Ask Afrobella: Turn Around, Bright Eyes

Just because I don’t also share a specific beauty concern with you, doesn’t mean that I don’t have your back. You can write in any kind of Ask Afrobella question under the sun! Recently I got a good one.

Hey Hey Bella,

I’m a light skinded black woman with an ongoing beauty problem. I have these big dark circles under my eyes and I can’t seem to make them go away! They make me look old before my time, and all I can do is use concealer to try to cover them up. Do you know of any products for bellas to reduce under eye darkness?

love your site! Rhonda the Raccoon

Hey hey, Rhonda!

I know dark circles can be a never ending beauty plague for the bellas who have ‘em. There are many possible causes of dark circles — heredity, hyperpigmentation, dramatic fat loss, lack of sleep, and vitamin deficiencies are all considered as contributing factors. And there are all sorts of fancy under-eye ointments and treatments — check out Sephora’s offerings, which range from Dr. Perricone’s $195 neuropeptide contour, to Bare Escentuals eye rev-er upper for $21. It’s a thriving industry based on products that may or may not work. Or so my friend Allie tells me.

“Oh, none of that stuff works. I’ve tried so many things,” she declares.

Yup, despite the last negative response to me discussing beauty issues with a friend and then posting their picture… I’m doing it again. And guess what — I’m not gonna stop. If I have a friend who is honestly knowledgeable about a beauty issue I’m covering, I’m gonna ask their opinion and share it on Afrobella regardless of what they look like. Why? Because I respect their opinion and can vouch that they’re for real about what they say. I have all different kinds of friends — some of them you’ll identify with, and others, you won’t. If it bothers you so much that you want to leave a comment about it, by all means express yourself.

Having placed that disclaimer… since Afrobella is about ALL shades of beautiful, I felt compelled to turn to the one expert I know in this particular arena, my co-worker, friend, and new neighbor Alexandra Quinones. Here she is. Say hi, Allie! Allie’s cool as hell, which is awesome for me because I sit next to her at work every day, and then I also get to hang out with her at home.

She’s of Peruvian descent, but Allie’s as pale as like, Kelly Osbourne. And dark under eye circles are the bane of her existence.

She’s tried just about everything, from the priciest potions to the cheapest creams. And she says nothing works. Ever. “Most of that stuff is just a waste of money. With the eye stuff, I think it’s most important to try to fix the underlying causes. With me, it’s probably due to allergies and genetics than anything else.” Allie’s pretty much convinced that it’s a hereditary thing, which makes sense because none of my relatives have dark circles. Our family beauty issues tend to deal with other kinds of hyperpigmentation. Allie has gotten so desperate to solve her underlying issues, that she’s giving up dairy products to see if it makes a difference. “All you can really do is cover them up. I use L’Oreal Bare Naturale mineral powder foundation because liquid foundation tends to look bad where the crease under your eye is — it’ll stick to the crease. It doesn’t give me the best coverage,” says Allie.

For reviews on new products, Allie hits up the My Dark Circles blog, so she’s always up on the hot new stuff. When the good people at Olay contacted me about their new Definity Eye Illuminator, I had to let her try it. As long as she promised to give me her honest opinion!

You may have caught the perennially gorgeous Angela Bassett doing commercials for this stuff on TV before. Ms. Bassett no longer shills for Olay, but she ( **edited follow-up, Angela Bassett still reps Olay!) was the first celebrity to attract my attention to the stuff. At this year’s Emmy Awards, Primetime Emmys Make-up Department Head Bruce Grayson used Olay Eye Definity on the ever-rotating cast of celebrities whirling through his makeup chair. The official quote from him: “Before I even begin to apply eye make-up, I like to start with Olay Definity Eye Illuminator ($25.99 at drugstores nationwide) because it has multi-colored micas that help to hide imperfections. It limits the amount of make-up I need to use around the eye and this strategic use of make-up helped to create a beautiful look that was anything but ‘over-done.’” True — I noticed on some of my favorite stars (like America Ferrara), the makeup look was all about the lips, and eye makeup was kept effortlessly simple with false lashes instead of heavy shadows and liners.

So I asked Allie to try this stuff and tell me how it worked for someone who actually HAS these dark circles and is turning to Olay to alleviate the problem. “I think it works good for sheer coverage because it has a light-reflecting quality to it, so that’s good for days when you want to wear less makeup. As for actually lightening my circles, I’ve only tried it for a few days so I haven’t seen any real changes. And I can only use it at night; the package says to apply morning and night, but it doesn’t look good under makeup — it’s kind of like putting foundation on over glue. But I’m not a makeup pro. I’ve heard creams like this work good as a primer from some women,” she says. “Honestly, the best thing you can do is drink a lot of water,” she adds. So there you have it.

Rhonda Raccoon, if you’d like to solve the problem, consider addressing your own underlying issues — get lots of sleep, drink lots of water, and treat your body right. I hope that helps somewhat. And having said that — it’s giveaway time!!

Do you have dark circles under your eyes? Would you like to try Olay’s new $25 hotness, to see if it helps your situation out? Leave a comment for me, telling me about your own dark circle issues, and favorite treatment method. I’ll close comments on Friday, pick five winners at random, write you to get your mailing address, and Olay will hook you up!

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Comments

  1. bella, you brush those haters off. it’s your blog, you can write about whoever you want. and I am a dark skinned bella with dark circles! I use Bare Minerals to cover up, and I use a shade lighter than my skin tone to try to give the area some brightness. i want the Olay stuff, so hook a sista up!

  2. SCORE! Everyone is reading my mind.

    I just got LASEK so I no longer have to rely on contact and glasses…so this is a new problem that I must tackle. Glasses are good for something afterall. Currently I am drinking LOTS of water and (don’t laugh) blending cucumbers so I don’t have to lay quietly anywhere and not see while I try to treat the circle…

    I tried to walk into Sephora and buy an option but I just got so confused by all of the options. lol

  3. I am not very much of a makeup person since I don’t have many blemishes but I recently purchased some concealer from MAC that gives me a nice finish without looking too made up. My major problem is the dark circles under and around my eyes (I have had them forever; since I had been wearing glasses for most of my childhood)that makeup tends not to cover so well. I usually look grey in that area when I used concealer. I would love to try Olay’s new hotness! Keep me in mind Bella.

  4. cool_caramel says:

    I’m currently using the Eckerd drugstore brand eye cream (can’t think of the name right now). It seems to reduce the puffiness some, but I wish there were something better to help with the dark circles. I’d love to try the Olay brand to see if it’s any better.

  5. Hi Bella, I would love to try Olays’s new hotness!!! I have always had dark circles around my eyes and as I get older they seem to get worse and worse. I don’t like to use foundation to cover them up because I feel like it really doesn’t help and instead makes my eyes look worse. I’ve tried every eye gel and eye cream on the market and I have yet to find the miracle product. The dark circles under my eye are definitely hereditary. I can remember being called into the priciples office as a little girl because my teacher swore I was wearing makeup. I just remembered looking at them like they were crazy with tears in my eyes. I rubbed and rubbed my eyes just to prove I wasn’t wearing makeup. I think it was then that I realized I had dark circles under my eyes…lol.

  6. Thanks for posting this, Bella. I’m in love with your blog. Keep it up girl! I saw those Olay commercials with AB too. Made me want to go out and buy some Definity and I dont even have the dark circle problem. LOL! I thought Ms. Angie was still shilling for Olay. Thats too bad, she had me loving the skin I’m in!

  7. I get dark undereye circles from chronic allergies and sinusitis. Might be something for you to check.

  8. CORRECTION! I already left for work when my Olay PR e mailed to tell me she was wrong, Angela Bassett is STILL shilling for Olay. Good to know. I’ll fix that in my post when I can.

  9. I have major under eye circles, and I have tried layering concealer and powder, and all other types of mess, but for me the best solution has been Vita-K Solution Dark Circle. I’ve been using it for weeks now, and don’t need to use as much concealer as I used to. Sometimes I just put on foundation and you can’t really see my under eye circles.

  10. SUNSCREEN. WITH AN SPF OF 30 OR HIGHER, ACCORDING TO MY DERMATOLOGIST,WHO IS A BLACK WOMAN BY THE WAY. WEAR IT EVERYDAY, RAIN OR SHINE. IF YOU HAVE DARK SPOTS OR CIRCLES ON YOUR FACE, DIRECT SUNLIGHT WILL ONLY MAKE THEM DARKER.

    PEACE & BLESSINGS

  11. Hi Bella! I frequent your blog quite often. This particular article is one I can relate to. I’m 29 and I’ve had dark circles every since I can remember. I wear glasses so most times they aren’t THAT noticable. However, if I ever want to take off my glasses they are there magnified. I use a Lancome concealer . . . Bare Minerals powder . . .and BE tinted mineral veil (which REALLY helps to even my skin out). The makeup helps . . .but other than that I figure that, just like your friend, they must be hereditary. I’m not sure though . . . I’m adopted and don’t know any of my family history (medical or otherwise). I have thought of seeking the knowledge of a dermatologist . . . but then said forget it!

  12. Afrobelle is better than Oprah. At work my co-workers are always concerned about my health.(white girls) They:( asks me,”Are you feeling ok, you look tired?” Some just come right out and say, girl you look sooooooo tired you have dark circles under your eyes. I know about the circles, my mother always says, she could always tell when to put me to bed by the circles under my eyes. Well sleep is not an issue, I was born this way. I’ve used Philosophy hope in a jar, hope in a tube, plus when hope in not enough. Well still no hope for me some days it looks like I have a black eye. The best so far is Duwop revolotion face for coverage but it still gets a lil cakey. So my back up cooled witch hazel on cotton balls it handles the puffiness. I’d like to try Olay Definity.

  13. Hello Ms. Bella.. Help! I have dark circles..and i am not sure what to use…I come here everday before i start my business of working LOL….I am 38…look 28 with makeup…cause these dark circles are killing my 40 is the new 20 look….I will take all advice ! anyway love your blog…love your energy and love your realness….Jah Bless Sistren

    Infinite Blessings
    Isis

  14. Hey Bellas!
    I believe that dark circles are heridetery and due to allergies and both me and my mom have them. My mom has tried everything, me and the other hand just strted to have problems in the last few years. I would love to try the OLay product.

  15. My mom and her sister have had dark eye circles all their lives. They have been using Avon’s Anew Clinical Eye Lift. It’s got two compartments inside, the gel is the lift part, and the cream is for under eye darkness. I actually have seen a significant lightening of their under eye darkness. My mom’s has faded a great deal and my aunt’s is pretty much gone. She’s been using it almost 2 years, my mom 3 months or so. My mom is dark brown and my aunt is medium brown, and their circles were like black. They’ve tried lots of things, and this has been the one thing that they’ve found so far that made a noticeable difference.

  16. Boing concealer by BeneFit is the best thing ever. I am Afghan and have tan skin with yellow undertones. My friends of all different skin tones swear by it (from Anglo to African descent). The coverage is not cakey at all. Don’t get it in the package with the eyeshadow because that dries out quickly. Get it in the little compact. I use that with BareEscentuals powder and it’s pretty good.

  17. Bella,

    Since you brought it up … I hardly think anyone had an issue with your posting a photo of your friend. The issue was that it looked like you offered a picture of someone who had long wavy hair and worked at a resort as an example of the problem/solution the glamour magazine editor was talking about when she said someting about black women’s natural hair not being acceptable as professional (usually conservative areas like the law, medicine, banking). You were naive to think that many of your readers wouldn’t question whether somebody who looks like your friend had any part in this issue since she has so many styling options and has a look that is regularly validated in the marketplace. The thing about other kinds of black natural hair is that people who don’t have it think it looks “wild” which can be either positive or negative. You can brush off people’s reactions if you want but that’s beneath you. If you make a hot topic, take the heat. Now one place I’ve been seeing lots of ‘natural’ kinky black hair in high places is fashion from a current Old Navy ad to fashionweek runways – short, huge, sculpted, knots, etc. I think that in the high levels of any profession, including law, academia, fashion, a dark-skinned kinky-haired black woman can do what she wants because she is there by herself to set the standards, usually, if you don’t mind being seen as exotic sometimes. It’s the middle-level folk that will oppress your aesthetics the most. I don’t think white people actually care what we do with our hair. What you did say in that post which was so revealing is that there were so few images of black professional women with natural hair to choose from–now that’s something to hate on.

  18. I use a brand called Models Perfer.

    http://www.modelsprefer.com/eyes.lips.primer.asp?C=E

    I found them on QVC. They have this yellow base to use under the eyes. It can be thick. I don’t use the brush, I use the sponge but you have to just blend it well and it hides the dark spots to me. And the make-up (which I love and have to get more of) comes in two tubes one like and one dark and you mix the colors for your shade. That way if you tan in the summer you don’t have to buy more make-up just turn it up a notch. I like it when the creator is on QVC and she comes in wearing rollers/plain faced and then she starts putting on the make-up and doing her hair. I think it’s a good deal for what you’re getting. And I love their sponges.

  19. Hey bella,
    Yes, I’ve got ‘em, and was recently told by a haughty oh-so-knowledgeable makeup artist at Ulta that “of course your dark circles are from trapped blood, NOT heredity”. So I guess my mother, her mother, and my sister all have that pesky trapped blood thing! I drink water till I’m swimming (mostly to the bathroom), get lots of rest, am generally not stressed, and still I have the raccoon look. I’m sick of trying things which don’t work (the last one was Avon Anew). Concealer’s it for me when I wear makeup; nothing when I don’t.

  20. I’ ve have been dealing with under eye circles for many, many years. My mom has them as well so I guess it is heredity. What I have used in the past has been Vitamin K and a vitamin E cream by Fruit of the Earth that I can’t find anywhere anymore ( that worked the best). My main problem though is lack of sleep which I think is the main contributor to my under eye circles. There is a concealer that I use by Bare Escentuals that is pretty good when I wear makeup. Would love to try the Olay Definity and see how it works.

    By the way, I love your blog! Keep up the good work.

  21. How timely! – I went to work yesterday and everyone’s comment was how tired I looked. My dark undereye circles are now turning into dark suitcases! Eek! I would love to try oil of olay’s product, especially because I tend to break out when I use foundation or concealer…so I tend to go without. This might help.

  22. 70ssoulchild says:

    Hey Bella!

    Its been awhile since I’ve posted a comment but I’m plagued with dark circles and use some cheapo eye cream I bought from Walgreen’s and its just OK. The always regal Angela Bassett is my inspiration. I just saw a commercial for the eye illuminator last night so I’m glad she’s still a spokesperson. I would LOVE a free sample. Thanks for great beauty advice and inspiration.

    Peace

  23. I have always had dark circles under my eyes from ever since I can remember. I’ve used various products that have NOT rid me of this plague as they have PROMISED me to. Oh well…

  24. Jennifer S. S. says:

    Oh yes, I have circles when I dont get enough sleep or am sick. Pick me.

  25. Hi!

    With so many blogs out there I was tired of siffting through BUT a good friend of mine gave me the head nod (and link) to this site a few weeks back and I have been hooked ever since. I am brown skinned with dark circles and I haven’t found anything that corrects it and I’ve tried everything under the sun…My mom has dark circles and her mom and so on..so I guess I have just learned to love them! Not to say that I wouldn’t try just one more product! I will stay tuned to see if this stuff really works!

  26. I am so glad you’ve addressed this! I’d blame it on genetics myself since I have it, my sister has it, and my mother has the same ol’ raccoon eyes. I will say that mine have gotten worst since law school and now working full time, but maybe that’s just aging too? My sister’s are the worst of the group and she also has thyroid disease, so you know, take it with a grain of salt…

    But do enter me in the contest. I rarely wear foundation, so I could wear this stuff morning noon and night. ;)

  27. Check out Eyevive and Elizabeth Arden’s Prevage Eye Cream. Also i believe that Vitamin K is important in this area.

  28. Hi Afrobella,

    Thanks for mentioning My Dark Circles Blog. I hope your readers enjoy my blog. :)

  29. BTW – Angela Bassett is still one of the spokespeople for Olay Definity

  30. Simone — I was naive, and part of that was also due to time — I write these posts at night after work and post them in the morning before work. So in that particular instance, I didn’t take the luxurious time I should have to find THE ideal photo. I’m standing the heat and still in the kitchen.

    I’m working on creating a database of appropriate afrobella photos — bellas at work, exercising, good stock photos that can ideally illustrate whatever I’m writing about, but I’m not sure where to look. So many of these stock images aren’t of black women with natural hair. Having said that, you gave me a good idea. I’d love readers to send in THEIR photos, so I can shine a light on more of the kind of beauty we need to see more of. That way, I won’t be reliant on ppl I know personally who are allowing me to share their photos, and everyone wins. Anyone interested? Is this a good idea, or not?

  31. candycurlswirl says:

    OK. GUYS MY MOM WHO HAS BEEN SO BEAUTIFUL ALL HER LIFE TURNED 55 AND STARTED GETTING REALLY DARK CIRCLES UNDER HER EYES, I FELT SO BAD FOR HER AND BEGAN TO ASK A ROUND FOR SOLUTIONS. I WAS LEAD TO A PRODUCT THAT TRUELY PERFORMED A MIRICLE AND TOTALLY REMOVED THE DARK RINGS UNDER HER EYES!!! IT’S CALLED Hylexin AND YOU CAN GET IT AT SEPHORA. IT IS EXPENSIVE GUYS, BUT I PROMISE YOU ALL IT DOES WORK. AFTER A DAY OR SO MY MOM SAID SHE STARTED TO SEE A DIFFERENCE AND THEN THEY JUST DISAPPEARED!! THANK GOD FOR THIS STUFF IT LIKE MAGIC!

  32. Most food we buy at the store is not polluted. At least in the sense that it will harm your health significantly. Wash your vegetables, cook your food well and your chances of good health are fine.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Comments are officially closed on the Olay giveaway, and I’ll sift through the comments and declare five winners by Monday. One reader wrote in with a comment that I’d like to address really quickly, and in further detail later on — regarding my practice of using photos of my friends to illustrate beauty issues and reviews. Simone, thanks for writing in. She ends her comment by saying, “What you did say in that post which was so revealing is that there were so few images of black professional women with natural hair to choose from –- now that’s something to hate on.” So true. I do hate that. Sometimes when I am looking for an image to go with a topic I’m writing about, it’s excruciatingly difficult to find an appropriate, usable photo of a bella with natural hair to go with it. So I am reaching out to you, my readers. If you’ve got an exceptionally fly photo of you and your fabulous natural hair, send it to me! When an appropriate post comes up, I’ll feature your style and write a little about you along with it if you allow me to. For example, regular reader Nikki sent me photos of her fabulous wedding day ‘do that I’d love to share with you all very soon, as part of a bigger review of some new cool hair accessories. More photos of you — the bellas who read this blog — will mean less reliance on Google Images for me, and less inadvertent photo controversy. E mail me at bella@afrobella.com, and here’s a little disclaimer — I might not write back right away, so please don’t get mad at me if I don’t. But I am going to try to be better with that. I always like to end the week with a jam, and I have a confession to make — I’ve always wanted to be a b-girl. I’ve always dreamed of having the kind of skillz that could shut down a dance off. Like the ladies in one of my favorite music videos, the remix of Run-DMC’s It’s Like That by Jason Nevins. It’s Like That has always been one of my favorite Run-DMC songs because of the lyrics, and the male/female battle in the video is just sick in the best possible way. So enjoy this Friday jam, and I’ll catch y’all on Monday. WPvideo 1.02 [...]

  2. [...] I admire those people who bring their individually wrapped, specially prepared lunches to work. I aspire to be one of them. My friend Allie is one of those super prepared people who comes to work with her spinach salad ingredients in individual containers and stuff. She keeps telling me to just put it together the night before, and someday soon I will do that. I swear. [...]

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