Today we are going to talk about dark circles. Every time I do a Q&A on Instagram, I will get asked: “what’s the best eye cream to get rid of dark circles?!?” And I hate being the bearer of bad news but I also want to be honest: the sad truth is that topically (topically means products that you apply to your skin like a cream, etc.) there is no way to actually get RID of dark circles. You can, however, do a few things to help reduce the appearance of dark circles.
Eye Cream for Dark Circles
You can cover them up with concealer (duh), you can use an eye cream with light diffusing or reflective particles which will lessen their appearance, and you can strengthen the skin by using an eye cream that contains niacinamide. If the skin is stronger, dark circles underneath the skin will be less visible. The only way (at least in my knowledge) to really “get rid of them” is by having a dermatologist inject a small amount of filler to the under eye area. And even that will only last 12-18 months. I have no personal experience with this (yet, lol) so I can’t speak to it. So we are going to talk about a few good products today that I think do a good job with those other things.
Sidebar: Puffiness is a much easier situation to fix in my opinion. I recommend a few things. If the situation is really dire (like you are running on no sleep and/or drank the night before) I always suggest putting on a gel eye mask (these and these are my favorite – for bonus points, keep them in the fridge!) and then gently ice rolling the area. If it’s just a little puffiness I really love this eye cream. It gives a more lifted look INSTANTLY. (you can also do this after you do a gel mask + ice rolling). But truly, ice rolling is the solution. I have a whole post about that right this way!
above left: No makeup. Above right: with the Olay Ultimate Eye Cream.
Alright. So let’s talk about BRIGHTENING eye creams.
I have been testing a BUNCH. What I look for in a brightening eye cream is as follows:
- Has a slight tint and contains light reflecting particles.
- Contains niacinamide (also known as B3) which can help to strengthen delicate skin.
- Won’t pill under concealer (so many do, and for me I still need a little concealer, no matter how wonderful the eye cream is!)
Note – the creams I tested do other things too but I really wanted to hone in specifically on dark circles.
My two (interchangeable!) holy grails
Olay’s Ultimate Eye Cream and First Aid Beauty’s Niacinamide Eye Cream are basically interchangeable. Seriously. I’m sure there are superficial differences between the two products but I can’t tell the difference. I had been testing the Olay one first, and then I bought the First Aid Beauty one because I love niacinamide as an ingredient. But they are so similar. Both contain brightening particles, both have a beige coloring that will self adjust to any skin tone, both contain niacinamide, and both work nicely under concealer.
WTF is niacinamide!? Niacinamide is Vitamin B3. If you see B3 listed as an ingredient, it’s the same thing as niacinamide – just depends how the brand is marketing the product. We talked about niacinamide as an ingredient a little bit in this post, but it’s right up there with retinol and hyaluronic acid as a fav ingredient as it’s so great at strengthening the skin (making it excellent in eye creams since at least for me, the skin under my eyes is much more delicate). It does a slew of other good things too and has even been called the fountain of youth!
Two other favs
Supergoop Bright-Eyed Eye Cream is very similar to the eye creams above except it doesn’t contain niacinamide, but it does contain SPF 40. I really like this one, especially if I am going to be outside which is most days. So for summer I’ve been using this one the most. My eyes are very sensitive and I like that it brightens and perks them up while also protecting the skin around my eyes.
BeautyPie Brightening Eye Fix is unique as it doesn’t have light reflecting particles in it (or niacinamide), but it has some kind of sorcery in it as it definitely helps wake your eyes up immediately. What I like most about it is how much it brightens the undereye area (without any tint or sparkle) and how quickly it absorbs into your skin and how well it primes the undereye area for concealer. If I am wearing a lot of makeup I usually use this eye cream as it pairs so well with concealer.
My go-to under eye concealer
My go-to under eye concealer is the KOSAS one. I was very into the Ilia one for a while (and still like it) but find that this one has a bit better coverage. And I wrote more about this concealer in this post (which beware, has several more amazing clean beauty favs) but it is hands down, my favorite holy grail concealer. I wear shade 3.
Lastly: for night, I do find that dark circles are less visible the next day when I use this eye serum from Kiehl’s. You know how I swear by the original product for my forehead lines… this does that for your eyes. I mostly find that it’s great for targeting crows feet and fine lines but a side effect has been that when I wake up, the next day my under eye area is definitely brighter than usual.
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