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Do people often tell you that you look tired? Not only is that totally rude, but it’s so disheartening, especially when you know it’s because of those dark circles that never seem to go away. While getting enough sleep will definitely help, many people with dark circles get eight hours of beauty sleep a night and still wake up looking tired.

Well, there are ways to banish darkness from under your eyes and most of them don’t involve concealer! (Of course, concealer and makeup can help.) Here are four ways to treat and get rid of dark circles under your eyes, plus step-by-step instructions for concealing them with makeup.

Treat allergies

Do you have seasonal allergies or allergies that last all year long? Congestion can lead to dark circles by causing swelling and creating inflammation of blood vessels under your eyes. If you very gently pull on the skin beneath your eyes and the colour doesn’t change, the culprit may be allergies or congestion. If the colour gets darker, your problem may be genetic. Treat allergies with an antihistamine that will clear congestion and relieve inflammation.

Relieve congestion

Even if allergies aren’t your problem, a bit of a cold could lead to dark circles. A stuffy nose can prevent fluid from draining from around your eyes, causing the veins to swell and look darker. Try using a nasal spray or neti pot (pouring a saline solution into your nasal cavities and letting it drain) to relieve pressure and stuffiness.

Prevent blood vessel pooling

It sounds more gross than it actually is. If your dark circles are caused by a vascular problem, it means that your circulation may be slower than normal (sometimes caused by lack of sleep) or that you’re just a veiny person. Are other veins more noticeable under your skin?

To improve the look of dark circles, try adding more pillows beneath your head at night to prevent blood from pooling under eyes. Apply a cold compress in the morning to help constrict veins. You may also want to invest in an eye cream that contains caffeine to achieve the same constricting effect. Try: Kiehl’s Eye Alert, $32, kiehls.ca

Use an eye cream

Sometimes dark circles are more apparent because of thin or very fair skin that is almost translucent, showing the blue and purple veins beneath the skin. Combat this problem using a nourishing, collagen-boosting eye cream that will strengthen thin skin while improving brightness in the eye area. Try: Clinique All About Eyes Rich cream, $37 for 0.5ml, sephora.com

Wear makeup

Even if some of the techniques above are effective at diminishing dark circles, a touch of foundation and concealer can’t hurt, right? The key to covering circles and having it look natural is using the right colour and only applying concealer to the dark circles — not the whole under eye area.

First, apply an eye cream and let it set for 30 seconds to a minute. Then, apply your eye makeup and remove any fallen eyeshadow or mascara smudges from beneath eyes. If your dark circles look worse after applying makeup, not doing a thorough clean up of the area could be part of the problem.

Next, apply your usual foundation all over your face. If you don’t wear foundation, then skip this step and go right to concealer application. Now on to concealer. Your concealer should match your skin and not be two shades lighter. Really. That reverse racoon look is not hiding your circles, it’s only making them look worse and more noticeable. Take your skin tone concealer and gently pat it onto your dark circle — and only the circle — with your ring finger. You can also use a small brush. Next, blend the concealer using a small sponge. You’ll be amazed at the difference this trick can make. Try: M.A.C Select Cover-Up, $23, maccosmetics.com

If you find most concealers to be too heavy and don’t wear much (or any) foundation on a daily basis, you might be better off using a foundation with buildable coverage instead of a concealer. Try: Nars Pure Radiant Tinted moisturizer SPF 30, $49, sephora.com