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The definitive guide on how to get rid of dark circles for good

Wiiiiide awake.

08 Aug 2019

Eye bags are a buzz kill. It's tricky to look wide-eyed and bushy-tailed when your dark circles give away the fact you feel cream-crackered.

While eye creams (particularly retinol eye creams) provide a decent amount of muscle for smoothing crows feet, illuminating and helping to de-puff, tackling dark under eye circles presents a whole new challenge. Not least because many eye creams over claim on their ability to tackle the problem. (Though they can mask them with light deflecting pigments, they can't erase the issue).

The best solution to tackling dark circles is to do what you can to work on your sleep routine, including establishing an earlier and more regular bedtime, ditching the pre-bed blue light and avoiding caffeine in the evenings (though this is easier said than done). For those genetically pre-disposed to the blue bags though, concealer is a reliable strategy.

We enlisted blogger, Katie Snooks, to share her top tips on how to get rid of dark circles. She shares her handy hacks for covering the tell-tale signs.

Now you've watched Katie's tutorial, here's our expert-approved guide to banishing the bags and cheating eight hours sleep.

SO, WHY DO DARK CIRCLES HAPPEN?

The best way of overcoming something is to understand its causes. "Dark circles can be caused by multiple different factors," explains Dr Maryam Zamani, Oculoplastic Surgeon and Aesthetic Doctor and creator of MZ Skin. "When there is volume loss, it can be called tear troughs, which is inevitable as a part of the normal ageing process.  If it is caused by pigmentation, it is called hyperpigmentation."

“There is some genetic component to dark circles, too.  Some ethnicities, such as Asian and south east Asians, can have hereditary hyperpigmentation and some individuals have a family history of puffy lower eyelids from fat prolapse," she explains.

TRY A RETINOL REMEDY

We all know retinol for its impressive anti-ageing abilities, but according to clinical facialist Kate Kerr, the marvel ingredient can also be a godsend when it comes to treating dark circles.

“A retinol eye serum is necessary to help stabilise the melanocytes - the dark pigment-forming cells in the skin that contribute to dark circles - to prevent hyperpigmentation. It also thickens the dermis, improves texture, smooths lines and wrinkles and hides purple skin tone. I use ZO Skin Health Olluminate Intense Eye Repair.”

GIVE THEM A CAFFEINE BOOST

Caffeine doesn't just help us to feel more awake, it can help us to look more awake, too. When applied to skin, caffeine encourages vasoconstriction (the constricting of the blood vessels under our eyes), which can lead to a reduction in puffiness. "Hydration can also impact the skin, hydrated skin is plump and therefore creates more volume, making dark circles less noticeable," says Dr Zamani.

VITAMINS ARE VITAL

A vitamin-rich skincare regime is always a good idea, but there are certain vitamins that can be beneficial to the skin around your eyes.

"I always recommend a serum that is rich in Vitamin C for clients with dark circles. It offers powerful antioxidant protection that fights free-radical damage caused by stress and can result in hyper-pigmentation," says Kerr.

She also recommends a daily dose of Vitamin K-infused skincare like Cernor XO Cream to help reduce the appearance of dark circles caused by leaky and collapsed blood vessels.

THINK ABOUT FILLER

Filler isn't just good for the Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge. In fact, it can be a safe and effective treatment when in the hands of a qualified and knowledgable professional.

“The fat pads under our eyes shrink over time leading to a loss of volume, which creates a hollow and a shadow under the eye," explains Kerr. "If this is the cause of your dark circles, the only way to treat this is by a little bit of filler injected under the eye."

According to Kerr, the filler lifts the skin and slightly diminishes the shadow-causing hollow. "Plus, filler will help to hide any purple skin tone due to leaky blood vessels. Dark under-eye circles can be caused by factors including hyper-pigmentation, leaky blood vessels or loss of volume,” adds Kerr.

THE BRIGHTER THE BETTER

According to MAC Senior Artist, Debbie Finnegan, a bit of brightening goes a long way when it comes to covering dark circles. "If you have subtle under eye discolouration and need just a touch of brightening, try adding a highlighter like MAC Prep + Prime Highlighter to your normal skin routine. Apply a few dots starting from the inner corner of the eye right next to the tear duct; this is usually the deepest area and needs the most brightening. Pat the product in lightly using a ring finger or a flat brush, letting the product disappear approximately half way out from the lower eye."

COLOUR CORRECT

Yellow tones will counterbalance the blue-hue of under eye bags so opt for a designanted colour correcting product like Vichy's new Dermablend Colour Corrector in Apricot, or Finnegan suggests a makeup palette that contains a range of shades. "Choose a palette with cool and warm shades of concealer so you can address all skin concerns easily and effectively," she says. "Apply the colour correcting shades first, and add a touch of concealer to mask it."

USE YOUR FINGERS

While a makeup brush can provide precision, it's a good idea to ditch the bristles when it comes to concealing dark circles. "The warmth of fingertips helps to heat and melt the concealing product, helping it to blend seamlessly into the skin," says Finnegan.

SET WITH A LOOSE POWDER

A setting powder helps to keep your bags concealed all day long without the need for touch-ups. We recommend using a Beauty Blender for ease, as it fits the contours of the eyes so perfectly, and a loose, transparent powder like Too Faced Born This Way Setting Powder.

Feeling awake yet?