‘This Has Always Been An Insecurity’: Woman Wants To ‘Normalize’ Dark Under-Eye Circles

Makeup is a trusted tool for any woman, and we all have our preferred methods and products to make us feel beautiful.

What started out as a harmless TikTok for one woman soon turned into online harassment. But now, she’s trying to set the record straight and “normalize” one part of our bodies that we’re self-conscious of and always try to cover with makeup—dark circles.

The Makeup Routine

A woman looks into a compact mirror and applies eyeliner.
Photo Credit: Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash

Every woman’s makeup routine is different. While some are quick and only involve quick glossing of their lips or a hint of mascara, others can take an hour, and step-by-step include everything from eyeliner to blush, lipstick, and concealer.

There are a lot of reasons why women do their makeup, and even though we do it for ourselves to feel beautiful, we often do it in order to battle our insecurities.

The TikTok

Sara Carstens
Photo Credit: @saramariecarstens / Instagram
Photo Credit: @saramariecarstens / Instagram

Sara Carstens, also known as @saracarstens and @sarathefreeelf on TikTok, shared a video of her performing her makeup routine. The viral TikTok has received 8 million views and over 1.3 million likes.

But Sara’s makeup routine isn’t like your traditional one, and in this case, she focused exclusively on her dark under-eye circles, but perhaps not in the way you think.

Dark Circles

Woman applying makeup under her eyes to enhance the appearance of her dark circles.
Photo Credit: @sarathefreeelf / TikTok
Photo Credit: @sarathefreeelf / TikTok

In the video, Sara looks at the camera and applies makeup under her eyes. But rather than a concealer that matches her skin tone, she applies a dark stick of makeup and then smudges it under her eyes. This accentuates the appearance of dark circles.

She then ends the video by singing along to the song playing in the background and smiling, looking pleased with her new look. But that’s not quite where her story ends.

Fierce Backlash

TikTok comment: So after years of being made fun of for my dark circles people NOW think they are nice...smooth
Photo Credit: @sarathefreeelf / TikTok
Photo Credit: @sarathefreeelf / TikTok

In a follow-up video, Sara says that she posted the original TikTok to her spam account, and it ended up going mega-viral. What she wasn’t expecting was the “surprising” amount of hate she received from it.

“People commenting, ‘Oh my insecurities are a trend now?’ ‘I wasn’t bullied for years for you to make it a trend,’ ‘You want dark circles? I’ll give you dark circles,’ and people just thinking I was making fun of them,” she says.

Setting The Record Straight

A close-up of Sara's eyes that show what her face looks like with no make-up, including showing off her dark circles.
Photo Credit: @saracarstens / TikTok
Photo Credit: @saracarstens / TikTok

She says that she decided to make the follow-up video without wearing any makeup or using beauty filters in order to show viewers what her natural appearance looks like—dark under-eye circles and all.

Sara acknowledges that her dark circles have always been a source of insecurity, but she’s now starting to see their beauty. Regardless of how they look, she says they should be normalized.

Use It As A Learning Lesson

Woman with blue eyes not wearing makeup
Photo Credit: @saracarstens / TikTok
Photo Credit: @saracarstens / TikTok

“A lot of people have been starting to use makeup to make it look like they have dark circles under their eyes because it makes them feel beautiful,” Sara says.

She ends the video with a simple lesson for viewers, saying, “And that’s exactly how you should feel with your natural ones. So next time you come across a video of someone embracing or enhancing your insecurity, maybe feel flattered instead.”