I do believe in the genius that is under-eye concealer. But I want to take some time to address how it should be worn--or at least, how it should be applied. Because application is key.

So I'm risking life and limb here by revealing some unbelievably unattractive photos (1 and 2, specifically) so that you can see step by step just how it's done (well, how I do it, I should say).

Note the dark circles. I blame my Polish roots (mostly because i once read an article in which Diane Kruger talked about inheriting very dark under-eye circles from her Polish grandmother). Every time I go home and I walk downstairs that first morning, I give my mother a fright. Am I sick? Have I not been sleeping? she wonders. Nope. Just genetics. And maybe bad allergies--that's my hypothesis.

1: dark circles

2: yup, see 'em there?

Euf. Okay, now that you've seen the before, let's get to work. The most important thing is to focus on more than just the problem area. Please, I entreat you, do not simply focus on the circles themselves--don't only apply the concealer there! I start in the lower corner of my eye and work outward and downward (along my nose). For shape think of an elongated arrowhead. And hint: I don't always get the whole of the dark circle--the bit furthest away from my nose I often leave for basic foundation.

3: under-eye concealer begins

4: not limited to area of darkness (key)

Now pat. Below you can see one eye patted in.

5: one patted in.

6: use ring finger (lightest touch)

7: like so

Use your ring finger--it is always the finger with the lightest touch. And for the love of all that is good, don't rub. Okay, maybe when the patting is finished rub just a bit--but with great discretion.

8: see--ring on the finger

The above process is then finished off with foundation all over the rest of the face--and the foundation need not go over the concealer. It can meet the edge of it, but don't pile foundation on top of concealer.

Below begins what I refer to the owl eye brightening process. It is a second way to apply concealer--learned during my short stint as a makeup artist for a cosmetic company. I only use it when I'm in the mood, but I must admit it works quite well. You apply the concealer in small dashes all around the eyes and up over the eyebrows (think owl). Then pat in (again with ring finger). The effect is the brightening of the area all around the eyes. We want to do all we can to avoid applying under-eye concealer to just the under-eye dark circles--if you take anything away from this, take that little nugget of info.

9: method 2--owl eyes

10: mean to brighten up whole area

The final step in brightening the eyes--because that's what this is all about, no?--is finding a great eye base for eyeshadow that can be worn alone. A neutral shade that just pops the eyelid is key.

12: ready for my close up

13: there you have it

Oftentimes I don't want to leave the house in a full face of makeup so I begin (always, always) with  a moisturizer that has an SPF. From there I put on my under-eye concealer and a bit of mascara and that's all I need.

In this final picture I do have on mascara, concealer, light foundation, a bit of bronzer, and just a swipe of eye-shadow. The result from picture to picture is extremely subtle, but all together it adds up to something that nicely enhances my own brand of natural beauty (Don't believe me? Return now to picture 1 and 2. We're on the same page now? Phew).

Happy concealing (or, well, enhancing, really)!