The culprit: The eye area is full of muscles, so every smile, frown, and squint causes the skin to wrinkle up. As collagen deep in the skin decreases over time, those wrinkles don't go away. If your skin is dry, they may be more noticeable.
Use an eye cream, either in the morning or at night. "Choose one with ingredients that are proven to protect collagen," recommends Heidi Waldorf, a dermatologist in New York City. (Skip plain eye creams that only moisturize, since they don't do much to help wrinkles.)
For daytime, go for one that contains peptides to stimulate collagen growth and antioxidants to fight collagen breakdown. Be sure it contains a sunscreen. If you prefer to use eye cream at night, pick one with retinol, which many doctors consider one of the best ingredients to reduce the signs of aging.
Keep wrinkled skin free of concealer, as it can settle into lines and make them more noticeable. "Draw attention elsewhere by applying three tiny dots of eye highlighting cream at the inner corners of your eyes and along the tops of your cheekbones," says Matin, a makeup artist in New York City. Tap into the skin with a fingertip.
As for shadows and liners, stick with matte.
Products to Try:
Murad Essential-C Eye Cream SPF 15, $69, murad.com.
Roc Retinol Correxion Eye Cream, $23, at drugstores.
Smashbox Photo Op Under Eye Brightener, $20, sephora.com.
The culprit: Most likely, it’s fluid retention. When you eat salty foods or drink a lot of alcohol, your body can draw extra fluids into its tissues and hold them in. The fluids can pool under your eyes, causing puffiness.
Apply a cold compress to your eyes for 10 minutes. "The cold brings swelling down," says James R. Lyons, a plastic surgeon in Westport, Connecticut. Good choices include chilled teaspoons, a sliced cucumber, or cold, wet tea bags.
Follow with a firming eye cream that contains caffeine. "This ingredient is a vasoconstrictor, so it helps expel fluid from cells in the skin and depuffs quickly," says Audrey Kunin, a dermatologist in Kansas City, Missouri, and the founder of Dermadoctor.com.
Define your brows with a brow pencil, then use a taupe or brown liner with a touch of eye-brightening shimmer along the upper lashes.
Smudge the liner with a cotton swab to soften it. Add two coats of mascara to the top lashes, then apply a single light coat to the bottom lashes. Whatever you do, don't apply concealer directly on top of puffy bags. "If you do, you'll make the puffiness stand out even more," says makeup artist Matin.
The culprit: That purply color is usually caused by dark veins showing through. Some people have genetically thinner and more see-through skin under their eyes, but skin also becomes increasingly translucent as collagen decreases with age. Dark circles can also form when the tiny channels inside veins under the eyes weaken over time; this causes the veins to dilate and the blood inside to pool. A lack of sleep can make blood vessels dilate, too.
Use an eye cream to plump skin from the outside, which will make the veins underneath a little less visible. Choose one with subtle light-reflecting pigments to further brighten the area and gentle skin-lightening ingredients, such as kojic acid and vitamin K.
Opt for a concealer with a yellow undertone, which neutralizes the purple tone of dark circles. Apply concealer with a thin makeup brush. Start at the inner corners, where the circles are darkest, and gently pat outward to where darkness fades, usually about halfway across the lower lids. Tap gently with a finger to blend.
Avoid plum and blue eye shadows, which accentuate circles, and stick to neutral colors, such as taupe and mocha.