I’ve been around long enough to know that under-eye circles are serious business. It seems like everyone is looking for a quick fix, but the truth is there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for brightening up the under-eyes—and that’s because there isn’t just one reason why dark circles show up in the first place. In this post, I’ll explain six steps you can take to erase your dark circles and puffiness (yes, I went there), based on my many years of experience as an esthetician.
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Step 1: Use a cooling eye cream
To begin, you’re going to want to use a cream with a cooling effect. These types of creams are best for puffiness because they give the skin a feeling of tightening and help reduce swelling around the eyes.
As with all skincare products, be sure that your eye cream is light enough for your skin type. If you have very dry skin or have been using any kind of exfoliating products on your face lately (like retinol), then it may be best not to use any eye cream at all until things calm down in your routine.
Step 2: Identify the cause of your under-eye issue
Now that you have identified what you are dealing with, it’s time to make a plan. Is the dark circles under your eyes genetic? Do they come from stress or lack of sleep? Were they caused by allergies, pregnancy, or something else entirely? Knowing the cause of your dark circles will help you determine which product works best for you and how long it may take before you see results.
If you are pregnant, be sure to consult with your doctor before using any of these products. A lotion designed for puffiness might not be safe for an unborn child’s developing eyes (or skin), so talk to someone who knows their stuff!
Step 3: Use concealer or light-reflecting makeup
Next, apply concealer or light-reflecting makeup to the under eye area. Choose a shade of concealer that matches your skin tone, but is one shade lighter than it. Some people prefer to use a darker shade of concealer to brighten up their eyes and give them more depth, while others prefer the opposite effect and use lighter shades.
The key is finding the right balance between concealing dark circles and adding brightness to your eyes. If you’re not sure what kind of effect you want to achieve with this step, test out different shades until you find one that works for you!
Step 4: Use a tinted primer
Now that you’ve exfoliated and moisturized, it’s time to use a tinted primer. A good one not only acts as a barrier between your skin and makeup—helping your foundation stay in place longer—but also fills in fine lines, which can make you look younger!
You can find primers at any drugstore or department store, but make sure it’s the right kind for your skin type. If you’re oily, try one with mattifying properties; if you’re dry, look for one with hydrating properties. The best place to start is by asking an associate at Sephora what they recommend based on how rapidly oil builds up on your face throughout the day (you’ll probably know this already).
Step 5: Wear sun protection
The last step in the brightening process is to wear sun protection. There are two times of day that you can apply sunscreen: before going outside and after swimming or sweating.
Before applying sunscreen, it is recommended that you apply a moisturizer on your face, neck and chest. You should also look for a sunscreen that is PABA-free because many people are allergic to this ingredient in products.
When applying sunscreen to dry skin, wait 20 minutes before going outside so that it has time to absorb into the skin properly; when applying it wet (after swimming or sweating), make sure not to rub any excess onto other areas of your body so as not to dilute its effectiveness on target areas such as under eye circles or melasma patches.