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14 ways to get rid of under-eye dark circles and puffiness without products

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Photo: Stocksy/Guille Faingold

Go into any store’s beauty section, and you’ll find seemingly endless selection of eye creams that claim to get rid of under-eye puffiness and dark circles, AKA the bane of so many early-morning nightmares.

And while great eye products can help (especially if they contain arnica, caffeine, or peptides), there are actually a ton of self-care and holistic remedies that can make a serious difference on your under-eye situation—and most are free.

Here are 14 natural ways to get rid of your under-eye bags and dark circles.

Under eye circles
Photo: Unsplash/Bruno Van der Kraan

1. Give almond oil a try

Dark circles can occur for a myriad of reasons, one of which is dry skin. A compromised, dehydrated under eye area allows the blue and purple blood vessels to show through, showcasing themselves as dark circles. If you’re in need of a hydration to help with this, you’re in luck: The kitchen hero almond oil  doubles as a dark circle demolisher.

“The primary constituents in almond oil that benefit the skin are the fatty acids linoleic and oleic acid,” Heather Wilson, esthetician and director of brand development at InstaNatural tells Byrdie. This helps to hydrate, reduce inflammation, and support the barrier function thanks to high levels of vitamins B and E as well as phytosterols.

2. Use an extra pillow—and sleep on your back

Sometimes under-eye circles are most noticeable when you wake up, and if that’s the case, grab an extra pillow—and rethink your sleeping position.

“If dark, puffy [bags under your eyes] seem to be the morning problem, consider sleeping on your back with an extra pillow so that fluid doesn’t pool overnight,” Rebecca Tung, MD, an Illinois-based dermatologist, told Allure. “Keeping your pillow protected from allergens with a protective encasement can also help when allergies are the culprit.”

3. Sleep more in general

Under-eye bags tend to show up more when you’re lacking sleep, so be sure to get a proper amount of shut-eye.

“The cheapest way to reduce the appearance of under-eye bags is to get on a regular sleep routine of seven to eight hours per day,” Annie Chiu, MD, a California-based dermatologist, told Allure.

4. Eat more celery, asparagus, collard greens, and bananas

The next time you buy groceries, Kimberly Snyder, Well+Good Council member and celeb nutritionist, suggests adding these important fruit and veggies to your shopping cart.

“They balance important electrolytes such as potassium—it controls fluid levels in the body to lessen the puffiness around your eyes, which exacerbates the dark circles—while adding healthy fiber and essential beauty nutrients that help alleviate this specific issue,” Snyder says.

5. Use tea bags

If you’re only using tea bags for a warm and cozy fall beverage, you’re missing out.

Place cooled green tea bags soaked in almond milk or rose water on your closed eyelids for a cool, refreshing treat,” Snyder says. “This will naturally help reduce inflammation around your eyes, relieving those aging signs of fatigue.” Green tea or chamomile are good ones to reach for.

6. Go easy on the salt

It’s tempting to shake a bunch of salt on your meals, but cutting back could help get rid of dark circles. According to Snyder, it’s best to only add a small amount of sea salt to your dish right before eating to avoid taking in too much sodium.

7. Use adaptogens

Adaptogens don’t only help with stress, anxiety, and fatigue—they also help get rid of dark circles.

“I recommend a tea made from ashwagandha to help to relieve the stress in the body that is often a root cause of those nasty dark circles,” Snyder says. “The powerful adaptogenic herb, otherwise known as Indian ginseng, is so rejuvenating.”

8. Try essential oils

Yep, you can even roll your way to puffiness-free eyes. Blending your own essential oil by mixing rose geranium, fennel, lavender, German chamomile, or rosemary with coconut oil, and then applying the mixture under your eyes can help. Just make sure you use small amounts of these active oils on your eye area.

9. Drink lots of water

Staying hydrated will make you feel and look great—you just have to remember to keep drinking all day long to reap the dark-circle–nixing benefits.

“Sip room-temperature water or hot teas throughout the day, as icy beverages can actually inhibit optimal digestion,” Snyder says. “Keeping your body hydrated is arguably the easiest thing you can do for your overall health and beauty—with the least amount of effort.”

10. Take probiotics

Making sure to take probiotics every day can give your skin a boost, helping to get rid of any dark circles.

“A balanced gut microbiome helps to support the absorption of B vitamins, which are also essential to beautiful, healthy skin all around,” Snyder says.

11. Avoid alcohol—especially before bedtime

Bad news, wine lovers: Alcohol—especially when you drink a few hours before bedtime, can mess with your sleep, which, in turn, can lead to under-eye bags. Drink some soothing tea before you hit the sheets instead so you wake up feeling—and looking!—refreshed.

12. Up your vitamin C intake

Vitamin C works wonders on both under-eye puffiness and dark circles, so focus on adding more into your diet through foods with high amounts of it, like bell peppers, broccoli, berries, citrus, pineapple, and cauliflower. The extra vitamins applied topically can help boost your collagen levels.

13. Eat more iron

Getting enough iron in your diet can be a challenge—especially if you don’t eat meat. To make sure you’re not deficient, pop some vitamin B12 and eat foods with a high content, like beans, spinach with a squeeze of lemon, apricots, and peas.

14. DIY lymphatic drainage massage around your eyes

Light massage around the eye helps move trapped fluids that love to settle in this area of the face—ask any facialist. It’s why you look like you slept well after a facial with massage. Use a jade roller or your fingers and DIY it once a week or more.

Try these natural concealers that work on dark circles. But first, here’s what could be causing the pigment—and what you can do about it.

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