If you have dark circles under your eyes and are trying to find a way to hide them, you understand how frustrating it can be when expensive concealer products don’t live up to their claims. Dark circles under your eyes are notoriously difficult to correct and they can make you look tired and older than you want.
This post is all about how camouflaging them with the best concealers from the drugstore. Whether you have dark circles from pigmentation, aging, or if it’s simply in your genes, the drugstore has many options to cover your dark circles (and puffiness and bags too!). Before we get to the list, here are some tips and tricks if you have really dark circles and concealer just isn’t enough.
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For Extremely Dark Circles…
Apply A Neutralizer Under Your Concealer
It turns out that extremely dark circles are best treated by first neutralizing the undertone of the dark circle with a corrector. Then concealer can be applied on top of the corrector. I have seen the best results using this one-two punch to knock out my dark circles.
Not everyone has the same undertones, so once you determine the shade of your dark circles you can treat them with the appropriate shade of corrector. In general, follow these guidelines for color-correcting:
- Green Undertone: Use A Red/Peach Undertone Corrector/Concealer
- Purple/Blue Undertone: Use a Yellow Undertone Corrector/Concealer
- Red/Pink Dark Circles: Use A Green Undertone Corrector/Concealer
Apply a Brightener
You’ve probably heard that dark colors absorb light. That’s why I I try to avoid wearing dark colors in the sun when it’s hot out. Well, it turns out that your dark circles will absorb light as well.
The goal is for our dark circles to reflect light, so you can apply a product specifically designed to brighten the under-eye area and reflect light. These brightening concealers with light-reflecting pigments can hide circles and open up your eye area, faking a more wide-awake look.
The 10 Best Drugstore Concealers for Dark Circles
The drugstore has some fantastic concealers for dark circles and other imperfections that you need covered asap. The are not only affordable but also very pigmented and highly effective. They range from concealers to neutralizers, and correctors to brighteners. Lets start with a multi-tasker…an eye cream in a concealer!
L’Oreal Paris True Match Eye Cream in a Concealer (shown above in C3-4 Light) is my pick for the best 2-in-1 eye cream for dark circles since it not only corrects dark circles but also acts as an eye cream. This concealer provides up to 24 hours of hydration for fresher and less puffy eyes in only 1 week. 0.5% hyaluronic acid delivers hydration and plumps the skin.
This eye cream is fragrance-free, paraben-free, non-comedogenic, and is suitable for all skin types, even sensitive. This formula is thinner than expected and covers dark circles nicely. If you are short on time, this is the ideal product to deliver skincare to the eyes in the form of hyaluronic acid and also camouflage dark circles, fine lines, puffiness, and other imperfections.
The concealer comes in 14 shades. I purchased Light C3-4, and wish I purchased it in Fair C1-2, as it is slightly dark. You generally do best with a shade slightly lighter than your foundation under your eyes. I will use this on days that I apply a lightweight eye serum such as this one from The Ordinary, to double the skincare benefits of these eye care products.
L’Oréal Paris Makeup Infallible Full Wear Concealer (shown above in Oatmeal) is a full-coverage concealer formulated for up to 24 hours of wear. It’s L’Oreal’s highest coverage formula and comes in a huge shade range of 25 shades for every skin tone. This concealer dries to a matte finish and easily covers not only under-eye circles, but also acne scars, blemishes and discoloration with its large applicator tip.
The formula is waterproof and won’t transfer or flake, so it will last all day. Because it is a concentrated formula, only a small amount is needed, otherwise, it will look too overdone. This concealer can also be used to contour or highlight. Just use a shade 1-2 shades lighter for highlighting and brightening and 1-2 shades deeper for contouring.
Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Treatment Concealer (shown above in Light) is an award-winning concealer for dark circles and fine lines. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this is my favorite drugstore concealer.
It is formulated with goji berry and Haloxyl, a peptide blend that brightens the skin and thickens the skin around the eyes. Skin around the eyes thins as we age, so this lightening ingredient improves circulation and helps to decrease blood pigmentation around the eyes which leads to discoloration. The peptides also support collagen production and improve elasticity.
The concealer comes with a Micro-Corrector applicator (sponge) that can be applied directly to the under-eye area. Even though the directions say that the applicator is protected by an anti-microbial system (should you not wet the applicator), I prefer to remove the applicator and apply the concealer to my finger prior to applying to my eye area.
The concealer comes in 18 shades, including a Neutralizer and Brightener. If you have really deep dark circles, you can apply the Neutralizer under your concealer. The Brightener can be applied to the inner corner of the eyes, cheek and brow bones, and the bridge of the nose. Unfortunately, the Neutralizer and Brightener only come in one shade each.
This concealer has a very pigmented formula and glides across the under-eye area smoothly. The Neutralizer provides an additional base to hide dark circles. I love using the Brightener on the inner corners under and above the eyes.
Revlon PhotoReady Candid Antioxidant Concealer (shown above in Creme Brulee) is a medium-coverage buildable concealer that is formulated with skin-protective ingredients. It contains antioxidants, anti-pollution, and anti-blue-light ingredients. Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract is soothing and anti-inflammatory, while Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract’s antioxidant benefits include protection from free radical damage and the reduction of inflammation. It also contains Cucumber Fruit Extract and niacinamide, one of the best all-around anti-agers.
The doe-foot applicator is flexible which makes it easy to apply under your delicate eye area. For a medium-coverage concealer, this concealer is highly pigmented and works to camouflage dark circles as well as puffiness and bags, while leaving a natural finish, not too matte and not too dewy. It comes in 18 shades, so it will work for most skin tones. This concealer is formulated without parabens, phthalates, synthetic dyes, and fragrances, making it suitable for sensitive skin.
NYX HD Studio Photogenic Concealer (shown above in Beige) is a multi-tasking concealer that is designed to cover not only dark circles and veins but also discoloration, blemishes, and other imperfections. It is a medium coverage concealer that can also be used to contour and sculpt the chin and cheekbones.
This concealer comes in 23 shades including three color-correcting shades. Green hides dark circles on light skin tones, plus red/peach discoloration, pimples, and other imperfections. Lavender covers dark circles under the eyes on darker skin tones and yellow skin discolorations, blemishes, and other imperfections. Yellow covers purple-based skin discolorations like dark circles and veins, blemishes, and other imperfections.
Don’t let the thinner consistency fool you. NYX Professional Makeup HD Studio Photogenic Concealer covers dark circles well and contours beautifully without looking cakey. This concealer has a small application tip that allows you to deposit concealer closer to the inner corners of your eyes.
Maybelline New York Facestudio Master Conceal Makeup is a full coverage concealer to hide dark circles and other imperfections. The concealer applies smoothly to create an undetectable finish easily hiding dark circles as well as blemishes and dark spots on your face. The formula is highly concentrated and pigmented but does not buildup, so you can easily hide dark circles without the telltale concealer discoloration under your eyes.
The concealer has a precision tip to apply just the amount that you need onto your fingers. The concealer provides fantastic coverage and stays put throughout the day. It can even help to take the place of foundation on days when light coverage is needed. The only drawback to this concealer is that only 5 shades are available.
Covergirl TruBlend Undercover Concealer (shown above in Buff Beige) is a full coverage concealer designed to hide dark circles, bags and other imperfections. It has a large doe application to provide an even application. The formula is lightweight and dries to a matte finish.
The concealer comes in 30 shades that will match 99% of skin tones ranging from Light and Medium to Tan and Deep. The vegan formula is easy to blend. Be sure not to over apply, or you may see some caking or creasing.
e.l.f. 16HR Camo Concealer (shown above in Light Beige) is a full-coverage long-wear concealer that camouflages and hides dark circles for up to 16 hours. The formula is made for all skin types and dries to a matte finish. It has an oil-balancing formula that won’t settle into fine lines and wrinkles.
This award-winning concealer has a large doe foot applicator to apply the highly pigmented yet lightweight formula. Use it to conceal, correct, and contour. It comes in 26 shades ranging from Fair to Rich and works for Cool, Neutral, and Warm undertones. I love this super-creamy formula that covers really well and the matte finish it provides. This is one of the concealers that are often touted as an alternative to the cult-favorite Tarte Shape Tape Contour Concealer. I wrote an entire post about it below:
The ultimate in drugstore color-correcting, NYX Color Correcting Concealer Palette has 6 color-correcting shades that allow you to customize your corrector by layering and blending different colors. From top right clock-wise:
- Green neutralizes redness such as blemishes/acne.
- Pink brightens dark circles and dull complexions.
- Deep camouflages imperfections.
- Light camouflages imperfections.
- Purple neutralizes yellow undertones.
- Yellow conceals purple and deep red discolorations such as veins/dark spots.
I love the brightening that the Pink provides as a corrector and will follow with the Light concealer shade. If short on time, I will sometimes mix these creamy shades to hide my dark circles. I apply with a makeup brush and then pat gently under my eyes with my fingers to blend. These correctors really brighten up my under eye and provide the ideal base to follow with a traditional concealer.
L.A. Girl Pro Conceal HD High Definition Concealer (shown above in Buff) is a creamy concealer that provides opaque coverage in a long-wear formula. Perfect for not only under the eyes, but also for pimples, redness, and for evening skin tone. It also minimizes fine lines under the eyes. It comes in a whopping 43 shades which includes several correctors and a few highlighters too.
This concealer comes with a built-in brush to provide an even application. The coverage is much more pigmented than I expected. Even better, the traditional concealer shades can be combined with a corrector for a beautiful natural finish. Check out this video from L.A. Girl which discusses color correction.
How To Apply Drugstore Concealers to Hide Dark Circles Under Eyes
Apply a concealer after your skincare routine and foundation/tinted moisturizer or any other base makeup product that you apply to your entire face. This provides a base for the concealer. There are a variety of effective ways to apply concealer under your eyes, but don’t simply swipe a line under your eyes and drag or smear it into your skin. This may cause caking and creasing.
Draw an inverted triangle under each eye with the tip facing down toward your cheek (you can also apply a few dots inside the triangle) and gently pat to blend with a concealer brush, a makeup blender sponge (these Mini Miracle Complexion Sponges from Real Techniques allow you to apply concealer in the corners around your eyes) or your ring finger to distribute the concealer across your dark circles.
Alternately, you can dab multiple dots of concealer in a half circle along your dark circles and gently blend. Consider sweeping a setting powder to lock your concealer in place so that it will last all day.
TIP: Remember, less is more. You can always layer concealer for more coverage if your first application is not enough.
Treat Dark Circles Under Your Eyes with Skincare
Concealers can only do so much to hide your dark circles. You can apply skincare products that stimulate collagen production, help brighten the under eye area and protect your skin from future discoloration and hyperpigmentaion.
Apply An Eye Cream Formulated with A Retinoid
Dark circles can form with age, as skin thins and fat decreases around the delicate eye area. This image published in 2016 in The Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic surgery shows the anatomy of the mid-face and lower eylid with aging. As volume decreases, hollows and shadowing increases.
For dark circles due to thinning skin from aging, try an eye cream containing a retinoid. Retinoids help stimulate collagen and can thicken the skin over time. I am a case in point. I have dark circles that have appeared with age. They are pesky and don’t go away. I have been religious about applying an eye cream formulated with a retinoid to thicken the skin and stimulate collagen production. As a result, my eye area is smoother and fine lines are softening.
Apply Brightening Skincare Products
Spending too much time in the sun can cause hyperpigmentation. This may occur under the eyes resulting in splotchy discolored skin. Brightening skincare products such as those formulated with vitamin C will improve hyperpigmentation and other sun damage and help prevent further damage.
Don’t Forget A Sunscreen
While applying a sunscreen every single day is a must regardless of whether or not you have dark circles, it will also help prevent sun damage which can cause hyperpigmentation, fine lines, and wrinkles which can make dark circles worse.
Visit A Dermatologist for Additional Options
If no over-the-counter options will budge your dark circles, consider visiting a dermatologist. There may be prescription-strength treatment products or procedures that can help your dark circles. Chemical peels or IPL (Intense pulsed light) treatments may help with under-eye pigmentation. Hyaluronic acid filler is helpful with loss of volume and the resulting hollow appearance under the eyes.
Final Thoughts on The Best Drugstore Concealers for Dark Circles
While there are some type of dark circles (like those that come with volume loss) that no concealer can cover, these drugstore options can make your eyes look more awake, brighter and can even make you look younger.
What are your favorite drugstore concealers to hide dark circles? Let me know in the comments!
Thanks for reading, and until next time…