Your guide to fending off the tired eye look this Christmas

Ditch ineffective creams and caked concealer for under-eye solutions that work, writes Rachel Marie Walsh.

A bouncy blowdry and glowing skin are always a good look under the mistletoe; mid party season eyes not so much. Gentle skincare and some deftly applied makeup help you fend off fine lines, puffy skin and dark circles.

De-Puffing

Fluid retention around the eyes generally reflects lifestyle habits and natural alleviation may require New Year’s resolve. “Remember, what you see on the outside is an honest reflection of what is going on internally,” says Dr Nicholas Perricone. “In addition to healthy fats such as those found in extra virgin olive oil, wild salmon, seeds (especially chia), and nuts, eat good sources of protein at each meal for cellular repair and fresh fruits and vegetables for anti-inflammatory antioxidants.”

He also recommends swapping salt, alcohol and caffeine for frequent consumption of pure spring water, as even slight dehydration affects skin’s radiance. Improper makeup removal and using heavily fragranced products around the eyes can also make them puff up, as can laying your head completely flat while sleeping.

Skincare quick-fixes for puffy skin are unreliable, in my view. Treatments that claim to reduce the swell feel cool and comforting but do very little to alter the congestion beneath. Even gimmicks like rollerball applicators simply move the fluid around. A little makeup is, in the short-term, the best way to get your eyes looking well-rested.

Aberrant volume is more difficult to hide than discolouration. NARS International Lead Stylist Jane Richardson suggests tackling the puff as you would a large spot.

“If you have a raised blemish, first try applying a shade that matches your skin tone before applying a lighter shade around the edges and blending outwards. The darker shade ‘pushes’ the blemish back and the light around it forward to softly diffuse its depth. It takes a little time but with looks great with practice.

The same technique can be applied to puffy eyes. Avoid using a light concealer over the puffiness, as it will enhance it, and also avoid using a brightening concealer or highlighting product, as they will contain radiant pigments. Look for a matte concealer and use a light shade just under the puffiness.”

Make Up For Ever Full Cover Camouflage Cream, €21, provides flawless cover, though Maybelline SuperStay Better Skin Concealer, €8.99, is more purse-friendly if you need to buy two shades.

Blurring Lines

Eye creams can temporarily improve the appearance of fine lines through hydration. Unless your eye area is a different skin type to the rest of your face, patting on your favourite facial oil or antioxidant serum does it just as much good.

However, emollient ingredients are not so helpful in keeping your eye makeup intact for hours.

Lightweight primers and moisturising concealers keep the area smooth beneath your carefully-blended smoky shadows.

Benefit Air Patrol BB Cream Eyelid Primer Broad Spectrum SPF 20, €29.50, is a great buy, protecting the skin as it skims over lines and creates a flawless base for makeup.

Becca Aqua Luminous Perfecting Concealer, €27 at SpaceNK, is almost one-third water. Beyond keeping skin plumped and soft, it blurs imperfections with light-diffusing pigments and has impressive hold. The formula is very creamy but light enough not to settle anywhere unflattering.

Lightening Up

Dark circles are all about what lies beneath. Skin thins with age, making blood vessels appear more noticeable and effecting shadows. They can also be caused by poor lifestyle habits, heredity, allergies, nasal congestion and sun exposure.

Eye moisturisers actually can help tackle that last culprit. Antioxidant-rich skincare can improve UV-related pigmentation (though not inherited shadows) if you also use daily sun protection. Vitamin C, retinol, alpha lipoic acid and niacinamide are great reparative ingredients to look out for in eye serums.

I like Murad Age Reform Intensive Wrinkle Reducer For Eyes, €99.50, which has a diverse cocktail of such plant extracts.

Your guide to fending off the tired eye look this Christmas

Olay Regenerist Luminous Dark Circle Correcting Swirl, €38.39, is especially high in niacinamide. Some luxury eye creams use makeup ingredients like mica (a light-reflecting pigment) to effect brightening, but the look can be achieved with far cheaper concealers and the ingredients have no long-term benefits. It is always worth checking a product’s contents list in full before buying.

Concealing dark circles should be done with a light hand and silky formulas to avoid caking and creasing. Highlighting pens, like Bobbi Brown’s Retouching Wand, €34.50, provide a brilliant disguise. “Less is more when comes to concealing the under eye area,” says Laura Mercier UK National Artist Yasmine Ferguson. “Focus mainly on the inner corners of the eye because that is generally where tones are darkest. Make sure you desaturate your brush before application, as the more product you have under the eye the more obvious and likely to crease it becomes. Press the product lightly with your index finger to blend, and avoid dragging the skin by ‘wiping’ concealer under the eyes. Set your concealer with a super-fine powder to prevent caking.”

Highlighting pens, like Bobbi Brown’s Retouching Wand, €34.50, provide a brilliant disguise.

Your guide to fending off the tired eye look this Christmas

“Less is more when comes to concealing the under eye area,” says Laura Mercier UK National Artist Yasmine Ferguson.

“Focus mainly on the inner corners of the eye because that is generally where tones are darkest. Make sure you desaturate your brush before application, as the more product you have under the eye the more obvious and likely to crease it becomes. Press the product lightly with your index finger to blend, and avoid dragging the skin by ‘wiping’ concealer under the eyes. Set your concealer with a super-fine powder to prevent caking.”

Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder, €27, both sets and illuminates under-eye makeup.

Cancelling Out

The more densely pigmented your foundation, the less concealer you need. An HD formula can save time and money if under-eye shadows are your sole concern.

Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation/Concealer, €77, is the brand’s first full-coverage makeup. Choose your perfect colour match and it will completely mask redness, shadows and uneven skin-tone. The formula is best for normal to dry complexions, as it has an extremely thick texture, but on the plus-side you need very little per application and can skip your camouflage products beforehand.

A flattering colour corrector helps to cancel out shadows under your favourite BB Cream or sheer foundation.

Urban Decay Naked Skin Colour Correcting Fluid, €22, in pink or peach suits fair-to-medium tones best. It’s creamy, fragrance-free and gentle on sensitive eyes.

Your guide to fending off the tired eye look this Christmas

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