I think we all have aspects of our appearance that we need to learn to live with: immutable features that makeup can’t disguise (a strong nose, a weak jaw), or the bits that take too much effort to hide. For me, it’s my under-eye circles.

I’ve been carrying checkable luggage under my eyes since I was a teenager. I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup at the time, so I spent my high school years trying everything from expensive eye creams to hemorrhoid medication to subdue them. Nothing worked. I shouldn’t have been surprised, though, considering that bags and under-eye discoloration are largely caused by genetics, which no miracle product can change. (Thanks, parents.) Yes, there are surgical options, but that route has never interested me. You give up so much when you give in.

(I respect that others might feel differently. That’s cool. Do you.)

Anyway, since then I’ve been learning to live with my face as it is, bags and all. Yeah, I’ll occasionally cover them up after a particularly late night, but for the most part I’ve grown to accept them. On some days, I even like them. (There’s something a little sexy about shadowy eyes, no?) Besides, I’d rather spend my time playing up the good than obsessing over the bad.

 So when a friend recently asked me for tips on how to conceal her under-eye circles, which she claims make her look like she’s “been punched in both eyes,” I wasn’t quite sure how to respond. Do I pontificate on self-acceptance, or offer friendly advice? In the end, I did both. Here are the tips I offered: 


Before you apply your foundation, use your finger to blend a thin layer of yellow-toned concealer close to your skin colour to neutralize the purple tones—I use Becca Dual Coverage Compact Concealer ($34, Sephora). Make sure that you only apply concealer to the dark circles themselves, since that’s the only part you want to colour correct. If you’re looking for additional brightness, blend a little highlighter along the orbital bone.


There are certain looks that you should just avoid if you’re worried about your under-eye circles. These include bruise-toned eye shadows (they probably advertised as such, but think pigmented purples and burgundies), lower-lash mascara, and the whole kohl-lined eye thing. These looks just add darkness and draw unwanted attention to the area.


I’m convinced that the average person doesn’t notice things like bags unless they’re on their own face. But if you want to make absolutely sure that their attention stays elsewhere, why not emphasize the features you do like? Bold lipstick, perfect brows, and a flawless complexion will all do the trick. Should those fail, try being interesting and fun to talk to.

So what’s the one part of your face that you’ve learned to live with?