If by some algorithmic error Suzie O’Neill’s Ayu makeup tutorials haven’t found their way into your Instagram scroll yet, you’re missing out.
That is exactly how I discovered this Irish beauty brand, Ayu, and the makeup artist mastermind behind it. I’m all for the theatrical creativity and expression behind some of the more dramatic makeup tutorials out there, but if you want easy to follow, beautifying, normal person makeup tips, check out Ayu and Suzie on Instagram.
If the one product you’re forever searching for is a concealer, better than the last one you tried, then listen up. The Instant Undereye Concealer is in pen form, with one of those dreaded sponge applicators that gets moist and mucky as you use it – but that’s where my harsh criticism ends. This concealer is a lightweight, full coverage – two words that don’t usually go together – cream formula that does a magical job of concealing under eye bags.
I follow Suzie’s method for applying it – swiping the product onto the inner corner of my eye, down the slope of darkness and out again as though drawing a Nike tick logo. I also put a touch on my eyelids where I can get some redness and veins showing through. I like to do one eye at a time, as the formula isn’t slow to dry down and once it has you don’t want to keep messing with it or I find it can become patchy and ruin the finish. Be gentle with application; try dabbing and pressing with your brush rather than swiping around, and go easy with the amount you apply – you don’t need much. The concealer dries down to a matte/powder finish, or self setting as Suzie says, so there is no need to go in with an additional setting powder over the top.
I use the Ayu concealer brush with this product, which is more of a medium sized fluffy brush than your typical concealer brush, but it it does seem to do a magical job at blending it in. I say magical a lot when it comes to this concealer, because from the look of it you wouldn’t think much of it. It doesn’t feel heavy enough to be full coverage, and doesn’t take as long or as much effort as you would expect to fully conceal. But somehow, it just works. Magic.
Being very fair skinned, I use the shade Light for most days, and Medium if I’ve applied self tan. If my complexion is only a touch warmer, I still tend to prefer Light under the eyes for more brightness, and Medium elsewhere on the face for concealing little blemishes or redness. If you’re anything other than very fair, Medium would be my suggestion as Light is quite white-toned.
For those who like a mainstream-brand comparison, it’s easy to see similarities between Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Away concealer in terms of applicator style and appearance, but that’s mostly where the likeness ends. I find Magic Away to be significantly dryer on my skin, doesn’t blend as easily or quickly, and sits heavier than the Ayu concealer.
I’ve dedicated most of this post to raving about the concealer and I want to talk briefly about the other Ayu products I’ve tried. I’m a little on the fence about the Radiance Cream that looks so gorgeous in Suzie’s tutorials. It’s a more golden, peachier tone than I expected, and an ever so slightly dryer texture than I’d hoped. I first tried to press it on with a foundation buffer brush but found it wasn’t spreading and blending as I wanted it to. Following the Ayu tutorials I persevered with other brushes, trying to dab it into the skin to bring about the gorgeousness that Suzie achieves on her videos. It doesn’t have quite the emollience that some coconut oil-based illuminators do. It’s creamy, rather than balmy, and in the end I found the best application was achieved with the warmth of my fingertips pressing and smoothing it into the skin. It does give a serious punch of golden-peach shimmering light to the cheekbones once you get the application right.
The Ayu eyeshadows are brilliantly edited palettes that give you just what you need, without that one surplus colour pop shade you would never use. Available in two colour ways, Signature includes a brightening white which I love, through to light browns and winey plums, while Glamour steps it up just a notch. The forth pan in this palette – a shimmering bronze – is a particular favourite for glamming up an everyday look.
I love stepping off the mainstream beauty brand merry-go-round and discovering smaller companies doing great things. In an industry so saturated with continuous new product releases, it’s refreshing to find a brand simplifying things, stripping it back to what we actually need – simple, beautifying makeup products that work.
Find Ayu at Ayu Cosmetics
Update: The Instant Under Eye Concealer is now available in two additional shades. The two shades reviewed above are now named Light 1, and Light/Medium 2. For deeper skin tones, check out Medium 3 and Medium/Tan 4.