Tips and tricks – and the best make-up products – to hide tired eyes

Laura Kennedy: In an ideal world, we would get the sleep we need – but if you’ve had a bad night, these gels, creams and concealers work wonders

In an ideal world, we’d get the sleep we need. I can imagine the guffaws emitting from a variety of people reading that sentence. Any parent of small children. People who work nights. People undergoing stressful life changes or health issues. Even people who are just a bit hungover, or who (like me) make other regrettable life decisions, as I did last Wednesday evening. I lost half a night’s sleep to indigestion when, convinced that I’m “still kind of young”, I decided to eat a toasted cheese sandwich at 10pm. There I lay, the scythe of death himself looming over me as my digestive system taught me a lesson in both age and humility.

The next morning, my husband greeted me when I reeled into the kitchen with words a man will only say to his wife 10 years in: “Are you sick? Your eyes look all dark and sunken.” The question hit me like a chilled water balloon to the (tired) face. “Ah,” I thought, “what a day to have to take a new passport photo.”

The cavernous eye sockets, the cheese sandwich, the indecorous husband – all of these are choices I’ve knowingly made. There was nothing I could do about the sandwich. I explained polite restrictions around human conversation to my husband, and for the tired eyes I went straight to what I think of as “firefighting products”.

Now look, there’s nothing wrong with being tired, or looking it. It happens to all of us for good reasons and bad (ill-considered cheese sandwiches, for example). However, when I look tired but would prefer not to – special occasions, interviews, new passport photo day – I want products that will simply erase the visual evidence of my bad choices. That day, I wanted a face that did not say “I was kept awake most of the night by cheese”. However, these products also help if you want eyes that don’t say “My hay fever may go away by September but it’s taking me with it” or “I have a cold and am only attending this meeting in body”.


Eye gels are a secret weapon on a puffy-eye morning, and great to have on hand. Patchology Flashpatch Rejuvenating Eye Gels (€16 for five at are excellent for travel (post-flight eye puff is a real thing), but you can get 30 pairs of them in a tub if you want them solely for at-home use. Keep them in the fridge and whack them on to instantly hydrate and plump slightly greyish, shook-looking under eyes. The cool sensation alone is a balm to an underslept head.

They prep your canvas so that applying concealer won’t feel like dragging grout across a bathroom wall in readiness for new tiles. Apply your eye cream of choice for a bit of slip – I love REN Radiance Brightening Dark Circle Eye Cream (€51 at Space NK) and then go in with a corrector. Huda Beauty #FauxFilter Colour Corrector in Pink Pomelo (€31 at Brown Thomas) is a real heavy hitter. Its very pink tone will counteract those blue-purple rings. Be careful though – it’s very pigmented and can leave you looking slightly orange if you overuse it. Just a dot blended over the dark area will cover anything from financial crime to dark circles, but keep in mind that corrector doesn’t match your skin tone, so it needs concealer applied over the top. If you can find it, Beauty Pie Superluminous Under-eye Genius in Light/Medium is another brilliant corrector – creamy and bright, it covers all manner of under-eye darkness and brings lightness to shadowy areas. Unfortunately, Beauty Pie doesn’t ship to Ireland, but the corrector can often be found on Amazon for about €20.

Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer (€33 at remains my favourite concealer for both blemishes and under-eye darkness. It is the perfect melding of matt and creamy, so it stays put but doesn’t settle, slip or look chalky. It’s my most repurchased product by far.

Laura Kennedy

Laura Kennedy

Laura Kennedy is a contributor to The Irish Times