Tested on animals:Yes
Maestro Eraser is exorbitantly priced, but if it really delivered on its claim of being “a hybrid concealer that treats and minimizes the appearance of dark under-eye circles” we’d gladly pay the price. There are a number of reasons that’s not worth doing, one being that there's nothing in this formula that can cure dark circles—not even the highly touted, trademark ingredient Haloxyl, which is a blend of synthetic peptides and moisturizing agents.
Although Haloxyl's benefit is exaggerated, it doesn't hurt to include it. What does hurt is the high amount of alcohol in this concealer. Alcohol can dry, irritate, and potentially damage skin (see More Info), and that's especially concerning in the highly sensitive eye area! If the fragrance-free formula had included sun protection it would be a step in the right direction (sun damage makes dark circles worse), but even that benefit is missing.
We do have to give Armani praise for the reflective finish, which has a subtle brightening effect on dark circles. We also appreciate how effortlessly and seamlessly Maestro Eraser blends on with its thin liquid formula. The lightweight, almost sheer coverage is slightly buildable, but even then this won't conceal most noticeable imperfections. Where it does excel is as an under-eye concealer that doesn't crease or look cakey. Instead, you get an attractive, natural-looking glow that works for all skin types.
The handful of shades covers light to medium-tan skin tones and each tends to have a pink or peachy undertone. That's OK for disguising under-eye circles, but it won't work for everyone. FYI: The swatches online are not a good representation of the actual shades, so check this out in-store if you're interested in purchasing … though we caution you not to do so because of the formulary flaws mentioned above!
Luckily, there are dozens of excellent (and less expensive) concealers to choose from, so you don't need to tolerate this one! Peruse our list of Best Concealers here.
- Reflective finish has a subtle brightening effect on dark circles.
- Thin liquid texture blends on seamlessly and isn't prone to creasing.
- Fragrance-free formula.
- Includes a potentially concerning amount of alcohol.
- Can't "treat" dark circles as claimed.
- The minimal coverage and peach/pink undertones won't suit everyone.
Alcohol-Based Skincare Products:
A significant amount of research shows alcohol causes free-radical damage in skin even at low levels (Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, 2012
). Small amounts of alcohol on skin cells in lab settings (about 3%, but keep in mind skin-care products contain amounts ranging from 5% to 60% or greater) over the course of two days increased cell death by 26%. It also destroyed the substances in cells that reduce inflammation and defend against free radicals—this process actually causes more free-radical damage. If this weren't bad enough, exposure to alcohol actually causes skin cells to self-destruct (Alcohol, 2002
Research also shows that these destructive, aging effects on skin cells increased the longer skin was exposed to alcohol; for example, two days of exposure was dramatically more harmful than one day, and that's at only a 3% concentration (Alcohol, 2002). In fact, the effect of inflammation in the skin is cumulative, and repeated exposure to irritants contributes to a weakened skin barrier, slower healing (including of red marks from breakouts), and a dull, uneven complexion (Aging, 2012 & Chemical Immunology and Allergy, 2012).
For more on alcohol's (as in, ethanol, denatured alcohol, and ethyl alcohol) effects on skin, see the Paula's Choice Research Team's Expert Advice article on the topic, Alcohol in Skin Care: The Facts.