What can I do to make my eyes less puffy and lighten my dark circles?
The most obvious answer: enough sleep and exercise to give your body's circulatory system a boost. Those are the most effective ways to get rid of swelling and dark circles.
However, if the cause of your dark circles and puffy eyes is genetic - or due to a medical condition - there is only so much you can do about it with cosmetics and skincare.
Eye concealers help to a certain extent. Get one that suits your skin tone - ask for help at beauty counters, if necessary.
For those with puffiness and darkness around the eyes that are a result of a hectic lifestyle, there are many options to treat the problems.
Swiss beauty gadget manufacturer Foreo recently launched the Iris Illuminating Eye Massager (photo 1, $139, from Sephora stores). The silicone gadget - which is to be placed on closed eyes - gently pulsates with sonic vibrations to relax the eyes. It comes with eight speeds. Use the ergonomic gadget on eyes after applying serum or on top of an eye sheet mask. It is waterproof.
Cle de Peau Beaute's new Synactif Eye Care products do not come cheap (photo 2, $750 for a 20g bottle of eye cream and six sheets of masks, from Cle de Peau Beaute counters), but they will last for six to eight weeks and are potent. Use the cream twice daily and the mask once a week.
For an intensive treatment, apply the cream around the eyes, then put on the thick sheet mask that is slathered with serum.
Together, the products claim to boost the purification functions of the lymphatic vessels around the eyes to reduce puffiness, as well as improve the elasticity and skin tone in those areas, lifting the eye contours.
There are more affordable eye mask options. They include Suisse Programme's Collagex Premier Eye Renewing Mask set, which also comes with a complementary eye serum ($215, from Sasa stores); CNP Cosmetics Hydrogel Eye Lifting Patch ($14.80, from selected Guardian stores); and Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Eye Mask (photo 3, $99, from Sephora stores).
Looking for an eye cream or gel? A range of new and innovative formulas was launched in the last couple of months.
Talika's Eye Detox (photo 4, $85, from Sephora stores) is said to boost circulation and treat dark under eye circles on Asians. It contains a brown algae extract that supposedly lightens the dark pigments around Asian eyes.
According to a Talika spokesman, the dark circles caused by broken capillaries and micro-circulatory issues look blue-ish on fair Caucasian skin. Asian skin contains more melanin-producing cells, so dark circles are more obvious.
Shiseido's new Ultimune Eye Power Infusing Eye Concentrate (photo 5, $98, from Shiseido counters, is an extension of the brand's popular skin immunity- boosting Ultimune serum and it is made to strengthen the skin on the eye areas, so it looks younger.
The Clinique Smart Custom- Repair Eye Treatment (photo 6, $79, from Clinique counters), too, is a product extension of the label's award-winning Clinique Smart Serum. It is made to brighten, contour, firm and plump skin.
There are also formulas that claim to make eyes look wider, by tightening and increasing the density of the skin.
These include Dior's Capture Totale 360 Light-Up Open-Up Replenishing Eye Serum (photo 7, $150, from Dior counters), and Kiehl's Super Multi-Corrective Eye-Opening Serum ($72, from Kiehl's counters).
For richer creams that will help eye make-up sit better on skin, try the luxurious Sulwhasoo TimeTreasure Renovating Eye Cream EX (photo 8, $338, from Sulwhasoo counters); Infinity Kose Eye Cream Prestigious (photo 9, $175, from Kose counters); the illuminating Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Eye Cream (photo 10, $69, from the Fresh boutique and Sephora stores); hydrating Laura Mercier Flawless Skin Eyedration ($69, from Laura Mercier counters); as well as Ettusais Premium Amino Eye Serum ($40, from Ettusais counters).
Apply eye cream in gentle tapping motions with your ring finger because it is the weakest of the fingers) so you do not pull on the fine skin and inadvertently cause more wrinkles to appear.