If you know me at all, you know I’m just about the world’s clumsiest idiot; I can fall over while just standing there, never mind what a disaster I am in heels or — god forbid — in motion. It’s no adorable rom-com Katherine Heigl spazzy-cute thing, though; no son, it’s full-on Three Stooges territory over here. So when I literally walked into a door a couple weeks ago (no domestic abuse here, just obliviousness and poor reaction skills — I’m here to tell you that it is possible), I was neither shocked nor particularly worried. I shrugged it off; I’m resilient, I’d be fine. It was, as they say, my ego that was bruised.
This is what happens when you try to date a dentist.
But that night when I removed my eye makeup, I did a Charlie Chaplin-style double take when I realized that all was not quiet on the home front. My eye socket was turning an angry, mottled purple, starting in the inner corner and spreading to the browbone. This was confusing, since it was the area above my eye that took the beating.
To The Google!
Wikipedia clarified that black eyes — or periorbital hematomas, if you’re fancy — commonly manifest due to trauma to areas around the eye, not necessarily the socket itself. “Despite the name, the eye itself is not affected. Blunt force or trauma to the eye socket results in burst capillaries and subsequent haemorrhaging (hematoma). The fatty tissue along with the lack of muscle around the eye socket allows a potential space for blood accumulation. As this blood is reabsorbed, various pigments are released similar to a bruise lending itself to the extreme outward appearance.”
Fat deposits and blood accumulation? Gross!
By the second day I looked like I should be working in a flower shop and apologizing to Mr. Mushnik. The bruise seeped into my undereye skin, giving me that classic shiner look I sported in fourth grade after getting hit in the face with a baseball. Not so cute on a grown woman — and I had to appear in public without frightening small children or making people worry about my home life. Thank god for cosmetics. Should this misfortune ever befall you, learn from my (very painful) mistakes. These tips can also be used for severe dark circles.
Shorten your recovery time by pre-treating
Assuming your eye is in good shape, and the only pain you’re feeling is where you bonked your head (you might want to check with Web MD or your general practitioner; I’m no doctor), you can pre-treat to minimize the healing time. The classic advice is to grab a big ol’ fatty steak and slap it on there. The chill from refrigeration will help reduce the swelling, and the malleable shape makes it easy to wear. But if there’s broken skin, you won’t want to expose it to raw meat, which can harbor bacteria. Either put it in a ziplock bag or go with the frozen peas option. Pop a painkiller for the pain you’re probably feeling (avoid aspirin because it will inhibit clotting), and keep your head elevated to discourage pooling (shudder).
Start with a clean base
Make sure your canvas is as clean as possible; you don’t need any extra mascara darkening your socket. Then start with an eye shadow base. A good one will help neutralize along with creating a surface to grab the concealer. In painting myself back into normalcy, I used more Smashbox Eye Shadow Primer than anything else. It’s a nude/apricot color that really helped to neutralize the purple, and it’s creamier than other eye primers (I know a lot of people swear by Urban Decay, but I like Smashbox’s heavier texture better). Plus, the doe-foot applicator made it easy to pack the product in one spot. Blend the harsh edges with a concealer brush, being careful not to smudge the concentrated pigment in the center.
Color-correct and conceal
Kindergarten stuff, people.
You’re going to want to refer to color theory for color-correction. Laura Mercier has a great one in a rose/mauve for purple circles that you layer under concealer for a neutralizing effect. It looks silly and weird before your skin-matching concealer step, but it really does work magic. You can also mix with a creamy concealer in your shade for more subtle correction. Then, as the bruise turns increasingly Monet-esque (seriously, all the colors of the rainbow, y’all), you can reach for your trusty color wheel and just balance with the shade on the opposite end of the spectrum. Makeup For Ever has amazing skintone-based color-correcting palettes. As for concealer, Clé de Peu has a beautiful creamy-but-blendable formula.
Set with a lightweight finishing powder. Then give yourself a sexy, smudgy smokey eye to camouflage discoloration and distract from your undereye area. The smokier the shadow and the bigger the cat-eye, the better.
Days 1, 3, 5. You can see how the bruise spreads from the upper eyelid to the undereye area.
Bottom: Same days, corrected. I got better at concealing it the more I practiced even though the problematic areas migrated, and near the end of the whole thing I just looked kinda tired.