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Those eye bags aren’t going to know what hit them.

By Kaitlyn Yarborough
February 19, 2021
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Not to be dramatic, but dark circles are like a looming rain cloud trying to hover over the prospect of a happy, sunny day. The bluish-purple under-eye demons, as I so warmly like to refer to them, seem to be bent on evading all attempts of covering them up with concealer. Instead, I've turned my approach to trying to heal them before any makeup is even in the equation.

From vitamin C to retinol, there are a lot of options out there to help treat dark circles and puffiness, which makes it hard to know what ingredient works best for your specific under-eye area. There are also different types of dark circles that can be caused by issues like extra pigmentation or collagen loss. However, there is a dermatologist-backed trick to figuring out what type of dark under-eye circles that you're experiencing. In turn, it tells you exactly which type of skin-care product can help combat them. Okay, so here goes.

Looking in the mirror, grab and pinch the skin under your eyes where your dark circles are. Lift up the skin and move it around back and forth just a little bit, watching to see what happens to the under-eye skin. If the bluish tint disappears or significantly lightens, that likely means your under-eye skin has thinned out and the veins underneath are peaking through. For that, you need something to repair and promote collagen production, so ingredients like vitamin C and hyaluronic acid will be your friends. 

But if the bluish or brownish tint moves with your skin and stays the same shade, that means you're experiencing over-pigmentation, which can be a result of many different factors from sun damage to run-of-the-mill aging. For these types of dark circles, you'll want to use a retinol to reduce hyperpigmentation and age-related dark spots. And if your circles seem to be more related to dark shadows primarily caused by puffiness or "eye bags," you can use an eye cream fortified with caffeine to help fight excess fluid retention, which can result from lack of sleep, too much salt, alcohol consumption, or even allergies. See a TikTok video demonstrating the trick here.

At the end of the day, dark under-eye circles are a nasty beast to beat, and sometimes it all comes down to genetics. As always, there's no harm in trying to kick their keisters, anyway. Shop some of our favorite eye creams for each dark circle type below. 

Best Dark Circle Eye Creams
Credit: Sephora

Olehenriksen Banana Bright Eye Créme

Best for boosting collagen and brightening

Give yourself a jolt of collagen-boosting vitamin C with this cult-favorite eye cream that reduces dark circles, targets signs of aging, and features tinted "banana powder," which color-corrects the eye area for an instantly brighter look. This stuff is so good.

Shop It: $39; sephora.com

Best Dark Circle Eye Creams
Credit: Amazon

RoC Retinol Correxion Eye Cream

Best for combating signs of aging and hyperpigmentation 

Known as the number one-selling drugstore eye cream in the nation, this staple is formulated with retinol to directly address dark circles, wrinkles, fine lines, and puffiness in one fell swoop. Expect quick results in just a couple weeks. 

Shop It: $17.92; amazon.com

Best Dark Circle Eye Creams
Credit: Sephora

The Inkey List Caffeine Eye Cream

Best for eliminating puffiness and "eye bags"

This lightweight eye cream fortified with de-puffing caffeine is perfect for waking up your complexion in the morning and has raked in amazing reviews as an effective skin-care option on a budget. 

Shop It: $9.99; sephora.com

Best Dark Circle Eye Creams
Credit: Ulta

Pathology FlashPatch Restoring Night Eye Gels

Best for majorly rejuvenating the under-eyes overnight 

And when you want a little bit of everything and then some—meaning: you get to wake up with hydrated, plumped, super refreshed under-eyes—these overnight eye patches with retinol feel like a one-two punch to dull, dark circles. Plus, they make bedtime feel like a spa experience. 

Shop It: $60; amazon.com