Even if you’re a pro with a concealer stick, sometimes the presence of dark circles under your eyes is all too apparent. Whatever the origin, we’ve got a few fail-safe tips to disguise those shadows…
What causes dark circles? While lack of sleep is often (somewhat accurately) blamed for the purple shadows under our eyes, diet is also a factor, with increased sodium, caffeine or alcohol intake causing fluid retention in the blood vessels underneath your eyes. Allergies can cause a similar reaction, triggering histamines in the body that cause your blood vessels to dilate, leading to a darker appearance. “Since the skin on our eyelid and under eye area is some of the thinnest in the body, it may cause those swollen blood vessels to appear darker than the rest of the face.” explains dermatologist Dr. David E. Bank.
Give your lifestyle a sense check
Alcohol, late nights, caffeine and salty foods all contribute to those tired-looking eyes. Where possible, give your routine a few tweaks and your under-eyes will thank you for it. Make sure you are well-hydrated at all times, try to catch up on sleep so you rely less on caffeine, and switch up convenience foods for a few more home-cooked meals. Even though that ready meal may look healthy, most pre-prepared food has a higher salt content than food you’d make yourself at home.
Tip: if you know you’re going to have a late night, pre-cook a delicious meal in advance that you can store in the fridge or freezer. Then when the hangover kicks in, you won’t need to reach for that delivery app.
Tailor your skincare regime
Look out for eye creams containing caffeine, which can boost circulation, and hyaluronic acid to inject a serious hydration hit. We love IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Treatment Eye Cream, as it not only combines both caffeine and hyaluronic acid, it also contains vitamin C, which is lauded for its brightening effect on skin. Niacinamide, a form of vitamin B, is credited with assisting the increase of blood flow and anti-inflammatory benefits. Bareminerals SkinLongevity Vital Power Eye Gel Cream is formulated with a high level of niacinamide, plus hyaluronic acid, so it’s ideal for de-puffing tired eyes.
Tip: When applying your eye cream, tap it in around the eye area using your ring finger (the weakest and therefore gentlest of your fingers). Tapping the cream in will increase circulation and encourage any water retention to dissipate.
Use two concealers
First, use a colour-corrector to neutralise dark shadows, ‘anything with a salmon pink tone will cancel out the appearance of grey, blue and purple’ advises SJ Froom, Bareminerals International Make-up Artist. Becca’s Colour Corrector has a peach tone that’s perfect for this. Then use a concealer up to two shades lighter than your skin tone. “A lot of under-eye concealers have light reflecting particles to help brighten the eye area” says SJ “and are designed specifically for this purpose.” We love Bareminerals BareSkin Complete Coverage Serum Concealer as it’s super lightweight and hydrating, while IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye is the ultimate all-rounder.
Tip: to find an effective colour-corrector and concealer, try it out first on the blue veins on the back of your wrist. If the product neutralises and conceals blue tones, it is likely to work for your under-eye shadows.
As with eye cream, use your ring finger when applying colour corrector to your under eye. Not only is this your gentlest applicator, the warmth from your fingertip helps the product to blend more easily into your skin, avoiding tugging and caking. When applying your concealer, draw a triangle with the base under your eye and the point drawing down your cheek, which will highlight the area and diffuse your dark shadows.
Tip: If you prefer to use tools, this beauty blender hack is the one. Especially good with full-coverage formulas like Tarte Shape Tape Concealer and Beauty Bakerie Cake Face Concealer, just dampen your sponge with some setting spray and blend your concealer in. This ensures a smooth application that is less likely to cake and settle into creases, and has the added bonus of giving that extra staying power.