Too little sleep? Allergies? Overindulgence? Whatever your complaint, these tricks can help.
If the eyes are the windows of the soul, wouldn’t it be great if those windows had nice curtains? But alas, for a host of reasons, our eyes and their immediate surroundings can be quick to show signs of stress and exhaustion. And aside from wanting one’s peepers to look nice and shine brightly, tired puffy eyes simply just don’t feel great.
There are all kinds of very expensive over-the-counter beauty treatments for eyes, but in my experience, few of them are worth it. (Though I did find one that is a bit miraculous, more on that below.) So with all of this in mind, consider these approaches as a first line of defense against puffy and/or dark, tired eyes. Some are novel, some have been used for generations – some will work for some, others for will work others. Take them for a spin and see what happens.
1. Cold compress
Cold things reduce swelling which can be salvation for puffy eyes. Plus, a cold compress on the eyes is very rejuvenating and is almost as good as coffee for waking you up. Use ice wrapped in a soft cloth, a chilled eye mask, a package of frozen vegetables or even a pair of chilled spoons.
2. Chamomile tea
This natural remedy from the granny playbook is a classic one. Has it been proven by science? Not exactly, but chamomile is reported to have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties and subjecting your eyes to a chilled tea bag gives the benefit of a cold compress as well. I like to brew a cup of tea, remove the bag, chill it, and let it rest on my eyes – if nothing else, it is very refreshing and gives a nice second use to old tea bags. (Keep in mind that some people have allergic reactions to chamomile.)
3. Sliced cucumbers
Is there a stock photo of a woman at the spa without cucumbers on her (already) perfect eyes? I’ve always attributed the power of cucumbers to the cold-compress factor, but it’s possible that there are antioxidants at play, which are thought to reduce irritation – or so notes Huffington Post when they explored the topic:
“If puffiness is accompanied by irritation, home remedies like cucumbers or chamomile tea can help reduce the inflammation and swelling,” says dermatologist Dr. Gregory Nikolaidis. “Cucumbers have powerful antioxidants and flavinoids that are thought to reduce irritation. And they need to be chilled for a reason, as he points out that “cold cucumbers or tea bags also work in part by the cooling effects of evaporation, and are best applied for four to five minutes.”
Note: If you remove the peel first they are more comfortable.
Dr. Nikolaidis also says that temporary eye puffiness around the eyes is often caused by a buildup of lymphatic fluid – in which case encouraging lymphatic drainage through massage or exercise “helps more than cosmetic creams.” Exercise, you know how to do that … but here’s a good tutorial on how to properly massage the eyes.
Here’s the one nobody wants to hear. Eat less salty food, drink more water and less alcohol, don’t smoke, do exercise, don’t skimp on sleep. Yawn, I know, but if fresh bright eyes are important, these steps will help. Plus, they are better for overall health.
6. Raw potatoes
I’ve heard about this one for ages; it’s like cucumber slices, but with raw potatoes. Clearly raw potatoes are not as glamorous as raw cucumbers – and their starchy juice is not as pleasant as the fresh scent of cucumber, but people swear by them for reducing puffiness and minimizing dark circles. Slide or grate raw potatoes, place them in cold water and refrigerate until chilled. (Alternately, you could leave a potato in the fridge.) Recline your head and place the cold potato slices (or small shredded piles) directly on your eyes – leave on for 15 to 20 minutes.
7. Chilled eye drops
This may be a bit jarring for some; and I’ve never heard of others doing it, but I love it. Keep a bottle of all-natural eye drops in the refrigerator and treat each eye to a frigid drop while the coffee is brewing. It is so refreshing, like a mini-version of taking a cold shower or going on a brisk morning walk.
8. Eye therapy patches
I don’t believe in miracle products and prefer to make my own, but I stumbled upon a package of Talika Eye Therapy Patches and was actually shocked at how immediately effective they were for me. I have no idea who sold their soul to the devil for this one, but after 30 minutes my eyes are like night and day. They are strips that go under your eyes and are soaked in natural ingredients with a lot of lovely natural oils that are immensely hydrating … and naturally, they cost an arm and a leg. (You can search around and find them cheaper, a pack of six pairs costs around $50, but they can be used three (or more) times each.) The reviews on Amazon are mixed – since I know they work for me, it occurs to me that they work for some and not for others. Granted they are not a simple kitchen cupboard natural remedy, but if they work for you, they can be great for special occasions when all else fails.