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Lighten up dark circles

Dark circles under the eyes only look good on panda bears. On you, me and Kim Kardashian, those pesky shadows don't look nearly so cute; they make us look tired, haggard, drained and, well, old.

While I can thank my mother for my own pair of purple-black wonders (cheers, Mam), hereditary factors aren't the only cause of dark circles.


Aisling Cleary, registered general nurse and clinic manager for River Medical, explains that "dark under-eye circles are caused by a number of things, including the actual quality of the skin in that area".

The skin under the eyes is thinner than anywhere else on the face, and Aisling says that, "thinning skin and loss of fat and collagen, which are common as we age, can make the reddish-blue blood vessels under the eyes more obvious".

Unfortunately, there's no magic potion to vanquish dark circles, but tapping on your chosen eye gel or cream, using the pad of your ring finger, helps boost circulation and lessen their appearance. Using cold compresses (or chilled teaspoons) can alleviate the look of dark circles temporarily and, on the dietary front, cutting out excess salt, eating anti-oxidant and vitamin K rich foods, such as berries and leafy greens, can all help.

If you're in need of a quick fix, award-winning make-up artist Ellie Balfe has some tips on camouflaging the offending area.

"The first basic rule of under-eye concealing is that you use a product that is creamy or fluid in texture so as not to accentuate fine lines," says Ellie. "The second is that you use a colour that is the same shade as your foundation for light shadows or one tone lighter for darker shadows. This trick of using paler tones will counteract darkness. A yellow based [not pink] concealer will get rid of blue tones perfectly."

If you wear foundation, Ellie recommends putting concealer on after it. "If you apply concealer first, you'll subconsciously put too much on," she says.


"Apply it to the area around the tear duct to lighten there, as well as underneath the eye. Lay the product down with a brush before patting the edges with your ring finger to blend the product seamlessly with your foundation. Lastly, powder lightly to set."

Bobbi Brown's new Creamy Concealer Kit, €33 (left), contains densely pigmented emollient concealer and setting powder side-by-side in a handy compact. It's a personal favourite and Ellie rates it, too.

Visit River Medical at 114 Lower Baggot Street, or telephone 1850 88 5050; and catch up with Ellie Balfe on her blog, elliebalfe. blogspot.com