Having dark circles is probably one of the most frustrating issues I face on a daily basis. I was born with genetic dark circles so no matter how much rest I get I still have pesty hollowness accompanied by perpetual darkness under the eyes. Over the years I’ve accumulated makeup techniques to mask the appearance of them to look more brightened and awake; however, the underlying problems persist due to genetic factors.
In this blogpost I would like to show you guys how I conceal my dark circles using cosmetics and the holy grail products that I swear by. Later in the post I will include more in depth information provided by Dr. Ho Taghva from Lea Surgery in Newport Beach regarding dark circles and what are some ways we can look into to prevent and treat them both surgical and non-surgically.
Concealers are my best friend when it comes to hiding dark circles. Though I have perpetual circles under the eyes they are rather neutral, without any particular coloring to them. Most days they just look…well, dark. Some people have blue circles due to exposed capillaries while others have darker shades of brown/ black due to hyperpigmentation. For me I think I fall into the latter category with a combination of hyper pigmentation and genetic hollowness, creating more shadows that contribute to the darkness. My holy grail product when it comes to hiding dark circles and any blemishes in general is hands down Tarte Shape Tape. I use the shade light neutral which is a perfect fit for my skin tone. I then will set the under eye area with Ben Nye’s banana powder, the two make a dream team to perfectly conceal my dark circles.
Tarte Shape Tape is definitely full coverage and will hide just about anything ranging from discoloration to that overnight-grown cystic zit that you’re dreading. I’ve even used this to conceal scabs from tattoo removal and the final finish was more than satisfactory. Given it’s high coverage some people may find this product too cakey. But remember, a little goes a long way, and because of this one bottle of it will last a long time.
Although Shape Tape works wonderfully well for my annoying dark circles and other blemishes it definitely isn’t the most affordable option out there. But it’s your lucky day friends, I have four drugstore alternatives that fits the bill, albeit not exact dupes, but they are up there in performance along side the Shape Tape.
The first runner up is Wet n Wild Photo Focus Concealer, I use the shade Light Ivory. The shade range is rather limited and they all run a bit dark that’s why I use the lightest shade in the range rather than Light/ Medium. But aside from those shortcomings it is honestly a great concealer. It is less thick in consistency compared to Tarte Shape Tape, which makes this product a lot more wearable for some and the finish of it is satin matte. There is no noticeable scent, and best of all, it is so affordable at $3.99 a pop. Can’t beat that now, not for that price.
Next item is the HD Concealer Wand from NYX. This one also has great coverage, though a tad bit drier than the Wet n Wild one mentioned above. This product has a much better shade range, even including color correcting ones such as purple and green. If you have redness under the eyes, green would do well to counter that. And purple brightens darkness in general. One thing to note about the NYX Concealer Wand is that it could crease a bit if your under eye area isn’t properly moisturized, so make sure to double up on the moisturization while using this product.
The colorwheel is a great tool for deciding which shade of makeup to go in to conceal based on what the undertone of your circles are:
For instance, if I have really purple dark circles today I would go in with a yellower shade of concealer to conceal them.
Next item comes from Makeup Revolution and this one has been all the hype lately due to its resemblance to Tarte Shape Tape. However, from personal experience I can tell you the actual products are not the same. Makeup Revolution Conceal and Define is a bit more liquidy and the coverage is not as opaque as Tarte Shape Tape, but for almost a fourth of the price, it is definitely a great alternative. It also gives more of a satin finish with a medium high coverage. I like this one when my skin is doing well and it does not crease under the eyes.
Last but not least on the list would be the Catrice Liquid Camouflage Concealer. This one performs similarly to that of NYX’s HD Concealer Wand but I have some gripes with it. It has a strong floral fragrance, not the kind that’s pleasant either, and the shade range is…sad. There are three shades only on the Ulta website and same on Amazon. All three shades are extremely light, even for a pale person like me. I use the shade 010 and it’s a bit too light for me. Despite these issues it still is a good concealer in that it gives nice converage and has good lasting power. If you are pale, this could be a good one for you.
Now onto the fun science stuff of today’s topic!
I partnered up with Dr. Goretti Ho Taghva from LEA Surgery, located in Newport Beach, to provide you guys with this segment. She is the doctor who performed my double eyelid surgery and I just adore her. Thank you Dr. Ho for taking the time out to bless us with your knowledge.
Basically there are five main categories of dark circles, and here are each of the five types, including prevention and surgical/ non-surgical methods to treat them:
1) Thin Skin: eyelid skin is the thinnest in the entire body, so it’s easy to see through the underlying capillaries. This can cast a dark shadow on the lower eyelid skin (especially when it’s contrasted to thicker skin around the lower eyelid area e.g. cheeks where it’s usually of a lighter hue because it’s thicker). That’s why sleep deprivation and dehydration may worsen the dark circles because they slow down circulation. There are cosmetic products that contain Vitamin K for this reason to increase circulation, minimize homeostasis etc. The jury is still out on its efficacy but I think lifestyle and diet changes e.g. eating Vitamin K leafy vegetables, staying hydrated and exercising may help.
2) Hyperpigmentation: sometimes dark circles can be caused by hyperpigmentation in the lower eyelid area (so when you press on the skin or move the skin slightly it doesn’t blanche/ lighten) if this was the case then it may be lightened with certain topical ingredients such as hydroquinone (LBT: I’ve heard this can cause cancer though? so maybe use with caution. I could also have heard wrong…lol), licorice and kojic acid. To treat deeper discoloration, certain lasers may help.
3) Skin Trauma: (genetics, chronic wear and tear with make up application/ rubbing eyelids because of allergies etc). For this type of dark circles, minimizing trauma to the area and skin care regimen is important. Retinoid creams can be used underneath the eyes to build collagen and plump your skin. Use a rich eye cream that will keep the eyelid area moisturized to prevent further irritation and strengthen the skin.
Also, allergies can cause the blood vessels underneath the eyes to dilate, worsening dark circles, so anti-allergic medications (antihistamines) like Claritin, will help.
4) Hollowness under the eyes: if this is the reason why the dark circles look worse then one should consider injection of a hyaluronic-acid filler into the tear trough area to plump it up. I personally prefer Juvaderm-Volbella or Restylane-Refyne in this delicate area because there’s less chance of bumpiness and Tyndall effect. For longer lasting results, fat transfer is also an option.My philosophy is that the lower eyelid and the cheeks are inseparable, so most of the time the filler is injected to the tear trough/ cheek area to plump up the entire lid cheek junction for more optimal outcome.
5) Last but not least, eyebags/ puffiness:
Lack of sleep, salt/ spicy food intake, and alcohol etc can lead to water retention and exacerbate swelling. Some at home remedies to treat this type of under eye issue include cold compress (LBT: I’ve heard cooled green tea bags work well for this?) and sleeping with mild head elevation. If the puffiness is present all the time in spite of this then one should consult a plastic surgeon (Dr. HO: me lol!) for a procedure called a lower blepharoplasty to remove/ reposition the lower eyelid fat and maybe remove extra skin to tighten the lower lid area.
Thanks Dr. Ho for the in depth explanation!
Dark circles and under eye problems can really dampen one’s appearance and mood, but with the proper lifestyle changes, makeup, and cosmetic procedures, we can kick them to the curb and look fabulous! Hope this blogpost was informative and helpful.
Until next time.