As a sleep-deprived mom of one, I operate almost exclusively on adrenaline and coffee. On TikTok, I’ve recently seen a lot of videos addressing the very common skin problem of dark under-eye circles. Users sing the praises of an interesting variety of methods, ranging from items you might have in your pantry to fancy makeup products. I put a few of the most viral methods to the test to see what worked when it came to making me look more alert, bright and
My methodology: I’m not a huge makeup person, so I decided to be true to myself when testing these methods. I have a clean but bare face in each photo, other than the suggested product or technique. On the left side is my makeup-free face with moisturizer and sunscreen only; on the right is the product or technique. After trying five methods I found on TikTok, here’s what I discovered.
I’m a huge believer in massage and lymphatic drainage, but I know it takes time and skill to
produce results. My expectations for eye massage changing my bags in one go were next to
none. I massaged my under eye in an upward motion and then in a circular motion as suggested
for 30 seconds, and was pleasantly surprised that there seemed to be a slight brightening under
my eye. I could see how regularly incorporating eye massage into your routine could make a
difference. This is a free and easy option, so I’d be open to trying it again.
You can’t be on beauty TikTok without being hammered with content related to Charlotte Tilbury, the London-based makeup artist who created a line of skincare and cosmetics. People rave about her collection. One such product is Charlotte Tilbury Magic Vanish, a color corrector that allegedly brightens and corrects color pigmentation under your eyes. I dabbed just a little under my eyes and was surprised, given what I’d heard about her products, to find I didn’t like it.
I wasn’t expecting the product to be so matte; I felt like it was an old-school pressed powder, and I didn’t love the texture, especially since my skin is generally dry overall. It brightened my under-eye up some, but not enough to justify the $28 price tag.
Milani is a drugstore brand, and after watching Bethenny Frankel’s side-by-side comparisons of luxury brands to drugstore brands and seeing drugstores win out time and time again in her reviews, I was excited to try the Milani Supercharged Brightening Undereye Tint.
I touched just a little product under my eyes and was blown away; it hydrated my under eyes while making them brighter. It also mostly took away the dark shadow under my eyes. The texture of the tint was creamy and lightweight so it blended easily with my fingers, and I felt like I had an entirely new face after putting it on. Not bad for $11.
The next hack was easy enough to pull off, requiring two ingredients: aloe vera and coffee grounds.
It took a few attempts to find pure aloe vera; I couldn’t find it at the drugstore, but I found it in the produce department of my grocery store. I mixed a glop of aloe vera and about a teaspoon of unused coffee grounds and put the concoction under my eyes.
Then, while waiting for it to do its thing, I made the mistake of reading the comments. So many users commented that if you have hyperpigmentation, you should avoid putting dark coffee grounds on your face because it could make your skin even darker (there’s little research on this, but Medical News Today recommends using coffee grounds to reduce inflammation). I got scared and washed the whole thing off, so I can’t say I gave this one a fair try, but it wasn’t worth the potential damage to me.
After seeing a woman on TikTok with flawless skin use an arnica balm stick on her under eyes, I knew I wanted to try it. (Heads up—I had to order it from a French pharmacy online and it took almost a month to get to me.) I put it in the fridge as she suggested and it felt amazing on my skin, despite there being no improvement after one use.
I could see how habitually using arnica could depuff the under eye area. Arnica has been used for a long time by a variety of cultures because of its ability to reduce swelling and pain. It can be used for bug bites and to curb bruises as well, so I’ll be keeping this one around as a multipurpose stick.
The Milani Supercharged Brightening Undereye Tint was my favorite.
While it would have been nice to have been able to use household items, I think an $11 investment in an immediately brighter-looking appearance is worth it. As someone who wants to look less tired but doesn’t want to have an intense regimen that I need to follow or spend a lot of money on pricey products, this was a home run for me. I’ve added it to my “bare face” routine—I now put it on after my sunscreen has set for just a little face-brightening effect every day.