The question the Vogue beauty team gets asked most often? Nine times out of 10, it’s how to deal with the under eye area. Whether dark circles, puffiness or sagging, we are all on a quest for the brightest eyes we can get. If you’re in need of a little assistance, refer to the experts assembled here; they share their ultimate tips to try now, from simple DIY methods to in-clinic tweakments.
1. Try a nude pencil
Make-up artist Lynsey Alexander has transformed many a tired eye in her time, having worked with models backstage at fashion shows and on shoots for years. She always begins with good eye drops. “I then use a beige pencil secretly inside the eyes – it needs to be a skin-toned colour, white is too stark,” she says. “My favourite is from Paris Berlin as it’s quite dry and not overly creamy, something you don’t want as it moves too easily.”
2. Tear trough filler
“Dark circles are a common complaint in my office,” says aesthetic doctor, Dr Maryam Zamani. “One of the most common reasons for dark circles is loss of volume in the periorbital area. As we age, the eyelid-cheek junction becomes elongated, and where this junction was once confluent in youth, it becomes demarcated, giving the appearance of dark lower eyelids or tear troughs.” It’s a common problem that can begin from as early as your twenties, and is made worse as collagen stores deplete. Dr Zamani often treats it with “meticulously placed micro-droplets of hyaluronic acid” to restore the lost volume and hydrate. You will see brighter, more awake eyes immediately.
3. Use targeted skincare
The new wave of eye creams are more effective than ever before, and come loaded with efficacious active ingredients to illuminate the area and soften fine lines, while maintaining the integrity of the skin barrier. “Tretinoin has the best evidence behind it – with continued use (for about a year), you see increased cell turnover; cue brightening of the skin and a reduction in wrinkles,” explains dermatologist Dr Emma Craythorne. “Azelaic acid is also brilliant at brightening, if used in strength at 5 per cent.”
If your issue is puffiness, take care to ensure you opt for a detoxifying eye cream instead of a hydrating formula – according to Dr Zamani, hydrating eye creams (particularly those with hyaluronic acid) may exacerbate it.
4. Look at your diet
Yes, it’s boring, but what you eat and drink does make a big difference to the eye area. Those who have ever woken up the morning after the night before with eyes that feel like lead will know that. “Keeping salt and alcohol low in your diet is key,” says Dr Zamani. “And sleeping with a pillow and eye mask can also help.”
5. Treat the underlying capillaries
Turns out there are a lot of veins and capillaries underneath delicate, thin skin in the eye area, which can cause the dark hue we recognise as dark circles. “We can use sophisticated lasers to target the vascular plexus in the upper and lower eyelid,” says aesthetic surgeon, Dr Costas Papageorgiou, who works from Harrods Wellness Clinic in London. “This plexus tends to become more prominent with age as a result of accumulative inflammation and loss of elasticity, to name two.” By addressing (and softening) this area, you can reinstate skin clarity and light reflection – plus it works particularly well when combined with under eye filler.
6. Colour correct
To address cool tones and general darkness in the area, try colour correcting. “For blue undertones, opt for a peach-based concealer,” advises Alexander, who also adds a touch of YSL’s cult Touche Eclat to reflect light in the area. “Then, set the under eyes with a brightening powder, such as Laura Mercier’s Secret Brightening Powder, for added radiance.”
7. Curl your eyelashes
Simple but effective, curling your eyelashes has an immediate refreshing effect. “Creating a bright, lifted eye is about creating space between the brow and lash line, and drawing attention outwards and upwards,” explains Anna Payne, UK Chanel make-up artist. For a little extra oomph, she suggests applying a dot of highlighting shadow on the centre of the eyelid and inner corner of the eye to create an illuminating spotlight effect.
8. Gua sha your forehead
When we analyse drooping or lacklustre eyes, we don’t often consider that part of the problem might be coming from the forehead. “One of the biggest reasons that the eye area looks tired is that on top of the tiny repetitive blinking movements our eyes have to do each day, we also express an array of emotions through them, too,” says Ada Ooi, TCM practitioner and founder of 001 Skincare. “A lot of our eye movements, such as frowning or surprise, come from muscles in the forehead.” She recommends using a gua sha tool to alleviate the tension built in the frontalis muscles (the vertical muscles that lift the brows). Try cross-friction massage (horizontally, in this case) to break them from their usual position, and release fascia stress.
9. Thread your brows
“Freshly threaded brows have transformational powers,” sys Vanita Parti MBE, founder of Blink Brow Bar. “By de-fluffing, removing excess stragglers and creating two neat, symmetrical brows, you open up the eyes immediately.” Lifting the arch also lifts and sculpts the entire face, so post-thread, seek to define them with a brow pencil or pomade.
10. Cold teaspoons are your best friend
To stimulate the area and help de-puff, facialist Nichola Joss recommends gently massaging an eye cream or gel around the outer orbital bone. “You can also use cold teaspoons to gently stimulate, de-puff, improve lymph drainage and brighten the area,” she says. For those more serious about texture and pigmentation, she also recommends the Lyma Laser, which can be used at home.