Ah, dark circles. The beauty ailment that seems to plague practically every single one of us. (If this isn't a problem for you, you're truly blessed.) Take it from someone who knows—I have genetic dark circles that never seem to go away and puffy eyes as well as under-eye bags for days—it's really tough to find products that work.
As beauty editors, we've tried most of them and much to our chagrin, only a few have made a difference. But when we find a product (or a product pairing) that works, we tend to hold on for dear life and shout it from the rooftops. So here I am, shouting our best and most effective tips and tricks from the proverbial rooftop.
From cold spoons to eye cream to dermarollers—and a lot of concealer in between—keep reading for the techniques and tricks we’ve picked up over the years to rid our eyes of darkness, puffiness, and bags.
"Frozen spoons! I keep a silver spoon in the fridge at all times and place it over my eyes on days when I wake up with puffy-eye syndrome (aka most days). It helps de-puff instantly, and also forces me awake—no easy feat. If my under-eyes are looking crêpey, I slather on Sisley's Eye Contour Mask ($145) before bed. You're supposed to wipe the excess off with a tissue, but I let it sink in overnight. When I wake up, my puffy under-eye bags are gone, for real.
"Or, instead of trying to cover your under-eye bags, why not accentuate them? I learned from Korean makeup artists Son Dae-Sik and Park Tae-Yun that Korean women actually try to create under-eye bags using makeup—they call these little pockets of fat under your eyes aegyo sal and think it makes their overall appearance cuter and smilier. On days when my eyes are puffier than I'd like, I've been tracing a darker shade lightly under my eye along the place where the eye bag starts, then a lighter shade directly under my lid. So it's like contouring, but for your undereye bags. Son and Park have a product created specifically for this technique."
"I purchased Stacked Skincare's Collagen Building Micro-roller ($30) on Amazon after getting a treatment at a dermatologist’s office and watching my might-as-well-be-tattooed dark circles and puffy under-eye bags disappear—and stay gone in the weeks that followed. I seriously doubted that I would get anything approaching similar results at home, but if nothing else, pressing tiny needles into my face seemed like a pretty badass thing to try, a funny story to tell either way. I’ve never been happier to be so wrong.
"Never start micro-needling without slathering on some kind of primer first: Not only does that medium make the treatment feel less harsh on your skin, but also, when you use a great treatment, you’re literally pushing those ingredients deep into your skin for maximum absorption—up to 90% more than you would just by using your fingers and leaving it there. I typically use a serum with additional collagen-boosting ingredients like hyaluronic acid. (Just be sure to avoid super reactive elements like retinol.)"
"Recently, I woke up with mega puffy eyes and needed a fast remedy. I opted for an ice cube in a plastic bag and iced my eyes for a good five minutes. Initially, my eyes looked even puffier, but by the time I was out the door, the puffiness had gone down substantially. It was a total miracle. Afterward, I decided to invest in products that are icy and cool, minus the melty mess that comes with an actual ice cube. Stacked Skincare's Ice Roller ($25) and an easy cooling eye mask I can throw in the freezer are complete godsends."
"One tip for covering under eye bags effectively is to choose a concealer that isn't too light or brightening. Highlighting concealers cause whatever texture is underneath to look more raised (translation: puffier bags). So even if you're trying to brighten your under eye area, select a concealer that's maybe only one shade lighter than your skin tone instead of two or three. This way, any puffy under-eye bags will look less pronounced!"
"I've had what feels like a lifelong battle with under-eye bag and dark circles. Some of it is genetic (thanks, Dad), but the other part is more than likely exasperated by my penchant for late nights and mixed drinks. That being said, I've tried so many different remedies and felt really self-conscious about my droopy, tired eyes for longer than I'd like to admit. I need a 360-degree plan to refresh, tighten, and neutralize the problem. And I finally found one that works. I use La Prairie's Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal Eye Cream ($240), a formula that's made especially to defend against environmental and lifestyle stressors (i.e., lack of sleep and a few cocktails) as well as fight early signs of aging and dehydration. I apply it morning and night with my ring finger because it has the lightest touch—I can't mess around with pulling and tugging on such delicate skin. I'll also use Elemis's Pro-Collagen Hydra-Gel Eye Mask ($76) while I make coffee in the morning or even while I work at my desk. They're jam-packed with hyaluronic acid and feel so good on tired eyes.
"Then, on days or nights when I'm applying makeup, I use Make Up For Ever's Ultra HD Concealer ($27) in two shades. A pink-y, peach tone to color correct (it neutralizes the darkness under the eye) and a lighter, more illuminating shade to conceal. It's essentially like the one-two punch of concealers. Afterward, I'm like, Dark circles? What dark circles?"
"A little eye massage and a cold compress go a long way. I use a tapping motion with my ring and middle finger starting at the inner corners and moving outward to stimulate drainage. Finish it off with a few minutes with a rose water-soaked cold compress and I look and feel noticeably less tired and puffy."
Have you tried any of our favorite remedies? Let us know your thoughts or leave your own tricks in the comments below!