After landing in hot, hot Chicago, I was welcomed by a prompt swelling of my face. Between the dehydrating flight and the high city temperatures, my body (more specifically my eye bags) decided it was a perfect time to retain water.
Luckily, I always travel prepared with a few multi-function, easy-to-source, beauty ingredients just for times like these. So, for all you out there who battle the bloat, here are a few simple things you can do to bring down puffy eyes. But keep in mind, these little tricks are best for acute puffy eyes (puffiness brought on by lack of sleep, internal heat or dehydration), if you are looking to treat perma-eye bags, its better to start with assessing the healthiness of your kidneys (which control water-metabolism).
1. Witch Hazel Eye Pads – I always pack a witch hazel hydrosol when I travel. Not only is the floral water a nice astringent for any of those change-in-climate break outs, but it also is a natural anti-septic for cuts – and witch hazel is good for potential infections as well as a taking the itch out of pesky insect bites. Fortunately for me, it is also excellent for battling puffy eyes. Simply place cotton pads soaked in witch hazel onto your eyes for 15-20 minutes and its anti-inflammatory, anti-kapha properties will work their magic. Now, it is important to make sure you use a pure, organic source – if you pick some diluted witch hazel from the drug store up, it can either be of poor quality or mixed with alcohol which will dry out and irritate your eyes.
2. A Clay Eye Mask – Yes, I wrote the words “clay” and “eye” in the same turn of phrase. While, you may think that a clay would dry out your eye area, if you use it occasionally and in the proper way, you won’t be making aging yourself in the slightest. Because clay is cooling and purifying, it a great ingredient for calming the skin down. I actually use it mixed in with other masks on irritated skin to take down redness. Acute puffiness is often triggered by heat (whether it be internal heat from poor digestion, colds and flus, or alcohol consumption). Clay is excellent for soothing and drawing out dampness from blemishes, and from my personal experience, it does the same with puffy eyes. It is important not to use a clay which is made by mixing a powder with water, a more mud-like clay with have some moisture in it, and clay masks like the Pure + Simple Detoxifying Green Clay or the Jurlique Nurturing Mask (containing kaolin clay) both have other moisturizing ingredients in them to offset the purifying actions of clay. A sample of clay mask is another thing I travel with, because whether its used as an over-night spot treatment or as an eye mask – it usually is put to good use! If you don’t pack this ahead of time, I would be very surprised if you couldn’t find something comparable at the local health food store – or if a given drug store had a good selection of natural skincare (you don’t want to put icky petro-chemicals etc on your eyes!). Clay is so common everywhere in the world that if you want it, you can find it.
Simply put the clay mask all over the eye area (right over the eye lid), and let it set as you would if doing a mask for the entire face. After its rinsed off, you will find your eye nicely “de-puffed”.
3. Ice ’em – I got this easily from the ice machine which was conveniently located on my hotel room floor (it was fate). You can place ice cubes over the witch hazel compress, or you can do want I did and simply do a bit of eye massage with the ice cubes (as long as your aren’t bothered by holding cold, cold, cubes). Later on into my trip in Chicago, I booked myself a cold stone eye treatment at natural spa The Ruby Room – it simply felt like ices cubes being places in a formation around my eyes. While it felt good in a “beauty is pain” sort of way, you could save yourself the $60 and DIY it with ice cubes. Or if you are uber prepared, you can also ask room service for a couple of spoons and leave them in the mini bar fridge overnight. The next day you can place these on your eyes as your icing treatment, and it will be a lot less fussy because you won’t have to deal with melting ice dripping etc. I heard somewhere that Elizabeth Taylor used to douse her face in ice water in the morning to take down puffiness. Works for Liz, works for me.
Along with these handy tips, its very important to guzzle down as much water as you can. This will cool heat internally, and aid dehydration. The other thing you will want to do is make sure you have good, regular bowel movements. Some puffy eyes can come from constipation, and when accumulated (and dehydrating) wastes are eliminated from the body, inflammation, retention etc is also reduced.
So, don’t be afraid if you easily get affected by a new environment and are prone to edema (water-retention), these on-the-go treatments are simple and easily done almost anywhere in the world.