There's a reason your mascara always looks smudged under your eye and it's called 'periorbital veins'.


This wonderful nugget of beauty wisdom comes courtesy of Mamamia’s beauty podcast, You BeautyTo ensure you never miss an episode, listen to You Beauty here for free. It’s a blast.

Of all the annoying beauty conundrums out there (it’s a tough life), eye makeup smudging all over your eye bags wins first prize.

Or second if you always seem to end up with lipstick across your face, but that’s a tale for another day. Back to dark smudges underneath your eyes.

Never mind those precious minutes carefully spent concealing your dark circles, only to have old mate mascara gunk swoop in and mess it all up. Who doesn’t love re-doing their concealer again and again throughout the day?

Sure, sometimes, a shaky hand, a bad product or rogue bottom lashes are to blame. But, as it turns out, there’s a reason your mascara or eyeliner looks smudged under your eye that has nothing to do with your makeup skills.

As Mamamia’s executive editor and beauty journalist Leigh Campbell explained on the You Beauty podcast, this annoying eyeliner/mascara smudge is actually… a vein. (Listen to the full episode of You Beauty below, post continues after audio.)

“They’re called periorbital veins, I only have it under my left eye. I was forever trying to conceal it and thinking ‘God dammit, my mascara or eyeliner is smudging my concealer’, then I realised it’s a vein,” she said.

So what exactly are periorbital veins, and can you get rid of them or cover them up? Here’s what you need to know.


What are periorbital veins?

Periorbital veins are small blue-ish facial veins that can stretch right underneath the eye area.

While they aren’t a health concern – they provide blood supply to the eye – for people with fair skin or thin skin under the eyes, they can make the under eye area look darker. See below for an example of what periorbital veins can look like.


Treatment for periorbital veins.

Leigh explains there are a two cosmetic procedures you can have to either remove periorbital veins, or reduce their appearance significantly.

1. Sclerotherapy.

“Sclerotherapy isn’t a very common treatment [for periorbital veins]. They basically inject the vein, they don’t make an incision or cut anywhere near your eye to remove it. The blood is redirected and the vein ‘dies’ and collapses, and then it’s metabolised by the body. It’s a bit extreme for me, but I understand if it’s something that bothers you,” Leigh said.

“Do a lot of research before you do anything near your eye, make sure you’re going to a person who knows what they’re doing.”

2. Tear trough filler.

Another option is tear trough filler, which Leigh herself has had twice.

By plumping the area underneath the thin skin of your under eye area, essentially lifting it up, veins can become less pronounced.

Leigh added, “They fill the circle under your eye with a hyaluronic acid filler that just plumps the area out. It won’t get rid of the vein, but it stops the area looking so sallow and purple. It hurts, but it works. Do not do it without numbing cream.”

Again, always do your research and see a reputable doctor or specialist.

How to cover periorbital veins.

If sclerotherapy or tear trough filler doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, you can also use this nifty concealer trick to cover periorbital veins.

“Another option is colour correcting. When I can be bothered, I will colour correct before applying concealer. Orange-based concealers, the pinky red ones, are the opposite of blue and purple on the colour wheel,” Leigh said.


“Use a tiny bit of an orange/peach colour corrector on the area where the vein is and let that dry. Then, apply a highly pigmented concealer, but just where the dark vein is. Set that with a little bit of subtle powder, and use your regular concealer everywhere else.”

Side note – for more concealer tricks, watch our resident makeup artist Nat Wright share her under eye concealer wisdom below. Post continues after video.

Video by MMC

You Beauty Cheat Sheet.

Other questions Leigh and Kelly answered, as well as their ‘spendys’ and ‘saveys’ (and where you can buy them). Got a question for the You Beauty podcast? Email or call the Mamamia pod phone on (02) 8999 9386.

‘I started getting lash extensions a few years ago and now I’m addicted. I’ve heard they’ll ruin my real lashes – is that true and should I be taking breaks?’

  • Your lashes have a very similar growth cycle to the hair on the rest of your body, approximately two to three months.
  • The growth cycle works in three phases: growth, a middle phase where they stay put, and when they fall out.
  • Lash extensions do damage your lashes, but only the lashes you’ve got at that time – they can’t damage your lashes permanently, but it’s kind of like acrylics, some damage will occur.
  • Whenever you decide to get lash extensions removed or let them fall off naturally, you’ve got about two or three months before your new, undamaged lashes come through.
  • If you’re trying to wean yourself off lash extensions, you can use a lash serum (read more about lash serums on our previous episode of You Beauty).
  • Castor oil might also help, but there are no proven studies. It can’t hurt, but only apply a tiny amount of castor oil with a Q-tip to avoid getting oil in your eye.
  • Tips for how to care for lash extensions:
    • Don’t pull, tug or rub your eyes.
    • Don’t wear mascara over the top of eyelash extensions.
    • Comb them very gently everyday with a spoolie (a naked mascara wand) to keep them in shape.
  • Bottom line: the more your care for lash extensions, the less they’ll damage your natural lashes.

Kelly’s Savey: NYX Professional Makeup That’s The Point Eyeliner in Hella Fine, $16.95.

Image: Priceline.

Why she loves it:

  • You can find this at most pharmacies for under $10.
  • It's a liquid liner, and it has the thinnest tip you'll ever find for precise winged eyeliner right at the lash line.
  • The colour is very black and opaque, it's a great savey alternative to expensive liquid eyeliners.

Leigh's Savey: Nude by Nature Beach Glow Liquid Highlighter in Sunshine, $21.95.

Image: Nude By Nature.

Why she loves it:

  • This highlighter comes in a wand with a doe foot applicator, and looks like a lip gloss.
  • It's a beautiful yellow gold liquid highlighter that's flattering on all skin tones.
  • Swipe and tap on your cheekbones for a natural glow.
  • The formula is dewy-looking, but it dries down flat so you won't feel sticky.

Kelly's Spendy: Ouai Hair Oil, $43.

Image: Sephora.

Why she loves it:

  • This product comes in a tiny bottle, but Kelly reckons it's worth it.
  • Ouai is Jen Atkin's product range - she's a celebrity hairstylist to the likes of the Kardashians, Chrissy Teigen, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Bella Hadid etc.
  • It's a lovely oil for the ends of your hair, apply in damp hair only on your mid-lengths to ends.
  • Doesn't feel greasy and smells so good, but not too overpowering.

Leigh's Spendy: Aussie Bombshell Gradual Tan, $39.

Image: Aussie Bombshell.

Why she loves it:

  • Leigh enjoys a gradual tan because it's more forgiving when you have dry skin.
  • Aussie Bombshell is an Australian company, and their formulas are paraben-free and fragrance-free.
  • This looks and feels like a nourishing moisturiser - apply before bed and when you wake up in the morning, you'll be nice and golden.
  • No transfer on your sheets, and it has the slight fake tan smell that every fake tan has.

Until next time, folks.

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