricks can help to keep your concealer from looking patchy.

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It’s All About the Skin Preparation

Applying concealer on dry under-eyes can make your makeup look so bad. The concealer will cling to dry patches which gives you a cakey look.  It will also emphasize your fine lines and wrinkles, making you look older.

Preparing your skin before applying concealer is a very important step that many people overlook. When it comes to skincare, it’s easy to get overwhelmed but the good thing is that you don’t need to use a lot of products under the eyes. 

lightweight eye creams and eye masks

Moisturize your under eyes by applying a lightweight eye cream like this gel cream with hyaluronic acid. It isn’t too thick, and it sits well under makeup. Dab it gently under the eyes and blend it until it gets absorbed by the skin.

If you have oily skin, be sure NOT to over-moisturize your under-eye area. Use a lightweight gel eye cream that dries quickly without leaving any greasy residue. Avoid applying thick oil under your eye area. Oils don’t dry down quickly, and many concealer formulas might separate or look patchy on top of them. 

If you have extremely dry skin, apply a hydrating eye cream with moisturizing ingredients or a lightweight oil. Let the eye cream soak in for a couple of minutes until it’s all absorbed by the skin, and then apply your concealer.

You can also check value sets that include moisturizers and eye creams. This skincare set, for example, has the Squalane + Marine Algae Eye Cream, which hydrates the under-eye area without leaving it greasy. It has great value, especially for the price.

Another Value Set is this one from Neutrogena. It has The hydro Boost Water Gel Facial Moisturizer and The Hydro Boost Hydrating Gel Eye Cream, formulated with hyaluronic acid to gently hydrate the skin.

neutrogena value set

A great tip is to use a face spray like rose water or any hydrating mist before applying makeup. 

For some people, the concealer and eye cream might work together without any issues, while others will need to experiment with different combinations until they find one that works for them.

There will be some trial and error until you figure out what works best for you. A general rule is to use a light eye cream for the day and a thick and rich formula for the night.

Using a lightweight eye cream can also help prevent your concealer from looking orange and oxidizing.

Related: How to prevent your concealer from looking grey?

Pick the Right Concealer Type

The three most popular concealer formulas are liquids, creams, and sticks. Each one of these types works for different skin concerns. Cream and stick concealers have a thick texture that works best to conceal blemishes on the face.

Read More: Cream Vs Liquid Concealers.

Fine lines often form under the eyes as we age, and using thick concealer formulas on this area will exaggerate those wrinkles and make your under eyes look cakey and dry.

how to prevent concealer separating

Liquid formulas are less dry, making them more suitable for the under-eye area. Depending on their formula, liquid concealers can provide sheer to full coverage. They are easy to blend under the eyes and don’t settle into fine lines as much as cream or stick concealers.

While dry under eyes may benefit from satin, dewy finish liquid concealers, oily under eyes are often best suited for matte finishes such as those offered by Elf or Mac pro Longwear Concealer.

If you have a full-coverage matte concealer that you still like to use, try to mix this concealer with a lightweight moisturizer. This technique can help the concealer to blend easily into the skin. It can also sheer it down while still providing hydration to the under-eye area. You can also mix your concealer with foundation.

Apply the Concealer Correctly     

Apply your concealer in a patting motion to get an even finish. 

Make sure not to forget to apply the product to the inner corners of your eyes too. Concealers start to separate in this area first, especially if not applied correctly.

Use your fingers to tap the product under the eyes. 

This will allow for better blending because the warmth of your finger can help the makeup melt into the skin. 

Since the eye area is small, blending the concealer with a sponge works better than brushes or fingers.

real techniques Mini Miracle Complexion Sponge

Press gently with a damp sponge and blend the product seamlessly. 

The sponge will help to smooth the creases, and it will also absorb any excess product that might look cakey.

Avoid dragging the concealer under your eyes. This might not give you the best result since it will create a masking effect that may look unnatural.

Tip: The under-eye area is very thin and has many fine lines, so applying too much product on top of it can give a heavy look. Ensure you use minimal amounts of eye cream, concealer, or setting powder.

You can also let the concealer sit on the skin before blending. This trick can help the concealer to stay longer while giving you a crease-free look.

Work in Layers to Avoid the Cakey Look

Working in thin layers is key if you want an even finish that looks like skin but better. 

Even if your dark circles need full coverage, try a less-is-more approach. That is, rather than starting with a thick coat of concealer and building from there, start thin, then add layers as needed.

A thick layer of concealer applied all at once can make your eyes look smaller. It will start crumbling or flaking throughout the day, making your under eyes look cakey.

avoid cakey concealer

Set With Powder Immediately

Ensure the concealer never settled into any fine lines before applying the powder.

Use a damp sponge or a small brush and set the concealer by pressing the powder lightly under the eyes. 

Real Techniques Professional Setting Makeup Brush

Opt for a very lightweight powder like this translucent and brightening formula to set the concealer. Remember that your undereye skin is thin, and you want a silky powder that won’t settle into fine lines. 

Try to avoid thick powders as they might look heavy under the eyes. 

Apply a tiny amount and let it set, then brush any excess away. 

There are many great setting sprays that are available on the market and you don’t need to get an expensive one. For more suggestions, check this guide on the best setting sprays from the drugstore.

Try an Under Eye Primer

If your concealer is still separating, no matter what you do, try to use an under-eye primer.

Apply a small amount to the under-eye area before putting concealer on. The primer will prepare the skin by creating a smooth finish for the concealer to lay on.

Avoid thick primers that might leave any residue on the skin. Opt for a lightweight and silky texture instead. 

Under-eye primers can help blur the skin, reduces the appearance of wrinkles, and creates a smooth canvas for makeup application.

Some under-eye primers have hydrating ingredients, too, which help nourish dry skin. 

Related: Primer Vs Concealer

Is Your Concealer Separating in the Tube?

After a while, many makeup products can start to go bad. Concealers will inevitably start to break down in the tube and become discolored. 

The reason for this might be because they contain ingredients like water or oil that started to separate. 

If you have an old concealer that is separating, that probably means it has EXPIRED. Using it can cause your skin to break out, so replace it and get a new one.

Concealers generally last for 6 to 12 months. Keeping your concealer past its expiration date might not yield the best results after application. 

How to Fix Cakey Under-Eye Concealer?

Cakey under-eye concealer is a real problem for many women, but it doesn’t have to be. Some easy solutions will help you fix this problem and make your under-eye area look smooth.

The main reason why your concealer looks cakey is because of the extra makeup on top of your skin. You could also be using the wrong concealer formula, tools, or blending technique.

To fix cakey under-eye concealer, use a damp makeup sponge to add hydration to the eye area. Dab the sponge gently over your concealer and let it absorb all the excess product.

You can also spray the sponge with a hydrating mist to add moisture to the skin. 

Should You Use A Foundation Under Your Eyes?

The difference between concealer and foundation can be confusing for some beauty lovers. Many people like to apply a foundation under the eyes to cover dark circles. Some face foundations give the skin a matte or dewy finish, making them unsuitable for the under-eye area. 

Using a correct formula of concealer works the best to hide dark circles and prevent the concealer from separating. 

Under-eye concealers should have a lightweight formula that blends easily under the eyes. Choosing a thick or dry texture will emphasize fine lines and wrinkles.

The Bottom Line on Concealer Separating

When it comes to choosing your under-eye products, use concealers that are emollient and non-drying. 

Avoid using cream and stick formulas as they might separate under the eyes. If you are using a full-coverage concealer, sheer it down by mixing it with a light moisturizer so that it blends better. 

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind concealer

Set your concealer with a silky powder. Some powders have light-reflecting properties, which can give the under-eye area a bright appearance without looking oily.

All these tips and tricks can help to prevent the concealer from cracking. It’s all about using choosing the right products and using the right technique! 

However, preventing the concealer from looking patchy at the end of the day is not always possible and is completely normal. We are all human beings, and many factors like excessive sweating, oily skin, or extremely dry skin can ruin our makeup!  

The flawless look we see in celebrities isn’t easy to achieve! They work hard to keep their appearance perfect and have a team of makeup artists who make sure to touch up their makeup regularly. 

Related Articles on concealer separating.

Why Does Your Concealer Look Patchy? How to Prevent Concealer From Cracking?

Claire is a beauty enthusiast and lover of all things makeup. Her blog is a resource for makeup tips and tricks, product reviews and beauty tutorials.

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