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Eye of Darkness

By Amalah

Dearest Amalah,
I have a problem so, duh, who better to answer it than you?
There are dark circles under my eyes. Huge, dark, purple circles that NEVER go away. I’ve had them since I was a kid (now 24) and I’m starting to get annoyed. Most of the products I’ve found are designed to reduce under eye puffiness but I’m not puffy, just purpley.
Otherwise my eyes are pretty awesome — super dark chocolate brown — but these dark circles make me look like a vampire who never gets no sleep and guuuuurl, that ain’t cool.
So my question is this: 1) How can I get rid of the dark circles or 2) If I can’t get rid, how can I cover the buggers so I look halfway decent when I go out in public?
Thanks a million!

First of all, let’s get science-y for a minute! According to this helpful little column from iVillage:

Most dark circles are caused by the veins beneath the thin skin under the eye. As we age and receive more sun damage to our facial skin, the thin skin under the eye can become thinner and wrinkled, which allows the veins in the fat pad under the eye to become more prominent. These veins also become more congested in people with allergies, and people with a history of eczema, hay fever or asthma often develop dark circles referred to as “allergic shiners.”

So basically: it’s not your fault! Your under-eye area is just TOO SKINNY. Here, eat some candy. That will help.
The article lists a couple temporary fixes, like cucumber slices and cold tea bags, but then completely loses me with all the talk of EYE SURGERY, ON YOUR EYES, AH AH AH NO NO, so I believe the best course of action is to find a really awesome concealer, and then learn to apply it correctly.
benefit.jpgLinda at SundryBuzz recently put out a distress call for concealer recommendations, and lo, she got a slew of them. (Man, I am all about passing the buck on this one, huh?) She chose to try Benefit’s Boi-ing concealer and reviewed it here. I’ve always heard tons of praise for Benefit’s concealers and eye bases, including their pencils (Eye Bright and the It Stick), which are especially good for brightening up the dark inner corners by the bridge of your nose. And for during the day touch-ups, there’s Lyin’ Eyes.
I’d also probably lose my standing as Philosophy’s Number One Fan if I didn’t mention their Dark Shadows cream, but I haven’t actually tried it. Yet. But don’t worry, I’m slowly making my way through their entire collection because OMG MARRY MEEEE PHILOSOPHY.
Dark circles aren’t a huge problem for me, so for now I stick with the cheaper options. I use Physician’s Formula Concealer Twins whenever I’m sleep-deprived or under the weather, which is when I get the bluish circles. Yellow is the natural enemy of blue and purple skin discoloration, so I like being able to slather the yellow on, then blend the skin-colored makeup on over that. Like Linda said in her review of the Benefit stuff, I’ve GOT to really moisturize the eye area first, and putting on too means the makeup just cakes into the fine lines. (OR WRINKLES. WHATEVER.)
Other concealer pitfalls: choosing a color that’s too light for your skin (the “reverse raccoon,” I once heard it called), or applying it ONLY under your eyes. For a more natural look, you want to take the concealer all around the eye area blah blah blaaah.
Oh, and for the whole “concealer-before-or-after-foundation” bitchfight? (No. Seriously. People ARGUE ABOUT THIS.) (I KNOW.) Here’s my take: if your circles are really dark and really permanent — the product of thinning skin and visible veins — then put your concealer on first. Next, apply foundation and set everything with some translucent powder. I think this makes the application process easier and helps your concealer last longer.
But if your circles are more of an occasional problem and you aren’t really sure if you need concealer, then put your foundation on first. In fact, I’d go a step farther and say wait until you’ve put your blush on too. You might find that the makeup has brightened your face up enough and the blush is pulling focus away from your under-eye area. If so, hooray! You’ve spared yourself another coat of junk on your face that you’ll have to touch up later. But if not, no big deal, just go ahead and apply some concealer.
Honestly, if more people would just listen to me, I bet we could acheive world peace too. But for now, I’ll settle for no more catfights in the Sephora aisles. God, I’m such a giver.

Published February 12, 2007. Last updated February 12, 2007.
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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