Dark circles, explained

From why you have them to how to conceal and treat them

Beauty Crew Editor / September 08 2017

Who hasn’t blamed a severe case of dark under-eye circles on a late night or a big weekend? 

The truth is that while a lack of sleep can exacerbate those dark circles, there are a few other reasons you could be experiencing them. 

Here, we’ll look at what are the main causes of dark circles, how to treat (and prevent) them, and our handy tips on how to expertly hide them. 

The main causes of dark circles 

Ok, let’s get the main scapegoat out the way: sleep. A lack of sleep or a restless night can be blamed for minor dark circles or for making existing dark circles seem more prominent. That’s because when you’re tired, the blood vessels under your eyes can be affected, making the shadows appear darker. 

Other bigger contributing factors to your dark circles include genetics, ‘thin’ skin, which causes the blue veins under your eyes to be more prominent, and ageing. As we get older, the already-delicate skin around our eyes loses collagen and firmness, so the blood vessels look more visible. 

How to treat dark circles

When it comes to sleep-induced dark circles, it should come as no surprise that we recommend catching the recommend eight hours of restful snooze. 

As for the other causes, you’ll want to look to caring for the skin around your eyes to ensure it’s as healthy, hydrated and happy as possible. And if you can boost that collagen to help the skin maintain thickness, you’ll be nailing your eye care. 

Nourishing eye creams and serums are always a good start for diminishing dark circles, but take things a step further by using ingredients proven to fight lines and wrinkles while brightening the skin under your eyes. 

Elizabeth Arden Advanced Ceramide Capsules Daily Restoring Eye Serum not only works to replenish essential, naturally-occurring lipids (read: gives your under-eyes a healthy dose of hydration) and minimises the appearance of lines, wrinkles and crow’s feet, but it also helps support the skin’s own natural collagen production. And when you have optimal collagen, you’re keeping that skin thick enough to hide those blood vessels that can give the appearance of dark circles. This nourishing serum also contains key ingredients that can help improve skin brightness and luminosity, leaving your under-eye area looking more radiant.

Elizabeth Arden Advanced Ceramide Capsules Daily Restoring Eye Serum

Products aside, there are also application techniques that you can use to help improve circulation and drainage around your eyes, which can help reduce the appearance of any darkness.

Next time you’re applying your eye cream or serum, try this: with your eye care treatment on your ring finger, start by applying it at the outer corner, softly patting it in while moving under your eye to the inner corner, then pat upward to the brow bone, and back to the outer corner. Repeat this motion a few times, applying a gentle pressure as you go. 

Makeup essentials for hiding dark circles

While a dedicated eye care routine will help you treat and prevent dark circles, it always helps to know some clever makeup tricks for concealing any unwanted shadows. 

After you apply your eye cream, use a colour correcting concealer to counteract the darkness and improve brightness. If your under-eye circles have a blue or purple tint, use a yellow concealer to knock out the discolouration, but if the shadows look a bit more greeny/blue, try a peach concealer. If you’re not sure which colour to use, hedge your bets and get a colour correcting concealer palette like the Jane Iredale Corrective Colours one. 

Once you’ve reduced the darkness of your circles, you can either go in with your regular concealer, or you can further brighten the area by using an illuminating concealer, like Wander Beauty Dualist Matte and Illuminating Concealer. 

To finish off, set your concealers with a lightweight powder like e.l.f. High Definition Undereye Setting Powder. This will help prevent rub-off or creasing.

Looking for some more info on hiding dark circles? Read our essential guide to concealing  dark circles.

Do you suffer from dark circles? What are your no-fail tricks for hiding then? Please share with us in the comments section below.

Image credit: Getty

Carli was BEAUTYcrew’s Editor from launch in 2016 until May 2020. You can find her words right here on BEAUTYcrew, and previously on beautyheaven.