There’s a lot about my appearance that I am not 100% comfortable with, as is the case for a lot of people. But growing up with puffy, dark circles under my eyes (thanks to my Dad’s side of the family), I never thought that it would be something I would look at in the mirror and genuinely hate.
I never really noticed, or cared, that I had dark circles until I became a full-fledged editor. It was really hard to walk into events and see all these beautiful people looking wide-eyed and bushy tailed and me, even though I was just as awake as they were, looking like I had just gotten off a red eye flight and needed caffeine intravenously pumped into my lifeless body. It wasn’t that I was really tried (not any more tired than any other working Internet professional, I would say) but I just looked like I hadn’t slept in days because of my under eye bags.
Before you tell me about the miracle under eye concealer that you found after searching for your Holy Grail product and helps fix with exactly what I’m saying, just stop. This isn’t about finding the formula that will cover them up or what under eye treatment you swear by. I have finally decided that I don’t care if I look tired, because you know what? I am tired. I work from 9:30-6pm every day, sometimes later. I go to events after work where I need to schmooze and feign interest even though all I want to do is curl up on the couch with my boyfriend and dog and endlessly watch Chopped. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the access that my job has given me the privilege of gaining, because how hard I work or how tired I really am, is not the point of this. It’s that I’m really fucking tired of trying not to look tired.
That’s the case for so many people in this field of work, but this is also just what my face looks like. I don’t think I get any less sleep than anyone else. I sleep well and wake up fine. I don’t actually blame the plum hue under my eyes on lack of sleep. I am fully aware that some people just have darker circles under their eyes than others, because of thin skin or genes or whatever. This is just what I look like: perpetually tired.
There’s a huge cultural stigma attached to professional women not presenting themselves as anything but perfect, especially in the beauty and fashion sphere. But as someone who runs a site that strives to be the most honest and unadulterated space for women to experience shopping guides and trendspotting and beauty product reviews, it feels completely disingenuous for me to continue to cover up something that 1) honestly just can’t be covered up in my experience and 2) is a piece of who I am and what I look like. So, I’m giving up and giving in to my dark circles. I don’t feel like I lost a battle, really. I just feel like those extra 5 minutes of time in the morning could be better spent.
Look, I will never knock the women who wear full faces of makeup every day, because I wish I could do that, could be that. But I’m not, at all. I barely even knew what color concealer to use until about 3 years ago, so learning the tricks of something I never thought to even cover up just doesn’t feel honest. It feels like I’m faking it, which is never what I want to do in both my professional and personal life (and makeup has now been firmly placed in the middle of that venn diagram).
I don’t think I go a day without seeing an article about how to cover your dark circles without spackling on concealer, and I would be completely lying if I said I didn’t click on every single one of them. I love to see the before-and-after photos, daydreaming like a little kid walking passed a candy store. But I’ve never been able to recreate that, even with buying the same products they used and trying every under eye serum and gel patch and cream. By the time I stop dabbing my finger or Beauty Blender under my eyes, I end up looking like I spilled concealer on my face and used a dirty eyeshadow brush to clean it up. There are forever splotches of that perfect purple color under my eyes (if only I could make the color into a lipstick, I’d wear it every day) that refuse to be covered. Every morning in the mirror, I have flashbacks of trying to cover up hickies in the yellow light of my first car’s flip down mirror.
So I’ve just kind of stopped trying to cover them and started wearing them (kind of) proudly. I’ll still dab on some concealer in the mornings out of habit, but other than that, I’ve placed my energy into tackling just how to properly fill in my brows or finding the right mascara for my short, straight, sparse lashes. Here’s me in a bunch of different lighting:
This is how I look pretty much every day, with puffy under eyes and dark circles, even though I did actually throw a little bit of concealer on them. But, as for finding the best color correcting primer or weightless under eye brightener that will Change. Your. Life. I think I’ll leave that to everyone else. I’m okay with being told I look tired because fuck it, I am.