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If you've dealt with under-eye circles, you know they’re one of the most stubborn issues to treat. Whether from lack of sleep, aging or genetics (all three reasons under-eye bags happen, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine), a simple dab of cream or concealer is rarely enough to diminish the darkness or swelling.
As someone who inherited her under-eye bags, I’ve had a lifetime of explaining that no, I did actually sleep last night. I’ve also done enough trial-and-error to figure out which concealers and creams actually work. And when I tell you I’ve tested tens of hundreds, I mean it — any major makeup brand that claims to have an effective under-eye concealer has at least been swatched by yours truly out of curiosity.
The result? I’ve sifted through many duds to discover two holy grail concealers that mask the look of under-eye circles — and actually last most of the day without any purple hues or swelling popping through. I can say, with full confidence, you cannot go wrong with either IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer ($33 at QVC) or Tarte Cosmetics Shape Tape Concealer ($28 at QVC). So while you're up late figuring out what to snag this Memorial Day weekend, don't let your eyes suffer in silence and treat them to something nice as well!
My biggest tip before you even slab on concealer? Find yourself a good under-eye cream you can apply first thing in the morning. A quality formula will help reduce swelling and dark circles before you even reach for your concealer tube, doing most of the work for you. I recommend Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado ($34 at Sephora); it uses avocado oil to hydrate the thin skin under your eyes, which in turn helps brighten the area and reduce any puffiness.
Another tip to further bump the brightening effect: Always buy a shade of concealer slightly lighter than your skin color. This helps create natural planes of light under your eyes to make them appear brighter.
For some serious, full coverage
For a long time, only one concealer had my heart, and that was IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer. I shelled out for years to get the effortless full coverage that comes with just a tiny bit of product. It’s truly that incredible, and since a little goes a long way, you definitely get your money’s worth.
To use it, simply dab a little directly onto your circles, and blend outward to cover the entire area underneath your eye. (The handy included brush can help you do just that!) Because the formula is thick, it needs to be worked into your skin a bit so it's not visible and patchy. But it’s precisely that thick formula that makes it so good at concealing circles — it lays effortlessly on top of the skin without a single dark hue peeking through. And that effect lasts. You’ll notice throughout the day that dark circles stay firmly hidden, while the concealer itself does not crease, fade or settle into fine lines. The formula includes vitamins A, C, E and hydrolyzed collagen to boost hydration too.
Since the concealer is so full coverage, it's probably best for when you’re opting for a full face of makeup. While a few light dabs will work in a pinch, I've found that you'll also want to use a setting powder to control shine. And if you use the concealer without foundation, it’s easy to see where it ends and your skin begins without some heavy handed blending. Want to see it in action? Check out these videos.
That said, if you need an intense concealer that’ll get the job done without the need for much else, there’s nothing better out there than Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer.
For everyday coverage that packs a punch
As much as I love my Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer, life during a pandemic has had me opting for a more minimal makeup routine and a lighter, easier concealer. I had heard how amazing Tarte Cosmetics’ Shape Tape line was, but never actually got around to trying it until recently, and boy was I missing out.
The beauty of Tarte’s Shape Tape Concealer comes from how effectively it conceals with a matte formula. Because it doesn’t have as shiny a finish, it delivers the same level of coverage as Bye Bye Under Eye without the need for setting powder — one less step in my now incredibly lazy routine. Like Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer, Shape Tape Concealer also features skincare ingredients like Amazonian clay and shea butter to keep under eyes moisturized while preventing the makeup from settling into fine lines. The included doe foot applicator is great for accurately laying down your concealer where you need it. QVC is also throwing in a nifty blending sponge, which you can use for the concealer or even foundation, cream blush or bronzer.
One of my biggest complaints about Bye Bye Under Concealer is that shade options are incredibly limited. Tarte’s Shape Tape Concealer, however, is coming in hot with 35 colors to help match your skintone more accurately. The formula is also waterproof and crease-proof for up to 16 hours.
While I found that the Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer is mostly bulletproof throughout the day — even after a particularly sweaty workout — Tarte’s Shape Tape Concealer tends to fade for me as the day goes on. Though the coverage is still decent, I will see some dark hues start to peek through by mid-afternoon/early evening, which means I typically have to reapply it. That being said, the formula is so light and easy to use, I can quickly dab it on for a touchup.
The bottom line
Both of these concealers are excellent options when it comes to reducing the look of dark circles and under-eye puffiness. If you’re looking for a full coverage formula that won’t quit, Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer from IT Cosmetics is definitely for you. But if you’re content with a lighter formula for effortless concealing that may need tending to later, Tarte’s Shape Tape Concealer is your ticket. It’s the perfect option for when you’re running out the door but still want to brighten the area under your eyes.
P.S.: If you're new to QVC, you'll get $15 off your first order with code OFFER. QVC also lets you pay in five interest-free installments of just $8, if you'd like.
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