Beauty Lessons: How To Get Rid of Dark Circles and Eye Puffiness

a makeup artist covering up undereye circles on a model

Caring for your eyes is something most women leave until later in life, but dark circles and puffiness are common afflictions among women of all ages. Eye creams are a great way to not only solve problems in the area but prevent fine lines and further issues down the road.

Dark Circles

Before you can treat dark circles you have to understand why you have them. Some women are genetically predisposed to dark circles, so you can’t necessarily blame lifestyle factors, though eating well and staying hydrated can lessen the appearance of them no matter the cause. A good way to identify the type of circle you have is to gently pull the skin around your eye down. If the dark circle disappears, your bone and muscle structure is to blame as your circles are caused by a shadow which can be treated with fillers or highlighters. If the skin remains discolored, your circles are most likely due to leaky capillaries or pigmentation. Leaky capillaries cause red, blue, and purple tones to appear under the eye where as pigmentation issues will be in the sallow green and brown range.

If your dark circles are caused by blood vessels, there are a few ingredients you want to look out for. Caffeine will constrict blood vessels and is a common product in many eye products for its simulant properties. Vitamin K lightens the skin and hyaluronic acid draws moisture from the air and is one of the most effective and best eye cream ingredients. Also look for vitamin C and E as they both have properties that will aid treatment. Effective treatments for dark circles include Clark’s Botanicals Anti-Puff Eye Cream $87 and Origins’ GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream $29.50

The skin around your eyes is the most delicate. For this reason, any topical treatments must be applied with the utmost care. If you have severe pigmentation, there are topical treatments with hydroquinone that you can get from your dermatologist but these must be used with extreme care as it can permanently damage your skin. Retinoids, a vitamin A derivitive, are also available from your dermatologist but there are less potent versions widely available that can help lessen the pigmentation.

There are also laser treatments available for both types but are costly and will require a number of sessions with a dermatologist.

makeup artist adjusting underye concealer


There are a number of lifestyle changes that can combat puffiness such as limiting exccesive sodium in your diet and staying hydrated, but if you’re looking to lessen fluid retention in the eye area, look for products with caffeine which will penetrate the skin and stimulate the metabolism of the fat cells in your skin, therefore shrinking them. One of the most common treatments for puffiness is making tea ice cubes. Strong green tea ice cubes can work just as well as the designer treatments and are easy to make at home. Keeping your eye cream in the fridge is a great way to get the benefits of a treatment with the added bonus of cooling to de-puff. While hemorrhoid creams reduce swelling in the eye by constricting blood vessels in the area, they are not recommended. There are enough products on the market that do the same thing and are formulated with the sensitive eye area in mind. Popular products that target puffiness are Ole Henriksen’s Ultimate Lift Eye Gel $38 and the wonder product, Clinique’s All About Eyes $29.


Choosing the right concealer is key. If you’re looking to cover shadows, look for a highlighting concealer such as Givency Mister Light Instant Light Corrective Pen $33. This type of product has light-reflecting properties that will add lightness to the area. If you’re looking to cover pigment or blood vessel related darkness, look for a creamy concealer such as Laura Mercier’s Secret Camouflage $28. Applying it with a softer crease brush rather than standard concealer brush can help you avoid using too much product. Buffing the product into the skin rather than layering it on is a good way to get even, natural looking coverage. 

Photos: IMAXtree