4 May 2020

How to: Combat and Manage your Dark Circles

When I asked my friends what sort of content they'd like to see over May Madness, I had quite a few requests to talk about how to cover up dark circles. It's not a huge surprise seeing as they have young babies and toddlers! It's something I've also struggled with lately (thank you uncomfortable sleepless nights), so I decided it was time to pop on my testing and research hat and find the best ways to combat these dark circles and share my own tips and experiences.

There could be many reasons as to why you get dark circles, and ideally, you want to try and identify this so that you can combat the underlying reason - which will then save you time and money on finding products to help conceal them. However, it's not always easy to do that. Causes can include ageing, pesky genetics, or health conditions. They could be the first sign to say we're feeling run down, or we're not getting enough essentials such as sleep or water. 

Depending on what the cause is, there are ways you can try to minimise your risk of dark circles - but also if you can identify the cause it'll help you choose the best beauty products to use to help manage them. 

One key area that will help with most of the above is to keep yourself hydrated - costs absolutely nothing but will really help with your under-eye circles. It helps to flush out toxins such as salt, which is linked to causing eye bags, and also increases blood flow and plumps out dehydrated skin or aged skin. Plumped skin helps to make dark circles a lot less noticeable. Staying hydrated can also help with your sleep pattern - in turn helping another potential cause!

Because I'm naturally just really bad at drinking enough water - I have gotten better since the baby started stealing all my nutrients - I love using hydration targeted eye masks to give extra boosts. A couple of my favourites are the e.l.f. Hydro Gel Under Eye Masks and the Garnier Moisture Bomb Eye Tissue Masks. I try to use an eye mask once a week if I can to just help boost the condition of the area in any way it needs.

A quick, easy and potentially weird way that you can help is to try and increase the blood circulation around the eye area of your face. Sounds weird, yes, but can really help in the long run. It's super easy to do as well - I just take a facial massager (mine is from The Body Shop) and every few days I'll just roll it around my face in general as part of my routine but will tend to spend a little more time around the eye area if I feel I'm looking particularly zombie-like.  

Something I'm learning as I get older is that I really need to pay more attention to the ingredients that's in my skincare products. It's a bit like baking - different ingredients will help achieve different outcomes. Sounds really obvious but apparently, my brain just decided not to look at this because it was too scientific and complicated for skincare. Turns out it's not, as long as you know what your skin type is and what it needs. 

Three key ingredients I see over and over again when looking at how to combat dark circles are retinol, vitamin C and caffeine. Retinol is renowned as being incredible for many different reasons, but in particular for anti-ageing abilities - one of our potential dark circle causes. A retinol eye serum essentially helps to plump the skin, which improves texture, smooths lines and can help to hide purple skin tone. However - it's worth noting if you're like me and with child, you can't go near the stuff. Vitamin C is, however, an ingredient I lean to often for my under eye care. It's known to help brighten the skin, which in turn helps to counteract darkness under the eyes, but it also gives antioxidant protection that helps to fight causes of hyper-pigmentation. Caffeine is another key ingredient - no, I don't mean drink more coffee. Really, really don't do that. Products that contain caffeine actually leads to a reduction in puffiness under the eyes, which helps you look more awake. 

For me, I know my dark circles are usually caused by lack of sleep or lack of hydration, so I tend to lean more towards hydrating formulas or products with vitamin C in them. 

No matter how good your skin is, you should probably be using some sort of eye cream or serum every day. Your serum or cream will really help to improve the condition of your under-eye area, whereas make-up will just help to conceal it. You should also apply this before your moisturiser. There shouldn't anything between your eye product and your skin otherwise it won't do anything. You should also always use your finger to apply in a gentle dabbing motion so as not to damage or tug the delicate skin.

There's a couple of serums that I absolutely love and would highly recommend - but as I said, it's important if you can find our what your cause is so you know what type of product to get and what ingredients you need. A recent favourite is the Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream - a great product for tired and dehydrated eyes. It has ingredients that reduce the appearance of dark circles, brightens the area and reduces puffiness. For me, I reach for this when I really feel like the darker tones are more pronounced, or I really need to brighten the area. I also really rate The Body Shop Elderflower Eye Gel - this one is very lightweight and I find sits really nicely underneath eye make-up as well. It has a tonne of hydrating ingredients packed in so I always reach for this if I feel like I'm dehydrated, and it is really cooling so if you're feeling puffy it's a great one to reach for. 

If you're looking for something retinol-based, there's a couple of options I see recommended time and time again. Including the L'Oreal Revitalift Triple Power Treatment, Kiehl's Youth Dose Eye Treatment and La Roche Posay Redermic R Eyes Retinol Eye Cream. These are all skincare brands I know and trust. 

I feel like this term tends to scare a lot of people - but honestly, again, once you know how it works, it's quite simple. I am also going to do a full post on this so keep your eyes peeled for that. However, the idea is to help conceal the darker tones, you need to neutralise the colour as much as possible. To do this, you basically go to the other side of the colour wheel and bobs your uncle. 

The darker tones under your eyes tend to be more purple and bluish in colour, therefore you would need to use a peach or orange-toned colour corrector to help combat and conceal these. For those with lighter skin tones, you'll need to stick to the more peach toned correctors, and those with darker skin tones will need to go for the darker orange-toned correctors. I've found for me, the best way to use any colour correctors is to apply them after my primer, but before my base. 

I've been using the Urban Decay Colour Correcting Fluid in Peach, and I'm obsessed. It's very lightweight so although you're adding another layer to your under-eye make-up it doesn't feel cakey or heavy. It's also packed full of vitamin C, and helps to hydrate the skin as well. It is a little bit more on the pricier side but there are more drugstore options. I also like the NYX Colour Correcting Palette - it gives you a range of shades for different problem areas, and although it's a cream it's still lightweight and blends really beautifully into the skin. It also has a yellow option if the peach isn't quite enough for your darker colourings.

A lot of people I know tend to basically go straight to this option - conceal and hope for coverage. If you're not too dark under the eyes then it can work, but it's essentially putting a band-aid on an amputated limb. It might solve the issue temporarily but not in the long run. I was 100% guilty of this as well so no judgements here! Concealers are a fantastic way at concealing dark circles for the day, and here are some of my tips on how best to do this.

For starters, always go for a concealer that is a shade lighter than your normal skin tone - this will just help to really brighten the area and combat any shadows. I always go for a brightening or illuminating concealer as well - they tend to be more lightweight which is better for the undereye area anyway (no heavy, creasing formulas here thank you), and they also have a little something in them that as the names suggest, brighten the area and make you look more awake. My absolute favourite, and the one I always go back to, is the Bourjois Radiance Reveal Concealer. It's super affordable but it brightens, it blends in beautifully, doesn't crease and lasts really well. It also has a little bit of a peachy tone to it so continues with the colour correction element. The other one that works really well is the Glossier Stretch Concealer, again it's very lightweight and brightening. It's a touch too oily for me but if you have dry under eyes this would be a great option for you. 

Another product worth mentioning and that's great to use for a no make-up day is the Garnier BB Eye Cream. It has a slight tint to it, which is buildable, and it's a great fusion of skincare and make-up if you have more no make-up days, then make-up days. Especially in our current WFH environment! 

In terms of applying, I always try to apply with my finger as the natural warmth helps it to blend more seamlessly, and you can be really gentle with the application. However, if you want to use a tool then I would say use a beauty blender over a brush, as it's a lot more gentle and the skin under your eye is super delicate. 

When you do your eye make-up, don't forget that inner corner highlight. The inner corner of your eye can be one of the darkest spots and hold the most pigment when you're run down, so by adding a highlight to the inner corner you will brighten and conceal that troublesome area. I tend to just grab either the highlight I've used on my cheekbones, or use the one in the eyeshadow palette I'm using. 

And there you have it! I hope this has been of some help, it's definitely one of the longer posts I've done but I wanted to make sure I covered all areas, and that my information was as informative and accurate as possible. 

What your some of your tips for concealing dark circles?

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