Dark under-eye circles can be a source of annoyance for many people who experience them. Though they’re commonly thought of as the result of not sleeping well enough, some people find that no matter how much sleep we get, those pesky dark circles are still there!

There’s actually a bit more to dark circles than simply whether or not we’re well-rested. So, let’s explore the cause of under-eye circles and figure out just what they really mean—and if there’s anything we can do about them. (Turns out there is!)

what causes under-eye dark circles?

Contrary to popular belief, dark circles are not just the result of being tired.

The thin skin below our eyes happens to show blood vessels more easily than the thicker skin on the rest of our body. Some people are also genetically predisposed to particularly thin skin below the eyes. And, dark circles tend to worsen as we age and our skin loses elasticity.

Dark circles and under-eye puffiness can be caused or exacerbated by allergies, sinus problems or smoking, all of which affect circulation. (And, because most conventional personal care products contain known allergens, sensitivity to skincare or make-up products may actually contribute to under-eye darkness as well.)

The Best remedies for dark under-eye circles

Fortunately, there are a few simple, natural remedies that can help reduce the underlying causes and appearance of dark circles:

proper nutrition + hydration

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies (particularly iron and vitamins K and B12) can worsen under-eye dark circles by reducing the supply of oxygen to our body tissue and making bluish veins more pronounced. (Note: Iron and B12 in particular can be common deficiencies for vegetarians and vegans.

Gluten and sugar also contribute to the problem, as they’re both inflammatory and inflamed blood vessels are generally more visible.

The most basic way to combat dark circles is to eat a balanced diet rich in whole and anti-inflammatory foods, including plenty of leafy greens (at least a couple servings per day is ideal!).

Dehydration can also make blood vessels more visible through the thin skin below our eyes. So, another simple way to combat dark circles is to stay well hydrated (a general rule of thumb is to drink at least 2/3 of your body weight in ounces of water per day).

It can be especially helpful to stay hydrated with healthy infused water, which also has anti-inflammatory and detoxifying herbs to boot.

sleep well

As we know, lack of sleep can increase the appearance of dark circles—but that can mean either not enough sleep or not the right kind of sleep.

For many health reasons (not just reducing the appearance of dark under-eye circles!), it’s important to establish healthy sleep patterns that get us both the quantity and quality of sleep we need for optimum functioning.

Hack (rather than on your stomach or side), your head will be slightly elevated and less fluid will pool in your face, decreasing the appearance of dark circles.


Stress hormones, which can be caused by lifestyle factors (stressful jobs, hectic schedules) or overconsumption of caffeine/sugar/alcohol, increase swelling in the body, including under the eyes.

As unrelated as it may seem, this means that the appearance of dark under-eye circles can be reduced, in part, by learning to manage stress and keep our body in a relaxed, healthy state. 

almond oil

Sweet almond oil contains vitamin A, an antioxidant effective in treating dark under-eye circles. Vitamin A is also anti-inflammatory and helps to moisturize and soften the delicate under-eye skin. (And, it can be used as a natural eye make-up remover too!)

Before bed each night, gently massage a few drops of almond oil into the skin beneath your eyes. 

For best results, you’ll need to apply almond oil daily. And, a few precautions:

  1. Use sweet almond oil.
  2. Be careful not to get almond oil in your eyes.
  3. Avoid almond oil if you’re pregnant (pregnant women should avoid topical vitamin A in general) or allergic to nuts (it’s made from almonds!).

cold compress

A cold compress can help to reduce under-eye puffiness and dark circles by shrinking the dilated blood vessels causing them.

You can use a cool, damp washcloth, a chilled spoon (put it in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes before using), or a chilled jade facial roller.

gua sha

Gua sha is an ancient Chinese facial therapy that reduces puffiness, aids detoxification, and may reduce the appearance of dark under-eye circles and fine lines. I started Gua sha 5 years ago and use it a few times week…I grabbed one off amazon but it quickly broke so I invested in a couple really great ones and they still work perfectly

Use a carved jade or black gua sha facial tool to gently massage the skin around your eyes:

  1. Apply a gentle oil, like almond oil or vitamin E oil.
  2. Gently sweep the gua sha tool over your under-eye area, all the way out to the hairline at your temple. Repeat three times for each eye.

natural under-eye concealer

Some days, despite the natural remedies above, you may still have noticeable under-eye circles you’d like to conceal. 

The sensitive under-eye area is a notoriously challenging place to apply make-up, as it can easily cake in under-eye creases. It’s best to first use a gentle moisturizer or eye cream (almond oil or vitamin E oil will do the trick too), apply concealer and then set with powder. Gently pat, don’t rub, the concealer into your skin using your ring finger, which is the weakest.

Lastly is the natural remedies are not your thing I use these under eye masks in a pinch and they work like a charm every time.

These innovative masks deliver a burst of hydration and target the look of crow’s feet and dark circles. Powerful ingredients like caffeine, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide work to pamper and depuff the appearance of the delicate eye area, revealing younger-looking eyes.

  • 60 Eye Masks
  • Dermatologist approved, clinically tested, and biodegradable 
  • Leaves eyes looking well-rested in 10-15 minutes
  • Store in the refrigerator for maximum depuffing effect

Grab your masks here