Fragile, thin skin around the eyes is the first place to show the signs of ageing. Add alcohol, lack of sleep and a poor diet into the mix and the under-eye area requires some serious TLC. January’s the time to correct December wrongs. We've tested an army of products so you don't have to, and only the ones that really worked made the final cut.
1. Eye Wonder Nutri-Active Eye Serum: £48 for 15ml, Oskia
This light formula is packed with peptides, anti-oxidants, plant bio-actives and vitamins in a rose-water base that helps visibly brighten the dark under eye area, as well as reduce puffiness and minimise the look of fine lines instantly and longer term. Soothing, lightweight and refreshing, this one is perfect for sensitive skin and contact lens wearers. Apply a thick layer under the eyes with some ultra-cold cotton wool pads on top, to make a wonderfully relaxing eye treatment that brightens, de-puffs and re-energises tired eyes.
2. No Wrinkles Tired Eyes: £42 for 15ml, This Works
I'm yet to find anything from this range that actually doesn't work. The magic ingredient? The Persian Silk Tree, which stimulates night-time detox to reduce darkness under the eyes. All the usual anti-ageing, line-fighting, puffiness-combatting elements are also found in this powerful serum. It took less than a week of using it to make a real difference in my dark circles – no mean feat with three small children and the Christmas countdown in full swing.
3. Ideal Resource Anti-Dark Circle Eye Illuminator: £39 for 15ml, Darphin
This makes a three-pronged attack on eye baggage. First up, instant illuminating technology and a slight tint creates a glow under the eye for that photoshopped look. Collagen-supporting ingredients ensure the eye area is firmed up and so looks less line-prone and tired. Finally, green tea extract and caffeine soothe and refresh for sparkling bright eyes. Use the cooling metallic tip to apply gentle soothing pressure to smooth, massage and encourage drainage and reduce puffiness. This is a great one for those annoying dark circles that accompany puffy eye bags.
4. Olay Regenerist Luminous Dark Circle Correcting Eye Swirl: £29.99 for 15ml, Boots
A nourishing hydrator to smooth out fine lines, this cream also instantly brightens the skin, leaving you with a refreshed, vibrant look. And it evens out skin tone over time – within two weeks, Olay claims skin looks younger and after eight weeks use darker spots and discolouration are less noticeable. With three kids under 10 and a decade of residual tiredness, this cream had some good dark circles to work on and I found in just under a month my eyes definitely looked brighter underneath.
5. Aurabsolu Intense Glow for Eyes Dark Circle Corrector: £29.50 for 15ml, Decleor
Instant brightening and illuminating ingredients in this target dark and dull under-eye skin, while the stimulating caffeine helps drainage and vitamins B3 and C protect and brighten over time. But the best part of this one is the light texture – not a rich, weighty cream that can add to heavy-feeling eyes the morning after.
6. Botanicals Kinetics Energizing Eye Creme: £28 for 15ml, Aveda
This is one for natural beauty fans. Packed with powerful botanicals, the soothing ayurvedic liquorice root counteracts melanin – the primary culprit for darkening under the eye. While stimulating caffeine reduces puffiness and organic Brazilian cupuacu butter locks in moisture around the delicate eye area to combat ageing.
7. Skyn Iceland Icelandic Relief Eye Pen: £17.50 for 3.97g, Marks and Spencer
Innovative circulation-increasing ingredients help lighten under-eye circles, rice peptides help preserve collagen and elastin in the fight against ageing, orange peel reduces puffiness, corron powder brightens and diffuses light under the eye and it's in an ultra-convenient, travel-friendly pen.
8. La Roche-Posay PigmentClar Eyes Dark Circle Skin-Evening Corrector: £24.50 for 15ml, Boots
La Roche-Posay is a worldwide leader in dermatological skincare. This product from its Pigment Clar range isn’t a pretty pot to sit on the dressing table, but it works like a dream and has been formulated specifically for sensitive complexions with no beauty irritants like parabens or perfume. It contains corrective anti-dark spot ingredients, which even-out the skin tone, and brighten dull, grey skin. The metal tapered end is cooling on tired morning eyes and gentle, light-reflecting pigments illuminate under the eye. Short and long term, skin looks more even, luminous and brighter.
9. Yes to Grapefruit Uneven Skin Tone Dark Circle Correcting Eye Cream: £11.99 for 15ml, Boots
95 per cent natural, cruelty-free, fruit and veggie-packed and free from parabens, SLS and phthalates, this affordable, award-winning range is for natural beauty aficionados. The four main ingredients work together to tackle darkness under the eye area. Rich in vitamin C and lycopene, grapefruit evens-out the skin tone and boosts luminosity. Liquorice root is renowned for its inflammation soothing properties on puffiness and combats darkening skin. Antioxidant white tea corrects pigmentation irregularities and star flower fades age spots, freckles and hyper-pigmentation.
The Skyn Iceland pen is great for keeping on top of dark circles on the go. Perfectly named This Works never disappoints and took less than a week to make a difference to my dark eyes. But top of the list is the multi-use Oskia serum that can be applied daily and as a relaxing treatment.