Makeup tips to deal with Dark Circles

Readers Shweta and Ami requested for some help with their dark circles. I think this is amongst the biggest skincare problems that Indian women face. Difficult to eradicate, they give you a tired, exhausted look.

Dark circles or Eye circles are dark blemishes around the eyes. Also known as "eye bags" and "raccoon attack". In most cases the dark circles under the eyes are blood vessels that can be seen through the skin. The skin around the eyelids is the thinnest skin in the body (around 0.5 mm thick compared with 2 mm in other areas).


  • Heredity: Dark circles under the eyes are usually an inherited trait. So if your mom has them, there is high probability you will too get them. When blood passes through the large veins close to the surface of the skin it can produce a bluish tint. The more transparent the skin—also an inherited trait—the darker the circles appear. In people with a deep-set bone structure, shadowing contributes to the dark color under the eyes.
  • Irresponsible treatment of under eye skin: Irresponsible treatment of skin can contribute to darker circles due to rubbing or scratching the skin around them. I have seen many girls rubbing their eyes vigorously trying to rid themselves of sleep. Eyes are extremely delicate – use only the gentlest pressure. Also most women in India fear using skin care products like under eye creams, sun screens, anti-aging products at the right age,  not realizing the harm they are inflicting on themselves by neglect. Taking care of yourself is a sign of self-respect, not vanity.
  •  Medications: Any medications that cause blood vessels to dilate can cause circles under the eyes to darken. Because the skin under the eyes is very delicate, any increased blood flow shows through the skin.
  •  Anemia: Along with heredity I feel anemia can easily account for about 70 to 80 % of all under eye dark circle in India. Our diets in India are highly deficient in Iron – thanks to the fact that we will cook our food for hours till it loses all nutrients, and the pre-dominance of a vegetarian diet, which is naturally low in Iron. Further a lot of girls in India prefer to be an crash diet for most of the time and if they do eat it is mainly junk food. The lack of nutrients in the diet, or the lack of a balanced diet, can contribute to the discoloration of the area under the eyes. It is believed that lack of mineral iron can cause dark circles as well. Iron deficiency is the most common type of anemia and this condition is a sign that not enough oxygen is getting to the body tissues.The skin can also become more pale during pregnancy and menstruation (due to lack of iron), which again allow the underlying veins under the eyes to become more visible.
  • Fatigue: Lack of sleep or excessive tiredness can cause paleness of the skin, which again allows the blood underneath the skin to become more visible and appear more blue or darker
  • Medical conditions: Another cause may be bad blood circulation. Cardio exercise increases blood circulation and may help the dark circles to disappear.Dark eye circles could be a sign of excessive loss of water from the body (dehydration).


Let me tell you the bad news first: to date, there has been no end-all to curing dark circles, especially if they heredity, laser surgery is being looked at as a solution through.

However the good news is that there are plenty of tricks you can use to make them appear lighter

"Making your eyes look their best takes two things: the right cream to keep the skin around the eyes smooth and the right makeup to enhance your eye color and shape," says international makeup artist Bobbi Brown.
Now that you know this let’s get started on what you can do.

1. Keep the eye area moisturized. The best thing you can do to improve the way your eyes look is to moisturize the skin around them. Look for creams containing powerful moisturizers such as glycerin, sodium hyaluronate and vitamin E.

Aroma Magic’s Almond Under Eye cream has got some good reviews.I have just begun using this since the last two days after reading Rati's excellent review. Avoid Biotique's undereye cream, I used this for a few months, and found that this is just a basic thick moisturizer and it also stings the eyes (if it enters accidentally)

2. Prevent wrinkles. Dark circles are likely to become more noticeable and permanent with age. This is because as people get older, skin loses collagen and it gets thinner, and more translucent. Studies show that Retin-A can increase collagen thickness, and prevent underlying blood vessels from showing.

The Ponds Age Miracle Line is formulated with Retin-A and they also have a dual eye cream.

3. Help fade dark circles. Try to get enough sleep each night (between eight and nine hours), which can help minimize shadows and puffiness. Also, look for gentle eye creams that contain vitamin K and the natural skin-lighteners kojic acid and licorice extract. Some experts believe dark circles are caused by veins and capillaries showing through the thin undereye skin--why vitamin K, which seems to constrict capillaries, seems to help.

Vichy is the only company in India that sells an undereye cream with Vitamin K. Read more about it here.

4. Prevent them from becoming worse: By protect your eyes from the sun's rays. The skin around the eye area is thinner and less capable of manufacturing the firming tissue collagen than skin in other places. Use eye creams with SPF 15 or higher every day to protect from the sun's collagen-depleting rays. And also wear sunglasses Get a pair with polarized lenses, these are treated with a protective film that filters out glare from reflective surfaces. They'll curb your squinting and protect skin from UV light.

5. A concealer or eye cream that has reflective pigments brightens the darkest areas under the eyes, and can be used to lighten circles. However please don’t expect miracles. Concealer can only hide slight discoloration. Camouflaging very dark under eye circles is something that only professional makeup artists can do with very heavy camouflage creams and also not make it look caked at the same time. I don’t use concealers as of now. But I have heard good things about the Colorbar concealer. Other concealers with good reviews include Maybelline Cover Stick Corrector Concealer, Revlon Colorstay Concealer and MAC as well

All under eye circles have either a brownish undertone, or a purple/blue undertone. If you fall in the brown category- your weapon of choice should include a peachish toned concealer. If you fall into the blue/purple category, you should choose a yellow based concealer to counteract the problem. 

Also in case of dark circles, always put your concealer on AFTER your foundation, then set it with some translucent powder. This layering technique gives you ultimate staying power.

6. Don’t use makeup to add to the dark circles. I don’t know what is worse, having dark circles or using black kajal on your lower lashes when you have dark circles. I have lost count of the number of girls I have seen with really bad dark circles who still go ahead and smudge black kajal on their lower lashes. Sometimes, only on their lower lashes!

First of all you are just attracting attention to your dark circles, secondly during the day the kajal bleeds all over making you look worse than you did in the morning. Please remember this one cardinal rule: Adding anything dark under the eye can call attention to dark circles. Even mascara on the lower lashes.

7. But you should apply eyeliner to the upper lash line as it opens the eye and detracts attention from dark circles. Use smudge proof eyeliner like Colorbar or Lakme. On the lower lashes use a nude colored liner – Chambor makes a great eyeliner in champagne color. This will make your eyes look bigger. Or else if you can’t do without lining your lower lashes (*sigh*), then use a color that is a few shades lighter than the eyeliner used on top and very lightly smudge it on the lower lash line.

8. Use Shimmer. Place a tiny dot of shimmer shadow in gold, white, silver, cream, or pastel at the inner corner of the eyes, then spread it just halfway across your top and bottom lids to make eyes appear wider and brighter.

Eyetex Dazzler makes an very nice shimmer eyeshadow palette (ES 2) that has 4 shimmer eyeshadows - White Sapphire (silver shimmer), Yellow Jade (golden shimmer), Amethyst (Purple shimmer) and Red Spinel (deep red shimmer) that’s costs Rs. 250/-

9. Mascara is your best friend: but only on the top lashes. Skip the lower lashes. Completely. Use a curler if possible.

10. Eyeshadow colors: Avoid using dark eyeshadow colors on upper eyelid. For instance, a smokey eye using charcoal colors may not work for you. Instead, try using more cool pinks, plums, nutmeg, mocha brown colors.

11. Home Remedies: Of course, there are a ton of home made remedies like placing potato slices to tea bags, daily application almond oil / paste (has a slight bleaching effect) to dabbing rose water.  Do these work? I am sure they do, but this is a long drawn process that requires daily dedication and patience. Don't expect results in 2-3 applications as they will temporary in nature.

Do you have any special remedies or tips that can help combat dark circles? 

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]


  1. I litreally live and breathe on computer every single day. Lack of sleep and over work are the main reasons for my sad undereye area. I do take care of them in whatever possible manner but I know the reasons myself so can't do much about them. I was in a look out for the colorbar's illuminator the other day and all they had was a huge stock of 2008 manufactured products. So I had to let that go. :(

    We Indian women are used to of using kajals. Infact, I have been using surma/ kajal since the time I was born. :D But yes, I guess if you have dark circles like me concelaing becomes the most important part of your daily routine. :)

    Good tips.:)

  2. @ Rati: I too have heard of the illuminator for hiding under eye circles - but I have also heard from people that it does not photograph well - It reflects the flash light and you end up with the opposite of raccoon eyes - white pale circles under the eyes.

    Yea, Kajal is a staple with many Indian women and for a lot of them the only makeup they possess... I have never used it, even as a child, so maybe tht is why am i not so nostalgically attached to it :D

  3. Hey Tanveer,

    I too have problem of dark circles which is mainly due to stress, long hours in front of the computer and lack of this post was really very helpful!!

    N like Rati said....Kajal is kind of an integral part of my daily makeup too...though i hv been using it for only 2 years now...on a daily basis eyeliner on the water line is the only thing that I use....other than that its either lipstick or just lip yes even I cant let go of wearing liner, but thankfully my dark circles are not very intense ;)


  4. @HD: Glad that u found the post useful :D

    I think u misunderstood the post on Kajal / eyeliner- I havn't said don't use eyeliner.

    All I have said is not on the lower lashes - that too if & only if you have dark circles.

    In all my consultations for make-up I am yet to come across a lady who had dark circles and who looked good in liner on the lower line - especially with no camouflage like concealer.

    Just my two bits - however you are the best judge of your face. If it looks good to you, by all means carry on :D

  5. Hey Tanveer,

    Thanks for such a prompt post on dark circles ...Shall follow it ...Bought Blossom kocher under ete cream right away...will try ponds dual under eye cream after this one is over...Looking forward to your posts as usual..Have a nice day

    PS: Also bought the himalaya daily exfoliating face wash and it seems to be quite good ( like all your suggestion) Actually I have skin like yours shiny forhead and nose but dry cheeks so your recommendations are really perfect for me :)

  6. @ Hey Shweta!!

    Yr most welcome :D

    I hope you like the Blossom Kochar cream. I have been using it for two days & I quite like the texture - creamy but non-sticky, and does not sting the eyes :D

    Thks for yr support & reading the blog :D

    I really liked the Himalaya exfoliating face wash! Glad u like it too!

    U cld be right, with similar skin types, we probably react the same way to stuff :D

  7. Hey Tanveer.. Nice tips on dark circles. I have always had dark circles. It's like we are together together now. :)

    Can I buy Blossom Kocher almond eye cream online?

    And T I was wondering you could do a hair care routine if the blog is not limited to skin care. :)

  8. @ V: Thks :D

    I tried looking for the cream online, but cldn't locate it. Whr do u stay? Maybe one of the readers will be able to help you locate it :D

    No blog is not limited to skin care, the only issue is I don't have really nice hair - it is very fine, hair fall - the works. & nothing much seems to work for it. So I prefer to keep my mouth shut on the issue. It wld be stupid of me to dish out advice when my hair itself is a mess. But i wld suggest you visit this blog:

    This is a blog about haircare - one of the best haircare blogs I have read! It explains everything so well. Hope it helps you :D

  9. Ahh.. good. meaning you must be having really good skin :D

    I live in Bangalore, T.

  10. @V, ahh, well.. Not to be boastful, I have pretty decent skin but it takes hard work to keep the zits and dry flaky skin away. It wasn't like this always. I do get the occasional zit at tht time of the month and whiteheads are a problem for me.. But other than tht i am ok :D

    I think u shd be able to locate this brand in B'lore.. It does retail at food bazaar here.. Try a mall.

  11. Sure.. Thank you for your quick reply

  12. Thanks a lot dear. will try to follow your tips.
    its really useful. wanna try the ponds dual eye cream. got a very good review about it.
    i think the blossom eye cream is available in India only. may be i can buy one during my next visit.
    thanks again

  13. Great post! Most of us focus on trying to cover up dark circles, which is fine, but I think they are so many things we can do to prevent them or improve the appearance without makeup. My personal fave concealer for under eyes is the MAC Select Moistureblend....very creamy and natural looking!

  14. great post !
    I totally agree with the tip of not using kajal on waterline and lower lashline if yu have severe dark circles .. my mum is plagued with stubborn dark circles and weneva she wears kajal .. she looks like hot mess (in her own words , ok ?)

    instead lining upper lashline is great if yu are dealing with darkies :D
    personally I cant live without kajal , I live and breath it !!
    have tried numerous brand I must say I totally love colorbar I glide pencil in black !!(not I define)
    Its a new range in colorbar and I totally love the texture , I own 3 , its THAT good , Do try it !!!

  15. @Ani: Yr welcome :D

    @Kajal: Exactly wht I feel. We first neglect our skin and then when we get dark circles and uneven skin we suddenly wake up ready to try everything. As with everything - prevention is the key!

    I will try this MAC concealer. I have been looking for a good one lately :D

  16. @Palak: Glad to see u after so long! I hope yr preps are going fine for the boards :D

    I am so glad u agreed with me on the kajal on lower lash line :P...

    I keep trying to explain this to people with dark circles but for some reason they just don't wanna listen. Even when you show them the mirror it is like they just can't see the mess under their eyes...

    Looking at the way u look, am pretty sure yr mom still looks hot even she thinks she's a hot mess... lol..

    I have been itching to try out this new range frm colorbar in eyeliners & blushes - unfortunately they haven't been launched here yet. They say it will take another week for it to come here.. Will def try out yr reccos :D

  17. love this post. so informative. Eyes is the first place where you start aging, its really important to take care of it. Especially with us Indian girls, its a big problem.

  18. @Shivanixx: Thks! I know, we have the most expressive and pretty eyes of all, but undereye dark circles and bags are a huge problem..

  19. I HAVE seen it happen sooo often!Ppl hav dark circle and still use the wrong colours!!Its like having a smokey eyed look on the opposite side!!

  20. @Simran: Lol... :D

    Yea, & somehow it is very difficult to make people understand.. They'll want a kajal or smokey look when they are plagued with dark circles, but will not bother with concealer.

  21. Eye creams are a good remedy for reducing dark circles around the eyes, and fine lines as well. It's clinically proven safe and effective.

  22. @Maho: Thks for the tip :)

  23. Hey Tanveer,

    Great tips!

    Do you know where I can buy Eyetex Dazzler Eyeshadow palettes from in Mumbai?

  24. @ST: Thks :).. You can chk out Eyetex Dazzler eyeshadow palletes at New Beauty Centre in Khar. :)

  25. Hey,
    Could you tell me some good yellow based cream concealers commonly available in India?

  26. I've only been using dermalmd under eye treatment serum for about 5 days, but already can tell a huge difference in my under eyes. My dark circles are a big insecurity of mine and I have been constantly looking for something that actually works. Dermalmd is the first product I bought that truly has made any difference.

  27. Hi, thanks for this post. I was looking for makeup solutions but I got so many dimensions of dealing with dark circles.
    Will apply them for sure. :)


Post a Comment

Hey! Thank you for taking the time out to add your valuable comment. I will revert as soon as possible.


I delete blatant self-promotion and comments where it is clear the post material was not carefully read. If you are not going to bother to engage with the post, I am not going to bother posting your comment.

I also delete ALL comments with links - even if the link is to your blog.

Don't be mean to other commentators - it serves no purpose other than showcase your own personality in a bad light.

Popular Posts