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Waking up with puffy eyes sucks—they make you look extra-tired, bloated, and generally un-refreshed. Sometimes the protrusion is preventable (ei don’t watch The Notebook) and other times, it’s simply out of our control. The culprit of undereye baggage can be anything from logging one less REM cycle to an extra glass of Riesling. And you may have really needed that Riesling. Alas, there are certain tricks to fix puffy eyes that anyone can harness to mitigate the damage.
Although moisturizing the area with an eye cream and applying concealer can improve the appearance of bags, they don’t tackle the root cause: the accumulation of fluid. For that, you need a more targeted approach. Below, eight tricks to fix puffy eyes in an instant—or, at least until the next bottle of Riesling.
1. A Cold Compress
“Cold compresses are used to constrict blood vessels, which will restrict the flow of fluid into the soft tissue,” explains New York-based dermatologist Dr. Marnie Nussbaum who adds that icing the area under your eyes could also reduce swelling. But don’t go reaching for a generic ice pack—Dr. Nussbaum says that commercial packs are too bulky for this area and you have to be careful of potential chemical leaks.
Instead, opt for a washcloth dipped in water, a towel that’s wet or frozen, a baggie filled with ice that is wrapped with a towel, or—i a pinch—that bag of peas sitting in your freezer.
2. Add Another Pillow to Your Bed
Adding another pillow (even better, try using it with a silk pillowcase) under your head while you sleep could help decrease the chances of you getting puffy eyes in the first place. “Try sleeping on a few pillows if your neck allows, as the head will be slightly elevated which allows for less fluid retention under the eyes,” says Dr. Nussbaum.
3. Pick Your Product
“You should look for products that can cool the eye area and rejuvenate the skin to reduce puffiness,” explains Dr. Nussbaum. New skincare products harness tightening ingredients that yield instant results, unlike the mild immediate effects of a typical eye cream. They almost work like magic, albeit for a contained time period, to deflate bags while tightening your skin.
Bags are caused by a buildup of fluid underneath your eyes, and Mary Kay’s Instant Puffiness Reducer harnesses a combination of sodium silicate, clay and mica that draw out excess moisture and temporarily tone and lift. Clinical tests demonstrate that 96 percent of testers noticed instant depuffing, which lasted for six hours.
4. A Splash of Ice-Cold Water
We’ve talked frozen fixes, but turning to cold water could help, too. If you’ve ever splashed cold water on your face to wake up in the morning, this technique can be a multi-tasker when you’re suffering from puffy eyes in the AM. Dr. Nussbaum notes that this technique will constrict the blood vessels, similar to the cold compress, and reduce the swelling that’s causing you such frustration. Stand in the shower or finish washing your face with an icy blast.
5. Try Some Tea
According to Dr. Nussbaum, soaking chilled green or black tea bags in cold water will help reduce puffiness. “There are antioxidants and caffeine that can help tighten and rejuvenate your skin. These anti-inflammatory properties will increase circulation under your eyes,” says Dr. Nussbaum. There’s also the option of using an herbal tea, so if you don’t have black tea on hand, no worries. Our expert explains that these kinds of teas (think chamomile) include anti-irritants that soothe redness, as well as irritation.
6. The ‘Ol Spa Hack: Cucumbers
Those slices of cucumbers aren’t just a spa cliché. Dr. Nussbaum says that by placing these slices on your lids for about 30 minutes, they can help with swelling, redness, as well as irritation.
“Massaging around your eye can increase circulation around your eye which will relax that area and decrease the puffiness,” explains Dr. Nussbaum. Remember this is a sensitive area, so be kind to your skin with the pressure of your massage. If you frequently wake up to inflamed eyes, a gentle eye roller is a worthy investment.
In a pinch, you might not have your eye roller nearby. Try putting two spoons in the refrigerator before you head to bed. In the morning, place them over your eyes to “depuff” that area. “This will constrict the blood vessels under your eyes to reduce the puffiness,” notes Dr. Nussbaum.