From your age to the number of dirty martinis you drank last night to how many hours you slept—your eyes give everything away. Thankfully you can stop their tell-all tendencies. Simply take the proper precautions to outsmart your most all-knowing, all-showing feature!
Read on below for our roundup of the best quick fixes and long-term solutions for all your eye concerns.
No miracle home remedies here: The quick fix for dark under-eye circles is good old-fashioned concealer. Stick with one that matches your skin exactly. If you go more than one shade lighter than your complexion, you run the risk of committing the reverse raccoon. Not cute. Cream concealers, like the universally praised Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer ($70), offer the most coverage. Light-reflecting concealers with built-in brighteners, like Nars's Radiant Creamy Concealer ($29), are also worthy allies in the battle against dark circles. For the most precise application, use a flat concealer brush. Load one side of the brush with product and apply it only where you see excess pigmentation. Use the clean side of the brush to blend away the edges. For serious dark circles, add a color corrector into the mix. Orange shades like peach and apricot counteract blue hues. Try Giorgio Armani Master Corrector ($39) in Orange or Bobbi Brown Corrector ($25) in Peach.
Dark circles can be attributed, in large part, to genetics—the gift that keeps on giving. But a healthy lifestyle can make a world of difference. Start with the obvious: Get more sleep, always remove your makeup at night, stay away from cigarettes, and limit your intake of alcohol and caffeine. Most importantly, make sure you’re taking your vitamins and eat a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids to improve blood circulation to the skin. On a surface level, fight the excess pigmentation with an eye cream that contains skin-lightening ingredients like vitamin C. Try Algenist Complete Eye Renewal Balm ($65) or Cosmetics 27 Eyes 27 Bio Restructuring Cell Repair Eye Cream ($114).
If you find yourself faced with redness or irritation, try a DIY soother. Soak cotton balls in cold whole milk or cream, and rest them on your eyes for up to 15 minutes. The fat in whole milk alleviates dryness and irritation. After that, your best bet is to wear as minimal makeup as possible and reapply a hydrating eye cream, like Perricone MD’s Cold Plasma Eye ($110) or Caudalie’s Vinosource S.O.S. Morning Eye Rescue ($34).
If this is a new development, and seasonal allergies and afflictions aren’t to blame, look to recent changes in your routine. New cosmetics or skincare products could be causing the irritation. Ease up on the glycolic acid washes and overnight peels, and stick with mild cream cleansers and gentle moisturizers like Cetaphil ($12) or CeraVe ($7). Remember to use lukewarm water when cleansing, always pat dry rather than rub, and moisturize while the skin is still damp to lock in every last bit of moisture
Have you been focusing on tightening your glutes but forgetting to target your eyes? Pencil in a session with your aesthetician, because a good brow appointment can virtually erase the need for an eye-lift. Eyebrows can open up the entire eye area, making you look younger and more awake. Already sporting your best arches? Enhance them. Fill in your brows, concentrating the pigment at the arch where you want the most definition. Highlighting along the brow bone is, of course, essential, but for extra lift, apply your favorite highlighter on top of the brow, just above the highest point of your arch. This will draw the eye up—et voilà!
Ward off premature loss of firmness by avoiding harmful environmental factors such as smoking and exposure to UV radiation (sunglasses with UVA/UVB protection should help). Your daily moisturizer should include SPF 30 or higher, as should your morning eye cream (Supergoop! Advanced Anti-Aging Eye Cream Broad Spectrum Sunscreen, $45, will get you there with SPF 37). Yes, that’s right; eye care is a morning and night effort. At night, the focus should be on firming. Look for peptides, the powerful skin-firmers like those found in Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare’s Lift & Lighten Eye Cream ($60) and Chanel’s Ultra Correction Lift Total Eye Lift ($100) will work hard for you while you’re fast asleep.
Skin-plumping and line-filling cosmetics may not exactly equal Botox, but the results are much quicker and less expensive (plus they don’t require an ice pack). First, soften lines with a skin-smoother that touts hyaluronic acid as a top ingredient. The substance actually draws moisture in, making it a powerful plumping agent. Then, choose your primer carefully. Look for one that promises not only to fill in lines but also to blur imperfections. Try Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch ($38), and give it a minute or two to work its magic before applying the rest of your makeup. Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Under Eye Primer ($29) is another great option, as it also ensures your concealer won’t settle into fine lines.
The long-term game plan can be summed up in one word: retinol, aka the miracle anti-ager. Retinols can be irritating to the eye area, so choose a product that’s actually designed for the delicate skin around the eyes. Verso’s Super Eye Serum ($80) and Philosophy’s Miracle Worker Retinoid Eye Repair Cream ($66) both fit the bill with their milder forms of the vitamin A derivative.
As we’ve discussed, when you wake up with puffy eyes, head straight to the kitchen and make a cold compress by chilling a couple of spoons or slicing up a cold cucumber. These fixes may be clichéd, but they work. If you have time, take it one step further and steep a pair of green or black tea bags, pop them in the freezer for a few minutes, then enjoy a refreshing, antioxidant-packed eye mask for 10–15 minutes. The combination of the cold and the caffeine work to constrict blood vessels, further deflating the puff.
When you’re staring at a pair of puffy eyes in the mirror, what you’re really seeing is excess fluid retention. For some, it’s not enough to guzzle water all day, every day, though staying hydrated and reducing sodium intake helps. Your sleep position could also be to blame. Sleeping on your stomach or side can cause fluids to collect in the thin skin around your eyes. Instead, sleep on your back and add an extra pillow, which will encourage facial fluids to drain properly. Lastly, add a stainless-steel rollerball applicator to your skincare routine. We suggest Garnier Nutritioniste Skin Renew Anti-Puff Eye Roller ($10) or Lancôme Génifique Yeux Light-Pearl Eye-Illuminating Youth Activating Concentrate ($69). (Bonus points if you store it in the fridge.)
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