How to Cover a Black Eye

Two Methods:Using MakeupUsing Non-Makeup Solutions

Did you fall off your skateboard the night before the big dance? Get in an embarrassing fight with your little brother that you'd rather not have to explain? Never fear! Hiding that painful, swollen black eye is a simple matter of carefully covering it up with makeup (or an alternative solution) in a way that makes it match your natural skin color. With a few quick tricks, you'll be showing your face with confidence in no time!


Before You Start

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    Hold a cold compress against your eye. The less dark and swollen your black eye is, the easier it will be to hide. Before you try to cover it up, hold a cold compress against your eye for 10 minutes. Then, take the compress off and let your eye rest for 10 more minutes. Repeat this pattern as needed.
    • This will reduce the pain and swelling in the skin around your eye and help stop any bleeding under the skin. This should also make the black eye less noticeable before you even apply any cover-up — if not, it will at least make it less painful to touch.[1]
    • Making a cold compress is easy — just take an ice bag or a sack of frozen vegetables and wrap it in a thin towel or rag. See also How to Apply a Cold Compress.
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    If desired, take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory. If your black eye is especially painful or swollen, you may want to consider taking a small amount of an over-the-counter drug to help soothe it. Specifically, anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen can reduce swelling while easing the pain, making them an especially good choice.
    • Be sure to follow any dosage instructions on the box carefully. If you are a child, get an adult's permission before taking any medicine.
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    Get help if your black eye was the result of abuse. If your black eye is the result of an accident or something non-serious, click here to skip this step. On the other hand, if your black eye was the result of violence that a family member or romantic partner inflicted on you on purpose, you should get help immediately. Getting yourself out of this abusive situation is much more important than hiding the evidence of it. Remember, it is never OK for someone to use violence against you.

Method 1
Using Makeup

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    Use a concealer if you have one. One type of makeup that's especially useful for covering up an unsightly "shiner" is called a concealer. This makeup does just what its name suggests — covers things up so that they look like your normal skin.[2] Concealers are usually designed to cover up noticeable marks like cuts, scars, and so on, so they should work well for bruises, especially small ones.
    • For best results, carefully apply an oil-based concealer with your fingers. This makes it easier to control how hard you press on your eye. If you use a makeup applicator, it's a little easier to accidentally poke your bruise and cause pain and swelling.
    • If you don't have this kind of make up, you can usually find it for a reasonable price at most cosmetics stores. Be sure to get a shade that closely matches your skin tone.
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    Optionally, apply a gentle red shade under your concealer. If your concealer leaves your eye with an "ashen" or unnatural appearance, try removing it and applying a thin red layer underneath before trying again. The red simulates the flow of blood under the skin, giving you a result that (hopefully) looks a little more full, warm, and natural. Best of all, this trick should work for all skin tones.
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    Use a yellow or green corrective concealer. Though it may seem weird to treat a black eye with makeup that's not the same color as your skin, this can actually be very effective if done correctly. Black eyes usually give the skin a blue or purple tinge at first. By applying light-colored makeups with a yellow or light green shade, it's possible to make the two colors "cancel each other out", leaving you with a shade that's close to your natural skin color.[3]
    • The exact shade you should use to get this just right depends on your natural skin tone and the darkness of your black eye. Be ready to experiment — it can take some time, but it looks great when you get a match.
    • Black eyes often turn brownish yellow after a few days. At this point, you'll probably want to shift to a slightly more green shade of makeup or just use your skin tone concealer.
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    Consider using dark eyeshadow to get your eyes to match. If your occasion calls for a bold look (like, for instance, if you're going to a rave or a punk rock concert), you can always consider darkening your "good" eye so that they match. Doing this can leave you with smokey-eyed Avril Lavigne look, which isn't everyone's taste, but if you're confident giving it a shot, go for it!
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    As a last resort, use your normal foundation. In a pinch, you can use whatever skin tone foundation you have with you as a quick solution to your black eye problems. While this will almost always be better than nothing, it's often not ideal. Because of the dark color of the black eye and the semi-transparent quality of most foundations, a bad black eye can partially show through foundation, especially if you're fair-skinned.
    • However, foundation does work well when used in conjunction with the other methods above, so feel free to experiment to get the look that's best for you.

Method 2
Using Non-Makeup Solutions

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    Wear your hair in front of your black eye. If you don't have access to any makeup, don't worry! It's still possible to hide your black eye. For instance, if you have long hair, try wearing your bangs low so that they cover the affected eye. This won't work for everyone — for instance, if you have a pixie cut, you're out of luck — but it's a great first step to keep an embarrassing black eye hidden.
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    Wear shades. Sunglasses are another great choice for covering up a black eye. The great thing about sunglasses is that they allow you to make a conscious, positive decision about your outfit — you're not just trying to hide your black eye, you're also picking the pair of sunglasses that will make you look great. However, this strategy isn't without its downsides: keep in mind, for instance, that wearing shades indoors can raise suspicion.
    • For bad black eyes, larger, darker shades are best. For example, reflective aviators or Kurt Cobain-style vintage frames are great choices.[4]
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    Wear a hat or hoodie. If you can get away with wearing it, headgear offers another chance to hide your black eye. Wear your hat or hood low, but not so low you can't see where you're going — the last thing you want is another black eye.
    • Good choices for hats include standard baseball caps, flat-billed caps, straw hats, sun hats, beanies (stocking caps), and so on. In terms of hoods, basic "hoodie" sweatshirts work well.
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    Try flaunting it! Just can't seem to get your eye looking like brand-new? Don't sweat it. There's usually nothing wrong with wearing your black eye as-is. An unhidden black eye can be a badge of pride: you're basically saying to the world, "I don't care enough to let other people's stupid ideas about beauty ruin my day." Generally, 99% of the people you meet will be curious about your black eye — not repulsed by it. Best of all, it's a conversation starter, and you'll (hopefully) have a funny story to tell everyone who comments on it!


  • If your black eye doesn't start to improve within five to seven days or your vision is affected, see a doctor.
  • Be very careful when applying makeup near your eye. Nothing recommended in this article can seriously hurt you if it gets into your black eye, but it can still really sting.

Article Info

Categories: Eye Makeup