Dark circles are up there with wrinkles and grey hair when it comes to ageing you prematurely. The area under the eyes has a tendency to appear darker as we get older and the hyperpigmentation is caused by constricted blood vessels or from thinning of the skin around the eyes.
Sadly, what causes the blood vessels to be constricted or the skin to thin can vary from person to person so there isn’t a catch-all dark circles eye cream or wonder cure. Such causes include a lack of sleep or poor sleeping habits, which is relatively easy to fix, an iron deficiency, allergies, weight loss, smoking, and dehydration, right up to genetics and skin tone.
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If it’s the latter, there’s little you can do to prevent dark circles. What you can do, however, is use makeup to get rid of dark circles under eyes quickly and effectively.
In the latest in our Ask the MUA series, our resident makeup artist Victoria Howe, owner and Chief Makeup Artist at Victoria Howe Make Up reveals the secret for how to get rid of dark circles, or at least get rid of the appearance of dark circles. You can follow Victoria’s looks on her Instagram page, @victoria_howe_makeup.
If you want to get rid of dark circles permanently, it helps to rule out at least some of the potential causes of dark circles. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water, sleep, take breaks from screens whenever you can, and watch what you eat. These may sound boring but unfortunately, your body, and particularly your face, is a direct reflection of your lifestyle.
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While you wait for these lifestyle changes to make a difference, you can then use makeup to reduce the appearance of dark circles quickly and effectively with minimal effort.
Experts are somewhat split over the effectiveness of using a specially-formulated eye cream over just an everyday moisturiser but, seeing as your skin under your eyes is thinner than the rest of your face, we recommend at least trying to see if a good eye cream makes a difference.
The best eye cream for dark circles, in our opinion, is the CeraVe Eye Repair Cream because its non-greasy lotion, developed by dermatologists, melts into the skin and helps restore the protective skin barrier of the delicate eye area.
It contains three essential ceramides and hyaluronic acid, which reduces the appearance of dark circles and puffiness for brighter, smoother skin.
It also uses so-called MVE technology to deliver a “continuous release of the ceramide enriched formula for 24-hour hydration”.
All for an absolute RRP of £11.
Apply the cream and wait for it to be fully absorbed so you know your skin is moisturised and supple. Ideally, you should wait around 15 minutes before continuing with makeup but if that’s not possible time-wise, leave it as long as you can and start prepping other areas of the face or hair while you wait.
Before going straight in with concealer, apply a thin layer of peach colour corrector. Peach and orange sit opposite blue and purple on the colour wheel which means when the colours mix, they cancel each other out.
A peach colour corrector will, therefore, make the darker, blue tones under your eyes fade creating a more even skin tone to apply further makeup to. You can read more about makeup colour theory here.
Remember, though, to stick with thin layers to avoid building up too much.
Next up, apply a single layer of concealer in the same shade as your natural skin tone.
In our guide on how to apply concealer on mature skin, we recommend finding the best concealer that’s a shade lighter than your skin tone to brighten up your face but when it comes covering up dark circles, you’re after one that matches it.
Apply this first layer with a dry beauty sponge to create a base before following it was another layer on concealer, this time applied using a damp beauty sponge.
While your second layer is still wet, use a thin sheet of tissue to very lightly blot the areas, ensuring that you avoid pressing too hard, otherwise you’ll remove much of the product you’ve applied and could damage the delicate skin and make your dark circles worse.
Once you’ve blotted your under eye, apply setting powder straight away to prevent any folding, creasing, smudging or budging.
Setting powder is an absolute must-have for when you’re using wet makeup (liquid or cream foundation, BB creams, tinted moisturisers and so on) because the powder helps the makeup solidify and settle better. It uses the same premise as when sand was used to dry ink on handwritten letters in the past.
Not only will a setting powder smooth the area and prevent creasing, but it will also help your makeup hide your dark circles for longer, and can absorb oil. The Too Faced Peach Perfect setting powder is a great premium buy, or NYX’s Can’t Stop Won’t Stop setting powder offers a more affordable option.
You can see more recommendations in our best setting powder list.
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