March 19, 2013

How to Conceal Dark Circles & Brighten Eyes

How to Conceal Dark Circles

The mostly commonly asked question I get is “How do I conceal my dark circles?” “How can I brighten my eyes?” Concealing and brightening eyes will differ for everyone in my opinion. Like snowflakes, dark circles differ especially since we all have different undertones so perhaps you don’t necessarily have dark circles but maybe blue ones or even yellow. Darkness will vary from skin tone to skin tone.

I don’t think I necessarily have a major problem with dark circles mostly my eyes suffer from puffiness if I’m working on a few hours of sleep or over computer use and gaming, straining my eyes will make my eyes look tired, puffy, and old. I already have some fine lining combined with dryness so indeed my eyes do tend to look tired.

Below you’ll find some of my favorite products and tips to brighten up my eyes, conceal dark circles, and give me a the illusion of looking like I had eight hours of sleep when in fact it was only five.

Ok, so my top five products I personally use daily to look conceal under eye and to look flawless are as follows:

Benefit Lemon Aid
Don’t neglect the top of your lid and eye area! Lemon Aid is a soft buttery yellow that preps and conceals eyes beautifully. It brightens, it conceals smaller veins, redness, or even darkness around your lid and eye area plus it brightens the entire area up!

Benefit Lemon Aid

It Cosmetics Concealer
This is my HG concealer of the moment! Holy grail that is. It’s a highly concentrated thick, creamy concealer that will hide EVERYTHING! Seriously, this is super pigmented.

It Cosmetics Concealer

E.L.F. Studio Concealer Brush
I can’t live with out my cheap as chips E.L.F. Studio Concealer Brush! Believe me I wasn’t into concealer brushes in the least until I discovered this but it literally works fantastic to “paint” concealer into place prior to blending.

ELF Concealer Brush

My Fingers

Yes, my fingers! After I use my conceal brush to apply concealer I blend and pat into place using my trusty fingers

Skin Food Salmon Brightening Powder

Skin Food Salmon Dark Circle Powder

Prior to discovering this powder I was scared to death to attempt using any powder under my drier eyes. This is a yellow powder you can use over your concealer to not only set it but also to brighten eyes up and diffuse dark circles even more.

Bobbi Brown Dual Sided Blending and Concealer Brush
This is sadly not sold by Bobbi unless you purchase her concealer palette on QVC as it comes as a set. But it is a great brush! I don’t use the concealer side but I can’t leave without the bushier blending brush that resembles the MAC 224 but with far softer bristles. I use it to set my concealer with the above mentioned powder.

I typically start my routine with Benefit Lemon Aid on my lid and above my eye. Basically all over the lid area is where I place Lemon Aid. Some folks don’t love this product but for the past ten years or more it has been my staple for beginning my routine.

After that I squeeze a tiny amount of the It Concealer on the back of my hand and swipe my E.L.F. Brush into it. I proceed to swipe the brush under my eyes paying particularly attention to the inner corner. Bobbi Brown had a video with concealer tips and she was always adamant about placing concealer in the inner corner to diffuse the appearance of darkness and she’s right so don’t neglect this area. After the concealer is in a thinner layer under my eyes I start patting and blending outward. I use a sort of blend and stroke technique to get it into place. Although I didn’t mention it above prior to doing ANY of this I hydrate well with an eye cream patted gently under my eye and left to set while I do my hair.

My final step I tap a small amount of the Salmon Powder into the lid and circle my brush in it, tap off excess, and brush it gently under my eyes.

That’s it!


My eyes are typically brighter, fresher, and flawless after these simple steps. It Concealer is one of the best concealers I’ve run into recently and I’ve been using it daily since discovering it. I do cheat and try new concealers from time to time or others in my arsenal. Some of my favorites are my Bobbi Brown Concealer Palette, Kat Von D Concealer, etc…

What are your tips for concealing dark circles?

How do you start and end your concealing routine?

Which products do you use?

About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

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  • Barb

    seriously swear by Sephora’s concealer brush

    I pat on some concealer and buff it in with the brush… also I’ll dip this brush in a little MUFE HD finishing powder … buff that on to set

    for days that i’m not using full makeup .. i’ll dip this baby in Bare Minerals powder concealer and buff that in.. it’s amazing!

    I totally agree with putting concealer in the inner corner of your eye.. don’t miss that spot as it’s usually very dark on most people

    sweep whatever is left on your brush upwards on the outer corner of your eye for a lift

    I haven’t tried the IT concealer… YET!!

    • the Muse

      ditto! πŸ˜€ actually use my ELF more but when I really want super airbrushed finish I use this ;-D It’s amazing πŸ˜€ thanks for sharing your tips Barb! SO helpful!

  • sylvia

    where do you find the skin food salmon powder? I don’t see it on ebay and the only seller on Amazon that has it is , and they sent me fake Skin79 bb cream before

  • Jessica

    I’m always on the hunt for a product that will conceal the blueish circles I have under my eyes and I have found the Pixi Corrector (in a pot) is great for this! It is a peach color that conceals and brightens. Even though it is just listed as a corrector, I don’t have to top it with concealer cause it is so great on its own. First I moisturize under my eyes cause it is a little dry, then I pat it on with my finger till it covers, then just a little powder to set and I’m done. AND it last all day for me. It’s the best I have found…even better then Bobbi Brown corrector which for me only lasts a few hours before it’s worn off (I have oily skin).

    • the Muse

      I’ve tried that myself Jessica and it is quite good ;-D thanks for sharing your techniques πŸ˜€ very helpful!

  • sylvia

    thanks but none of those sellers currently have it in stock, I guess I’ll just have to wait =/
    I’ve been using Elf’s mineral eye brightener in buff and it’s surprisingly effective-I just bought it on a whim expecting it to be crap

    • the Muse

      sorry Sylvia πŸ™ I’ve used ELF’s eye brightener as well, quite good for the price!

  • madeline

    how do you keep the lemon aid from creasing? i have mildly oily lids and it creases on me within 5 minutes, even if i put on a primer beforehand

    • the Muse

      it actually doesn’t crease on me madeline…perhaps set with powder?

  • Lisa Irwin

    My current regime consists of Clinique all about eyes serum/depuffer and cream, then my new fave, Bobbi brown concealer kit in sand. Oh, this has revolutionized my eye concealer needs! And the setting powder is a must for me. Agree about elf brush.

  • charlotte

    I swear by the Garnier anti-puff roller (the clear one). It does an amazing job of firming. I not only use it over my entire eye (I find it helps with my hooded lids as well) but have been using it over my entire face and find it provides the same firming action to other problem areas as well. It is slightly moisturizing, and I have had no problems with it breaking me out. I get the best results when I use it first before my moisturizer so it has undiluted contact with the skin. It does take a little while to see the full effect.

    I have had consistent issues finding pigmentation and hydration in the same product. Typically the more highly pigmented concealers are also drying, either immediately or over the course of the day, and difficult to blend. I have the best luck with layering. Currently I am using the Maybelline eraser in Brightening under my foundation (I also find this is great for covering persistent redness), and the Covergirl simply ageless concealer in Corrector on top. I do have yellow toned skin so if you are more pink you would be better off with one of the skin toned shades. Where application is concerned I focus on the darkest areas rather than applying product to the entire under eye. It seems to make more of an impact. When I apply to the entire area the darkest areas are still darker, if that makes sense.

    I find that eye primer is just as important under the eyes as it is on top. Concealer blends better, covers more, lasts longer, and does not crease.

    I also get better results applying powder under my eyes with a wedge sponge, lightly pressing the product in, rather than using a brush. Gives me a much smoother finish and makes my concealer last longer.

  • Laura

    I’ve just truned 40 and I’d say aomewhere around age 35 all concealors became my enemy. EVERYthing goes into the fine lines and creases – and makes me look older!!! I’ve tried every primer under the sun to cover up.

    If you have any way to not make wrinkles look more wrinkly – let me know.

    PS The Garnier Roller ball is also the best I can find too, it works the best so far. Still wrinkly but not as bad.

    oh PPS – and the YBF (from HSN) Yellow eye creme is a total dupe for Benefit’s Lemon Aid – and works WAYYYYY better in my opinion.

    • the Muse

      have you tried Mally’s eye primer? That’s excellent for more moisture.

      • Laura

        I haven’t – but I do have the clear pore defender – which does nothing for me.

        did like the YBF primer – I’ll have to see if I can make it work with Garnier – thanks for your help. I keep my glasses on most days because I worry my concealor makes me look old

  • Lisa

    Hi Muse, We do very similar things with similar products. I start off with NYX HD primer and then use Benefit Erase Paste in medium to brighten things up. I use both fingers and brushes to apply. Next I use Tarte’s marajuca oil creaseless concealer in ligh in the hollows, they can create shadows and press the concealer in to visually “fill” them in and then set everything with BE multi tasking minerals in summer bisque or sometimes I will use BE Well Rested with my Real Techniques fluffy concealer brush. I really must try the IT concealer! I was hoping it would be part of the recent TSV on QVC but it wasn’t. Great post- thank you!!

    • the Muse

      thanks for sharing lisa especially the technique about the hollows of your eyes as I have particularly deep hollows. I was too πŸ™ darn! Wish it was included!

  • Tata

    Hi! First post here, I’m a bit shy :3

    But it’s a really great article, thanks for sharing!

    I’ve always had blue/purple/black dark circles on fair skin so I searched a long time how to hide them and the best trick I use is the same as you : I use a concealer (from Kiko, an Italian brand, a very good one) plus a pink powder on top. (I found this by a brush-in-the-eye accident 2 months ago)
    I’m not sure if the powder I use is safe for my eyes or not, but I use Georgia from Benefit and the result is really nice. The powder has a little shimmer and gives light to the face.

    • the Muse

      aw don’t be shy tata so glad you shared your regime today πŸ˜€ very helpful ;D

  • Lori

    My eye area is weirdly shadowed– not because of lack of sleep or anything like that. For some reason, the skin around my entire eye (literally up to my eyebrow and down to my cheekbone) is almost brownish. It’s been this way my entire life!I know how to conceal blue or purple circles, but I can’t find a good product to for my pale skin and brownish eye area.

    Regardless, right now I use TimeBalm anti-aging concealer and Sephora’s Airbrush Concealer brush.

    • the Muse

      aw lori we all have our issues πŸ™‚ I hope time balm is working for you at least!

  • NΓΊria

    I usually treat that area with a eye contour cream to keep it hydrated, and cover&treat the dark circles using the Skinfood Dark Circle Concealer (it has some salmon-something that is said to treat that area), ans so far I’m ok with this.

    • the Muse

      really like the skin food dark circle concealer too! good stuff!

  • twirishlady

    What eye cream do you recommend? I have crazy dry undereyes and dry patches around the rest of my eyes. I always have a problem with applying concealer/foundation because of that. Help!!!! πŸ™‚

    • the Muse

      hey there ;-D How are you? I’m always testing no stuff….:-D I really like Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus Wrinkle Correcting Eye Cream in the day and Philosophy Miracle Worker in the evening ;-D

      • twirishlady

        You’re awesome! Thanks so much for the suggestions. I want, no I need, to use concealer on a regular basis but it is super embarrassing when the concealer creases and the dry patches are emphasized! BTW, really getting into Doctor Who these days. Trying to catch up on Netflix. Loving it!!!! πŸ™‚

      • twirishlady

        Geez! Looks like my reply from last night never went through. Oh well.

        Thanks for the suggestions Muse! So helpful. I need desperately to wear concealer but I often don’t because of all the dry patches and creasing. You’re the best!

        BTW, I am starting to get into Doctor Who these days. Lots to watch and I am loving it!!! πŸ™‚

  • diane

    i’m also a big fan of IT bye bye undereye…i actually use benefits eye bright the same way you use the lemonade under the concealer…i have the lemonade in a set from benefit but haven’t tried it yet. going to see the diff between the 2

    great post =)

  • Veronica

    I just picked up the Benefit Lemon Aid yesterday, and I plan on testing it out tomorrow to see how it works. My dark circles are very blue and purple, so I’m thinking I’ll try layering it on my undereye area, too, since I do find yellow does help diffuse the look. πŸ™‚ Between this and the Bobbi Brown, I may have one day be able to go out in public without somebody asking if I slept poorly. πŸ˜›

    I also bought Bare Escentuals eye cream and applied it last night, and OH MY GOD, what was I thinking never using one of these before. Hydration, yes please. I don’t have an exceptionally dry eye area (it’s the one oily area of my face, actually!), but I could still feel a major difference in how relaxed and soft the skin was.

  • ChristinaA

    Hi Muse,

    Thanks for always sharing these new tips & tricks.. I dont write much but believe me I look forward to reading your reviews while drinking my cafe every morning.. =)
    I had a question for you on the IT Cosmetics concealer.. What shade do you get it in? I wanted to try it but I didn’t know if I should get the medium or go a shade lighter and get the light.. Im like you I dont really have a problem with dark circles its more for brightening the area up so I am confused on which to get so I would love your help…

    • the Muse

      THANK you christina πŸ™‚ very flattered. I’m a medium/neutral (that’s what the shade says on the tube). The medium is sort of a medium fairer color (not your typically beige medium). I’m the same, I don’t really have super dark circles but my eyes are tired and need brightening up πŸ˜€ I have a swatch of it but sometimes swatches don’t help because it’ll look different from monitor to monitor. But the medium is a good solid cooler natural and works great for me!

      • ChristinaA

        You’re very welcome.. πŸ™‚ Thank you for letting me know the color that you use, I think I will get the same one. I am a medium/neutral too and I have mostly normal skin but I do get dry in certain areas. I love reading your reviews because our skin type is similar so usually when you say something works for you it does for me too.. It saves me a lot of testing time.. lol I should be receiving the Hourglass serum soon too, its the one you mentioned in a previous post to hydrate the under eye before the concealer.. I never even thought about doing that and I think its going to make a big difference on me. Speaking of big difference.. I have one to share with you.. I recently had some dry spots in my T-zone and I was needed some brightening up too (I go to bed way too late) and I finally found a Moisturizer that works amazing. Its called Oilatum Natural Repair Face Cream.. I bought it online at echemist and it was around $13 I think but what an amazing product. I have been using it for a week and what a difference.. My dry areas were gone after the first day of wearing it but the best part is your skin seriously brightens up and glows. It works awesome under makeup and I had three people ask me what I did different because they said my skin was glowing, they thought I was wearing new foundation or something. I haven’t felt my skin so hydrated in a long time so I definitely recommend this.. Well clearly I’m quite the chatter box this morning.. I apologize for this novel but you always help me find new things so I wanted to share one with you.. πŸ™‚

  • Diana Compton

    My HG for dark circles ( i have a three month old, so these dark circles are starting to set up shop on my face) is Mally perfect prep hydrating under eye brightener. Seriously this stuff has saved my face! It is so easy to apply, hides my sad circles, and is super hydrating. Im sure you have done a review on this πŸ™‚ i got if off QVC. I put smashbox photo finish hydrating under eye primer on first and im good to go!

  • HapaGirl

    Hey Muse! I love your posts like this, where you share your beauty tips and tricks. On your recommendation, I hunted down the Bobbi Brown dual-ended concealer brush – for $13! – at my local Cosmetics Company Outlet. It’s sold a la carte there and was such a good deal that the sales assistant helping me set one aside for herself so she could buy it later. πŸ™‚ I LOVE it, it works so well with the Skinfood powder and also for brushing away glittery/fallout from eyeshadows.

    • the Muse

      I AM so happy to hear that and wish my CCO had it! I’d buy a zillion of them LOL! ;-D It works AMAZING! with skinfood powder and I’m all kinds of excited you feel that way Hapa πŸ˜€ It really is an HG brush πŸ˜€ YAY for you! What a great deal! and I’m so happy you enjoyed the posts, I’m really good at these how to guides but I like sharing what I use as sometimes it helps someone out and in this case it helped you! quite happy about that ;-D

  • ZZ

    Hi Muse!
    I just wanted to mention that bobbi brown sells the eye blender brush by itself, for those who can’t find the dual-ended version or just want the fluffy end for setting their under eye concealer. I have it and I love it! super essential part of my concealing routine too πŸ™‚

  • Cindy Ramirez

    Thanks for this post. Honestly, no really. I’ve just added all those products to my shopping list! Its a never ending and impossible battle with dark circles under the eyes. My dark circles are hereditary, these suckers won’t go away as much as I wish they would. I honestly change my dark circle covering ritual so often, I have yet to find a series of products that work so well together that I fall in love.

    As of right now I’m using Cover FX Cream Concealer in Golden Medium, but I still see a pink tinge to it. It gets the job done but has a tendency to migrate into my fine lines after a few hours.

    I’m very interested in the Skin Food brightening powder. Are there any other (and possibly more accessible) eye brightening powders you could recommend? This could be the missing step in my routine!

  • Deb

    Hi Muse. A while back I asked you for some advice on concealers because like you I have very dry skin and my under eye area was soaking up product so fast I couldn’t get the concealer on fast enough that it wouldn’t drag and cake up. I tried out your tips and had some success but I found my HG in the new Benefit Fake Up combined with the ELF concealer brush. So I wanted to thank you for that πŸ™‚ Then I took on the challenge of my upper lids. I had laser resurfacing a couple of years ago and it left the upper lid area so red that I have had to look for a way to neutralize that. I already had red undertones anyway (before the laser) and I’ve tried everything but somehow the red was always peeking through my shadows and primers. Again, with the dry skin some of the tinted primers that would cover the red would cake and drag. Well, I finally found the solution and I just wanted to share in case anyone else is dealing with the same problem. I was browsing around Ulta and I noticed a tinted eye primer from CK. I haven’t seen or read anything anywhere on any blog about this product but I thought, what the heck. It comes in three colors and I was looking for something to disguise the red, not provide color like a cream shadow. I picked up the one in white. It’s about the same color as the NYX pencil in Milk. Like you, I’m a fan of Benefit Lemon Aid but just by itself it wasn’t covering the red enough without caking it on. So I got all mad scientist like and combined the CK white prep with the Lemon Aid. I just mix a little of them together, use the ELF concealer brush, and a miracle happened. Red GONE!. And my entire eyelid area wasn’t stark white or yellow; just neutral. The CK is in a tube and a little dab will do ya. The CK is on the drier side and the Benefit Lemon Aid helped with that a little bit but I still have to use a pretty heavy eye cream before application. Sorry this is such a long post but I wanted to point out that CK makes this product and again, I’ve not seen anyone ever mention it. I know you like to be mad scientist too so this might work for under eye too. I haven’t tried that yet because the Fake Up is doing that job perfectly.

  • gΓΆkΓ§e

    OMG this post is amazing. people really needed that i think, thank youuu πŸ™‚
    and thanks for mentioning lemon aid i was planning to buy it. what do you recommend to conceal acne ?

    check out our blog please, love you!

    • the Muse

      thanks appreciate gokce πŸ™‚ I don’t really use concealer on my face tbh so I’m not really good at recommending one for acne…it cosmetics def has excellent coverage so should prove great for face as well as under eyes πŸ™‚ aw love ya back thanks! will def visit.

  • Jessica


    I was wondering if you have tried Conceal Ex Physician strength concealer by Physicians Formula? I heard it said that it was like if Glamourflauge and Bye Bye Under Eye had a baby it would be Conceal Rx. If you haven’t could you review it? Also is Lemon Aid any good to correct under eye circles?


  • Lexi

    I tried the SKINFOOD salmon concealer and found it way too emollient for my skin. I’ve been recently trying the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Dark Circle Treatment in the brightening shade and really like this.

  • lil’eve

    Where do you find It cosmetics? I have never heard of them.

  • Vick


    i’m from singapore, really happy to stumble upon your blog!

    i have reallyyy dark circles and i absolutely hated having to deal with it and even now…
    the best concealer for me has to be bobbi brown, no matter how many others i tried..i always find myself coming back to its corrector AND concealer.
    g.armani comes by second. have not tried amazing, mufe nor nars yet though.
    am frequently on the hunt for an undereye setting powder (and best is, if it’s portable and convenient).
    have been using Heroine Kiss Me for a year or so now till i decided to try Laurier Mercier loose powder and Mac Studio Careblend Pressed powder. i DO recommend the latter. and the puff that comes with it is thin and soft/gentle for the eyes! to top it off, it is convenient to use everyday for work, over my sunscreen.

    on the other hand, i was really disappointed with LM loose powder. it never fails to crease on me and i gave up after several attempts. now i only use it to dust over my liquid foundation for face (and avoiding eye area). last week i got convinced at sephora to get the translucent loose powder – and i actually bought it!! i did not notice if the brightening powder you mentioned, is available on my shores…..i should totally return next week for an exchange…..

    by the way, have you tried the much-raved about NARS powder?

  • Coral

    Hi muse!i can’t tell you how much I apreciate the work you do here!! It’s fantastic and I love your site
    I wanted to ask, what brush do you use for the under eye powder?

    • Isabella Muse

      aw thank you so much coral that means a lot to me <3! I use a blending brush from bobbi brown that came with a concealer palette that she put out a long time ago. it's a dual ended brush which has the blending brush on one side and a concealer brush on the other. She seriously needs to bring it out for individual purchase as it's a great brush! any shadow blending brush with soft bristles is great for under eye powder application πŸ™‚