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Many of us battle with dark circles. Whether it’s from lack of sleep, dehydration, or genetics, it’s not always easy to find a quick fix. We have to start by identifying where the underlying cause comes from before we can tackle the problem.
However, with the right tips and tricks, you can hide dark circles for an instant refresh. Both makeup and non-makeup options are available – here’s how to cover dark circles fast from the comfort of your own home.
What Are Dark Circles?
Dark circles, officially called periorbital hyperpigmentation (1), appear as discoloration below the eye. Clinically, POH is characterized by light- to dark-colored, blue-purple, and/or brownish-black pigmentation surrounding the eyelids. It gives a tired look to the person. “This can either be due to hyperpigmentation of the skin or thin skin that allows blood vessels and underlying tissue to show through,” explains board-certified dermatologist Rebecca Marcus, M.D., FAAD (2).
Although it is not a medical concern, it can be a cosmetic concern for many individuals (3). It is not always possible to get rid of dark circles completely, but identifying what’s causing yours can at least help you on your skincare journey.
Identify the Cause of Your Dark Circles
The first step in disguising dark circles is to identify the underlying cause of the discoloration. If your dark circles are caused by insomnia, then it’s essential to address your sleep hygiene habits and environmental factors that may make it difficult to sleep (such as noise or light pollution).
If your dark circles are due to something else, like allergies or genetics, then it may be helpful to talk to a doctor about the best treatment course.
Dark circles are a common skin concern that can affect anyone regardless of age or gender. While most people try to cover up their dark circles with concealer or foundation, easy solutions are more effective.
Here are some simple tips to help you achieve uninterrupted sleep and reduce the appearance of dark circles without wearing makeup.
How To Cover Dark Circles Without Makeup
If you prefer not to wear makeup or don’t have time for a full-on beauty routine in the morning, there are other ways to quickly revive tired and dull-looking eyes.
A great first step in reducing the appearance of dark circles is drinking enough water. Not only will increased hydration help your skin retain moisture, but it will also flush out toxins that cause your skin to look dull and unhealthy. Aim for at least eight glasses of water a day.
Get Enough Sleep
One of the most important things you can do to reduce the appearance of dark circles is to get adequate sleep. Your body needs around 8 hours of quality rest every night to properly recover from everyday activities and stressors. Sticking to a consistent sleep schedule can help combat fatigue and improve your overall well-being.
Too much sun exposure can weaken your skin’s collagen and elastin, leading to dark spots, wrinkles, and dryness. To protect your skin from these damaging effects, apply sunscreen on your face daily. Look for a non-comedogenic formula with at least SPF 30 or higher so you’re adequately protected from UVA and UVB rays.
Invest In Eye Creams
Eye creams are designed to nourish and hydrate the delicate skin around the eye area without irritating it. Using an eye cream regularly may also help improve circulation in that area, which in turn helps reduce discoloration, resulting in brighter, more luminous skin!
Look for formulations enriched with ingredients such as caffeine or retinol that can help reduce puffiness around the eyes and brighten up any existing darkness around them. Topical caffeine is an effective means of treating infraorbital dark circles.
Retinoids are vitamin A derivatives that impact multiple pathways to decrease the appearance of dark circles in the infraorbital region. First, they promote collagen synthesis and promote reorganization of collagen bundles to improve skin turgor and quality.
When choosing an eye cream, ensure it is designed for under-eye use. Some creams may contain too strong ingredients for this delicate area, such as fragrances or preservatives that may further irritate the skin, causing more discoloration rather than reducing them.
Once you find an eye cream suitable for your skin type, apply it regularly twice a day—once in the morning before putting on moisturizer, use one containing caffeine to also de-puff, and layer it under concealer if desired, then again before bedtime, containing Retinol or Vitamin C for brightening the area, so that it works its magic while you sleep.
Use Cold Compresses
Applying a cold compress to your eyes helps reduce inflammation and constricts the blood vessels beneath the skin’s surface, reducing discoloration and puffiness around your eyes.
To get the most out of this remedy, soak two cotton balls in cold water, squeeze out the excess liquid, and gently press them against your closed eyelids for 15 minutes until you feel relief.
Try Natural Remedies
Some natural remedies can help reduce eye puffiness and dark circles as well. The key is to use natural ingredients known for their brightening properties, such as lemon juice and almond oil. Cucumber is also a great and effective product – that’s why everyone uses cucumber slices in movies and series – it’s not just a funny thing; it works!
Cucumber slices are particularly effective as they contain antioxidants that reduce swelling around the eyes while cooling them down simultaneously.
Applying 2-3 slices to your eyes for 15 minutes every night can help reduce puffiness and dark circles over time. You can also try other ingredients like aloe vera gel or almond oil, which have hydrating properties that help soothe irritated skin around the eyes.
Mix one teaspoon of lemon juice with 1/2 teaspoon of almond oil and apply it directly onto your under-eye area each night before bed. The lemon juice will brighten discoloration, while the almond oil will help hydrate your skin – leaving you refreshed and bright-eyed in the morning!
How To Cover Dark Circles With Makeup
If all else fails, you can still use makeup to cover up dark circles! Instead, go for lightweight concealers or color correctors, which work well on subtle discoloration while giving you a natural-looking finish when applied correctly.
Concealers are available in different coverage; if you suffer from really dark circles, you want to opt for a lightweight but medium to full-coverage concealer. If you wish to just a touch of coverage, opt for light coverage.
Pale yellow tones are best for brightening dark areas, while green-tinted formulas counteract any redness without looking overly obvious on skin tone.
Firstly, it’s essential to use the right products. So here are some tips to help you find them:
- Look for a concealer with yellow undertones, as these will help counteract any blue or purple tones on the skin.
- Choose a brightening formula – this will help disguise the darkness of your circles by adding a brightening effect.
- Apply your concealer with a makeup brush or sponge for a more natural finish.
Once you’ve selected the right product, it’s time to apply the concealer. You can start with correcting concealer, use correcting concealer on its own, or an everyday concealer on its own, but you can also use them together.
It depends on your preferences! I’ll explain how to use them both, but if you want to use just one of them, skip the other concealer step. Here’s how to do it:
- Start with a correcting concealer to reduce the dark circles’ blue and purple tones. Apply this in the inner corner of the eye and blend outwards. I like to do this with a brush.
- Continue with a (brightening) concealer and dot small amounts of concealer into the inner corner of your eye, the outer part of the eye, and blend outwards. I like to do this with a sponge.
- Blend outwards and upwards to the temples if you want a more lifted look.
- Add more dots for even more coverage if you want to.
- Finally, set your work with powder to prevent the concealer from creasing. A translucent powder works best and will help keep everything in place all day long.
How Can I Prevent Dark Circles From Coming Back?
The best way to prevent dark circles from returning is by making lifestyle changes, as you have already read. Make sure you get plenty of restful sleep each night – aim for at least 7 hours a night! Also, stay hydrated throughout the day by drinking plenty of water – this will help keep your skin looking healthy and vibrant.
If you suffer from allergies or other skin conditions, treat them properly so that they don’t trigger dark circles in the future. Lastly, minimize sun exposure whenever possible, particularly during peak hours between 10 am and 3 pm when harmful UV rays are strongest. And always wear sunscreen in winter and on cloudy days too!
Dark circles under your eyes can be an annoying problem – but thankfully, there are ways to deal with them quickly and easily! By following these tips for covering dark circles with makeup or without makeup, as well as making some lifestyle changes to prevent their return, you should be able to keep those pesky dark circles at bay in no time!
No matter what solution you choose, covering dark circles doesn’t have to be complicated or tedious! Keeping these easy tips in mind will help you achieve uninterrupted sleep and reduce the appearance of those pesky under-eye bags in no time.
- Sarkar R, Ranjan R, Garg S, Garg VK, Sonthalia S, Bansal S. Periorbital Hyperpigmentation: A Comprehensive Review. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2016 Jan;9(1):49-55. PMID: 26962392; PMCID: PMC4756872.
- Rebecca Marcus, M.D., FAAD. Experts Explain What Causes Dark Circles + How To Deal, Mind Body Green.
- Roh MR, Chung KY. Infraorbital dark circles: definition, causes, and treatment options. Dermatol Surg. 2009 Aug;35(8):1163-71. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4725.2009.01213.x. Epub 2009 May 15. PMID: 19469797.