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Arnica: Eye cream’s unsung hero

Magic-sounding ingredients abound in eye creams that promise to de-puff, unwrinkle, and lighten dark circles. But one simple ingredient may actually do the trick.

natural eye creamMagic-sounding ingredients abound in eye creams that promise to de-puff, unwrinkle, and lighten dark circles.

One simple ingredient that may actually do something for these skin-care woes? Arnica montana, a decidedly low-profile botanical that’s widely used in homeopathic medicine for bruising and massage oil for sore muscles.

How it works? Anti-inflammatory arnica is one of the best known herbs for dispersing trapped fluids, which is why we use it in our Restorative Eye Creme, explains Tata Harper, the formulator-founder of the luxury natural line, who also grows the herb on her Vermont farm. “It works by stimulating the activity of white blood cells to relieve congestion, thereby reducing under-eye bags,” says Harper.

And when it disperses some of the red blood cells pooled beneath thin under-eye skin, dark circles can disappear, too. (What also works on dark circles? Getting eight hours of sleep, cutting back on certain foods like salt, sugar, alcohol, and gluten, and adding green tea and green juice to your diet.)

If your skin is crepey and dry, choose an eye cream with arnica. Though in summer, an under-eye gel feels great, particularly if you stash it in the fridge. —Melisse Gelula

eye cream
Tata Harper Restorative Eye Creme

Where to find it:

Tata Harper Restorative Eye Creme, $90,

Lily B Multi-Action Rescue Ultra Eye Cream, $42.50,

Jurlique Herbal Recovery Eye Gel, $48,