Waking up with puffy eyes sucks—they make you look extra-tired, bloated, and generally un-refreshed—and the day after going HAM on turkey, stuffing, pie, and (lots of) wine, it’s a safe bet your under-eye area’s looking anything but sleek.
Here, 8 tricks to fix puffy eyes in an instant—or, at least the leftovers come out.
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 wash cloth 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.
Add Another Pillow to Your Bed
Adding another pillow 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.
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.
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.
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.
Pick Your Product
“You should look for products that can cool the eye area and rejuvenate the skin to reduce puffiness. Product options may include a cream or a gel. Products with anti-inflammatory ingredients, caffeine, and antioxidants will be helpful in reducing puffiness,” explains Dr. Nussbaum. (We love Clinique All About Eyes Serum De-Puffing Eye Massage, $30, which has a cooling metal applicator.)
If you’re looking for a product that promotes youthful looking skin in general, Dr. Nussbaum says that she points her clients to eye creams or night creams that incorporate vitamin E and vitamin B, as well as natural antioxidants.
“The active ingredients found in Q10 fight free radicals– products like Sebamed Age Defence Q10 Lifting Eye Cream, work to prevent them from breaking down the skin’s elastin and collagen in the skin, resulting in more youthful, healthier skin.” She notes that CQ10 is a catalyst that activates the skin cell’s oxygen metabolism, which in turn protects elasticity and minimizes fine lines.
This one requires some prep. 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.