By Liz Bekesz


Wabi Sabi is the Japanese philosophy of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in nature. Hand-knit scarves are wabi sabi; rainbow oil slick puddles are wabi sabi; even David Bowie’s two different-color eyeballs can be viewed as a wabi sabi delight.

But puffy eyes? Dark Circles? Blemishes? Not so much.

Blame it on stress, hormones, or sweat; chalk it up to a salt binge, insomnia, or “other” indulgences and misbehaviors: Sooner or later, we all look a little less than perfect; sooner or later, we all have something to hide. And while immediate eradication of offenders like blemishes and under-eye puffiness is a highly desirable goal, it’s not always a realistic option. That’s when expert advice comes in handy.

I turn to Jason Ascher, the make-up guru at Barneys New York. Ascher emphasizes that formula, shade and application are all important factors to consider when selecting your best means of cover. I admit I often mix a little something sparkly into my foundation or concealer, and I think I see him wince, ever-so-slightly.

“I like concealers to be concealers,” states Ascher. “I don’t like them to have any mica or any luminosity. I don’t really like eye brightening luminizer under the eyes,” states Ascher. “I like a true foundation product and concealer under the eyes set with a powder that might, or might not, have a little luminosity to it. But, I definitely don’t want to see the sparkles even if I look close up. It has to be so finely milled that it’s barely noticeable…too often, you can see the glitter from across the table. I can still get the coverage I need, not having to use anything luminizing or brightening.”

Ascher is less strict about eye creams, which sometimes have a bit crushed pearl or luminosity blended in as an ingredient. He’ll use one like Yves Saint Laurent Temps Majeur Yeux before going right over it with concealer. He adds, “While the cream has a slight luminizing quality to it, you can only see it when you actually look at the product; once it sinks into skin, it simply disappears, and helps refract light.”

Unfortunately, a little light refraction wasn’t going to help my case. Ascher explained that my chief problem was actually puffiness, which creates shadows under eyes when light hits from above. Short of walking around with a candle under chin all day, the only real solution for this issue is liposuction – not there yet. Luckily, topical solutions can definitely help de-puff and conceal; look for an eye treatment with caffeine to help drain and de-puff the eye area. sjal Orbe Eye Contour Cream is one that helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles, as well as fatty deposits, dark circles, and puffiness. Ascher lets the cream sink in, and then finishes with an opaque liquid concealer that disappears into my skin perfectly. Voila! His artistry leaves behind nothing but the illusion of a full eight hours’ sleep.

Which, truth be told, is more of a foreign concept right now than wabi sabi.

Yves Saint Laurent Temps Majeur Yeux, sjal Orbe Eye Contour Cream, and Bobbi Brown Concealer can be found at Barney’s New York and at


*YES, The same concealer used under the eyes can generally be used to cover blemishes and reduce redness around the nose, if foundation is not enough.

*NO, never use the brush tip of a concealer to actually blend the product in; instead, use a synthetic flat, round brush. And never use your fingers to blend make-up underneath the eyes – it’s far too much pressure for the delicate area.

*MAYBE you should consider a lighter or darker concealer shade, depending on the season, like you should foundation.

*MENTAL NOTE: Make sure you don’t go too light with your concealer; light just brings puffiness forward, and highlights everything you want to hide.


It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Full Coverage Waterproof Concealer With Collagen and Vitamins C & K is a new, highly pigmented formula that stays put all day. Moisturizing formula is also hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic.

Order It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Full Coverage Waterproof Concealer at and

VMV Hypoallergenics Weightless Opacity Skin Alchemy is a feather-light liquid that offers cake-concealer-level coverage with a lightweight feel and a natural look. Soft, comfortable finish. Hypoallergenic, PABA-free, Non-Comedogenic, and suitable for all skin types.

VMV Hypoallergenics Weightless Opacity Skin Alchemy is available at

Appointments with Jason Ascher at Barneys New York can be made by calling (212) 833-2011. In addition to make-up applications, he can also help you revise or revamp your make-up collection and look.

Originally published October 2010



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