“If yours are a bluish-purple color, it’s because the blood vessels under your skin are showing through,” says Dr. Marchbein. Tons of factors can cause this, including naturally thin skin, allergies, or lack of sleep. If your shadows are a brownish color, blame genetics (womp, womp).
The best brighteners in the game diffuse shadows in two ways: They contain mica (light-reflecting particles that instantly mask under-eye darkness) as well as caffeine and antioxidants. “Caffeine can help constrict blood vessels, which minimizes their appearance, while antioxidants like vitamins C and B3 suppress pigment production to brighten the skin,” says Dr. Marchbein.
Olay Eyes Brightening Eye Cream, $25, drugstores
Fatigue, dehydration, tears—they all cause fluid to build up around your eyes, says Dr. Marchbein. Not dealing with any of these but still see puffiness, especially in the a.m.? “It’s because when you’re lying down, fluids don’t drain properly from around your eyes,” says Dr. Marchbein.
In this case, your product’s applicator is just as important as the formula itself. Look for a tool with a cooling metal tip (this L’Oréal Paris gel has one) and use it to really massage your eye area. It’ll increase circulation to help reduce swelling, says dermatologist Arash Akhavan, MD. “And as a rule, lightweight formulas (gels and serums) with antioxidants are better than heavy creams.”
L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Hydra-Nutrition De-Puffing Honey Eye Gel, $25, drugstores
Because of the lack of oil glands around your eyes, this area is very prone to dryness and conditions like redness, sensitivity, and even eczema, explains Dr. Marchbein. Also, harsh cleansers and makeup removers can deplete your skin’s protective barrier, making things worse. Ugh, so not what you need rn.
Your thirsty-ass skin is begging for all the moisture it can get. Look for a super-gentle eye cream with hydrating ingredients like glycerin and hyaluronic acid. (Skinfix’s nonirritating one, below, contains both.) “They’re humectants, which means they draw moisture from the air, pulling it into your skin to keep it looking plump and dewy,” explains Dr. Akhavan.
Skin fix Barrier+Lipid Boost 360º Eye, $40, sephora.com
Kim K. once said she doesn’t laugh for fear of aging. Extreme, yes, but there’s a kernel of truth to it: Every time you blink, squint, or smile, the skin around your eyes creases. Couple that with UV exposure and pollution, which deplete collagen (the protein that keeps skin plump and firm) and bam—lines become a very real thing.
It’s retinol. The ingredient can smooth lines thanks to its ability to generate fresh, new skin cells and increase collagen and elastin production, says Dr. Marchbein. It’s powerful, though, so you should start out using it sparingly. Apply it twice a week at night, gradually upping the frequency as your skin builds tolerance.
Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream, $22, drugstores