’round these parts, the holidays are all about the four F’s — food, fun, friends and family — but there’s a fifth F, a special holiday F, and it’s rarely talked about in polite company.
The holidays — gotta love ’em. Don’t get me wrong: I cherish this time of year, but it does place demands on us that can leave us feeling stressed.
I always look forward to the family get-togethers. For the most part, everyone gets along, but every family has its moments. Having so many people with so much history all under the same roof can start to feel like a pressure cooker, and if someone ends up crying, it’s usually me.
I’ve sobbed before, during and after many family feasts. Ah, the joys of being an overly sensitive soul…
There’s always a silver lining, though, even to tears. Now, I have a pretty decent arsenal of tips and tricks to deal with puffy eyes, and most of them can be done for little to no money using products you may already have around the house.
1. An oldie but a goodie
Ah, the time-honored cold compress… Simple, effective and soothing, and one of my favorite fast ways to reduce swelling around the eyes.
I wet a washcloth or a small towel, wring it out, and place it in the fridge or freezer for 10 minutes to get it nice and cold. Then, I close my eyes, place the cloth across my lids, and chill out somewhere comfy for a while. The cool compress constricts the blood vessels in the area to diminish the puffiness right away (within a few minutes).
2. Spoon, man
I picked up this trick from my granny, one of the most stylish ladies at senior bingo night, and a pre-World War II beauty pageant queen. Chill four teaspoons in the fridge (I feel that the freezer makes the spoons too cold); when they’re nice and cold, remove two of them, and place them curved side down on your eyes. When the spoons don’t feel cold anymore, put those two back in the fridge, and replace them with the second pair. Repeat until you’re de-puffed!
3. Make time for tea
El Hub once told me that if he ever becomes a rap megastar, as unlikely as that is, he would like to be called “Old Dirty Tea Bag,” but I digress…
Black tea bags (with caffeine) contain tannins which can be helpful for puffy eyes, while the caffeine constricts dilated capillaries to whisk the puff away. I usually squeeze most of the liquid from the bags so that it doesn’t drip down my neck, and then I chill them in the fridge, and place one on each eye.
Sometimes I also use herbal tea bags (without caffeine), and I think they also work pretty well.
4. Cut the cucumbers
I always feel a little silly when I wear a salad on my eyes, but dagnabbit if sliced cucumbers aren’t one of the best ways to pacify puffy eyes.
Cucumbers contain a natural astringent and have a high water content. When chilled, that water keeps them cold longer. I like to use several thin slices on each eye, as opposed to one thick slice, and mold them into the shape I want.
I also think they smell so refreshing and soothing…and when I’m done (as long as I’m not wearing any makeup), instant snack!
5. Latch on liquid liner
One of my favorite tricks! This one came about after a mini-nervous breakdown I had a few years back.
After I de-puff, I like to apply a thick cat line along my upper lash line. It doesn’t actually reduce swelling, but I think it does draw attention away from it.
Finish with a bit of concealer and mascara, and you’re ready again to face the day.
For more help handling the changing seasons, check out…
Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,