Everyone experiences dark circles when they’re tired, stressed, or have had a few too many martinis at happy hour on a Tuesday. But for the most part, people with true, permanent dark circles aren’t doing anything wrong—it’s just their genetics. It’s why makeup brands are consistently coming out with new brightening! illuminating! color-correcting! concealers, and why we keep prodding the experts for new, nifty ways to cover them up. And backstage at Isabel Marant, I may have just hit the jackpot. Kind of. Makeup artist Lisa Butler shared her go-to product for concealing dark circles; there’s just one, slightly big caveat.
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The product in question is Ben Nye Neutralizer Creme Crayon in shade NP-4. And the thing is, it’s everything we usually tell you not to use around your eyes. It’s matte, it’s dense, and it looks nothing like your natural skin tone. In fact, it doesn’t look like the color of anyone’s skin tone. The peachy-beige shade (the top crayon in the image below) is actually formulated to cover up tattoos (its full shade name is Medium Tattoo Cover/NP-4), and it does a bang-up job doing what it’s meant to do (Butler demonstrated backstage on one beauty editor’s finger tattoo). But through trial and error, Butler found it’s the best tone for hiding dark circles on pale to medium/tan skin tones.
“It’s this orangey, weird color, but it’s the perfect thing for covering up blue tones in the skin,” she said, demonstrating its neutralizing effects by running it over a vein on the back of her hand. “You just draw it on, press it, and then it’s gone. It’s a good texture, so you kind of just rub it away to nothing and you can’t tell it’s on the skin.” And while it’s the color of the concealer that initially attracted Butler, it’s the crayon-like shape that’s kept her hooked. “It lets you get to areas where you can’t with a brush and makes applying it so easy,” she said. The pencil is the only thing Butler uses backstage and on photo shoots for the undereye area, troubleshooting for pale complexions. “If you’re very fair, you apply it and then you put a lighter-colored concealer on top of it,” she explained. “Because if you just put a lighter color, it’s going to make your dark circles look gray.” On darker tan complexions, she bumps up to a deeper, warmer hue in the range, although I haven’t been able to track this down online.
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And that’s the only downside of this dark-circle miracle worker. “You can’t get it—we’ve tried everywhere,” Butler admitted. “Though there is one place we found in Virginia that still has stock left that we order from.” Her team is based in London, making this solution not exactly convenient. But I’m sure if there’s a will—and an Internet connection—there’s a way to track down this awesome concealer. And when you do, make sure you report back—and buy as many as you possibly can.
UPDATE: After the popularity of this post and people searching for the Neutralizing Pencils, Ben Nye emailed me this update on the product: “The neutralizing pencil series has been updated with a fresh new look, improved texture and shades and will be available very soon. The old NP-4 correlates closely to the new NP-22. Customers can contact us in 310-839-1984 for information on local dealers.”
Here’s how to get more out of the concealers you already own: