conceal my undereye circles
January 2, 2021 12:07 PM   Subscribe

I have dark undereye circles (NOT a function of hydration, sleep, etc., anything solvable, please believe me and DON'T jump in with that.) I want to hear your tricks or best resources for actually hiding these.

I don't want to go to Youtube because it's overwhelming and I suspect they're all just trying to sell me whatever they've been paid to recommend. Ditto ladies' "magazines" websites etc.

I'm interested in your tried, specific PRODUCT or METHOD recommendations. Do you have something that really works -- looks good and stays on for at least a few hours? Preferably one product? I don't use foundation makeup otherwise, and I'm certainly not going to layer stuff on with finishing powder or whatever. I would be willing to buy and use a primer, though, if you have one that you think solves the problem.

And if there's a particular sponge or brush or other applicator that makes something work, please tell me that too. I don't understand the standard "beauty blenders"; they all seem way too big to get the little angle under the eye?

(Again, extremely not interested in recs for hydration and getting more sleep. I've seen a doctor about this, it isn't solvable, it's just how my coloration is.) What I'm hoping is that it's hideable.
posted by fingersandtoes to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (30 answers total) 60 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: For my pale skin tone, I like Glossier’s stretch concealer for my hereditary dark circles. It goes on gently with your finger and blends extremely well.
posted by homodachi at 12:29 PM on January 2, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I think the Kosas Revealer Concealer is pretty great for this. I do a swoop under each eye and blend with my finger.
posted by MeadowlarkMaude at 12:40 PM on January 2, 2021

Best answer: I enjoy my Nars Creamy Radiant Concealer - I put it on with my fingers since I don’t wear a full face everyday. I do the whole inside corner of each eye since covering that darkness helps.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:40 PM on January 2, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I am olive skinned and prone to dark circles, and started using The Ordinary's caffeine solution about a year and it's been life changing. I don't even use concealer anymore, and it used to be the only make up I would wear.
posted by Ideal Impulse at 12:52 PM on January 2, 2021 [4 favorites]

Best answer: I was coming here to say what Ideal Impulse did; the Ordinary caffeine stuff is great and actually seems to have helped with my puffiness and dark circles.
posted by holborne at 1:15 PM on January 2, 2021

Best answer: Whatever product you choose, make sure it has the color undertone opposite the color of your dark circles. Bluish circle need an orange based color, purple needs yellow based color. If you dont have the correct undertone it will end up looking grayish or at least more noticable instead of blending with the rest of your face.

Check out the Terri Tomlinson color wheel to figure out what the undertone is for your dark circles and how to tell what the concealer undertone is.
posted by ananci at 1:15 PM on January 2, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I like the NYX can’t stop won’t stop concealer. It goes VERY pale to deep. Like - most things are too dark for me and I’m like the 3rd shade in. I spread just a bit under my eyes, blend out with a damp beauty blender. I have deep eyes and have no problem with the pointy side of a damp sponge. You can also use clean fingers to pat it out and blend too. I don’t use any powder. I’m prone to creasing but it doesn’t crease much on me. And if it does I just blend it out a little again. Sets down nicely. If you have very dry skin it could look a bit dry but I don’t have that issue especially with a damp sponge.
posted by Crystalinne at 1:31 PM on January 2, 2021

Best answer: I'm skeptical of the explanation provided, but the "baking" technique works well for my dark circles.

I use the Make-Up Forever Full-Cover Concealer, which as far as I'm concerned is magic even without the baking technique, but the baking seems to help keep the under-eye coverage in place throughout the day.
posted by rhiannonstone at 1:36 PM on January 2, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Fenty Match Stix Matte. Stays like concrete for the whole day, blends in perfectly, doesn't gather in fine lines. And best of all comes in 15 shades for almost every combo of skin tone and undertone. (I'm Slavic mostly-pale and go with Linen.) I often put it on bare skin and it's unnoticeable except for the sudden lack of undereye circles.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 1:48 PM on January 2, 2021

Best answer: It was a revelation to me that concealing and colour correction is not the same and I would highly recommend a colour corrector, especially if you are not going to wear foundation and have a somewhat uneven skin tone. I find the corrector counteracts the circles extremely well but is easier to blend and does not make the rest of my skin look more uneven, the way concealer can do.
posted by koahiatamadl at 1:49 PM on January 2, 2021 [7 favorites]

Best answer: If your dark circles are because the color of the skin under your eyes is darker than the rest of your skin, ananci’s recommendation is on point. If the darkness is caused by a protrusion under your eye (I guess an eye bag? Ugh, hideous name) that creates a shadow underneath it, color correction with opposite colours won’t be enough.

How do you know which you have? Easiest way is to look down into a mirror and examine whether the under eyes still look dark. If not, the color of the skin under your eyes is not the problem; you have to bring light and brightness to just the area that is shadowy (right under the bag) without bringing that up into the bag itself (because if you do that, you’ll just highlight the bag).

I have a tiny bit of purple-toned skin discolouration under my eyes and hereditary, ugh, eye bags that cast a shadow. For the skin discolouration, I use Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer (wand form) in a yellow-based shade. I’ve also used and loved Tarte Shape Tape—the color isn’t perfect for me, but the texture is better (IMO) than the Nars. For the bags, I use a highlighting concealer pen just in the shadow, being careful not to bring it up into the bag. I love Givenchy’s Mister Light and Dior’s Flash Luminizer Radiance pen. I’ve heard great things about Chantecaille’s Le Camouflage Stylo but am afraid to try it because $$$.

My fingers work just fine for blending. Pat/tap, don’t drag the concealer around. If I’m going to a big event where I’ll be photographed for all to see, I might go the extra mile of using a small sponge that I’ve wet and wrung out for blending. Again, tap, don’t drag. Real Techniques has excellent small egg-shaped sponges that come in a pack of four that are the perfect size for the undereye area.

Hope that helps!
posted by saltypup at 1:53 PM on January 2, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I also use the NARS creamy concealer. I use elf poreless putty primer underneath it because it kind of covers the darkness a bit more.

I apologize in advance if this explanation makes no sense:
Using the applicator brush or a concealer brush, I dot the concealer on as an upside down "empty" triangle starting right below my waterline and extending down to the top part of my cheek (I have hollows so I'm just following the natural shape of my face). I would say this is about the length of my index finger tip. I then paint a couple of swipes going horizontally inside the triangle by dragging from one of the dots. To buff/blend, I use tapping motions and I try to push the product up a bit towards the inner corner as well. You can use the tip/pointy end for under eye or you can get the micro ones if you don't mind having an additional thing to clean. (You could make this same shape by painting it on with the brush, as the youtubers tend to do, but I only do that if I'm wearing foundation since it's a bit more product than is flattering for just one part of my face.) I sometimes do more than one layer, but they are pretty thin layers.

I do have to set my undereye with powder though - otherwise it creases. I use Laura Mercier and a setting brush. I do not bake, I literally grab a bit of powder on the brush, tap/blow on the brush to get rid of the excess, and press it into my skin covering everything that I concealed and extending a bit beyond (kind of the area of an undereye mask?) to keep the lines where I've applied makeup a bit blurred.
posted by sm1tten at 1:54 PM on January 2, 2021

Best answer: These are the top concealers both by sales and by general beauty guru and cosmetics lover gushing. They've all been popular for a long time for a reason and the reason is that they are solid performers.

* Nars Radiant Concealer, $30, 30 shades, has a sponge wand (doe foot) applicator.

* Maybelline Age Rewind, $10, 18 shades, has a round sponge at the end and you dab it on with that. People love it or hate it; the more low maintenance you are, the more likely you are to love it.

* Tart Shape Tape, $27, 35 shades, has a sponge wand (doe foot) applicator. You can get these in a mini travel size for $10 and it's 100% worth trying.

Personally I would get the Age Rewind and the Shape Tape sampler before springing for the Nars. If you are going somewhere and have the chance to swatch, swatch on the inside of your arm to shade match the skin around your eyes.

You don't have to use a blender, it's okay. You can use your fingers and if that isn't working out for you, you can get an excellent ELF concealer brush for $4. Dab on and spread with your fingers, brush your teeth or something for a few minutes, and then sweep the brush back and forth under your eyes to smooth out any creases.

Make sure you moisturize your face before adding concealer!
posted by DarlingBri at 2:26 PM on January 2, 2021 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: I have both the actual dark coloration under my eyes AND fatty bags that cause shadows (*bonus bell rings, plastic gun shoots fake dollar bills*) so I guess both approaches are on point
posted by fingersandtoes at 2:27 PM on January 2, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I use hemorrhoid cream under my eyes when they are puffy after placing some ice on them. It makes a noticeable difference. Then I use Revlon Age Rewind Concealer.
posted by Young Kullervo at 2:34 PM on January 2, 2021

Best answer: The aforementioned Maybelline Age Rewind, buff it out with a fluffy shadow brush like this
posted by padraigin at 3:07 PM on January 2, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I also struggle with dark undereye circles, and second the recommendations above to try Maybelline Age Rewind and Tarte's Shape Tape. I probably prefer Tape Shape for the shade range, but Age Rewind is a great drugstore option.

With Shape Tape, you really only need a tiny dot to achieve good coverage. I dot on the concealer, then blend/tap it in with a damp beauty blender. I use this beauty blender--it's designed for blush, so is smaller than regular-sized beauty blenders. I also have these, which are even smaller and less expensive, but still prefer the softer feel of the beauty blender.

I also really like Nars Soft Matte Complete Concealer. It's a great alternative to Shape Tape for travel or days when I'm in a rush, since I can just apply it with my ring finger. (Note that Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer did not work for me despite its popularity. By the time I applied enough product to cover up my circles, it just looked cakey.)
posted by oiseau at 4:14 PM on January 2, 2021

Best answer: PS: If you do want to try a beauty blender, and you want something small for your eyes, the Miss A minis are $1!

But honestly it took me six months of using makeup daily to get interested in a beauty blender and half the time I'm still like "fuck this shit."
posted by DarlingBri at 4:18 PM on January 2, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I've tried a few but lately I find Boots No 7 Lift and Luminate concealer works really well. Blends nicely, stays put, just looks like me but with thicker skin under my eyes.

I've also had good luck with Clinique 24 hour concealer but the Boots stuff is super cheap and seems to be better and hydrating the skin.

Also, my circles looks worse when I'm having allergy issues and my face gets puffy. Daily OTC allergy meds like Allegra or Zyrtec make me look noticably more presentable, as well as dealing with the otherwise daily sinus headaches.
posted by The Librarian at 5:22 PM on January 2, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Tarte shape tape for the win. Lots of shade options and it doesn't budge.
posted by Jubey at 5:23 PM on January 2, 2021

Best answer: I really like becca brightening corrector . I use it in combination with Josie Maran cream concealer stick but sometimes just alone.
posted by peeps! at 6:48 PM on January 2, 2021

Best answer: I have very pale skin, fatty deposits, dark circles, and a super visible blue vein under one eye. I used to use Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer, and it was quite good, but didn't last as long on my skin as I wanted. Currently I'm using Charlotte Tilbury Magic Away Concealer, and I'm very happy with it. It has a sponge applicator, so I just dab some on and barely blend it with my finger. No need for another brush or sponge unless I want to. A bit of powder makes it last longer on me because my skin is pretty oily, but it's not necessary, unlike the Nars.

Thoughts on a few others I've tried in recent years:
- Kosas Revealer is very natural looking, but I don't think it will give you anywhere near the coverage you want.
- Tarte Shape Tape is mega coverage, but with no other foundation on your skin, I think it would look obvious, and it needs to be blended to high heaven.
- Revlon Age Rewind is passionately popular, but it was super cakey on me and made my little eye lines stand out badly.
- Fenty Match Stix were thick, waxy, and weird.
- Glossier Stretch was too oily and slippery for me and needed mega powder.
posted by mostlymartha at 8:06 PM on January 2, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I highly recommend Maybelline Cover Stick Corrector Concealer
Some of the reviewers on the Maybelline website didn't like it, but I love it. It works for me and has staying power. Just be sure to put some moisturizer on before you apply it.
posted by SageTrail at 9:23 PM on January 2, 2021

Best answer: I use Maybelline Age Rewind (as mentioned by others). I have cavernous hereditary dark circles that often come with high cheekbones. I use... probably an Ivory shade, but I also use the Brightener. They sell a few color-correcting tones and, IMO, they are worth picking up and using in addition to whichever actual concealer shade is right for your skin tone.

Many, many other widely recommended concealers are too thick for me and get into fine lines around my eyes (which I've always had, but have a little more now that I'm in my mid-40s). Set lightly with powder, this one does not. I blend with the sponge and my fingertips if I'm in a hurry and a fluffy brush if I'm not. I usually apply in a triangle formation down into my cheek.
posted by verbminx at 11:22 PM on January 2, 2021

Best answer: The first couple of tips from this article might be helpful!
posted by kinddieserzeit at 3:55 AM on January 3, 2021

Best answer: I've always had these undereye circles too. I don't wear much makeup, but concealer to cover the circles up is my number one thing.

I've used the Revlon photoready concealer stick for years on my undereye circles. I have very pale skin, and I use the lightest color. I don't use any other kind of foundation. I usually just use my fingertip to blend it in because I don't like messing around with sponges and applicators.

I find it does a good job of concealing them, and it lasts for a full day for me, while also being easy to remove at night. (I have sensitive skin, so any makeup that requires a lot of products to remove is a nonstarter.)

It's also cheap, and one stick lasts a long time.
posted by litera scripta manet at 5:29 AM on January 3, 2021

Best answer: I use IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye concealer. It does a good job, but now I'm wanting to try out some of the other suggestions here. Thanks for asking the question!
posted by Sparky Buttons at 4:30 PM on January 3, 2021

Response by poster: update, since there seems to be a fair amount of interest in the question:

I went to Ulta. They didn't have the Tarte shade that I thought would be right, but they had one that was just a bit darker, and for $10 I figured I'd roll the dice. I also bought a corrector kit from um I think NYX, that has both yellow and salmon pink corrector as well as some neutral shades. I got some brushes and the little eye sponges.

I put on a bunch of the salmon corrector. It's cold in my house, and the product was a little hard to apply from the pan (it didn't come up onto the brush, I had to squish my finger onto it forcefully and then use that, which I didn't love, but I guess it helps with staying power.) In the light at my desk, it looked great.

Then I put on the Tarte stuff and that looked great too. Blended with brush: even better! I was so pleased I did the other eye the same. Checked it in the greyish daylight coming in the window: looked really good!

Then I went to the bathroom.

Under the bathroom vanity light -- which is much brighter and I guess of a different color than in my room -- it looked like the aggregation of all that could be wrong! Greasy, pasty, cakey, the wrong color, and generally terrible.

Starting to remember why I gave this quest up some years ago. Skillful makeup application is one thing, but predicting lighting conditions is a whole nother thing. Feh!
posted by fingersandtoes at 5:32 PM on January 3, 2021

Best answer: FWIW re: Lighting - I enjoy and love makeup and I do have a lighted makeup mirror that I use to apply. I got a lighted hand mirror at Target some time ago to travel with; I think it was less than $15.

Keep in mind that in most cases, the bathroom is small and enclosed and the light is going to be bouncing off the walls, whatever color they are, and reflecting that back on your skin. This is why "Mamie Pink" bathrooms were popular in the 50s -- pink bathrooms reflect light that is pleasing on pale skin tones. I personally painted my bathroom pink for exactly this reason. It was life-changing to not look like a corpse straight out of the shower, honestly. Don't take whatever your bathroom light did to you personally or like it's how people are going to see your face -- it's just not the case.

HOWEVER, all of this to say - less is more, start out light, and use the lighting in your house where you will be for zoom calls if that is what you're doing, or try to finagle some natural lighting if you are able to do so. This is the closest thing to my mirror, which is old, if you are interested.
posted by Medieval Maven at 5:52 PM on January 3, 2021

I feel you. In my experience, complete erasure may look good in photos but looks heavy and crackly and gross in real life (or the wrong lighting). And I think it only works if you've got a full face of foundation to go with it. So I focus on toning down the darkest part of the circles and avoiding the concealer cracking and/or settling into fine lines around my eyes. After much trial and error, here is what I've found works for me:

1) Moisturize eye area with something not too oily. I use CeraVe Moisturizing Cream. Give it a minute to soak in.

2) Tap a tiny amount of Aquaphor on circles with fingertip.

3) Apply sunscreen (I use Elta MD). Let that sit for a few minutes while I brush my teeth.

4) Tap a tiny amount of Aquaphor on circles again.

5) Tap a tiny bit of primer on circles. I use E.L.F. Mineral Infused Face Primer. I let that sit while curl eyelashes and apply mascara. (You're doing all this to keep your skin from "eating" the concealer, which leads to cracking.)

6) Lightly blot circles with tissue.

7) Apply dots of Tarte Creaseless Concealer on darkest part of circles with a toothpick. On me, this is the bottom third of the circles. I use a shade that's one shade darker than what I would use for their foundation but the same undertone.

8) Blend by lightly tapping in place with finger tip. Don't try to blend it out; keep the pigment concentrated on the circle. Use your middle finger or ring finger. Your index finger is too strong and will spread the pigment too much.

9) Apply tiny amount of translucent powder with brush to set.

This stays on all day and does not crack, migrate, or fade. I wouldn't say it erases the circles but it tones them down enough so that they are not the first thing I notice on my face. Also, I think the Tarte + Aquaphor + primer has brightening effect on my eyes in a good way.
posted by fozzie_bear at 6:42 PM on January 3, 2021 [3 favorites]

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