The expert guide to covering dark circles

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Stylist Beauty Team
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One of the most common beauty bugbears, our step-by-step guide should diminish unwanted under-eye shadows.

Gone are the days when we had to cake Rimmel’s Hide The Blemish around our eyes to hide dark circles (the clue was in the name, people – it’s for blemishes only!). We’ve become savvier – and it’s just as well, given how hard dark circles are to avoid.

So why do we get them? It’s no secret that lack of sleep and heavy nights play a part. If your skin loses hydration, blood vessels will appear more prominent around the eye area, leading to a shadowy effect.

Hyper-pigmentation under the eyes is especially common in darker skin tones, especially as they age, which can lead to what’s known as periorbital melanosis (excessive under-eye pigmentation). 

But whether or not you get dark circles can be influenced by good old genetics – which sadly means you can’t do much to prevent them, no matter how puritanical your lifestyle or how many hours of sleep you get.

“Discolouration is a difficult problem. We don’t know why individuals have a tendency towards it,” notes cosmetic surgeon Alex Karidis. “Dark circles are notoriously difficult to correct on their own; there really isn’t any gold standard treatment for that.” 

He continues: “There are various collagen induction lasers and energy devices to thicken the skin and alleviate some of the discolouration, but they’re not always successful. For some people, a concealer is the best possible thing you can use.”

With that in mind, here are some fail-safe products to help you battle the dreaded panda effect.

1) Hydrate

First, prep the eye area to avoid the skin drying out and risk concealer settling into fine lines and creases. Mario Badescu Hyaluronic Eye Cream, £18, is fairly light and quickly absorbed. 

Those concerned with wrinkles and fine lines might want to invest in something with firming actives, such as Dr Dennis Gross’s Ferulic and Retinol Eye Cream, £68. 

2) Correct and conceal

MUA’s Pro Base Prime & Conceal Correcting Cream, £2, cleverly works to cancel out the blue/purple tones of dark circles to boost the effects of your concealer. Blend a small amount around the eye area with a brush or sponge – don’t worry if some of it is slightly visible, you’ll cover it up in a minute.

When it comes to concealer, you want to look for a blendable, lightweight formula with light-reflecting pigments to brighten the area. By Terry’s Touche Veloutee, £38.50, ticks all the boxes, and comes in a handy click pen applicator to touch up throughout the day. 

Another option is NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, £24, which has a wide shade range and blends like a dream. And if you’re prone to oily skin, Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer, £4.19, has received rave reviews from the likes of Tanya Burr and beyond. 

Blend with fingers or a brush as before, making sure to take the product right into the inner corner of the eye where shadows are most prominent.

3) Set with powder

Once your corrector and concealer are in place, a dusting of powder is vital to set everything. Ideally, choose one specifically designed for the purpose. 

Try BECCA’s Under Eye Brightening Setting Powder, £20, with brightening particles, or e.l.f. High Def Undereye Setting Powder Sheer, £4.50. Simply dust on a little with a fan brush and you’re good to go.

(Side note: dusting a little of these powders over the lid will also ensure any eyeshadow or eyeliner you apply on top will stay in place.)

Skin still looking a bit sleepy? Here’s how to achieve a radiant glow without a trip to a spa

Image: Getty