Dark circles are the bane of my existence. That, along with pesky mosquitoes and washing my makeup brushes. The never-ending struggle of trying to hide them, wishing they could disappear forever. I don’t have the darkest undereye circles by any means but over the last few months they have darkened considerably. I’ve been on a quest to find the best concealer but also try to find the root of the problem.
I’ve been told a number of possible reasons could be causing them. First and foremost, lack of sleep. I get around 3-4 hours of shut eye each night and my body is definitely feeling the effects of it. It’s not that I don’t want to sleep, I just struggle to. I’ve tried drinking warm milk before bed, meditating, sleep therapy audio and even resorted to some heavy medication. Which had absolutely no effect by the way. Having insomnia has fatigued my body, hindered my mind restless and caused me to look like a zombie. Another reason to love makeup transformations, no?
Other causes could include my sinus problems, lack of iron due to me being anemic or just plain old genetics. Either way, I want them gone. I’ve tried teabags, lemon juice, potato peels and numerous eye creams and masks. Nothing yet but the search continues. In the meantime, I love to try out different concealers to see which one performs the best. We all want crease-proof, budge-proof, long-wearing concealer that doesn’t cake, flake or crack. Oh and for medium to dark skin tones like mine, one that doesn’t look gray and ashy.
Ashiness can be prevented by colour correcting first. I’ll do a separate post on that in the future but the basis of it is to cancel out certain colours. Dark circles have a blue-ish tint to them so using an orange or peach corrector cancels out the darkness before you apply your concealer.
Here’s a few correctors I’ve tried, but the one from MAC is the best. It’s the most lightweight, yet great coverage and is suited to a number of skintones.
Ok so back to the topic at hand. I’ve used a number of concealers over the years and these have stood out from among the rest. To see what my top 10 concealer picks are to suit your budget, please keep on reading.
I’m sure by now you’ve seen the NARS Radiant Creamy concealer ($30/R650) raved about on numerous YouTube videos. This is truly a luxurious product and works so well. It has medium to full coverage and even though it applies quite thick, it is very lightweight on the skin. I’m in the shade Ginger.
Then I picked up the Bobbi Brown Tinted Eye Brightener ($32/R375) in the shade Light to Medium Peach by accident. I was looking for the peach shade to correct and somehow ended up with this one. Instead of returning it, I tried it out and loved it. It’s lighter than the other concealers I own so I use this one to brighten the undereye area for when I’m looking a bit worse for wear. It’s very thin in consistency so it melts into the skin looking very flawless and natural.
I picked up two shades of the Urban Decay Naked Skin concealers ($28/R395). One to highlight and one to match my skin tone. I did a full review here almost a year ago and still love using both of these just as much.
The MAC Select Cover Up concealer ($20/R330) in NW35 is my go to for the days I’m in a rush. The tube dispenser makes it hygienic for travelling and I pat it in using my ring finger when needed. The Benefit Boing Concealer ($20/R275) in shade 04 is another one of my essential travel products. The thick, ‘industrial strength’ concealer is water-resistant and very long wearing. I use it to carve out my brows and conceal large breakouts.
The Revlon Age Defying concealer ($11/R125) is the best concealer I’ve ever tried from the drugstore. I’d even go so far as to say it performs just as well as some of the high end ones I’ve tried. I got the shade medium deep at a store sale as these are now discontinued. Had I known it was this good, I would have picked up 10 more as backups. It’s creamy, lightweight, medium to full coverage and if it helps with anti-ageing, that’s a huge bonus.
I use the NYX HD Photogenic Concealer ($5/R120) in medium along with the shade nutmeg for an intense highlight and contour look. It’s not for everyday wear so I stick to using it for events and functions. I like it because it doesn’t get cakey when layering and baking on top of it. The Morphe concealer ($5/R120) in Honey is a recent addition to my collection but it has fast become one I use regularly. It has a medium consistency but the yellow undertones brighten the undereye area and make the skin look flawless. The only downside is that it’s not the longest-wearing so I prefer to always bake when using it.
Lastly, the LA Girl Pro concealer range is the most affordable yet great quality concealers found at the drugstore. I have about 5 different shades I switch between depending on what I’m looking for. There’s ones to highlight, contour, conceal, to carve out brows or apply any other dimension you want to bring to your face. The consistency is more on the thicker side so I always use a Beauty Blender to pick up the excess product. The only downfall to these is that once stored, they separate in the tube and need to be shaken before use. For the price point, I can’t imagine anyone having a problem with that.
Before I reveal the best concealer, there’s just a few points I want to touch on.
I’ve noticed that when a concealer lasts for me, other people might not experience the same thing and vice versa. Always remember, our skin is not the same and depending on oil production and how much we sweat can impact the longevity of your makeup. A primer is essential for everyday use and is something that should never be skipped.
I have yet to find a concealer that doesn’t crease. There are many that claim to do so, I’ve tried them, and it’s a lie. I always set my concealer because I don’t wan’t to look like death became me in a few hours. You don’t have to bake your undereyes, but a light dusting of powder will help. The concealers that I have found to crease the least without setting is the MAC Select Cover Up and the best concealer revealed below.
Selecting your perfect shade
I tried to do a swatch comparison between all the concealers but my lighting was giving me ish. Unlike foundation matching, which needs to be almost exact, concealers don’t always need to be. Well that’s my opinion in any case. I have concealers that are about 5 shades darker right up to my skin tone. Anything darker can be used for contouring but not as an actual concealer. I prefer using a Beauty Blender or any makeup sponge to blend my undereye concealer. Even if it’s miles too light, the sponge picks up excess product while blending the edges to your foundation. You can even flip your makeup sponge onto the side that you applied foundation to tone down the brightness and make it look more suitable.
Another huge question I’ve gotten when it comes to concealers. I don’t really take much pictures, never with a flash so it’s something I can’t really comment on. However, when I did clients, it all came down to the setting powder. Avoid setting powders that contain silica, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide because those ingredients cause flashback. You can usually also tell if they have HD listed in the name. The best setting powder I recommend that controls oils, keeps makeup lasting longer and that has no flashback is the RCMA No Color powder (R$12/R420).
Now for the big reveal.
The best concealer is the Tarte Shape Tape concealer ($25/R320). No surprise there was it? If you’ve heard about, didn’t believe the hype, believe it now. It is by far the best concealer I have ever used. Since it’s launch, it’s been restocked numerous times and sold out just as fast. Tarte had to put in a limit of 2 per customer to manage this. Did you know, one Shape Tape is sold every 26 seconds? Yep that sounds crazy but it must indicate just how awesome it is.
The packaging is simple yet the gold and purple top stands out among the rest. The wand applicator is larger than required and dispenses more product than needed. It’s not a train-smash but something you should be aware of. I actually prefer it so that I don’t need to dip more than once into the tube when applying my makeup.
The formula itself is fully opaque, lightweight and has a satin-matte finish. It does oxidise so take that into mind when choosing your shade. I chose Tan which when dried down matches my skin tone perfectly. (You can see a full list of the foundations I use here). I’d like to get a shade lighter to highlight but I don’t think I’d like this consistency as a contour. It has a lemon scent which lingers for around 10 minutes before fading. It’s formulated with ingredients like shea butter and mango seed, that help hydrate and moisturize the skin. As I mentioned, it doesn’t crease much, is non-drying and some might even get away with not powdering it at all. It lasts for hours and I’d say it’s practically waterproof. I’ve ran in the rain wearing it and my undereyes were still perfect when I got home.
It is hands down the best concealer I’ve ever tried and I’d recommend it for anyone and everyone. Tarte ships worldwide so there’s no excuse why you can’t get your hands on it. They have 14 shades available from the fairest of skins to the darkest.
What’s the best concealer you’ve ever tried?