not a professional. just crazy.

The Affordable Cream That Brightens and Conceals My Under-Eye Circles

The author wearing no under-eye makeup, just her Ole Henriksen Banana Brightening Creme. Photo: Rio Vierra-Newton

When it comes to moisturizing dehydrated winter under eyes, there are a number of creams I turn to for relief. Cosrx’s Honey Ceramide Eye Cream and Mario Badescu’s Hyaluronic Eye Cream both do a great job at locking in moisture and prepping the skin for concealer. But as much as I love both of these products, neither does the thing I care about most: actively improving my dark circles.

When I first tested out Drunk Elephant’s C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream a couple of months ago, I found that my dark under eyes (like the dark spots on my chin) respond really well to vitamin C. The product softened that deep blue pigment under my eyes, and it became my go-to eye-brightening trick for nearly half a year.

But then I found a new (and frankly, much better) vitamin C–infused cream. It’s called the Banana Brightening Creme, by cult favorite skin-care company Ole Henriksen (beloved by Allure editors and Naomi Campbell). At $38, almost half the price of my Drunk Elephant ex, this eye cream (which is made with potent aloe juice and green tea extracts) not only hydrated and moisturized my undereyes, but it really, really brightened things up. What’s most exciting about the product is how its effects work long term and short: The vitamin C helps, with frequent use, to brighten up the darkness under your eyes, and a mysterious “special pigment” ingredient (that’s how it’s listed on the bottle, I swear!) works to immediately color-correct blue pigments, like a very subtle concealer. On days where I don’t want to wear any makeup at all, this eye cream is perfect — it both moisturizes and makes me look less like the walking dead. And if you do want to wear makeup, here’s some even better news: The consistency of the product is slightly tacky, meaning any concealer applied on top adheres super-easily. What I’ve found, in other words, is that using it will prolong the life of your under-eye concealer.

I’ve been using this product twice a day, (once in the morning, once in the evening, after applying my moisturizer) for about four months now, and can’t tell you how much I’ve fallen in love with it. I’ve noticed a big change in my dark circles (less corpse-like, more French), and it’s become my go-to under-eye prep.

Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Creme

Other Rio-approved under-eye products

IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer

If you really struggle with dark under eyes, this concealer is well worth trying. It’s extremely pigmented and infused with vitamins that reduce the appearance of dark circles and discoloration, so you’re both concealing and actively treating your under eyes throughout the day. Be careful though — it’s extremely pigmented on my light skin (make sure to find the right tone), so a little goes a long way.

Kiehls Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado

This eye mask is super-hydrating and slightly pigmented. It’s worth trying if you want a little bit of lift to your eyes but don’t necessarily feel like putting on concealer.

Gold & Snail Hydrogel Eye Patch

As Rio has said before, “This is my favorite under-eye product, and don’t make me tell you again why I love snail so much! Its regenerative properties not only work wonders on blemish scars, but also help with any kind of hyperpigmentation, including dark under-eye circles.”

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My New Favorite Under-Eye Cream Erases Dark Circles