The Definitive Guide: 15 Best Concealers for Dark Circles in 2018

Updated 4 years ago

Have you ever kept washing at what you thought were eyeliner smudges under your eyes only to realize that they were dark circles?  You want to laugh but, you just feel tired. Don’t let those dark circles take away your sense of humor. 

What Causes Dark Circles Under the Eyes?

The skin around your body is about 2 mm.  The skin underneath your eyes, your periorbital skin, however, is 0.5 mm.  It’s, therefore, extremely thin and virtually see-through. There are blood vessels beneath your periorbital skin.  When oxygenated blood pools in those vessels, they show through the periorbital skin, which only allows blue/violet wavelengths of light to show through. That’s why veins, depending on a person’s skin color, look blue, green, or brown. The circles under our eyes are a dark blue, green, or brown, too, but to us, though, they just look dark.  

As we age, our skin loses elasticity and the ability to renew itself, so dark circles are more noticeable in elderly individuals.  

Concealer:  A Makeup Must

First of all, concealers should not be confused with correctors.  Correctors are somewhat related to concealers, but as their name implies, they “correct” uneven skin tones and discolorations.  They come in shades such as yellow, red, and green and utilize color technology. For example, on the color wheel, red is the opposite of green, so a green corrector would correct redness.  Correctors work well with sunspots, rosacea, and under concealers (a color guide is provided later under “How to Apply Concealer”).

Concealers, as their name implies, conceal imperfections and are especially designed to diminish and lighten the appearance of dark circles under the eyes.  They’re thick, dense and come in creams, powders, and liquids. When you use the right shade of concealer and apply it under your eyes correctly, it lifts and brightens your face.  In fact, many makeup artists consider it the most important makeup step.

You should select a shade that is one or two shades lighter than your foundation or your skin tone.  You can wear concealer alone, under or over foundation, or, as mentioned, over corrector. For blending purposes, you might find it easier to match your concealer type with your foundation.  In other words, if you choose a liquid concealer, it’s easier to blend it with a liquid foundation. If you choose a powder foundation, it’s easier to blend it with a powder concealer.

Dark circles are a common problem and most woman has had to deal with them in some way or another.  So, which are the top concealers? Here’s what makeup artists, magazines, and independent reviewers considered as their top choices.

Make Up For Ever Full Coverage Concealer

This matte finish, waterproof, oil-free concealer contains a high concentration of colors, stays on, and lasts.  Many reviewers used “excellent,” “superb,” and even “phenomenal” to describe it. The coverage is natural looking and also works on other flaws.  

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer

This lightweight concealer lasts all day and stays fresh.  It’s available in sixteen shades and comes with a wand for easy application.  You don’t need much, so one container lasts a while. It’s paraben, alcohol, synthetic, and fragrance free, and non-comedogenic.  

It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Full Coverage Concealer

Plastic surgeons created this concealer, which comes in six shades, specifically with the goal of covering dark under eye circles.  The tube’s small, but lasts. You just have to warm it between your fingers before applying. It contains anti-aging ingredients including hydrolyzed collagen, hyaluronic acid and antioxidants and actually improves the appearance of skin imperfections and wrinkles. 

Dermablend Quick-Fix Concealer Stick

This full coverage concealer stick is for all skin types, including sensitive skin.  It offers all day hydration and broad-spectrum SPF 30. It goes on creamy and lasts up to sixteen hours.  It’s allergy and dermatologist tested, non-comedogenic, and paraben, phthalates, and fragrance free. It works especially well with hard to cover dark circles and stubborn imperfections.  Users recommend making sure you use a moisturizer first to ensure that it goes on smoothly. 

bareMinerals Bareskin Complete Coverage Serum Light Concealer

Buy from bareMinerals

This concealer contains high-definition mineral optics that counteract shadows and provide skin with an illuminated finish.  Moisturizing agents hydrate the under eye area and help keep it looking smooth, dewy, and natural, as if you’re not wearing any makeup.  It might need a little touching up during the day, but it comes in a tube with a wand, so you can take it along with you. 

Tarte Double Duty Beauty Shape Tape Contour Concealer

Users give this matte concealer rave reviews.  It comes in fourteen shades, lasts long, moisturizes, and offers a natural, bright coverage.  It’s cruelty-free and contains no parabens, phthalates, or gluten. It does has a fragrance, though. 

Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place Flawless Wear Concealer

Users love this product and say that it completely covers their dark under eye circles and stays put, even through humidity and perspiration.  It’s creamy, moisturizing, doesn’t settle into fine lines, and blends well.

Laura Mercier High Coverage Concealer For Under Eye

This buildable concealer comes in twelve shades and covers with a light matte finish that stays fresh and hydrates for up to twelve hours.  It de-puffs, too, so it works particularly well for those who look tired and need extra sprucing. It’s thick, so you only need to use a little.  It contains vitamin E, honey, and fruit acid to calm and nourish skin and works with most skin types. It’s also ophthalmologist and dermatologist tested.  

MAC Pro Longwear Concealer

A single pump of this lightweight concealer covers even the darkest circles, plus any other faults.  A tester put it on in the morning and it was still on after a full day at the office and a workout at the gym. It’s very opaque, so those who prefer light coverage or wear sheer foundations should keep that in mind.  

Lancôme Effacernes Waterproof Protective Undereye Natural-Looking Concealer

Reviewers said that this concealer had everything you could want.  It’s waterproof, smudgeproof, crease-resistant, hydrating, and long wearing.  It also reduces fine lines and evens out skin tone. Some users, however, complained about the tube.  Be careful and squeeze out a little, otherwise too much will come out and be wasted.

Becca Aqua Luminous Perfecting Concealer

This crease and smudge resistant, cream concealer is thirty-two percent water, so it blends nicely and is good for dry skin as well as for all skin types.  Most users like the watery texture and say that it feels like they’re wearing nothing. It comes with an applicator wand, so it’s easy to put on. It covers dark circles and blemishes, improves skin tone, and brightens the face. 

RMS Beauty Un Cover-Up Concealer/Foundation

This is one of the lightest feeling concealers available.  The moisturizing formula contains coconut oil and brightens the complexion without leaving it greasy.  It feels good on the skin and is popular with those who like non-toxic, natural looking products. It has no parabens, sulfates, or phthalates. 

Amazing Cosmetics Amazing Concealer

This water-resistant concealer comes in twenty shades and covers dark circles under the eyes, plus other imperfections.  Makeup professionals call it the “amazing eraser.” With twenty colors, it’s makeup professionals, celebrities, and makeup fanatics’ favorite concealer. 

Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat Radiant Touch

This concealer pen has a small brush, which makes it easy to apply and blend.  The light cream goes on smoothly, totally covers dark under eye circles, and brightens the face.  It literally makes the eyes “pop.”

Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Lift and Firm Concealer

The technology in this concealer, which comes with an applicator, actually smooths fine lines, hydrates, and firms the skin under the eyes, all while it covers dark circles and brightens the eye area. 

There is indeed a lot to consider.  But, in no time, you will have a fresh, flawless face and you’ll be the only one who ever knew about those dark under eye circles.

How to Apply Concealer

The first step is to prep your under eye area with a lightweight, hydrating eye cream.  It will plump your skin, prevent the concealer from sagging into fine lines, and let the concealer go on smoother. If you want to use corrector, use it next.  

Here’s a guide with regard to corrector colors:

  • purple corrects yellow discoloration on medium skin.
  • pink corrects brown discoloration and brightens dullness on all skin tones.
  • green corrects red discoloration on all skin tones.
  • yellow corrects red discoloration on all skin tones.
  • peach corrects blue discoloration on light to medium skin.
  • orange corrects blue discoloration on medium to dark skin.
  • red corrects dark circles on deep skin tones

Should you put on concealer or foundation next or do your eye makeup first?

Experts have varying opinions.  Here are some of their explanations. 

  • Apply Foundation First:  applying a thin layer of foundation first evens out skin tone, lets you apply concealer only where needed, and requires less concealer.  Applying concealer under foundation also causes smears.
  • Apply Concealer First:  once you apply it and blend, you might realize you don’t need any foundation or maybe you just need a little to even out your tone and to create a flawless appearance.
  • Apply it After Eye Makeup:  apply it after you’re completely finished making up your eyes.  That way it’s nice, bright, and fresh. Such keeps you from having to reapply it in the event you make an error, it tidies up any little spots that might have occurred during the eye makeup process, and it keeps other makeup specks from dulling the area.

How should you apply concealer?

With a brush, sponge, or your finger?  The experts didn’t disagree all that much in this area, they simply advised to do what felt right.  These choices apply mostly when concealer is liquid or powder.  With a liquid, you can apply a small dollop to your hand and work from there. Here are the choices:

  • Brush:  a brush gives you accuracy, lets you focus your application, and allows you to blend, all of which are crucial. Start small and build up until you get the look you want.
  • Sponge:  sponges let you blend expertly and achieve a perfect finish.  For best results, first dampen the sponge.
  • Fingers:  your warm fingers make blending easier.  Be careful, though, as your fingers usually pick up a thicker amount.  Be gentle, too. Remember, the periorbital skin is thin and very sensitive.  Tap and use very light pressure.

Finally, how do you actually apply the concealer?

  • Crescent Shape: dotted or swept under the eyes, where the dark circles form, then blend.  This is the standard application method.
  • “V” or Triangle-Shaped:  this is fast becoming makeup artists’ preferred application technique.  Apply concealer under your eye in a “V” shape, from the outer corner of your eye to the other, with the bottom part reaching down to the top of your cheek.  Let the “V” set for several seconds, then blend. This technique does a great job of camouflaging those dark circles under the eyes, which is exactly what you want it to do.

Makeup experts usually recommend finishing up your application with a dusting of powder. Middle aged and older women should, however, avoid this. They should also avoid using powder concealer.  Powders are drying and can settle into fine lines and wrinkles and make them more prominent.

More reasons for those dark circles

  • Unpredictable Sleep Pattern: Sleep lets your body repair itself.  Not getting enough prevents your body from repairing the day’s damage and stress.  When your body’s stressed, your skin is stressed. Those periorbital blood vessels dilate and that leads to dark circles.   Activating the snooze button over and over again can also cause those blood vessels to dilate. So can sleeping too much. Healthy adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night.  
  • Sleep Positions:  specific sleeping positions, such as on your sides or stomach, exacerbate dark circles as they let gravity pool blood into the blood vessels in the periorbital area.  Such also leads to puffiness or “bags" under the eyes. Sleeping on your back will lessen the problem.
  • Your Genes:  sorry to blame your parents for yet something else, but we all know that their DNA controls your looks. Those with darker and olive toned skin, particularly those with Middle Eastern, Asian, African, and Mediterranean backgrounds tend to have higher levels of melanin or pigmentation levels in the periorbital area.    
  • UV Exposure:  sure, the sun or tanning will give you a glow, but it also stimulates your body to produce melanin, which as mentioned under genes, can heighten the look of dark circles.  Needless to say, if you’re going to expose yourself to the make sure you protect your eyes and skin with sunglasses, a hat, and sunscreen. If you tan, make sure you wear protective goggles or cover your eyes with a towel.  Closing your eyes does not adequately protect your delicate eyes from harmful UV rays.
  • Not Enough Water:  when you’re dehydrated, your skin cells shrink.  Such causes elasticity loss and dryness. Not drinking enough water also keeps fluids and toxins in your body.  And, it all leads to dark circles and baggy eyes. Yes, the medical recommendation is still eight glasses of water each day.  If that sounds too much, at least try to drink water every chance you get, specifically if you live in a hot climate or if it’s summertime.
  • Allergies: allergies activate the body’s histamines, which cause blood vessels to dilate, including those in the periorbital area.  Treating the allergy will help. Allergies can also make your eyes itch. Rubbing your eyes can further inflame and break the blood vessels in the periorbital area, further darkening circles.  Eczema and other allergic conditions can cause itching around the eyes, as well.
  • Smoking: smoking makes you lose collagen rather quickly and further thins the already thin periorbital skin.  Those blood vessels become even more visible and those dark circles look even darker. The solution is obvious:  quit smoking.
  • Alcohol Consumption:  drinking excessively dilates your blood vessels and makes them more noticeable, including the periorbital blood vessels.  Drinking in moderation will cause improvement.

While other conditions and situations can lead to dark circles under the eyes, these are some of the major causes.  Some are easier to fix than others. We advocated healthy habits, not so much because we wanted to preach, but because keeping healthy not only helps you look your best, it enhances your overall wellbeing and improves your life.   

So, other than adopting healthy habits and following the other suggestions, how do you diminish the appearance of dark circles under the eyes?   With a product that is a must for every woman’s makeup bag: concealer.