Turn Around, Bright Eyes: Tarte EmphasEYES Inner Rim Brightener

Published in: Makeup, Product Reviews

Between good old-fashioned insomnia, the fear of demon possession and Tabs sprinting up and down the stairs at midnight like a crazypants, I’ve been averaging about four hours of sleep a night this week.


Yeah, the dark circles are in the mutha’ truckin’ house, and neither my normally reliable MAC Pro Longwear Concealer nor my trusty Smashbox Photo Op Under Eye Brightener are cutting it. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

While it’s not a concealer, soft beige Tarte emphasEYES Inner Rim Brightener ($18) is designed to deliver wide-awake eyes. The matte finish looks natural to me, and the product’s easy enough to use. Just twist the bottom to expose the tip, and guide it along the lower inner rim and inner corner of the eyes. It can also be used to highlight the brow bone to further define the shape of the brows.

The creamy texture skims along my waterlines, and the twist-up tip means not having to bother with sharpening.

Active ingredients
  • Beeswax: Forms a protective barrier between the skin and the environment
  • Vitamin A: Helps reduce free radical damage and retains skin’s moisture
  • Vitamin E: Acts as an anti-inflammatory emollient and protects against free-radical damage
  • Aloe Leaf Extract: Helps maintain moisture balance in the skin

But that’s just about where the love fest ends…

Problem is, I don’t think it does very much, at least in terms of delivering wide-awake eyes. That, and it doesn’t last very long; it starts to fade after about 20 minutes. To make matters worse, it also stings a little when I wear it along my waterlines.

While it’s a snap to apply, and I like most of the ingredients, I don’t feel I look any more awake with it on. And even if I did, for $18, I’d want it to last longer than it does.

PRICE: $18
AVAILABILITY: Available now at Sephora stores and also online

Improvisational cooking…

Last night I tried to take my grilled cheese and tomato sandwich to the next level (LOL!) with this improv MacGyver-style panini press:


What turned out wasn’t exactly the cutest sandwich in the world, but it got the job done, and I got the nice panini crunch I was craving.

Do you ever concoct strange cooking techniques in the kitchen? Please share. I’m hungry for ideas. 🙂

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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  1. Britany B. says:

    I’m really sad about the Tarte product not staying 🙁 Do you know of any inner rim eye liners for a girl with NW 45 skin?

    The closest MacGyver thing I’ve ever seen in the kitchen was someone using a iron to make a grilled cheese LMAO. I think it was me……

    • Karen says:

      Hi Britany,

      Hmm… you could always try a straight up white eyeliner, but I’ve found it can sometimes look very harsh on darker skin. I’ve tried and liked Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Liner in Champagne. It’s like a peachy pink pearl and adds a little something without looking obvious.

      And LOL about the iron to make a grilled cheese! When I was in high school — way before flat irons — I used one to straighten my hair, yikes!

    • Lyn says:

      Sephora’s Nano Eyeliner in Iced Brown or Pearl Beige are a cheaper (albeit smaller) option – $5 each! I’m NC25-30 and use Pearl Beige.

  2. shiny says:

    I haven’t, but Mother has: the bro and I, when we were kids, once asked if she could be ‘more creative in her cooking’. ‘Sure’, says she. The next day, we took out our lunches.
    We got marmalade and mayonnaise sandwiches. We have NEVER asked her to be creative at anything since.
    The Lesson? Don’t ask a Taurus to change its routine. Or suffer the consequences.

    Good work on the Mac-Gyvering!

  3. Vijaya says:

    That is the coolest impromptu panini press ever.
    Vijaya recently posted … Altered Ego Cosmetics Review- Overview Details and Things

  4. shiny says:

    Oh, and scary movies? Psycho does the job every time. I never found it scary when I was a teen; but the closer I get to 30 (shhh!), the more roadtrip experience I have, the more scary it seems.

    And THANKS SO MUCH for the Smashbox under eye! It is a miracle for my eyes!

    • Karen says:

      That’s a freaky movie, for sure. I remember going on the Universal Studios tour when I was young and getting VERY STRESSED OUT when the tour bus drove by the Psycho house on the hill.

  5. Heidi says:

    That looks very similar to how I have been known to make a panini. i put another skillet on top of the sandwich, and then grab whatever cans I can find, usually beans.

    Oh, and there was the time I decided to experiment and see what happens if I try to make scrambled eggs in the microwave. I let them go a little too long and the texture was definitely not appetizing!

    To make myself look more awake I’ve been loving the light shimmery eye pencil that was a part of the MAC Cham-pale collection. I get compliments on that look when I use it to on the lower rims.

    • Karen says:

      I know what you mean about texture. I tried making scallops a couple of weeks ago and they were beyond awful — so gummy and chewy! It was like eating straight up seafood gum.

      • Heidi says:

        Texture is always a deal breaker for me. I’ve tried to make scallops, too, thinking “oh, they make it look so easy on Top Chef”. They always turn out rubbery. Now I just order them when I go out to eat and stick with what I can cook well. Salmon usually ends up pretty good when I try it.

  6. Jessi says:

    That’s a shame about the eye brightener. Usually I just put a tiny bit of concealer on my waterline and it works well.

    I love your panini press! When I was little my mom had a cast iron sandwich press in the shape of a pig. So we always had grilled cheese embossed with a pig.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jessi,

      What a lovely memory! I bet you guys got a kick out of those sandwiches. I know I would’ve.

      Hope you’re having a lovely day so far. What are your plans for the weekend?

  7. Denise says:

    I love your improvised panini press! I’ll be sure to try it out in a pinch. Thanks for the tip 🙂
    Denise recently posted … Maybelline Lip Smooth Color Bloom is Here!

  8. gio says:

    what a shame the eyeliner has such poor staying power!

    And I love your improvised panini press too. 🙂

  9. Courtney says:

    I like Benefit’s Eye Bright pencil for brightening up my eye area but I don’t use it as a liner (too big). i just blend it along the inner corners of my eyes.

  10. Amber says:

    I was looking for reviews of this recently! Too bad it’s a dud, but I’m sure I could find something workable from MUFE or UD.
    Amber recently posted … Hill Country critters

  11. I have a wealth of tips for Indian cooking so if you ever attempt that holla at me!
    Kajal Couture recently posted … MUFE HD Invisible Cover Foundation Review

  12. Christina says:

    I have the Pixi Eye Bright Liner #1 (Nude) from Target. It makes a subtle, but definite improvement to my red, tired eyes. I never paid attention to how long the product lasts, so maybe not much better than Tarte’s product. It also tickles my eye when I put it on, but that’s because I usually don’t line my waterline.

    • Karen says:

      I’ll have to check that out next time there. Hopefully they’ll have a tester out so I swatch the color! Thanks for the rec, Christina!

  13. Kim says:

    That’s too bad about Tarte – I’ve been pretty hot on them lately. I have a UD liner in Yeyo that’s great for me, but it’s white so I know it won’t work for everyone. Oh, and that said, I never put anything on my waterline (everything stings and runs) so I just use it in the corners.

    That’s a fabulous make-shift panini press! I’ve used a brick covered in tin foil, but that was taken from a suggestion on a cooking site or something like that. Definitely not my own MacGyver idea. It worked well, though. The presses are super-cool, but I need another appliance like I need a hole in the head. Plus, for the number of panini I make during the year, I think your way, or the brick, is a perfect solution. 🙂 Also, I’m not sure if this qualifies (and, again, it’s a ripoff of someone else’s idea) but I like grating my hard boiled eggs for potato salad on a box grater. I don’t mind big chunks of egg, but some people do, so this seems to make everyone happy. 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Okay, I wanna try that brick trick, but where does one find bricks?! Did you just go outside and get one from the yard?

      Good call on the hard boiled eggs. I love egg salad so I’ll give it a try for lunch today.

      • Kim says:

        I actually did – got one from the garage that was left over from some project or another. It’s kind of sad and funny now that you point it out! HAHA! Now’s a good time to grab one at a home improvement store, though. Lowe’s will have a bunch on pallets in their garden center at this time of year (for patios and walkways, etc). I think they’re like $.60 each. Total bargain! 🙂

        Awesome on the egg salad – grating should cut down on the “fork smooshing” time!

  14. Nina says:

    i normally just take either a champagne colored liner, or a chromagraphic pencil for my inner corners. it does the trick. 🙂

    awesome kitchen mcgyver skills, karen!

  15. D-nice says:

    Not sure if it’s already been mentioned by the Stila Topaz Kajal eyeliner is awesome on waterlines for medium skin tones. I LOVE it and it definitely makes me look more awake.

  16. Ashley says:

    Darn, I was looking for a flesh coloured pencil, using white looks too harsh on me.
    Ashley recently posted … Wordless Wednesday

  17. Barb says:

    Now I’ve got Total Eclipse of the Heart playing in my head 🙂

    I actually have this pencil and like it. It wears a few hours for me and I touch up throughout the day.

    Love your McGuyver skills. Very creative!

  18. Toni says:

    What a bummer that it didn’t work. 🙁 I love the Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes mascara, so I was excited to see this review. I agree – for $18, it had better last a while! Thanks for the review!

    I’ve never seen MacGyver (wonder if they have the series at Netflix), but I’m impressed with your creative cooking skills! I got rid of my nonstick fry pan and didn’t have anything to fry pork chops, so I pulled out my dutch oven and used that. It worked great! I have also had to resort to using my grill pan for frying bacon. It works well, but not as good as a flat skillet.

    Love the title of the post. I’m hearing Bonnie Tyler in the background (I was in high school and college in the 80’s, so I love me some 80’s tunes!)
    Toni recently posted … 2nd Menu Monday

    • Karen says:

      Every now and then I fall apart!

      Agreed with Tarte’s Light, Camera, Lashes being one excellent mascara. I’ve been on a roll with ’em lately and hoped this would work, but I guess you can’t win them all.

      Okay, cooking question for you: does one actually *need* a dutch oven? I don’t have one and am debating whether or not I should get one.

      • Toni says:

        I have had this one since Christmas and just pulled it out. I thought I’d have no use for it, but now I am using it for spaghetti sauce, frying pork chops, and shredded bbq chicken. Mine is from Rachael Ray on QVC (I think that’s where my mom bought it). I think this can go in the oven as well. I need to check on that. If it does, I’m going to try to do a roast one day and see how that works, especially since my crock pot died from so much use.
        Toni recently posted … 2nd Menu Monday

  19. Chris25 says:

    I see what you mean. I would not pay $18 for this pencil either. I like using shimmery golds to highlight my inner corner, like MAC Nylon or Goldmine.
    When I used to make tostones, I would use a small plate to smush down the plantain. Flattened, it would then go back into the pan and refried.

    Great, now I want tostones! 😀

  20. Barbara says:

    let me say one thing–Paula Dorf Baby Eyes!!! It’s the best eye pencil!!!!

  21. Caroline says:

    Bonnie Tyler rocks! Too bad about the eyeliner. I’ve been using Garnier Anti-puff roll on with tint and LOVE it! It really does brighten up my eyes and hides my dark circles (though I still need concealer but less of it.).

    Don’t have any weird contraptions to cook. The panini idea looks good.

    • Karen says:

      Yes she does. I can listen to that song on repeat. I keep meaning to try that Anti-puff roll! I’ve heard it’s great.

      BTW, what concealer are you liking these days?

      • Caroline says:

        I haven’t found my HG of concealers but using MAC studio sculpt. It covers well but it does crease. I’m a NC30 and the Anti-puff is light on me. But it doesn’t make me look like a ghost. It’s like a highligter. I actually use it around my nose then use concealer. It adds a brightness to my face.

  22. snoopysteph says:

    I tried this eyeliner when I got it as part of a set a couple years ago and I just couldn’t get it to work. It looked…odd. Then again, anything I put on my waterline looks odd (and makes my eyes even smaller than they already are).

    Looks like someone needs to add a panini press to her birthday wish list! 😀

  23. Trisha says:

    I Just tried something really similar to this by Pixi. I liked how it looked and it stayed forever on my waterline.

    I might have to try this Tarte one…

  24. Kate & Zena says:

    I like using the Benefit Eyebright if I need to brighten my eyes.

    Have you tried just using a spatula for a panini, especially one with spaces in between or a grill like look? I used to have a variety of spatulas with different looks on the bottom so if I pressed them too hard the spatula bottom would get imprinted on the sandwich (and it would bother me!) The bottoms were to desensitize me to textures, but they’re also used to put different patterns on sandwiches and stuff.

  25. elana says:

    I am using the dolce gabbana eye pencil in nude. Lasts and lasts, with no burn or sting.

  26. Olivia T. says:

    To bad about this product. I was thinking about buying it. Darn.
    Olivia T. recently posted … Contact Information

  27. KSlone says:

    Mac’s NC 15 pencil is undustrial strength! Only available PRO though 🙁

  28. Audrey says:

    I use the bottom of a clean, smaller pan, and press it down with a tea kettle full of water! it works great!

  29. Kacey says:

    Aw, I’m sorry that pencil didn’t work out for you! I quite like it, for some reason it lasts pretty darn well on my waterline. Oh well!

    Ooh, and I’m liking your cooking improv 😛 I looove making grilled cheese sandwiches by heating up (and copiously buttering) two cast iron skillets – one to cook the sandwich on and one to squish it into delicious, delicious submission. The real secret, though, is two kinds of cheese: provolone for that fabulous melt-y pulling texture, and cheddar for WABAM flavor 😛

  30. Rozae says:

    I have this, its not a bad product, and I prefer lite color lower inner eye liner, like gold or coral.

  31. Lilac says:

    I wonder how they can claim it is without mineral oil and petrolatum when isoparaffin is on the list! this is made out of mineral oil.. :/

  32. Rebecca says:

    Hi Karen!

    I know this is wayyyyyyy late but I thought I’d share my two cents on the panini press anyway, lol. I’ve been really into making paninis too lately, and I just warm up a second, smaller skillet on another burner and press it onto the sandwich once it’s hot enough. I only have to press down on it for about the first 30 secs to a minute, and after that its weight is enough to keep the sandwich pressed. Hope you see this and this helps! 🙂

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