When the going gets rough and the skin gets puffy, you may be tempted to shell out for the latest de-puffing cream or roller thingy in the hopes that it'll get your eye area back on track. Happily, there are a bunch of easy, simple, and natural tricks that you can do (almost!) for free, even if you're in a cabin in the middle of nowhere. Read on for our primer in de-puffage — your in-laws will never know how many hot toddies you had last night.
One of the easiest ways to prevent eye puffiness is to watch the amount of salt in your diet. Avoiding fast food is an obvious one, but we've even seen a difference in our eye area when we overdo it on the soy sauce at a sushi dinner. This tip may seem obvious, but many processed and packaged foods contain a surprising amount of sodium, so read your labels and always opt for low-sodium if you can — or better yet, cook with whole foods so you can control exactly how much seasoning is in your food.
If you do end up overdoing it with the salt (or alcohol, which can also contribute to puffiness in the A.M.), make sure you glug a big glass of water before bed to flush things out.
Even if you avoid the sodium and stay hydrated, sometimes allergies or sleep deprivation can still cause you to wake up with irritated eyes. When this happens, a great natural way to soothe your eyes is — you guessed it — cucumber slices. Hey, they're a cliché for a reason: cucumber's soothing qualities plus its high water content help put you on the fast track to a brighter visage. Simply slice up a cold cuke, lay the slices over your eyes, and relax for 10-15 minutes to reap the de-puffing benefits.
If your puffiness is a little bit more severe, you could shell out for an expensive eye cream with antioxidants and caffeine added in. Or, you could just open your kitchen cabinet and use one of nature's remedies: tea! Both green and black teas have caffeine and antioxidant superpowers, but herbal teas can also be incredibly soothing. Simply steep two tea bags in hot water for a few minutes, allow them to cool, and then place one over each eye — and make sure to enjoy the aromatherapy while you're at it!
If your eyes are burning and itching due to an allergic reaction, cold spoons can constrict irritated blood vessels, reducing redness and swelling at the same time. Simply chill spoons in the refrigerator (for quick chilling, you can use the freezer, but make check the temperature of the spoons on the back of your hand to ensure they aren't too cold), and then place one over each eye, curved side down. The best part about this tip is that it requires no prep work — you can keep two spoons in the fridge so that they're ready to go anytime you need a quick pick-me-up.
A lesser-known solution for puffy, irritated eyes is basic white potato. Potatoes are thought to have astringent qualities — plus, the starch in potatoes can have an anti-inflammatory effect. To reap the benefits, slice up a chilled spud (no need to peel it first) and apply slices to your eyes, swapping out with new, cold slices every 5 minutes or so. It might be a modest proposal, but it's one that works.
Photographed by Tracy Wang