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 13 natural ways to get rid of your under-eye bags and dark circles.
1. 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.”
2. 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.
3. Eat more celery, asparagus, collard greens, and bananas
“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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.”
7. 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.
8. 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.”
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. 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.
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