How to Reduce the Appearance of Dark Circles

Close up of beautiful woman face with clean fresh skin and points of white moisturizing cream under eye

While dark under eye circles may be the result of one or one too many late nights or nights of interrupted sleep, they can also be genetic. Whatever the cause, you don’t have to go through each day with doom and gloom under your eyes. While you can enlist the help of makeup, mainly concealer, to cover up dark circles, this isn’t actually treating the issue. Confront dark circles and under eye puffiness head-on so you can feel great sans makeup too. There are simple dark circle reducing options that can turn those grey or purple half-moons haunting your reflection back to bright.

Whether you blame work, kids, or Gram & Gramps for your dark circles, the treatment is pretty much the same, but it does help to know understanding why the skin under your eyes looks dark in the first place be it all the time or only sometimes knowing where your dark circles are coming from will help you pick the right combination of treatments for you personally.

Where Do Dark Circles Come From?

Dark eye circles can arise due to sleeplessness and stress, which is when it's simplest to pinpoint the cause. Most of us have woken up after a night or week of little sleep to dark circles under our eyes and immediately know the offender. But this isn’t the only culprit. If you’re feeling well-rested and still seeing shadows in the mirror, your dark circles could be inherited. Everyone’s under-eye skin is thin, but some are thinner than others. The thinner the skin, the more see-through it is, giving the area a darker shade. Additionally, genetics can contribute to increased pigment in the under-eye area that causes it to look dark. More pigment under the eyes can also be the result of sun exposure or excessive rubbing (gentle with the makeup application!) and yet another reason for dark circles to show up.

Wherever your dark circles come from, you can improve them. Here, we outline how to visibly help reduce dark circles with just a few simple skincare and lifestyle changes.

1. Use an Eye Serum

You don’t need a prescription or expensive service to rid your skin of its purple or brown tint. Now, you can achieve lighter under-eyes with simple additions to your skincare routine, namely an eye cream or serum. Because the skin under the eyes is thin, it’s imperative to take good care of it, whether you have dark circles or not. Though there are many benefits of using toner to balance redness or unevenness in skin tone, it is important to apply only the most gentle and specifically formulated products to the delicate under-eye area, whether that be an eye cream or serum. An eye serum will not only treat the area and deliver noticeable results, but also help prevent future darkening of the under-eye area and other unwanted symptoms that cause skin to look older and duller (ahem, wrinkles).

To instantly reduce the appearance of dark circles and brighten the under-eye area, having a great eye serum on hand is key. As its name suggests, our Keep Young And Beautiful™ Instant Brightening Beauty Shot Eye Lift will do the trick. If your dark circles are only temporary or there all of the time due to increased pigment, this gel-serum will both instantly brighten them and work overtime to brighten them more thanks to ingredients like Tuberose White Flower Cell Extract and Hyaluronic Acid. Though Hyaluronic Acid for blemishes is becoming more commonplace today, Sodium Hyaluronate also keeps the under-eye skin hydrated, which means more plump, less sallow under-eyes.

But wait, there’s more. Another great thing about this gel-serum is that it not only diminishes the appearance of dark circles but also of fine lines and crow’s feet around the eye (a must for any eye serum or cream!). What about puffiness, you ask? It tackles that too. This way you can enjoy a glass of wine or two without having to worry about puffy eyes in the morning. Basically, after using an eye serum or cream such as this one for any length of time, you won’t want to be caught without it.

2. Try a Retinol

Retinol is a many-trick pony with a host of benefits for the skin, one of which being its ability to improve dark circles. Additionally, it can improve the look of fine lines, wrinkles and reduce hyperpigmentation - the root of the problem to dark under eye circles. Products containing retinol such leaves the skin more plump and firm.

Using a microneedling tool is another (albeit more expensive) way to stimulate firmness in the face and under-eye area to improve dark circles. However, consider trying a retinol serum first, as this can be a much safer option for reducing the appearance of hyperpigmentation under the eye area.

3. Wear a Hat or Sunglasses to Protect from Sun Rays

Dark circles can be the result of hyperpigmentation from the sun, so consider wearing a hat or sunglasses to protect your under eye area from harsh rays. While sunscreen should be worn on your face on a daily basis, protecting your face with a hat or sunglasses is crucial not to skip, especially if your skin is susceptible to sunburns. If you’re looking to incorporate a gently formuled sunscreen in addition to wearing a hat or sunglasses outside, try the Clean Screen mineral sunscreen with SPF 30.

4. Get Better Sleep

Sleep affects your skin immensely and the lack of it is one of the main causes of dark under eye circles. A crucial step to reducing dark circles is to try to get enough sleep. We get it, this is a big ask for new moms, early-to-workers, jet-lag fighting travelers, and all the other busy bees out there, but sleep has to be a priority to achieve lasting results. If getting a better night’s sleep is difficult for you, consider using our & Now to Sleep Pillow Spray, designed with sleep-enhancing properties to help achieve a relaxing night of sleep.

In addition to the amount of sleep you’re getting, the quality is also integral to visibly reduce dark circles. Take a good look at your pillowcase and the way you sleep (on your back, side, or stomach) and consider making some changes. If you’re smothering your face by sleeping on your stomach, or allergic to your pillowcase or laundry detergent, you could be causing dark circles to form. While it could take time to get used to sleeping differently, swapping your pillow, pillowcase, or detergent for a gentler, hypoallergenic variety is an easy fix.

5. Be Kind to Your Eyes

So, be kind to your eyes...and yourself. Dark circles are a part of life. We all have and will have some days, or many, where we wake up with them. While the reasons will vary, it’s unlikely to rid dark circles from our lives forever. If you got them from playing games late into the night with friends, or passed down from your parents who probably gave you a lot of great traits too, or because your baby needed you at 3am, or you name it, they’re probably worth it.

The great news is you can have your cake and still eat it too. The appearance of dark circles and under eye bags can visibly be reduced and improved with proper skincare, health, and sleep. With these tips in your tool kit, there will be fewer tired looking days ahead, and when looking more awake can make us feel more awake, you’ll be amazed what you can do.


  1. Allure: How to get rid of undereye circles
  2. Huffpost: The Importance of Collagen
  3. Byrdie: How to get rid of Dark Circles

About the Author

Camille Poggi is a doctor in Pharmacy (PharmD.) and is passionate about skincare and how the skin works in general. She specializes in the cosmetic industry and worked for renowned companies in France like L’Oréal and Chanel before moving to London. After being a training manager for 4 years, Camille is at ease with explaining how products work in the skin and how to adapt her speech according to the audience.

She joined REN in January 2020 as International Training Manager and moved to the Research & Development team earlier this year to be the new Scientific Education Manager. A tailored-made role where she assesses and leads all technical communication and ensures scientific compliance is always met. She’s also involved in new product development from the earliest stages. Finding a way to create sustainable skincare products and making sure the message is properly delivered and understood is definitely a big challenge but also her favorite part working for REN.