Drinking gallons of water, in bed by 10pm yet still her dark circles were out of control. Then Esther Walker discovered Charlotte Tilbury's new magic wand

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What’s your desert island beauty product? I mean, obviously it’s SPF, right? When that cruise liner hoves into view over the horizon and spots your SOS fire blazing away and comes to rescue you, you’re going to still want to look 35, not 350.

So, okay, silly question – but all I mean is what product do you reach for first? For me, it’s easy: concealer. Always, every time. If it’s one of the three days of the year when I don’t have an active blemish then I will need it, at the very least, under my eyes.

I mean, I don’t know if it’s age (I am 38), or some vitamin deficiency or simply that I’m a bad person, but recently the dark circles under my eyes have been getting out of control. And this is all with me usually being in bed by 10pm and asleep shortly after. I drink water (when I’m not drinking wine) and think happy thoughts. Why the circles?

Until I find a cure, there they are. And they need eradicating. Like, now.

I am a veteran of concealers. My first – and the one I was loyal to for longest – was Rimmel’s Hide the Blemish . At £2.49 (in 1993 prices, it’s now a princely £3.49) it was affordable and did all you could hope for. Its staying power, thanks to the thick, almost chalky consistency, was a godsend.

OK, fine for the breakouts, but under the eyes? Not past 25 years of age, I’m afraid, as that sort of pancake stuff sits in fine lines and makes you look worse – squinty, exhausted and strung out. 

Other concealers have been serviceable, but none has actually made me straighten up and say, “Oh, hang on!” until Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Away Liquid Concealer .

I mean, how exactly does Charlotte Tilbury manage to be this good at everything? I rather meanly half-hoped this would not live up to the hype because I just don’t believe anyone can be this perfect. But she is.

The Magic Away Liquid Concealer  comes in the signature rose gold tube with a handy window to tell you how much is left. I don’t think I’m imagining it when I say that the effect is not immediate. You put it on and think “Meh, better than nothing,” then wander off and ten minutes later when you look in the mirror you see what’s happened; the under-eye area is blurred and softened.

The colour doesn’t just sit there looking stupid; I used colour 4 Warm Beige which is fair/pale, which I am, but I’m also a redhead, which means that I am a weird mish-mash of yellow, pink and blue tones but this blended seamlessly in. It must have some kind of colour-correcting element to it, is all I can say.

The only slightly wrong note for me is that is has a sponge applicator; like any spot-prone person, I am terrified of bacteria, I never touch my face with my hands unless it’s an emergency and wash all my makeup brushes once a week in a purpose-made disinfectant.

But there are ways around that – I only ever touch the applicator to my under-eye area. If I need this on a blemish I dot it onto a finger or separate brush first and then apply to the skin.

I am willing to do all that because this stuff works so well. It does exactly what it says, it just magics all the bad stuff away. The double whammy is to use it in conjunction with Charlotte’s Genius Magic Powder, £33 , which describes itself as “soft-focusing, light diffusing loose powder.”

And this, too, is just what it does; it comes in three shades Fair, Universal and Dark and when you brush it lightly over the area it acts as your own real-life Instagram filter. I used this during a week of high stress and low sleep and even though I felt terrible, I looked perfectly alright.

Could it flag down a passing cruise liner on my desert island? Who cares. 

Buy Charlotte Tilbury's  Magic Away Liquid Concealer, £24  available in 16 shades.
Find Esther at The Spike