Many of us struggle with darkness (and often puffiness) under our eyes which can age us, make us look tired or worse, ill. Dark circles can be seen on both men and women and are difficult to get rid of or at least improve; expensive serums which promise to work often leave us disappointed.
There are numerous causes to dark circles and because of that it can be a challenge to pinpoint exactly what causes them but also how to treat them. Genetics (this is my reason; I’ve had them since I was four and the rest of my family has them, too), dietary deficiencies, lack of sleep, stress, hormonal changes and allergies are some of the reasons.
Fighting dark circles naturally can be a great alternative to expensive eye creams. It can also be very relaxing and beneficial for the eye area. Here are 5 natural ways to fight dark circles; some you might have heard of, some may be new. Pick one and stick to it for about a month if you want to see a brighter set of eyes looking back at you in the mirror. Of course, sleep, a healthy diet and lifestyle are always important in looking rested and bright-eyed.
1) Cool green tea bags
This is very easy to implement and just requires some boiled water and a couple of tea bags. If you’re a tea drinker, you need to think twice about throwing out the tea bags after you make your cuppa. You’ll need to steep two tea bags of green tea, drain a bit of the water (you don’t want it running down your face) let them cool and then place them on your eyes covering the entire area. You’ll need to lay down and relax for 15 minutes and let the tannins from the tea do their work. If you also suffer from puffiness, placing the tea bags in the fridge to cool further can help with the swelling as does the caffeine from the green tea. When you’re done, rinse the eye area with cool water.
2) Cool cucumber slices
It’s no secret that cucumber slices on the eyes do wonders. Cucumbers have a mild skin lightening effect and the ascorbic and caffeic acids bring down swelling. Perfect combo! You’ll have to use freshly cut cucumber slices and slice them thin enough so they stick to your skin. It would be more beneficial if you relax for 15-20 minutes with the slices on your eyes, but you might not have that kind of time. In that case cutting the cucumber in thin half-moon slices will allow you to stick them on to your undereye area and still go about your business around the house. If you have discolouration on your entire eye area, laying down and applying the cucumber slices on the entire area is best. And since you’re cutting cucumber slices, why not cut a few extra and place them on those forehead wrinkles, on your cheeks and mouth area for an extra boost of hydration! When time’s up, rinse your face with cool water.
3) Potato slices or potato juice
Like cucumbers, potatoes can lighten the skin and when applied cooled can reduce puffiness. Potatoes contain starch, vitamin C and enzymes that are beneficial to the skin around the eye area. I was living in South Korea the first time I had potato slices placed on my face. Korean women are big fans of the potato and its skin lightening properties. Chill a potato and cut it into thin slices that are almost transparent; you want the potato slice to mold to your face and since your face is not flat, a thick stiff potato slice won’t do. Lay down and place the thin slices on your face; it doesn’t just have to be in the eye area. Try them on other dark spots you want to lighten. Rest for 15-20 minutes and then rinse your face with cool water. If you have a juicer at home, you can juice a potato, soak a couple of cotton pads in the juice and apply to your eye area.
4) Caffeine serum
Whether you decide to make your own caffeine serum (for a more concentrated serum without preservatives) or decide to go hassle-free and just buy one, there are many studies which back up caffeine for the reduction of puffiness and dark circles. I’ve made my own caffeine serum (I used this recipe) and have also bought caffeine serums like the one from Canadian company Deciem’s affordable line (it cost me under $10), The Ordinary. Start with cleansed skin and apply a couple of drops of a caffeine serum on the undereye area and eye contour. Gently massage with your ring finger from the outer corner of your eyes to the inner corner until it’s absorbed. Continue with the rest of your skincare and eye cream if using. I love the coffee smell of the home-made serum; it’s enough to perk me up in the morning. However, The Ordinary’s Caffeine Solution is an excellent product with raving reviews.
I’m a big fan of rosewater. I love it as a facial mist and I often use it to give my skin a quick cleanse in the morning. It’s also extremely soothing to the eyes and can help diminish dark circles. If you prefer to use a cold eye compress with your rosewater, just keep a bottle in the fridge. All you need is two cotton pads soaked in rosewater and applied over the eye area. Rest for 15-20 minutes, remove and rinse the area with cool water. Make sure you do this a couple times a day for a month if you want to see results. The Rose and Frankincense Flower Water by Helena Lane is one of my favourites.
– A good concealer and colour corrector (read my post on how to choose the right colour corrector)
– Yoga for relaxation
– Staying away from sodium and caffeine especially if you can see the effects on your eye area
– Vitamin K rich foods – spinach, broccoli, brussel sprouts!
– Sleep, sleep, sleep!