I have been on a quest to find a concealer that will cover my dark circles while at the same time not accentuate the crepey skin that I now have under my eyes. It’s a balancing act.
I have always had dark circles. I can remember my third grade teacher, Sister Octavie, calling me to her desk to tell me that I must have too late a bedtime, as I looked so tired. What I was actually tired of was her telling me I looked bad. Go blame my Dad, who had the same dark circles.
Me – with the dark circles so generously provided by my Dad. And let’s not even discuss the lack of eyelashes – that’s for another post.
When I was younger, concealer was easy. I bought an opaque concealer, smoothed it under my eyes. Done. But now that I am older, my skin has become very thin and crepey under my eyes. The photo above doesn’t reveal the extent of my horribly crepey texture, since I already had on my eye cream when I took this photo.
So the issue is covering up these purple discolorations without exaggerating the crepey skin. Most concealers that are opaque enough to cover up the darkness settle into my lines and make me look like I have iguana skin under my eyes.
For years, I could use any old concealer with good coverage. Then when I reached my sixties, I switched to something that didn’t crease so much. For me that was Lorac Double Feature Concealer and Highlighter. This product has a stick concealer one one end and a liquid highlighter with wand applicator on the other.
Surprisingly the stick concealer, which is firm, did not settle into my creases too badly, as long as I applied it very lightly with a concealer brush. I think perhaps it worked because it was so solid that I only needed to apply the smallest amount – so therefore it didn’t crease. (The highlighter by the way is pretty invisible – it’s okay but there are much better ones out there – I’ll discuss highlighters in a future post.)
But the Lorac concealer was also dealing with far less crepiness that I have developed over the last couple of years – which is why I have been on a search for something better.
I took one of Sephora’s makeup classes last year for “Concealing and Correcting”. Their consultant taught me to apply a corrector first – Urban Decay Color Correcting Fluid (in Pink) and then a concealer that matched my skin tone, bareMinerals bareSkin Complete Coverage Serum Concealer (in Medium). The consultant instructed me to apply these products – gently pressing with a damp makeup sponge between coats to set the product – before my foundation. And I looked pretty good at the end of the class, and happily bought these products.
But a few hours later, I had quite a bit of creasing under my eyes. Still, I gave these products several months to “get the hang of it” – but was a bit disappointed.
So my search continued.
I read a lot of good reviews of IT brand’s Bye Bye Undereye concealer, and happened to see it at Ulta one day, and gave it a try. It had great coverage and a creamy texture, and I bought it. Again, I should have worn my tester-application home and checked myself in the mirror a few hours later. The creasing into my crepey skin was significant. I think, however, that this is a terrific concealer for dark circles, as long as you have smooth undereye skin.
Then I tried Cover FX Cream Concealer (in N Light). Not bad. But still some creasing. I felt I was getting closer.
Then two weeks ago I was back at Ulta and spoke to the consultant there. Well, she swears by Tarte ShapeTape Concealer. I have seen reviewers on YouTube swoon over ShapeTape. So the consultant applied the concealer (in Light) and it looked fantastic. I ran to the register with glee.
By the time I got home, I looked horrible. The concealer was so heavy it looked like crinkled Kleenex under my eyes. But I figured the consultant just got carried away, so the next morning I tried it with a lighter application.
Still not good.
And I realized something pretty important. One of the big mistakes of this concealer was that the color was way too light. I know that everyone is raving about contouring and concealing – sort of the Kim Kardashian look. On how-to videos, the girls are applying a ton of very light concealer not only under their eyes, but they bring it halfway down their face in a sort of inverted triangle. And blend and blend. And most of these girls look very good indeed. At least on camera.
But most of these girls are young enough to be my granddaughters. What looks good for them is not necessarily right for a 66-year-old woman.
I realized that the instructor at Sephora was at least correct in matching my skin tone and not going lighter. White under the eyes looks gray and skeletal on most older women including me.
So after another try, I hated the Tarte ShapeTape so much, I returned it to Ulta, and trekked back to Sephora.
I explained my dilemma – if I have a concealer opaque enough for my dark circles, it is so heavy, it settles into my crepey skin and creases like crazy.
And here’s what the consultant thought:
First – that I need a nice plumping undereye moisturizer to help my crepey skin. She suggested a product like Perricone MD Brightening Eye Cream. However, I had learned something else in my search. I shouldn’t be so quick to jump on any suggestion – especially when it is expensive. So although the eye cream seemed extremely nice, I decided to search online to see what else might be recommended.
Second – The consultant agreed that I really needed to lighten up. Not in product color – lighten up in the thickness of the product under my eye. So after a good eye cream – ONE CONCEALER…. not color corrector first. Just one coat of something not too heavy. And what she recommended was a complete surprise. The bareMinerals bareSkin Serum Concealer I had bought from them after my class. The same product, the same color. Well, I have that!
Third – As part of lightening up, the consultant also thought that the powder I was using to set my makeup was probably too heavy for my fragile undereye area. She suggesting the very fine, light loose powder like Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder. She applied this very sparingly by gently pressing it in with a dry beauty blender. This looked really great. And though I know I should have waited to see what it looked like a few hours later – I did spring for the Laura Mercier powder.
Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder
When I got home, I did my online research for a good eye cream. I actually have used a very good eye cream in the past, Caudalie Premier Cru Eye Cream. I love the Caudalie brand – the quality is just amazing. But it’s really expensive, and I’m retired now, and I was hoping to not spend $99 for 0.5 ounces of eye serum.
So I searched around and found an Amazon best-seller that I had never heard of: LilyAna Naturals Rosehip and Hibiscus Eye Cream. It is a natural, light, hydrating cream that absorbs almost instantly into my skin. It’s organic, vegan and cruelty-free, and in addition to rosehip oil and hibiscus extract, it contains Vitamin C (good for discoloration) and Vitamin E (good for skin). It’s very highly rated – with more than 1800 reviews with more than 75% of them being 5-stars and most of the others at 4-stars. And it’s $16.99 for 1.3 ounces. It’s a little soon to tell if it has any long term benefits, but I’m liking it. It seems to smooth my skin before my concealer goes on. And it feels lovely at bedtime too. It could be a real find.
LilyAna Naturals Rosehip & Hibiscus Eye Cream
So for the past week, here’s the three-step technique I have been using with much more success than I had seen before:
1. I start with the LilyAna eye cream.
2. I follow with a light application of concealer – not too much. Best for me is the bareMinerals bareSkin concealer.
I have also found that the Cover FX isn’t too bad after all, although the shade is a bit too light.
And one more concealer that is awfully good. I had in my stash one drugstore concealer: Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer.
Age Rewind is one of those makeup staples that everyone likes. And likes for a reason. It’s very good. It tends to lie smoothly on your face without settling into your lines. It’s staying power is decent too. And you can buy it for under $8.00 in the drugstore. I have this in Medium.
By the way, the sponge-tip applicator is not a bad way to apply concealer, but it can get a little “gunky” before you finish the product. I found that you can just pull off the sponge and then when you wind the product up, it just comes out the tiny opening, and you can apply it with a concealer brush.
My Age-Rewind with the sponge torn off.
3. I finish with my Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder… a very small amount pressed in dry with this Laura Geller brush – the spongy end (in the bottom of this photo). I got this brush as part of a kit, and it’s great for pressing the powder in gently to set the concealer. (although a dry beauty blender would work too.)
And here’s the result: This photo was taken in the car in unforgiving light 2 hours after I applied my makeup and after spending more than an hour in the sun on a hot and humid day, shopping for veggie plants at the local nursery.
Do I have creasing under my eyes and still a bit of dark shadows?
YES. Yes I do.
But holy crap – I am 66 years old.
I do not expect my lines and wrinkles to go away. I just don’t want my makeup to make them look WORSE.
So I’m pretty happy.