The correlation between excess and appearance when it comes to beauty is pretty clear: chain-smoke and pay for it with damaged skin and stained teeth (or something far more deadly); sunbake and get wrinkles and sun spot (ditto on the deadly bit). But what I've never understood is how you can have a whole week of early nights and still wake up with dark circles.
Everything from kidney conditions and allergies to depression, fatigue and ageing are blamed for the dark welts we sometimes wake up with. Getting rid of them depends on the cause; camouflaging them is much easier.
Come in concealer - and primer. According to Michael Ashton, the genius Kiwi makeup artist responsible for Adele's look, the best way to get concealer to lock in is to use a primer rather than powder. A good primer like Smashbox's Photo Finish Under Eye Primer ($55) won't cause creasing and caking; whereas powder can.
Brush primer underneath your eye and pat in gently with a fingertip. Any face primer will do, but Smashbox's comes with optical brighteners and a good mix of anti-ageing antioxidants and anti-irritants specially formulated for the eye area.
Now apply concealer (in a shade subtly lighter than your skin tone) under the eye, right up to the lower lashes. You can use a brush or fingertip but don't forget the most important area - the innermost corner of the eye, which is the most recessed and therefore the part of the face that appears the darkest. If you feel you need the extra insurance of powder, apply a fine translucent product, very lightly.
THREE CONCEALERS TO TRY:
1. Australis BrightEyes Illuminating Under Eye Concealer ($15)
. Well-priced and silky, this eye-brightener comes in two shades - Banana, which is good for banishing correcting redness, and Musk, a salmon-pink option best for bluish-grey circles.
2. If you're a fan of the mineral - or natural - option, try Jane Iredale's Active Light Under-Eye Concealer ($54.65). It isn't cheap but it does boast 10 under-eye benefits - hydration, dark circles, puffiness, radiance, fine lines and wrinkles, texture, skin tone, age spots, clarity and soothing - and also comes in six shades.
3. Well regarded for its longevity, Revlon's ColorStay Under Eye Concealer ($28.50) is a lightweight product with plant extracts that nourish and protect the skin.
Read the label: Caffeine
Why look for it:
Used in everything from body scrubs and anti-cellulite creams (don't expect miracles) to high-end face creams and hydrating spritzes, caffeine is a common ingredient in skincare.
How it works: Caffeine helps blood flow to the skin as well as working as a diuretic, hence its inclusion in skin-firming creams and those designed to reduce puffiness under the eyes. It's also an antioxidant, which is why it's often found in anti-ageing products.
Find it in:
Elizabeth Arden Flawless Finish Everyday Perfection Bouncy Makeup ($79), Clarins Instant Concealer ($50), and Trilogy Firming Body Lotion ($30).