How to Cover Up Dark, Undereye Circles

The best creams, concealers and correctors for under the eyes

concelear dots under closed eye
Emma Innocenti / Getty Images

One of the biggest beauty questions I'm asked is how to get rid of dark, under-eye circles and the best correctors for them. But before you can treat darkness under the eyes, it is best to know what type you have.

3 Types of Dark Circles

 There are 3 types of under-eye circles:

  1. Blue-ish veins on pale skin
  2. Dark Circles on dark skin
  3. Puffy bags under the eyes 

​Blue-ish veins can affect pale-skinned people.

Skin under the eyes is very thin and can seem almost translucent in people with lighter skin, highlighting the veins underneath. This type of dark circles is usually hereditary and can occur as part of the natural aging process. 

Hyperpigmented under-eye circles can be dark circles often found in women with darker skin tones (African, East Indian or Latin descent). This is caused by the over-abundance of melanin in skin. The good news is that those of you with hyperpigmentation are likely to develop wrinkles much later in life than people with less melanin in skin. 

Puffy or baggy under-eye circles can be caused by poor blood flow or water retention under the eye. Large bags that don't recede in time are hereditary. The temporary ones can be caused by stress, lack of sleep or a smoking habit.

To determine the cause of your under-eye circles, press your thumb on the shadows. If the shadows momentarily lighten, the cause is poor circulation.

If they don't, you likely have hyperpigmentation. 

The Best Creams & Treatments

Treat blue-ish, purple veins by using eye creams with Vitamin K at night. Vitamin K helps strengthen capillary walls so veins become less visible. I recommend Vita-K Solution gel or Peter Thomas Roth Power K Eye Rescue.

Dark circles from hyperpigmentation can be treated with lasers in a doctor's office.

However, Dermatologist Macrene Alexiades  warns that lasers don't always work well on darker skin. "The laser may turn on melanocytes to produce more pigment," she says in Elle Magazine.

For dark skin, Alexiades prefers topical solutions made with kojic acid, such as Skinceuticals Phyto+ gel. Creams with hydroquinone are also commonly used to treat under-eye circles. Both kojic acid and hydroquinone brighten hyperpigmented skin. 

If you suffer from puffy eye bags, sleep on your back with your head propped up. You can also treat puffiness with black tea bags. Chill steeped tea bags in the fridge first. Place chilled bags over the eyes. The tannins in black tea help reduce bloat. If bags are constant and never go away, see a doctor for treatment options, including minor plastic surgery to remove the fatty pads under the eye. 

The Best Correctors for Dark Circles 

A simple concealer isn't going to work alone on dark circles. Under-eye correctors are specially formulated to conceal dark circles.

I love Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage. Each version contains 2 different shades so you can use and blend as you need. Bobbi Brown's correctors are also a good bet. They come in 16 shades including Bisque, which is ideal for most skin tones, and Peach, which is best for olive and dark skin tones.

As with all makeup products that rely on a proper skin tone match, I recommend trying correctors out before buying.

To apply corrector, apply product directly to the dark spots. Avoid any areas that aren't dark. Pat in product with the pad of your middle finger or with a concealer brush like Laura Mercier's camouflage brush

How to Apply Makeup to Conceal Under-eye Circles

There's no absolute right way to apply makeup to conceal dark circles, but this is my favored way.

  1. Apply a moisturizing mask. Hydration is key. You never want to put makeup on dry skin or it will cake up instead of looking natural and luminious. I love the Korean moisturizing sheet masks, like Hey Pinkgo! masks you can buy from Sephora or buy from Amazon. Apply one before you apply makeup. 
  2. Pat in an eye cream or heavy moisturizer under the eyes so the concealer glides on evenly. Pat, never rub.
  1. Apply your new corrector under the eyes, patting, never rubbing in.
  2. After your corrector is applied, you'll want to use a light-reflecting concealer, which naturally brightens the area and visually "lifts" the face. My absolute favorite is Touche Eclat from Yves Saint Laurent