undereye concealer

Review: Jane Iredale Circle/Delete (Shade 2)

Ah, concealer. Whene’er thy sweet siren song reaches my ears, I cannot help but be seduced. I think someone is going to have to lash me to the mast and stuff cotton in my ears in order to stop me from succumbing to the lure of each new concealer I pass by.

Today it’s Jane Iredale’s Circle/Delete, and it has gone to the top of my list for vanquishing undereye circles.

The gimmick of this product is that you can control and mix the colors yourself, and if you’re a control freak like me like me, then this will be right up your alley. Lots of products offer these sort of mix-your-own-shade options (I’ve reviewed the Redpoint and DuWop versions already), but where the Jane Iredale edges both of those out is in the color and texture of the two creams. They’re opaque enough to cover but not look plasticky, and when applied over an emollient eye cream (right now, it’s Skin Nanny), they soak right in, blend nicely, and don’t settle into fine lines.

I use the salmon-colored one for undereye circles — I apply it immediately after eye cream and let it soak in with the eye cream. If, when I’m putting on my makeup 15 minutes or so later, I find I need to apply a bit more or blend it out, then I do. Often I can just let it soak in and it blends itself out just fine. At first I tried to come up with a custom blend of the two colors but the more I use it the more I realize that the salmon color all by itself is pretty much the shade I need. It does dry with some lingering shine, so you will want to run a brush over it before leaving the house — I use an Ecotools mineral eyeshadow brush that I’ve already used with an eyeshadow (MAC Brule) to set my MAC Painterly paint pot; the tiny bit of Brule on it is enough to mattify the undereye without depositing loads of powder.

I find the beige concealer better for evening out skin tone in areas than for covering up blemishes. It’s a bit too creamy for blemishes for me and it tends to slide off, even when set with setting powder.

Just so you know: The product comes in only 3 shades: two for lighter skins (one yellow-toned, one pink-toned) and one for darker skin (which looks to contain both a pinkish brown and a yellowish brown if the swatches are accurate).

Swatch, showing the two colors separately and then blended together in roughly equal proportions:


Jane Iredale Circle/Delete in Shade 2: $29 at SkincareRX and other retailers (you cannot purchase from the Jane Iredale website)

Provenance: Purchased

Price/Value Ratio (high-end: poor/fair/good/excellent): Excellent. The product performs very well.

Purchase again? Yes.

(Have you used this product? Love it? Hate it? Want it? Give a holler in the comments!)

Open-Thread Thursday, A Biologist Goes to Sephora, Q of the W, SALES

Hooray for LOLcats by mherzber.Three cheers and hip hip hooray! Recently, A Biologist made her first trip to Sephora! (I am SO EXCITED!) I asked her to share her experience and she was kind enough to do so. So for all of you who are a little intimidated by the bright lights and eau-de-chic that they spritz into the air over there, take heart! If A Biologist can do it, so can you!

Here is her story:

My First Trip to Sephora (by A Biologist)

It’s been a week since my first trip to Sephora. I kept putting it off because I was afraid of getting the hard sell and coming out with $150 of stuff that I wouldn’t wear and didn’t know how to use. I didn’t want to get scolded for not wearing makeup or for improper skin care. I was also nervous because it is the one store in the mall where all the women going in and out look chic and polished and put together. I feel decidedly frumpy when I pass the store. My daily makeup routine pre-Sephora was usually just chapstick. After discussion here, and some—okay, a lot—of online browsing, I chose two products from the Laura Mercier line to try, a tinted moisturizer and an undereye concealer. I planned to go after work on a weekday so the store wouldn’t be as crowded.

The big day arrived. What to wear? Should I wear makeup? Will I get the stink eye from the salesclerks for being hopelessly un-beautified? Finally I chose a crisp white button down shirt, but skipped makeup for ease of product testing. I felt better if I thought of it as a research experience. I have done much scarier things for Science than walk into a store full of glamazons. My white shirt was a stealth lab coat.

As I entered I was immediately overwhelmed. Dazzling lights were reflected from mirrors on seemingly every surface, but the lighting was somehow also a little dim. The store was three times bigger than I thought it would be, and there were rows and rows of products organized by brand. I tried to quickly find the Laura Mercier section, but I walked through the store twice and couldn’t find it. Green and purple Urban Decay eye shadows screamed for my attention. Sparkly makeup boxes and posters of models with elaborate makeup distracted my eye from the shelf labels. There were also rows of “All Natural” products with Body Shop-esque packaging. Several shoppers were being made up by saleswomen, with a girlfriend or two watching intently. Maybe I should have brought a friend. I was the frumpy one with no friends who couldn’t find Laura Mercier even though every shelf was clearly labeled at eye level. Quelling rising panic, I asked one of the women with tool belts full of makeup brushes if they have Laura Mercier. She smiled pleasantly and walked me over to the shelf, which was right next to the entrance. She said she was “with someone” but if I could wait a few minutes she would send someone over to help me. I sagged with relief.

I looked over the products to identify the moisturizer and concealer I’d chosen.   I usually wear the very palest shade of a product, and I had just had enough time to notice that the concealer came in both a light yellowish and a light pinkish shade.  A young woman with dyed dark hair, dramatic eyeliner, and a French manicure with black tips arrived to help me.  Quirky.  I felt more comfortable.  She radiated calm, unhurried helpfulness, and I began to feel calm myself.  I told her I was looking for an undereye concealer.  She took a close look at my face, tipping her head to the side, and picked the more yellow concealer.  She applied a dab of the tester to the back of her hand then used a q-tip to apply it under my eyes and her fingertips to blend.  “Are my nails making you nervous?” she asked.  I must have been blinking a lot.  We surveyed the results in one of the mirrors.  The lighting was surprisingly unhelpful, so I couldn’t tell much, but I do know my skin is cool, not warm.  I suggested we try the pinker base as well.

The saleswoman applied it to my other eye and carefully considered.  “Which is which again?”

“Pink on the right, yellow on the left.”

“You’re right, you do need the cooler one,” she said as she bent down to choose the correct box for me.  She then asked if there was anything else I’d like to see, and I replied that I’d like to try the tinted moisturizer.  After determining I didn’t want the oil-free version, she quickly chose shade “pasty”—I mean “porcelain.”   She brought over a brush with a long, flat head to apply it.  While she brushed it on I pointed out the poster of the model demonstrating Laura Mercier’s version of smoky eyes and commented that the model looks great, but I don’t wear makeup very often and I’m not that advanced yet.  “Then this is a great line for you,” she said, “Laura Mercier is all about natural.”  I was pleased.   The makeup felt very cool and light going on, so I decided to purchase it as well.  She again carefully checked the box to be sure the shade is the correct one before handing it to me.  I took a look in the mirror.  The pinker undereye concealer was almost invisible, and the moisturizer left my face smooth and feeling very soft. The saleswoman was very unhurried, despite the other customers, and I felt comfortable that I’d had time to assess the products before purchasing.  At the checkout, my sleek little gray boxes went into a cute little black and white bag.  I am a secret sucker for pretty packaging.  I was asked if I would like to join the Beauty Insiders.  I would get a present on my birthday and special offers. Who can say no to that?  Leaving the store I happily swung my little Sephora bag a bit.  The boots on sale in the shoe store window, for once, didn’t attract me. I wanted to go home and play with my new makeup.

I’ve been waiting to publish until all the results were in—that is, until I’ve used my new products for several days.   The Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer makes my skin look and feel soft and smooth.  It is very light coverage, but my skin tone appears more even and it is invisible in the brightest sunlight or fluorescent lights.  It is very dry here now, so I have been applying my regular moisturizer beneath it.  The sun protection seems adequate for winter, but I apply it thinly enough it may not be enough for summer.  I’m very pleased with it for a daily routine.  The Undercover Pot concealer is amazing.   No yellowish reverse-raccoon eyes.  My coworkers agreed they couldn’t tell I was wearing undereye concealer.  I still need a little practice to determine exactly how much to apply so I don’t have to blot some off or make a second pass, but it takes almost no time using a concealer brush as recommended by Voxy.  This is my biggest epiphany so far—I am amazed at how perfectly the stiff, rounded brush works.  I just need to pat the edges a little bit with my fingertip and swipe on the translucent powder and it is ready to go.  The Pot has a second color to cover blemishes, and I had a bad moment when I got home and couldn’t remember which side was which.  Luckily, someone on the Sephora web page had the same question.  I haven’t had to use the blemish side yet, as the moisturizer appears to agree with my skin.

I’m looking forward to my return trip.  It was such a pleasant experience.  I decided that I would wait one month and see if keep up my new routine, which also includes mascara and eyeliner.  If I do, I’m thinking very strongly about eyeshadow primer and a neutral eyeshadow.  Or black nail tips.  I can’t decide.

A Biologist, you are AWESOME. Bold, brave, and appropriately assertive. I agree with you about the bad lighting in Sephora (if you are more on your own next time, remember the trick of going over to the perfume wall, which is usually mirrored, and looking at your face in those lights, which are brighter and cooler) — and the difficulty of finding the right Laura Mercier shade for us pale-skinned girls. (I’m between “Porcelain” and “Nude” myself.)

Will she go back? Stay tuned!

So, related, here is the Q of the W: are you nervous about or intimidated by shopping at stores like Sephora? Share your retail anxieties here!

As for me, I am totally at home in Sephora (there’s a reason I call it “the mothership”), but I intensely dislike shopping at department store counters where there are pushy sales associates who always think they know more than I do. (Again, I’m thinking about my horrible Estee Lauder experience.) I don’t like being pressured to buy something. However, today, if the roads are passible, I’m planning to head up to a mall with a MAC store (and MAC counters in the department store) to take a look at those MAC Spring Colour Forecast products I’ve been lemming. I would prefer not to, but I need to swatch them to see if they’re really worth buying, so I have to bite the bullet and go to a store or counter. Le sigh.

Speaking of MAC, the two new Viva Glam lipsticks are out as of yesterday — one, designed by Cyndi Lauper, is a light coral-red lustre, and the other, designed by Lady Gaga, is a very light pink that I can’t imagine will look good on anyone, but that has not stopped it from being wildly popular among people who love Lady Gaga. Which is pretty much par for the course. All proceeds (not a portion of the profits, but ALL the money from the sale) goes to the MAC AIDS Fund, which sponsors AIDS research.


Er, uh, not much new.

Previously announced sales still going on:

SkinStore: 20% off sitewide (some exclusions) through 2/15; use code LUV20 • BeautyTicket: 20% off through 2/28 with code INSTYLE20 • TheCosmeticMarket: 20% off through 2/28 with code ALLURE

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mherzber/ / CC BY-SA 2.0

Review: Borba HD-Illuminating Eye Specialist

borba eye thing Sometimes you get things at Marshall’s that are a total steal and you can’t imagine why they ended up there, and so you buy six.

And sometimes you get things at Marshall’s that look totally awesome, and then you get them home and find out exactly why they ended up at Marshall’s in the first place.

I have one Borba product in each category. OK, I didn’t buy six of the product I liked, only two, but I seriously thought about buying a third. But I’m not talking about that product today. I’m talking about the other one, the HD-Illuminating Eye Specialist.

If this hadn’t been at Marshall’s, for a low low price (I think I paid $9.99 and the list price is $55.00), I doubt I would have looked twice. But it seemed too good to pass up, especially considering that the reason I was in Marshall’s that day was to pick up five more jars another jar of the Borba product I’d found on my first trip and gone all ZOMG over. That one is made of fabulous, and was even a better bargain, and I’m going to tell you all about it … later. Suffice it to say that I was enthralled enough by Product #1 to hope that Product #2 would be equally amazing and I was going to be laughing all the way to the Bank of Borba.

You know where this is going, right?

The Borba HD-Illuminating Eye Specialist is a good idea that doesn’t quite pan out in actual life, at least on my skin. One side contains a “brightening serum,” which is supposed to fight fine lines and dark circles and luminize the area around the eye, and the other is an “enlightening cream,” which (theoretically) helps to cover up whatever dark circles didn’t get knocked out by the first side. It also moisturizes and reflects light.

The thing about this is that it’s a good idea, and the product has great ingredients in it, but for some reason it just doesn’t work. Here’s how the Borba website describes it:


The Brightening Serum treats stubborn signs of aging such as wrinkles, darkness and discoloration over time. This translucent treatment is powered by Silver Plasma technology, DMAE, Glycosaminoglycans, Peptides plus a proprietary blend of Silk, Collagen and Elastin Fibers for uplifting support.


The Enlightening Cream cushions skin with healthy moisture as it instantly camouflages imperfections to light up the entire eye area. This plush, sheer-tinted cream is infused with Glycerin, Kojic Acid, Açaí & Grape Seed Antioxidants, Multivitamins and Diamond Light Diffusers to instantly diminish even the most hard-to-treat signs of aging around the eyes. The shade of this formula is innovatively universal so it complements any skin tone, taking the guesswork out of shade selection.

The Silver Plasma is (at the moment) a Borba thing, though “plasma” is a word that’s starting to crop up more and more often in fancy skincare, but the rest of the components are all good, solid eye cream ingredients. DMAE? Check. Glycans? Check. Peptides? Check. Silk, collagen, elastin, glycerin, kojic acid, antioxidants, vitamins, and little light-diffusing particles? All check. The only reason that I can come up with that this shouldn’t work is if the product “contains” all of these things in the same way that a very dry martini might be said to “contain” vermouth when the bottle of vermouth has merely been waved in the general direction of the glass.

In the three weeks that I used it, I didn’t notice any improvement in either dark circles or fine lines. Now you might argue that that’s not long enough to really see results, and I agree. However, the product was not nearly as moisturizing as I needed it to be, and so I invariably had to put on other products over it anyway. The “enlightening cream” was also far too sheer to cover up my dark patches, so I had to put something else on top of that as well, and then there was caking, and wrinkling, and blotching, and all of that other unpleasantness. In short, this just does not seem to be a product that will ever work for me on its own. Perhaps if you are of a more robust skin tone than I, or your skin tends towards oily rather than dry, or you don’t have little lines, or you don’t have dark circles (in which case I will give you mine for free), this would be an adequate undereye moisturizer and concealer. If this product really works for you, please let me know in the comments, because I would love to hear from someone for whom this is a success.

The other thing about it that bothers me is the packaging. I know I just talked about packaging the other day, and while I’m glad to say that unlike Tarte’s Lights, Camera, Lashes!, this product does not come wrapped in fake purple snakeskin, the Borba folks are egregiously guilty of over-packaging, which is not very environmentally-friendly for a brand that touts its commitment to natural ingredients. Here’s an end-shot of the box in which this product comes, with the product itself tucked up in the right-hand corner and enough space left over to house a family of four:

borba packaging


So this is a FAIL for me both in terms of the product and the packaging. However, as I said above, I also have one Borba product that I love and think is fantastic. And that’s true of many lines for me: there are things I like and dislike in just about all of them. So don’t write off Borba just yet — but you can probably give this product a pass. Enlightenment is more fun to get in fortune cookies than in an eye cream anyway.


Borba HD-Illuminating Eye Specialist: $55.00

Provenance: Purchased (Marshall’s, $9.99)

Price/Value Ratio (high-end: poor/fair/good/excellent): Poor, no matter what you paid, but especially poor if you paid $55.00.

Purchase again? Not this one, thanks.

(Have you used this product? Love it? Hate it? Want it? Let us know in the comments!)