“Are you there god? It’s me, Emma. Just wondering why the hell you gave me such dark circles under my eyes?”
Such is the line of questioning I engaged in the other morning as I stood in front of the mirror trying to make myself look a little less tired. Pretty sure the answer is “genetics, my child,” but does that mean I shouldn’t try to adjust my preordained look? I certainly don’t think so, which is why I took to Sephora to find the most highly recommended concealers in the game with the intention of testing them all and reporting my findings as an act of service.
The brands I tested include those top-rated on Sephora.com and those personally recommended to me by a kind makeup artist I ran into while perusing the store. Said kind makeup artist also helped me rigorously test the shades from each brand mentioned below, making sure I chose the one closest to me natural skin tone. I judged them based on feel, ease of application, and ability to downplay my dark circles without accentuating my under-eye creases — both IRL and in photos. Wanna know which concealer is best for getting that Paris filter look? Read on.
1. Milk Makeup
This concealer comes in a squeeze tube which meant dabbing on with my fingers before using the brush, which is not my fave application style. I did, however, like the way this concealer photographed. Unfortunately it felt a little heavy on me, which could be because I’m not used to wearing concealer but could also be because it actually is. Worth mentioning regardless, especially since, in terms of coverage, it looked the most sheer. It also looked a little ashy IRL, and got somewhat caught in my creases, but it didn’t rub off very easily, which is good if you want that all-day wear. I give this one a 2/5.
2. It Cosmetics
This one also boasts a squeeze tube/dab on sitch and has a noticeably thick feel. I liked how tangible the thickness made the application, kind of like how the newest iPhones respond to touch, and I liked how it felt dewy on my skin, never becoming cakey or dry, even after hours of wear. But it did exacerbate my under-eye creases (which all the concealers did, tbh), and was harder to blend into my skin. This concealer was also a bit tricky: I thought it looked good IRL, but in photos, the color looked off, and registered as a little too shiny. 2/5.
3. Fenty Beauty
Finally, an applicator brush — like the soft wand that comes in a tube of lip gloss. I loved applying this concealer, the shape of the brush is unique and made the concealer spread under my eyes like butta. Although it did not hydrate as well as butta (it collected a bit in the creases of my eyes), it wasn’t cakey either. I was especially dismayed to realize that this concealer didn’t quite match my skintone despite my spending quite a bit of time testing all the shades in person — something more noticeable in photos. This concealer does look better IRL, but I kind of expected more from Fenty. 3/5.
Wow, Dior. That’s really all I have to say. I liked everything about this, from application to removal. The applicator brush is a nice touch, the makeup did NOT feel heavy, and it looked really natural. This concealer inspired comments from the MR peanut gallery in the form of, “Oh that’s good! Oh that’s a nice one!” Dior and Huda were my top two faves — Dior looks a bit better IRL, and Huda photographs better. 4/5.
5. Huda Beauty
Huda concealer also comes with an applicator, which I really liked — not sure if it was the softness of the brush or the softness of the concealer itself, but *something* felt like velvet on my skin. It (the concealer, not the applicator) also blended in really naturally with the rest of my face and played nicely with the concealer brush. Happy to report that there were no racoon eyes here. This concealer looked really natural but was also doin’ some work, and overall I give it a 4/5.
All in all, each concealer did make a measurable difference. They may have accentuated my under-eye creases, but most photographed fairly well, each giving me something akin to a homegrown Paris filter. My enduring takeaway is that, despite the challenges of skintone-matching, concealer will mask my dark circles. And while I don’t plan to do so every day, if you’re more of a makeup maven than I, Huda and Dior are your girls.