The audacity of hope, undereye concealer edition.

I buy a lot of cosmetics. Not that I wear much makeup at any given time (though I never go without unless I’m sleeping or in the shower), but there’s a certain feeling of hope and anticipation in buying beauty products that I find extremely comforting. The promise of a new lipstick or an expensive tube of mascara…the idea that this will make my life better. Yes, it’s a superficial improvement of self when a product turns out to live up to that promise, but I’m a believer in physical improvement as a means to further overall confidence.

There is no type of product in my extensive arsenal of cosmetics that outnumbers the tubes, pans, pens and sticks of undereye concealer I’ve amassed over the years. I actually tried gathering them all up into one pile to take a photo for this post, but it was just too embarrassing (though apparently not so embarrassing that I won’t write about it, haha). Dozens of concealers, all purchased with the hope that they would eradicate the dark circles under my eyes while still looking natural and not creasing, caking, making my mascara smudge, or wearing off by lunchtime.

I’m not going to name any names, but a certain female parent of mine passed along her genetic dark undereye circles to me (alas, I did not get her lovely blue eyes to go along with them), and no matter how much sleep I get, water I drink or vitamin supplements I take, those suckers aren’t going anywhere. We talk about undereye circles sometimes, that certain female parent and I, and she shares my sense of hopefulness about someday discovering that perfect product, the holy grail of concealers…

Well, I think I may have found it. About a month ago, I was (as usual) whining about my undereye circles on Twitter, and Gala asked if I’d ever tried Bobbi Brown’s Creamy Concealer Kit. At first I said yes, but then realized I was confusing it with her Corrector, which never really worked out for me. Anyway, blah blah blah, I went out and bought the concealer, because that’s what I do. I buy concealer. Then I bring it home, try it out, like it for a week, stop liking it, throw it in a drawer, and move on to the next contender.

You know what? I’ve been using this undereye concealer (my shade is Warm Ivory) for a whole month now, and I still LOVE it. Really! It took me a couple of days to get the hang of applying it right, but now that I have it down, I think I can honestly say that my quest for finding the perfect undereye concealer is OVER (at least until some other product comes along that I just have to try, but let’s not talk about that right now).

Here’s how I put it on:
After moisturizing, I wait a few minutes to let everything sink in. Then I use a synthetic taklon brush to apply the tiniest amount of concealer under my eyes, patting it in a bit with my ring finger as I go. A little really goes a long way. Once everything is covered up, I use a shadow blending brush to tap on the setting powder (that’s what’s in the right side of the pan). Done! And it lasts all day without creasing or looking dry and crepe-y. No smudged mascara, either. And I get to not look like I’ve been living in a windowless basement for a decade.

I’ll be sure to let my mother…I mean a certain female parent of mine know the good news.

  1. ChrisSep 10, 201212:10 am

    Sweet mother of pearl. I go through phases of concealer discovery too. I’ve been on a run of cheap drugstore stuff but found no winners. Laura Mercier was a favorite for awhile, but I think my daughter stole it. I think I will have to go try this tomorrow! I do like her tinted moisturizer…a little hope on a Sunday night is a good thing.


    Anna @ D16 /

    I love Laura Mercier’s Secret Camouflage for spots and capillaries and stuff like that!

  2. Laura CaseySep 10, 201212:14 am

    I am supposed to stop spending money. Not helping, Anna!

    (But maybe I’ll look a little less “tired” and OLD and then things will be okay. And I’ll thank you yet again for introducing something nice into my life.)



  3. lisaSep 10, 201212:18 am

    back at the work desk…and what did i do for lunch?
    painted my wrist & forearm with all kinds of sample colors of concealer!
    and here i am reading your “plate of shrimp” post!!!
    did i say i have dark circle? blast my northern euro roots!
    would love to see your pile o’ products – you are not alone.
    lisa from japan


    Anna @ D16 /

    Repo Man!

  4. CatSep 10, 201212:20 am

    I think I need this. My dark circles are usually tameable but with hard core allergies lately (I just read allergies can cause dark circles! oh no!) my regular concealer isn’t doing jack. Add on perpetual puffiness under my left eye (thanks allergies!) and I’m looking like a mess.


    Tiffanie /

    Cat, I am in the same boat. Really bad seasonal/mold allergies in damp San Francisco have left me with one eye (I think it might be because I prefer to sleep on that side) which is perpetually puffy and both eyes dark. It’s a curse! :)

    Cat /

    Tiffanie, I have the mold allergies too! The puffiness I have is also on the side I prefer to sleep on. Should we form a support group? :D

  5. TiffanieSep 10, 201212:23 am

    I am in the same boat regarding under eye circles and concealer. I am forever seeking something natural looking, and that really works. I am going to see if I can get a test application of Bobbi Brown’s concealer at Neiman Marcus or somewhere to see if it works for me. I have tried everything, and what I come back to time and time again is a $9.00 tube of Neutrogena 3-in-1 Concealer for Eyes from the drugstore! I’m not thrilled with it, but I’m used to it and I think it gives me a false sense of “security” at this point. Excited to try your recommendation!


  6. Kelsey ElizabethSep 10, 201212:51 am

    Can’t wait to try this! My grandmother, mother, myself and my younger sister all are plagued by the blue eyes purple under-eyes thing unfortunately! I really like benefit’s boi-ing but will definitely be giving this stuff a go too!


  7. LSep 10, 20127:20 am

    Does one have to wear makeup to use this stuff? Since cataract surgery relieved me of my coke-bottle bottom glasses, I have discovered enormous dark luggage beneath my eyes! I haven’t worn foundation in decades, though, and while willing to do a little coverup on those bags and circles I can’t face painting my entire mug every day.


    Anna @ D16 /

    By “makeup” you mean foundation, right? I don’t usually wear foundation (if anything, I wear tinted moisturizer), and it’s just fine. As long as you get a good color match, you’re good!

  8. nicoleSep 10, 20128:48 am

    Bless. You. Seriously, I’ve been on a similar quest for a very long time, especially this past year as the situation seems to have gotten even worse (age? stress?). I’ve been trying Eminence Wild Plum Eye Cream the past couple weeks, which seems to be helping a little, but I’m more than happy to toss another treasure into the bag of tricks. How hard was it to match your skin tone to the product? Did you go somewhere where someone helped you, or was it pretty self explanatory?


    Anna @ D16 /

    I bought it at Sephora, so the SA helped me pick out the shade. I figured I’d return it if it were off. I’m guessing you’d be the same color as me…

  9. SusannaSep 10, 20129:01 am

    Ever time I buy a new concealer I wonder if this one could be the magic concealer that hides my dark circles. Looks like I’ve found another one to try. Thanks for sharing!


  10. imogenSep 10, 20129:41 am

    ok. don’t hate me. i don’t have circles (and am probably closer in age to the/a/your “certain female parent”). I don’t wear any make-up. well, ok… often lipstick and rarely eye-liner… but what i love most about your post? the title. you could tack on “writing headlines” to your long roster of talents and billable skills. bravo. [p.s. make-up is like a foreign territory to me. i enjoy traveling in it but i always like coming home to the familiarity of bare necessities.]


    Anna @ D16 /

    Haha, thank you! Nice work following up on your makeup-free-beauty brag with a compliment, too, haha! ;)

  11. AudrieSep 10, 201210:36 am

    I’m going to have to try this. The concealer I’ve been using doesn’t seem to last very long and it’s frustrating. Thanks for passing along the tip!


  12. ElizSep 10, 201211:34 am

    I’m also plagued by constant under-eye circles, leading my mother to doubt me when I say I am eating and sleeping well! The concealer I use now (Laura Mercier) is the best I’ve found so far, but I’m always willing to try another, so thanks for writing this post.

    Also, I went to Mariko for a haircut last week and you’re right–she’s great, and so nice.

    Even though I follow your blog for the design-related things, obviously I appreciate the beauty-related ones as well, ha!


    Anna @ D16 /

    Oh, nice! I wonder how many people I’ve indirectly referred to Mariko at this point. I hope it doesn’t get hard to make an appointment with her. :D

  13. CarrieSep 10, 201211:46 am

    I have the same issue with cosmetics not working out for me. I prefer to puchase everything at Sephora (when possible) because you can return the product any time if it doesn’t work out for you. Saves major $$$ on items that would otherwise end up in the garbage.


  14. mommySep 10, 201212:09 pm

    This sounds promising! Sorry about the genes, Anna. At least you don’t have to wear glasses all the time. Can you imagine the effect of a magnifying glass in front of each eye? To make matters worse, I recently spent a fortune on a new pair of progressive bifocals that are a bit bigger (more fashionable I thought) than the skinny glasses, but since the new frame is lower it reveals even more of the area under the eye. Sigh. I hope you will never have to worry about this personally, but the whole topic of eye glasses needs more attention.


    Anna @ D16 /

    And here I was JUST saying the other day that if I wore glasses, I wouldn’t need to wear undereye concealer!! Hahahah! Kind of like you thinking you wouldn’t need to wear mascara if you had brown eyes?

  15. JillSep 10, 20122:01 pm

    Good things come to those who wait and blog about them for five years. ;)

    See also: the CRUX blanket.


  16. RitaSep 10, 20122:50 pm

    I too was blessed with dark circles. Only for me it was from both parents, no escaping it. In kindergarten my mom even was called to a special conference with my teacher because there was concern that I wasn’t getting enough sleep. She had to explain that it was all in the genes. Anyway, I have been using Benefit Erase Paste for over a year. It is wonderful. It even comes with a tiny trowel/spackle for application. You know your makeup means business when it comes with a tiny shovel.


    Anna @ D16 /

    I tried SO many times to get Erase Paste to work for me, but it doesn’t sit on my skin right!

  17. leacaSep 10, 20123:46 pm

    I may have to look into this. I recently found a product from Clinique that I put on that reduces the puffiness and dark circles. I wanted to do cartwheels when I saw how well it worked. LOVE this stuff. I even carry one in my travel bag.


  18. katieSep 10, 20124:03 pm

    I too am cursed with hereditary dark circles, and must have tried everything going to conceal/rid them. My current arsenal is Clinique’s dark circle corrector, layered with L’Oreal’s touche magique (cheap take on YSL touche eclat, and I actually prefer it), layered with Mac’s studio finish. Phew. It does tend to crease throughout the day, unsurprisingly, so I might have to give this stuff a go next. In terms of prevention before cure, I find Skin Doctor’s Eye Circle a really good cream that has faded mine just a little.


  19. JulesSep 10, 20126:51 pm

    I have horrible luck with concealers, too. Not horrible, I guess. I just haven’t found THE ONE. This month I’m having really good luck with Makeup Forever’s foundation and concealer. I don’t like to wear foundation, so really I use it as a tinted moisturizer. I do the same concealor procedure as you, minus the powder set. I make sure my face is heavily moisturized and still damp. Then, I gently “pat” two dots of foundation into my skin. (I rub the dots together in my hands, first.) I follow that up with a light dusting of powder, including under the eyes.

    The most important beauty routine I’ve developed is to be accepting of my imperfections and realize that beauty is individual–even when it comes to dark circles.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Lies. I couldn’t even type that last sentence with a straight face.


    Anna @ D16 /

    HAH! I was rolling my eyes pretty hard until I finished reading your comment.

  20. AlexSep 10, 20129:37 pm

    I feel you on the dark circles! I’ve had mine (or have recognized that they existed) since i was ten. I also use Bobbi Brown in Warm Ivory but switched when I discovered Tarte’s Dark Circle Defense — which is now discontinued. Blergh! I like it way better than the Bobbi Brown, which was really good. I’ll be going to back to that once I finish my Tarte.

    You know what I really like for my circles, although I don’t know if it’s actually doing anything but it feels nice, is L’Occitane’s Angelica Eye Roll-On.

    Show of hands — how many of you were duped into buy Hydrolyze at some point in your lives? *Raises hand*


    Anna @ D16 /

    Tarte Dark Circle Defense is the first product mentioned in these comments that I’ve never tried! Good thing it’s discontinued, or I’d probably be running out to buy it tomorrow, haha.

  21. ChrisSep 10, 201210:24 pm

    All I can say is…are you SURE?????? I have given up concealer (for about 6 months now; I’ve been using an eye balm on the advice of a French makeup artist in a Vogue article–because THAT makes it sound official, lol)…but now am tempted!!


    Anna @ D16 /

    Of course I’m not sure. This is important stuff, tell me the name of the balm!!

  22. Sofia - WinterStaysSep 11, 20124:42 am

    I love makeup, but I rarely buy much. I’ve found (to my disappointment) that it’s really true that the more expensive make up the better the quality. Whenever I do buy makeup, it always costs a lot, but it lasts for years!


  23. lisaSep 11, 20126:37 am

    speaking of PILE O’ PRODUCTS…
    may we at some point discuss clairsonic?
    hard to part with that kinda cash but i broke down and upon receiving it….
    first impression…


  24. UnaSep 11, 20128:29 am

    Thanks – I’ll definitely try this. Do you have any recommendations for preventation? I’m always on the look out for ‘the’ eye cream….


  25. GalaSep 11, 20129:46 am

    Yay! So glad you like it. I love it too but found that I went through it REALLY quickly, which bums me out. I started using Kat Von D’s Lock-It Tattoo Concealer & oh my god. I swear it could cover anything. It smells kind of like paint, which appeals to me, too. You should try this one next!


  26. ChrisSep 11, 20126:30 pm

    Anna, the eye balm is Dr Hauschka, which I seem to recall doesn’t agree with your skin? Sorry! I am going to try BB as soon as I can:)

    I love these makeup posts, lol


  27. JessSep 12, 20121:19 am

    I had all my hopes pinned on this Bobbi Brown concealer, I really did. All the reviews had been so positive that I was 100% sure it would work for me. Sadly, it didn’t. Both the concealer and powder (and corrector) insisted on creeping into all the little crevices and cracks around my eyes regardless of how much I primed/moisturised etc.

    I am like you Anna in that I only wear tinted moisturiser and found the BB concealer too heavy without foundation. I now use Clinique Airbrush concealer which I am LOVING. It’s much lighter feeling, quicker to apply and blends way better with my tinted moisturiser. It’s a pity, coz I really wanted to be one of the people gushing about BB concealer.


  28. FionaSep 14, 201212:42 am

    What? This could change… everything. Biggest breakthrough for me wasn’t product but a technique my friend Rachel told me – sorry if EVERYONE knows it already – to tap concealer right up between your and and side of nose because it’s just as dark there.


  29. LynnSep 15, 20121:16 pm

    Anna, i’ve been reading your blog on the anon tip for years! well, here’s what it takes for me to finally say something out-loud…. concealer/under eye circles are the bain of my existence. seriously the most heinous pain in the arse ever since childhood when only some cheap cover girl stick m/up was available to the under-aged ;)

    mine aren’t hereditary, they appeared after being chased down the alley way by another little girl who put spiders on the end of sticks and threw them at my legs, total horror, right. well i flew head first into a car bumper and it resulted in a HUGE goose egg bump on my forehead which drained down leaving me with 2 big black eyes. they never went away unfortch. i’ve been on the concealer bandwagon ever since and appreciate your passionate tale of woe about your own trial + error’s in attempting to hide the deep set darkness.

    i am SO trying this BB (miracle!) and also read Gala’s addition of KVD’s product. maybz a double deal is in the works and i’ll throw it all on the “under construction” area. thank you for posting your recs, i will always be scratching at your post for more!! ten-points fab total. cheers!


  30. amySep 16, 20126:49 pm

    Love the title of the post. I too have a shamefully large collection of under-performing concealers. Amazing Cosmetics has been the best of the mediocre. I’ll have to try this one. I’m glad you’re back to blogging–ads or no ads.


  31. Tracey@chalkboard livingSep 17, 20125:44 pm

    This sounds similar to my absolute favourite of the same ilk…

    have you also tried the laura mercier version. It is in a single round pot. Costs about £20. Amaze balls in a pot.

    if the BB fails – try it!


  32. DonnaSep 21, 20129:46 pm

    All the beauty bloggers are raving about this stuff from Armani cosmetics


  33. JemmaNov 18, 20127:03 pm

    Because of your recommendation I just bought the kit. I was a bit puzzled because the sales woman said that you had to use the corrector first then the kit. Together. She said they couldn’t be used apart. No way was I spending that cash and I would have walked away but because I had read your rave review I made her put just the kit on under my eyes, no corrector. She caked it on, as they always do, then I had a go myself and applied it much better. I have been using Touche Eclat (how do you compare that to this one) and I like them both but I think this one is definitely better for colour coverage and is really brightening. Thanks for the recommendation! Next I’m buying the Nuxe oil! xx


  34. BooBooNinjaDec 16, 20126:38 pm

    Anna, what type of skin do you have under your eyes? Is it dry, normal, or oily?
    I’ve yet to find a concealer that works for me, and I’ve had this lil’ duo on my mind ever since you posted about it. I’m trying to figure out what concealer textures (thin liquid, creamy, etc) will work best for me.


  35. BooBooNinjaDec 16, 20126:43 pm

    ps Why don’t you use the Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage anymore? How does it differ from the Bobbi Brown concealer? I haven’t tried either.


  36. KikiMar 10, 201312:44 am

    I bought this concealer and love the coverage, but I can’t seem to avoid the smudging of the mascara under the eyelid even when using waterproof mascara. Do you have any recommendations?


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