Dark eye circles really aren’t cute on anyone (okay, except on pandas). Having black circles around your eyes can make you look older and tired – and are just downright depressing to be honest. You can do a quick-fix each morning by putting on concealer or by trying to get more sleep each night, but sometimes these circles just won’t go away.
If you need a little extra help to leave black eyes to cute bears, this list of the best eye creams for dark circles will be your new best friend.
- 1 What causes dark circles around my eyes?
- 2 Why do I need a need an eye cream to treat my dark circles?
- 3 How do I choose an eye cream?
- 4 Things to know before using an eye cream for dark eye circles…
- 5 Our Top Picks for the Best Natural Eye Cream for Dark Circles
- 6 And the winner is…
What causes dark circles around my eyes?
A common claim is that dark circles around your eyes are caused by stress or tiredness. While this is true to some extent, your genes can play a huge role here too. In simple terms, dark eye circles are caused by blood vessels being more visible in the thin skin around your eyes. A quick science lesson here – these blood vessels look a dark blue-y colour not because the blood inside is blue, but because our body only lets blue wavelengths pass through the tissue here; hence this area can appear dark and bruised-looking.
Following on from this, as we get older our skin loses some of its elasticity and as a result becomes thinner. This is why older people tend to have more visible dark circles around their eyes, as well as people who naturally have thinner skin here.
Another reason for having darker circles around your eyes is if you naturally produce more melanin in this area. More common with darker-skinned people, this condition is called periorbital hyperpigmentation and is one of the more common complaints dermatologists deal with. As it is difficult to treat more serious cases of this condition, it has led to the increased production of products which cover up this problem.
As well as biological reasons for being predisposed to having dark eye circles, there are also several factors which can make dark circles seem worse on those of us who aren’t. One of the most common reasons is the blood vessels below your eyes becoming damaged and leaking blood, which can cause puffy, dark circles. Although this sounds serious, it is a relatively harmless problem and anyone who regularly suffers from this can get treatment easily.
A related problem to this is bags below your eyes, typically caused by illness, allergies, or excessive salt consumption which can cause fluid build-up. This can place pressure on the blood vessels around your eyes, forcing them closer to the skin’s surface and making dark circles more visible.
Why do I need a need an eye cream to treat my dark circles?
There are numerous home-DIY treatments for dark eyes and puffy circles, but these often only provide temporary relief. For example, placing cold cucumber slices over your eyes can cause pretty instant improvements, but this is only due to the effect of the cold temperature temporarily constricting blood vessels and making them less visible. At the other end of the scale are dermatology treatments such as chemical peels or light treatments which work to lighten the area around your eyes, but these are often expensive and can have side effects. While it can be feasible to have one of these treatments every so often, most people feel like they need an ‘in between’ treatment which provides more permanent results than DIY methods, without the expense and hassle of a dermatology treatment. This is where eye creams and serums step into your life.
A common question is whether it’s worth investing in a (potentially) expensive eye cream, if you have a perfectly good moisturizer sat in a cupboard at home. The short answer is YES, YES IT IS.
The skin around your eyes is incredibly thin and a lot more sensitive to products. It is quite likely that your usual moisturizer (meant for penetrating deep into the dry skin on your knees and that annoying dry bit on your elbow) will really irritate the skin around your eyes, causing you a lot of pain and possibly more serious problems. By using a specially-formulated eye cream, you can guarantee that it will be milder and free of fragrances; generally just less irritating than a normal moisturizer.
How do I choose an eye cream?
With so many different lotions and potions readily available on the market, it can be overwhelming trying to choose one. It is worth reading a few different labels and noting whether they have some of the following ingredients, which will make it more likely to actually do what it claims to do:
- Hyaluronic acid (to hydrate)
- Ceramides (to retain moisture)
- Retinol (promotes cell regeneration and growth)
- Neuropeptides (increase the production of collagen and elastin)
- Vitamin C (also assists with collagen production)
- Vitamin E (nourishes and soothes skin)
- Vitamin K, kojic acid and arnica (reduces dark pigment and bruising)
- Chamomile, tea extracts and cucumber (reduce puffiness around the eyes)
This being said, there are continuously newer peptides and combinations of peptides (amongst many other things) being formulated, so don’t immediately discard a product if it doesn’t specify any of these! Each person is unique and a component which works for someone else might be ineffective on you; likewise, there may be an ingredient which has previously not been proven to be effective on the majority but might be exactly what you need. You might have to try several different creams or combination of other treatments before you find one that works best for you.
Things to know before using an eye cream for dark eye circles…
The bottom line is, eye creams aren’t a magical solution. Dr. Malek, a plastic surgeon from Arizona, explains that in order to be effective, eye creams and serums need to be applied in a smoothing manner on fine lines and wrinkles to firm the skin by stimulating collagen production. In other words, it doesn’t matter how well your cream works if you’re applying it in a way that irritates your skin.
Dr. Malek also points out that a properly-formulated eye cream will show its benefits only if it contains the proper active ingredients and is used consistently (sorry all you instant-gratificationers). These products may take around 4 to 6 weeks before showing noticeable improvements, so don’t expect to wake up the morning after your first application of a cream expecting to look 20 years younger! If you think about it, any product which gives you a ‘quick fix’ is also likely to fade just as quickly – think of it as using fake tan compared to getting a natural, genuine tan (only eye creams don’t turn your bedding orange…).
Different products can also be targeted at different problems, so it’s worth considering if you have a specific or more serious issue you’d like to work on, or if you just need a general pick-me-up. There’s no point purchasing a Jack-of-all-trades cream when you need it to be a master of one!
It’s also worth keeping in mind that eye creams can only assist you in treating dark circles and will work better on individuals who are making other lifestyle adjustments to help as well. This includes things such as stopping smoking (or at least, cutting back), getting enough iron, eating foods high in vitamin C, drinking enough water, avoiding excess alcohol and salt, and getting enough sleep!
This video is a great guide to all things eye-cream-related if you have any other questions about creams and how to use them properly.
With all that in mind, here are a selection of the best eye creams and serums to help treat dark circles, puffiness, and other eye-related issues.
Our Top Picks for the Best Natural Eye Cream for Dark Circles
Baebody Eye Gel
Baebody Eye gel is a unique combination of natural and organic ingredients specially chosen to target common eye-area problems. Using hyaluronic acid to hydrate and plump, Matrixyl 3000 to firm and plant stem cell technology to strengthen your skin, this cream provides an all-in-one solution to improving dark circles under your eyes, as well as also targeting other issues such as crow’s feet and sagging around your eye area.
Here’s the science behind it: hyaluronic acid penetrates the skin dermis to provide moisture, which supports your skin’s elasticity and structure, while Matrixyl 3000 is composed of two synergistic peptide amino acid fragments which work by triggering your body to start producing more amino acids and collagen proteins. Also present are an amino complex which helps firm and hydrate skin, and vitamin E which supports collagen production and elasticity to reduce the appearance of aging.
It is recommended to use twice a day – morning and night – to produce the best results.
Youth Express Eye Gel by InstaNatural
InstaNatural’s Youth Express Eye Gel is specifically designed to treat aging prevention and puffiness around the eyes on all skin types. The formula uses Matrixyl 3000 to reduce the appearance of fine lines and crow’s feet, while hyaluronic acid, plant stem cells and amino acids work to hydrate and strengthen your skin to prevent early signs of aging. There is also added cucumber extract to combat dark circles and puffiness.
This cream can feel really refreshing first thing in the morning, as it cools the skin around your eyes to reduce puffiness, leaving you feeling fresher and more awake. It absorbs really well which means you can put on makeup as usual without worrying about it clogging or looking patchy. (I find this really handy as I once made the mistake of using a new cream, whacking on my makeup instantly, and in a rush for work didn’t check the mirror before I left the house… BIG MISTAKE!)
You can use this cream both in the morning to leave you looking wide-eyed, and before bed to soothe your delicate skin as you sleep.
Eye Gel by TruSkin Naturals
This is one of the few creams out there which is presented in a more gender-neutral package. This might sound superficial to some of you, but I know so many men who are scared to buy products because they think they’re only for women or don’t want to lose their street-cred by buying a ‘pretty’ product. It’s a great effort from TruSkin Naturals to show that it’s okay for men to have problems with dark eye circles and puffy skin too!
The Eye Gel is a lightweight formula that glides on smoothly, making it easy for the gel to work its magic. This ‘magic’ includes vitamin E, botanically-derived amino acids, hyaluronic acid, Matrixyl 3000 and steam-distilled cucumber hydrosol; a combination aimed at targeting any eye problem you can think of.
TruSkin Naturals is Leaping Bunny certified, which means it is completely cruelty-free and no products are tested on animals. They also understand that everyone’s skin is unique, and offer a 90-day money-back guarantee if you feel their products isn’t quite working for you.
Age Defense Eye Cream by Body Merry
Packed with 50+ ingredients that have been specially selected for their stimulating effects, Body Merry’s Age Defense Cream works intensively to help increase blood flow and leave you looking refreshed and rested.
Including ingredients such as organic rosehip oil and vitamins B5, C and E, this cream can be added to any existing skincare routine both morning and night to help fight the appearance of dark circles, puffiness and crow’s feet around your eyes. It is suitable for most skin types, but it is recommended to only use a few times a week at first if you have sensitive skin, and increase your use from there.
You will need to wear sun cream during the day while you’re using this product though, as the effects of one of the ingredients can leave your skin a little more sensitive to UV rays.
Body Merry are also cruelty free and do not test their products on our furry friends – they are even Leaping Bunny certified.
Dermalogica Total Eye Care
This is arguably one of the best products for use on sensitive skin, as it is a vegan-friendly product with no parabens or artificial colors or fragrances. It goes without saying that Deralogica don’t test their product on animals, but the Total Eye Care cream is so natural that they probably could if they wanted to! (Please note, that was just a joke. I am completely against animal testing, as a vegetarian myself. I would probably be vegan too if it didn’t mean I’d have to stop eating cheese…)
The gentle formula is a great match for anyone who wears contact lenses and includes SPF 15 to protect sensitive skin from damaging UV rays. This is a handy combination cream as it’s easy to just expect a product to work magic without giving it a helping hand! Total Eye Care also includes optical light diffusers which can hugely reduce the appearance of dark circles and minimizes the need to wear any concealer or other makeup over the top. This cream might be more suitable for someone with more serious dark patches that other treatments aren’t able to treat.
At first glance, it can appear that the tube is extremely small considering the cost, but it does last a very, very long time – a tiny amount goes a really long way.
OLAY Regenerist Advanced Anti-Aging Roller
#DNAorOLAY? OLAY’s Regenerist Advanced Anti-Aging formula contains a skin-energizing complex, which contains ingredients that help energize skin cells and encourage younger-looking skin.
Carob fruit extract helps repair the skin’s surface, while amino-peptides stimulate collagen production to reduce wrinkles and firm up skin. Also giving a helping hand are niacinamide – to accelerate the renewal of surface cells (reducing wrinkles), hyaluronic acid and glycerol – hydrating agents to leave you with softer, plumper skin, and olive extract – to improve the penetration of anti-aging ingredients.
Going on with a sheer, light texture, it is recommended that you use this roller twice a day. The roller balls are a unique design which can really assist in cooling the skin below your eyes and reducing puffiness.
OLAY claim that you can look up to 10 years younger with just 4 weeks of regular use, so we can assume that the product works quickly. For best results, it is recommended that you use the eye roller in combination with OLAY’s toner, serum and moisturizer.
And the winner is…
The best eye cream for treating dark circles has to be Age Defense Eye Cream by Body Merry. In my opinion, this product seems to be one of very few on the market which effectively reduce the appearance of dark circles under your eyes, as well as helping to reduce puffy skin around the eye area. Packed with over 50 ingredients, this cream has a lightweight feel and a really lush mint, green tea and lime scent. It works really well as a daily moisturiser and is suitable for all skin types.
If you need a quick and easy solution to fit into your daily routine, this is a great choice; similarly, if you prefer a more intense daily ritual there are other Body Merry products which work effectively with this one (such as their Gycolic Acid Exfoliating Cleanser and Age Defense Super 6 Serum). Most importantly (for me, anyway) Body Merry products are made in the USA using high-quality, natural ingredients which are cruelty-free and never tested on animals – they are even ‘Leaping Bunny’ certified. Body Merry also offer a 90-day happiness guarantee so there’s no risk of losing out if you don’t feel the product is working.