How to send your eye bags packing
As Kate’s busy schedule takes its toll under her peepers, the unlikely ways – from teabags to diamond dust – to fix that pesky puffiness
Showing the strain: The Duchess of Cambridge with puffy eyebags and bruise-like under-eye circles
Despite her wardrobe remaining impeccable and smile as dazzling as ever, the Duchess of Cambridge’s bruise-like under-eye circles and puffy eyebags are showing the strain she’s under after a whirlwind summer of Jubilee, Olympic and Paralympic engagements.
In the pictures of her on tour in Singapore this week, even make-up can’t conceal the dark bags. And it’s not just Kate who suffers the curse of the dark circle.
Two-thirds of women are so worn out that they are constantly tired and rely on sugar and caffeine to get by, according to author Dr Frank Lipman, who dubbed them ‘the spent generation’.
This leads to a cycle of disrupted sleeping, the evidence of which is stamped clearly in the form of dark smudges, puffiness around the eyes or, if you are unlucky, both.
These dark circles are a menace not least because there is no easy solution to dealing with them.
The dark colour of the smudges is caused by tiny blood vessels showing through the thin skin that surrounds the eye.
When we are tired, this thin skin becomes even more translucent, making these blood vessels more obvious.
There is also a genetic element that determines how thin and translucent our skin is — and age doesn’t help because, over the years, your skin becomes gradually thinner.
Another common cause is nasal congestion. When your nose is congested because of hayfever, flying or a cold, veins that drain from your eyes into your nose become widened (dilated) and darker.
No wonder Kate is tired! Her tour of the Far East has been non-stop and she has been making several high-profile appearances a day
Dark circles look worse if you have eye bags or puffiness — a separate, but equally irritating problem — because these cast a shadow under the eyes.
Puffiness is caused by an accumulation of fluid in the delicate tissues around the eye.
It’s made worse by using the wrong skincare products (loading heavy overnight eye creams on the thin skin can, ironically, make them puff up even more because the oils in the cream cause fluid to stay in the eye area) and eating junk food that is high in salt.
Salt encourages your skin tissues to retain water — and one place where this shows up is as puffiness in your face and around the eyes. Alcohol also doesn’t help.
So what to do to make your eyes look brighter?
‘Dark circles and puffiness in the eye area are common problems, but there are things you can do,’ says facialist Joanne Evans.
Here, Joanne shares her tips and we look at the latest products on the market.
Hectic year: The Duchess has been involved in the Paralympics and Jubilee celebrations
First things first, you don’t need to spend a fortune. If you want to tackle dark circles, you can’t beat the old-fashioned remedy of putting used teabags on your eyes.
The caffeine in tea helps shrink the tiny blood vessels in your skin, which will make the area look lighter and brighter.
For the best results, dip the teabags in water, squeeze out, then chill them in the fridge — the cold will reduce inflammation, leaving fresher, less tired-looking eyes.
If it’s puffiness and bags that are more pronounced than dark circles, slices of cold cucumber can reduce swelling.
A free way to keep your eyes looking young and bright is to do a light massage around the eye twice a day. ‘Light lymphatic drainage massage can be helpful in reducing fluid build-up and puffiness in the eye area, which will also help with shadows,’ says Joanne.
‘You can do this for yourself — and it costs nothing. Sweep your ring fingers gently around the eye sockets, pausing to press at the inner and outer corners of the eyebrow, and on a point directly underneath your pupils.’
This technique helps disperse fluid that has accumulated in the skin around the eyes, which is then removed by the body’s lymphatic system.
Perform the massage using your usual cleanser to give your fingers a bit of ‘slip’ — or with your chosen eye cream.
Sleeping on your side or front can contribute to a puffy face by encouraging fluids to collect under the eyes
Small stone roller devices are popular with models such as Lily Cole. Use one with your favourite eye cream. The smallest Yuroll, made from jade (£25, yuroll.com), is ideal for working around the eyes.
One of the newest products on the block is Clinique’s Even Better Eyes Dark Circle Corrector (£28), which has been clinically proven to visibly reduce dark circles by 30 per cent in 12 weeks, thanks to its anti-inflammatory ingredients.
It works by plumping and moisturising the thin skin around the eye to make it less transparent. Carol Joy’s Eye Cream & Eye Treatment is good (it’s expensive at £89, but a little goes a long way).
The eye cream contains diamond dust, which reflects light, improving the appearance of dark circles.
If you’re looking for the sort of cream dermatologists have on their bathroom shelves, try iS Clinical’s Youth Eye Complex. At £82 (which will last for five months), this product comes with a hefty price tag, too, but this light cream rapidly reduces wrinkles, puffiness and dark under-eye circles through a combination of heavy-duty active ingredients including peptides.
A more affordable option is L’Oreal’s new Revitalift Laser Renew Precision Eye Cream (£19.99), which has been praised for tackling all the top eye area issues.
This cream contains caffeine to constrict blood vessels so they become less obvious, hyaluronic acid for hydration (which plumps up the skin, making it less transparent) and an anti-ageing ingredient, Pro-Xylane, to firm skin.
Nothing like it! The best way to keep those circles at bay and make your eyes sparkle is to get eight hours’ sleep
When you’ve done your best with creams and home remedies, but there’s still a shadow below your eyes, do what everyone does, from supermodels to the Duchess of Cambridge, and reach for Yves Saint Laurent’s Touche Eclat complexion highlighter.
There’s a reason why one of these products sells every ten seconds — it works by concealing and has light-reflecting pigment that brightens the whole eye area.
Bobbi Brown’s Creamy Concealer Kit (£23.50, bobbibrown.co.uk) is also effective — it’s easy to apply and comes with setting powder that helps it stay on all day.
It’s available in several different shades, which means you’ll find the perfect one for your skin tone — make sure you don’t make the cardinal sin of applying a concealer that is too light or you’ll end up with what is known in the beauty business as the ‘reverse panda’.
. . . BUT NOTHING BEATS A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP
It might be boring to say so, but nothing beats eight hours’ sleep when it comes to making your eyes sparkle.
‘Getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet and drinking plenty of water will all help your body function at its best,’ says Joanne.
‘That will be reflected in how good your skin and eyes look.’