Family genetics have blessed me with some persistent, dark circles under my eyes. Even when I've had those crucial, eight hours of sleep and I'm hangover-free, those eye bags still linger. It can be difficult to banish shadows for good, considering they're caused by blood vessels showing through the thin skin, but I've discovered a collection of products that have really helped to reduce the look of them, both short and longer-term.
Before throwing an abundance of product recommendations at you, there are a few non-beauty tips that I find help to diminish dark circles. Stay hydrated. It may seem like the answer to all our problems, from keeping skin clear, to aiding weight loss, but water really is the best beauty product. Dehydration puts our bodies under strain and skin always reflects that. Another obvious way to reduce panda eyes, is sleep. With technology taking over our lives, our sleep can suffer - I'm guilty of taking my laptop to bed with me and then struggling to nod off. Sleep-deprived, puffy eyes will only exaggerate dark shadows. Surrounded by thin skin, the eyes are particularly susceptible to sun damage and hyper-pigmentation will worsen under-eye shadows. All year round, it's important to wear SPF and sunglasses in strong sunlight. The delicate, eye area also needs a gentle touch to avoid premature aging. As it's easy to damage the tiny capillaries and cause bleeding under the eyes, refrain from rubbing them at all costs and don't be too vigorous when removing makeup.
To get the ball rolling with tackling dark circles, it's a good idea to prep eyes with a brightening, puff-reducing cream, before applying makeup. Pumped full of active ingredients, they'll get to work on treating the problem, rather than just masking shadows on a superficial level. An affordable option is the Garnier BB Cream Miracle Skin Perfector Eye Roll-On. Providing a light coverage, cooling sensation and skincare benefits, this is a handy, all-in-one product for rushed mornings. Used alone, this probably won't be enough coverage for strong shadows, though. For sensitive eyes, Clinique's All About Eyes is a moisturising marvel. Having a gel texture, it's hydrating without being heavy. Free from fragrance and other irritants, it's gentle on intolerant skin. To deliver an instant boost of brightness, look no further than Origins' Ginzing Eye Cream. With a pink tint and subtle shimmer running through it, this cream creates a glow that blurs the look of dark circles. But, it will draw attention to fine lines. For mature skins, the Indeed Labs Eysilix Instant Eye Rescue packs a punch. Although the brand isn't fancy, it has science behind it. No frills, just results. Containing 40% active ingredients and 10 peptides, all for an affordable price, it rivals premium products. Creating an immediate, tightening effect that smoothes and brightens the eye area, you can feel the difference from first use.
To counteract the blue and purple tones of dark shadows, a salmon/peach corrector provides some colour-correction. I love Soap & Glory's Kick Ass Concealer Camouflage Kit for a budget option, which contains a corrector, concealer and powder to set them. The coverage is decent and the creamy textures blend well, but powdering is essential to prevent creasing. Benefit's Erase Paste is pricier, but it makes dark circles simply vanish, due to the peach undertones. Consistency-wise, it feels thicker and slightly tacky, but the result is never cakey. For seriously stubborn, dark circles, Bobbi Brown's Corrector is the perfect accompaniment to your concealer. Smooth and creamy, the product just melts into the skin until it's virtually undetectable, whilst making light work of neutralizing discoloration.
To completely camouflage under-eye circles, you need a high-coverage concealer that won't crease or start to fade through the day. One of the best, cheaper options is the Seventeen Phwoarr Pain Heavy-Duty Under-Eye Concealer, which performs exactly like the name suggests. Super concentrated, a little goes a long way with this concealer, but it definitely works better when applied with fingers to ensure it doesn't just sit on the skin. Upping the price-point, Benefit's Boi-ing Industrial Strength Concealer is another force to be reckoned with when it comes to concealers. This formula has more of a dry, solid consistency, so it takes a minute to warm the product and blend it out. But, once set, it stays in place all day, even on oiler skin-types.
Still want more radiance? Highlighting that v-shape under the eyes, one of a million makeup techniques made popular by the Kardashian clan, is so effective. A firm favourite of many, big-name makeup artists, Clarins' Instant Concealer is my number one choice for this trick. Despite being water-based and hydrating, it's in no way wishy-washy and blends seamlessly to give a glowing, second-skin finish. If you want to read more about it, check out my in-depth review. Of course, you can't ignore the ultimate classic when it comes to highlighting - YSL's Touche Eclat. It may flash back to the max in photographs, but it really will add a stroke of light wherever applied. There's no obvious, glittery result, just a natural-looking, soft sheen. A more affordable alternative is Rimmel's Match Perfection 2-in-1 Concealer & Highlighter, which provides a little more coverage than YSL's cult version, along with a dusting of finely-milled shimmer to add radiance.
Do you struggle with under-eye circles? What are your tips for improving the look of them?