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How to get rid of puffy eyes & dark circles

Liz Coggins

T-zone troubles? Dark circles? Bags? Follow our expert's guide to covering up those problems.

Makeup brushes for hiding dark circles and puffy eyes
Make-up solutions for tricky problems

For weeks your skin has been blemish-free and in perfect condition, then just before that special occasion your body rebels! As if by magic, spots appear overnight, eyes look puffy and dark circles ring your eyes.

When it comes to applying your make-up, you dread creased eye shadow, smudged lipstick that goes all over your mouth and on your teeth. Add to this the thought of disappearing foundation, an oily slick on your nose, smudging your eyeliner or poking yourself in the eye with your mascara brush and creating your dream party face turns into a nightmare. But worry not, if this does happen there are quick fixes for everything.

Fix puffy eyes 

Puffiness around the eyes could be caused by alcohol and salty foods. They can both cause fluid retention so reduce your intake of both. Never try to cover puffy eyes with make-up as this will only draw attention to them. To reduce puffiness use a cooling eye mask or eye pads, alternatively a flannel dampened with water or two slices of cucumber over the eyelids for 10 minutes makes an excellent emergency mask.

Look after ageing eyebrows and lashes 

Dark circles can be hidden 

Dark circles could be in your genes or perhaps you just haven’t been getting a good night's sleep. However, they can be easily hidden. Choose a concealer one or two shades lighter than your natural skin tone so that the light is reflected away from the imperfection. Concealer should sit directly on the skin so always apply it before your foundation or powder.

Dab the concealer over the shadowed area under the eye and pat gently with the finger tips to blend it into the skin. Use the same technique when applying your foundation. A white Kohl liner on the lower inside rim of the eye will open up the eye area and get rid of red rims.

Solve spot breakouts 

Spots are not the sole prerogative of teenagers. Stress, bad diet and a poor cleansing regime can all cause breakouts. If the worst does happen dab the spots with a spot treatment. Brush over the blemish with a concealer before applying foundation. Do remember to use a clean brush and discard it afterwards. Likewise pigmentation or dark spots can be concealed in the same way.

Eyes right

Worried about eye shadow disappearing, darkening or changing colour? Then either apply concealer to your eyelid or use an eye shadow base.

If you make a mistake with your eyeliner or the mascara brush goes in your eye, use the makeup artist’s favourite tool the cotton bud. Immerse the tip in eye makeup remover then gently remove the mistake and dry with a clean bud. Apply concealer on the bud followed by some foundation. Wait a while then reapply your eyeliner or shadow.

If you’re nervous about using a liner try using a coloured mascara instead. Dark navy on the lashes brings out the white in the eyes and is great for making tired eyes look sparkling.

Try our smoky eye make up masterclass

Tone me up, tone me down

Green toned correctors help tone down naturally red skin or areas of redness caused by tiny thread veins. A good tip is to mix a little moisturiser with the corrector to give it an even tone. To tone down a sallow skin use a pale pink or lilac primer.

Disappearing make-up

A serum or flash balm does giving make-up a better staying power or you may want to invest in an oil-free or long-lasting foundation for longer lasting and better coverage.

If your skin is oily use a mattifying lotion or gel under your foundation. To guard against an oily t-zone this can be used on the nose, chin and forehead before applying your foundation. Alternatively take a leaf out of granny’s book and pop some blotting sheets in your bag to use during the evening.

Look after your make up in summer 

Smudged lipstick

Worried about getting your lipstick smudged or on your teeth? Use a lip liner to outline your lips, followed by a lipstick base. Apply two layers of lipstick the professional way – put some lipstick on the back of your hand and use a brush to apply to the lips. Avoid glosses if you are worried about getting lipstick on your teeth, but if you want a bit of shine just apply a small dab in the middle of your bottom lip and press them together gently.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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