There are a variety of reasons people have under-eye circles, regardless of age. So whether you decide to rock them proudly or prefer to reduce their appearance with the best concealers for dark circles, read on for more information about the most common causes, treatments, and the best products to use to brighten the skin around your eyes.
To learn more about what causes dark circles and how to treat them, I got in touch with Dr. Todd Minars, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and owner of Minars Dermatology in Hollywood, Florida. Primarily, people experience dark under-eye circles for three reasons: visible blood vessels, excess pigment, and hollowness due to a deep tear trough, Dr. Minars explains. “An easy way to test for blood vessels being too close to the surface of your skin is by applying pressure to the circle or shadowed region. If it disappears, kind of like when you press on a sunburn and the skin turns white, your primary reason for the circles are blood vessels,” he says. “If the color doesn't dissipate then you know the darkness is caused by excess pigment, which is just how some humans are. The skin around our eyes is very thin, so any excess pigments become more noticeably visible. Lastly, if the dark color forms from the inside corner of your eye, where your tear duct is and tears would flow from if you're crying, it's simply because of the trough being too deep. This can be hereditary and present on the patient for their entire life, or it could be formed due to aging.”
People with seasonal allergies may also get dark circles, from both swollen blood vessels and due to excess itching and rubbing. If this is the case, allergy medication can help. Some of Dr. Minar's patients report that staying properly hydrated helps minimize the appearance of their dark circles, as does switching from coffee to green tea and sleeping more. He encourages anyone interested in treatment options to see a board-certified dermatologist or board-certified plastic surgeon. But of course, there's absolutely nothing wrong with having dark circles, and choosing to treat or conceal them is entirely your choice.
That said, if you're reading this, you are probably interested in concealing your dark circles. So, to help you in that endeavor, here are a handful of the best concealers and eye creams that can help brighten, de-puff, and even out the skin underneath your eyes.
And one last tip: Pick a shade lighter than your natural skin tone for the most natural-looking coverage, and gently pat (don't rub) the product underneath your eyes. Not only is this a makeup artist technique for helping concealer look smoother and less cakey, but it also prevents you from pulling at the delicate skin around your eyes.
1. The Absolute Best Concealer For Dark Circles
There's a reason Maybelline's Instant Age Rewind Eraser Multi-Use Concealer is a perennial best-seller; even luxury beauty enthusiasts can't seem to get enough of this stuff (and in fact, it's the most popular concealer in America, according to Nielsen). Available in 18 shades, it's a creamy, buildable, non-cakey concealer that gives your skin a radiant, even finish. You can also dab it onto blemishes and use it for contouring, and the rounded sponge tip applicator makes it incredibly easy to apply. And not only does it help conceal dark circles, but it has some skin care benefits, too: the formula, which is fragrance-free, contains antioxidant-rich goji berry, as well as Haloxyl, which can help lighten dark skin around the eyes.
Fans are legion — Amazon reviewers have given it over 5,000 perfect five-star reviews so far, and makeup artists swear by it, too. "This is my holy grail concealer," one person wrote. "It is such a thin consistency, but [it's] so opaque and covers any dark spots, dark circles, and doesn't crease what so ever."
2. The Best Color-Correcting Concealers With The Widest Shade Range
A favorite of Instagram makeup artists and YouTube beauty vloggers, the L.A. Girl Pro Conceal HD Concealer is offered in an impressive array of 30 shades. But it doesn't just come in skin-like tones; it comes in color-correcting shades like green, yellow, lavender, peach, and orange, too. Using the color wheel theory, these types of colors can counteract redness, yellowness, and, you guessed it, dark circles (for purplish dark circles, try using an orange or peach concealer). The formula provides a smooth, even finish and a lightweight feel, so it never gets caky or dries out the delicate skin underneath your eyes.
"If you have really blue veins around your eyes, or really dark circles, this will be your go-to color corrector," one reviewer wrote about the orange concealer. But of course, you can still achieve similar results by using one of the shades that match your skin tone, too.
3. The Best Concealing Eye Cream For Dark Circles
The Olay Eyes Ultimate Eye Cream is a 3-in-1 moisturizing product with a hint of concealer in the formula. Though it appears to be pink, it's designed to blend in seamlessly with all skin tones, leaving you with a bright, refreshed, and natural-looking appearance. The eye cream contains vitamin B3 for hydration and improved cellular turnover, collagen-producing peptides, and iron oxides, which help boost the cream's staying power.
"This worked like magic," one reviewer wrote. "Instantly, I looked more awake, and brighter — if that’s all it ever did it would have been good but no. The puffy ripple I’d developed under one eye is significantly diminished, and each time I [pat] this on, it seems to work better. The chronic dark circles are far brighter, the skin is velvety smooth, and I think it knocked a good ten years off my appearance."
Also Great: This Cooling Eye Balm For On-The-Go Brightening
Swipe on this stick (which is a newer version of the brand's original Glow & Get It Cooling & Brightening Eye Balm) any time your eyes are feeling tired and need a boost. It hydrates and firms under-eye skin using ingredients like rosehip oil, caffeine, watermelon extract, and hyaluronic acid, which all work together to leave your under-eyes looking brighter and feeling refreshed. What's more, the formula uses teeny tiny illuminating particles to enhance the refreshed appearance of your skin — so that also means you can use this as a highlighter.
Like all of Tula's products, the Glow & Get It eye balm is cruelty-free, enriched with good-for-skin probiotics, and doesn't contain any propylene glycol, a common allergen for those with sensitive skin.
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