A few months ago, a very kindly colleague told me that I had “party girl bags”. Not those bags, you guys! The ones under my eyes.  Yes, this colleague was a man. Yes, I think in the strange parallel universe he lives in, he thought it was a compliment – but that’s another story for another time. You see, in a technical sense, he was right. As this unnamed male colleague so graciously pointed out, I do have bags, otherwise known as dark circles, that seem to change shades like a sleep-deprived mood ring. There’s light blue with eight hours. Seven hours will take me to a stunning shade of lilac. And at five to six, as I am currently clocking, I get a deep shadow, puffy and etched-in, a veritable technicolor of tiredness.

Here, here and here at THE FILE, we’ve been known to eschew eye creams in favour of past times that will give us a more immediate kick, like acid peels and midnight shopping sprees on Net-A-Porter. But in being exposed, as we are, to so many high tech solutions, we’ve had no choice but to see the light. Once I’d had a religious experience with a certain La Mer eye cream, I was done for. And since then, like some kind of cosmetic zealot, I’ve been on a mission to try every mask, cream, serum, oil, and gel, in this existence. I’ve interrogated friends, mothers, strangers in bars, on buses, wherever really. What are real women using? And what do they find really works?

Here’s what I found, here’s what I trialed, and here’s what made it into the hushed realm of the Holy Grail.


Skin Concern: Dehydrated beyond belief 

You need: Apothecary 90291 Reviving Eye Serum

For the longest time, I thought the darkness and dullness around my eyes had nothing to do with dehydration. I often find myself applying three layers of eye cream in the morning, only to somehow have everything dry and dull again by the time I’d run out the door. With the area being particularly thin and sensitive, I was a little worried at first. Generally, oils are a big no-no, but this is the only product I’ve found to really addressed dehydration. Like, really. With ongoing use, the skin around my eyes has become plumper, more nourished, way more hydrated, and by extension, less tired-looking. I also love taking this over the top of my cheekbones and lips for a natural glow.


Skin Concern: Stubborn dark circles

You need: Skinceuticals AOX Eye Gel

If you have “party girl bags” – circles dark like black velvet, only half as sexy – you need a serum packed full of active ingredients. You need a high tech bag-buster that will go hard, increase circulation, drain fluid and brighten. Skinceuticals hits all of those sweet spots with a potent cocktail of L-Ascorbic Acid (that’s Vitamin C), Phloretin, Ferulic Acid, and caffeine. Does it actually work, though? Yes. Especially when applied underneath the Apothecary 90291 oil. So well, in fact, I get anxious the moment I squeeze out the last drop. Side note: during my dark circle recon, the women in my life went on and on and on about Kate Somerville’s Wrinkle Warrior Dark Circle Eraser. Applied nightly, it took less than a week to notice a difference in discoloration.


Skin Concern: Saggy bags and crepey skin

You need: Murad Eye Professional Eye Lift Firming Treatment

How saggy and bloated your bags are has a lot to do with genetics. But if you want to fight the eternal laws of time and gravity, like some kind of cosmetic megalomaniac, you can! And instantly, I might add. This high strength, surface-filling complex contains Hyaluronic acid spheres, zinc and amino acids to refresh, smooth, tighten and lift. Layer it on thick and pop on the provided mask pads to help the good stuff soak right in. Cue new you before an event or night out. We’d also like to shout out to our skincare week award-winner, our worst kept beauty secret, by the one and only Estée Lauder.


Skin Concern: Deep set wrinkles and pigmentation

You need: Even Lom Time Retreat Eye Treatment

As we age, the amount of collagen our body naturally produces drops with each decade. Sad fact, but true fact. Look, we all love the idea of loving the skin we’re in. But while you’re working on that inner strength, try dabbing on a touch of Eve Lom’s super serum packed full of retinol. In case you didn’t already know, retinol is the ingredient you want by your side when fighting wrinkles and a loss of elasticity. FYI, Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic Retinol Eye Cream comes in at an equal first place.


Skin concern: Droopy eyelids

You need: Perricone MD Acyl-Glutathione Eye Lid Serum

I get a little wary of products that claim to lift your lids without needles or surgical knives. But I also get a little wary of said incisory equipment. If you’re toying with the idea of Botox, see what these women had to say, and, as always, do your thing. But if, like me, you’re content with a gentle finger pat, go for Perricone MD. Pronouncing the name of this eyelid serum may be harder than learning French (and believe moi, I’ve tried both), but with consistent use, my sometimes droopy lids look less droopy, more awake, alive.

Now, to feel more alive, I’ll be clearing my schedule and shooting for a solid 8 hours of shut-eye. Over and out, bright-eyed babes.