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How To Get Rid Of Under Eye Circles
Essential Takeaways
Although dark circles and under eye bags can pop up for a variety of reasons, you can show them the door by simply increasing your water intake, decreasing your salt and alcohol consumption, and adding in a rainbow of fruits and vegetables. But, since chips and wine can also make life more fun, if you can’t cut back there, seek out a few clean, vegan, and cruelty-free products to add to your arsenal on days when you need them most. After all, balance is the best beauty hack there is.

How To Get Rid Of Under Eye Circles

Dark under eye circles and bags are one of nature’s rudest gifts. Though we lump them together because both appear in the tear trough area under the eye, they are technically two different things: circles pertain to discoloration that can be caused by genetics, hyperpigmentation, or a lack of restful sleep; bags are caused by diet, allergies or illness, and, once again, genetics and fatigue.

But, both getting and treating dark circles and puffy under eye bags caused by swelling go hand-in-hand.

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What causes under eye circles?

A lack of sleep is the most obvious culprit. But restless sleep—like when you’re sick, after drinking too much alcohol, or have sleep apnea—can also disrupt the skin under the eyes. Puffiness is exacerbated by gravity from lying down, from sleeping in makeup (oops!), allergies, and any eye rubbing.

Genes can also play a part in dark circles and under eye bags. Some of us have larger fat pockets or weak skin, inherited from our ancestors. Others experience a faster loss of collagen, the magic protein that keeps skin tight. Age and diet can also be culprits in fluid buildup. Sorry.

That said, we can easily avoid things that make our under eyes look worse, plus add items to the routine to improve the look and the health of our under eye skin.

How does diet impact under eye skin?

Most of us know that alcohol can impact both sleep and hydration, but did you know that salt in the diet can lead to puffy skin along the jawline and especially in the under eye area? Sodium is an electrolyte that’s absolutely necessary to maintain blood pressure, which is why the body loves to hold onto sodium that comes from the food we eat. Our bodies do this by retaining fluids, which leads to puffiness and, yep, under eye bags. Sodium is naturally present in many foods and in water, which is yet another reason why hydrating like a boss is the best idea for overall health and for beauty!

Two women with cucumbers on their eyes to help with under eye circles.

What else can we eat to support our skin and decrease the presence of dark under eye circles or bags? Vitamins and minerals, friends. The body typically has an easier time absorbing nutrients found in food than in supplements. So, eat up!

  • Vitamin A
    Vitamin A is excellent for us, inside and out. The oranger the food, the better. Think carrots, papaya, mango, and sweet potatoes.
  • Vitamin B12
    Omnivores will have the easiest time eating foods rich in B12—mollusks and clams have the highest occurring and easily absorbed amounts—but vegans and vegetarians will find it easy to ingest via umami-rich nutritional yeast (yeah, nooch!) and seaweed (also called nori).
  • Vitamin C
    I know it seems like we sing the praises of Vitamin C A LOT, but with good reason! Though citrus may seem like the most obvious vehicle for Vitamin C, you’ll also snag this cutie by consuming tomatoes, cucumber, watermelon, peppers and leafy green veggies.
  • Vitamin E
    Go nuts to grab Vitamin E, which is prevalent in tree nuts like hazelnuts, almonds, and pecans. Allergic? Think sunflower seeds and again those leafy greens, like swiss chard or beet greens, turnip greens, collard greens, mustard greens … If it ends in “greens,” it’s excellent in E.
  • Vitamin K
    Get your Vitamin K in broccoli, brussels sprouts and spinach, but also tomatoes. You might not be as familiar with Vitamin K, but this badass is necessary for the blood and bruising, which includes, yep, you guessed it, the blood vessels under the eyes that often become dark circles.
  • Iron
    Another friend to the blood is iron. Foods like spinach, lentils, and pumpkin seeds are rich with iron.

Treatments for dark under eye circles

Besides diet and drinking water, if you can’t get more sleep (because if you could, you would), downtime is a good place to start when treating dark under eye circles. Whether you call it downtime or self-care, pull a cucumber out of the fridge and cut two cold slices; set a 10-minute timer and rest your eyes while the coolness of the cukes deflates swelling and the natural Vitamin E softens, protects, and repairs the surface.

A women applying eye cream for under eye circles.

Other hot, er cold, tips include brewing green tea and saving the used, gently wrung-out bags in the fridge for a similar eye treatment. Green tea contains both caffeine and antioxidants, one of which firms and tightens and the other provides skin protection and healing. We also like keeping a plain old gel mask in the fridge or spoons for fast, cooling and de-puffing power.

Other options include topicals, like serums and eye creams, as well as more invasive procedures, like non-animal-derived hyaluronic acid fillers. Fillers have a number of cons, however, including the expense, recovery time, bruising, and temporality. When it comes to the cheaper, easier, and far more accessible beauty product, look for ingredients that tighten, moisturize, improve texture, provide protection, and otherwise help build better skin in the long run. These include aloe vera, caffeine, ceramides, niacinamide, Vitamin A—nature’s retinol, y’all— and Vitamin C.

Best vegan and clean beauty products for under eye bags

You know we love a good vegan and clean beauty product! Find a new fave in our marketplace or sign up for a monthly Kinder Beauty box to check out cruelty-free products, hand-selected by our team and offered at a deep discount.

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Some of the best we’ve tried for under eye circles and bags include:

  1. Fleur & Bee Eyes Eyes Baby Anti-Aging Eye Cream
    We love this eye cream so much, we’ve included it in several past Kinder Beauty boxes. It has several of the ingredients mentioned above, plus moisturizing squalane and peptides that boost collagen production.
  2. Franklin & Whitman Vitamin C Eye Serum
    A soothing ball roller helps this serum glide onto sad under eyes to treat them with brightening Vitamin C, moisturizing chamomile, and soothing arnica that not only encourages healing blood flow for bruises but also for treating dark circles.
  3. Athar’a Pure Moroccan Coffee Eye Cream
    With a double boost of caffeine, this eye cream also has moisturizing shea butter and avocado oil. Plus, everything on the ingredient list is easily recognizable so you’ll know exactly what’s going on your face.
  4. LAMAV Firming Eye Lotion
    Australian brand LAMAV is a vegan favorite Down-under and aimed at the wrinkles and fine lines that pop up under middle-aged and older eyes. Wakame, a type of sea algae, not only firms but also encourages collagen production and moisture retention.
  5. Earth Harbor Aqua Aura Reparative Eye Creme
    Closer to home, this eye cream also contains seaweed and is another Kinder Beauty favorite. We’ve featured it in past beauty boxes because it targets all the challenges facing eyes: dark circles, firmness, wrinkles, and hydration.

Final Thoughts

Although dark circles and under eye bags can pop up for a variety of reasons, you can show them the door by simply increasing your water intake, decreasing your salt and alcohol consumption, and adding in a rainbow of fruits and vegetables. But, since chips and wine can also make life more fun, if you can’t cut back there, seek out a few clean, vegan, and cruelty-free products to add to your arsenal on days when you need them most. After all, balance is the best beauty hack there is.

Leah M. Charney (she/her) is sassy yet classy and is always seeking a beauty routine to match. She delights in both the science and aesthetics of the clean beauty movement.

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