Crying is completely natural—at home, during your commute, at the office—and there’s no shame in letting it out. I, for one, am a crier who doesn’t deny her sensitive nature. Crying is cathartic! And it has been shown to be good for your health, so why should I? I’m all about feeling my feelings. That said, crying isn’t exactly the most subtle activity, and maybe I don’t want to let everyone know that I was just sobbing in a supply closet because I just found out that a dog I follow on Instagram has died. The catharsis is great, but dealing with puffy eyes from crying is not. Fortunately, there’s an easy fix for that.
“Cold temperatures constrict blood vessels, preventing the flow of fluid into the tissues,” says Renée Rouleau, celebrity esthetician and founder of her eponymous skin care line. “This should help quickly diminish puffiness in the process.” To target your eyes, she says to use a bag of frozen peas, or even a frozen spoon. “The idea is that anything really cold will be beneficial.” For a puffy face, she says to do a cold water ice splash. “Fill up the bathroom sink with water and ice and splash the skin 10 times,” she says. “It will help to lower the skin’s internal temperature to reduce heat that causes redness, as well as improve puffiness.”
Makeup artist Jenna Menard says that a nude liner on your waterline will also help mitigate the damage from crying. “When we cry we don’t only mess up our makeup but we also create redness on the face which also is a dead giveaway that we’ve been upset in any sort of way. Tracing the water line with a nude liner helps to decrease the redness on the inner part of the eye lid which can help you look more refreshed and less sad,” she says. She recommends Nars High-Pigment Longwear Eyeliner ($24). And then distract by applying a tinted lip product. The key is to find something sheer with a light wash of color. “Go ahead and dab a bit on your cheeks too for a pick me up,” she adds. She likes Yulip Beauty Lipstick ($26). If you know you’re going to be crying, she also recommends wearing waterproof makeup—both mascara and foundation. Oh, and she says to pat your face dry, not rub it as this can smear your makeup.
If your sobbing session is more of the “just found out my ex has a new girlfriend and I’m going to ugly cry myself to sleep” variety, I highly recommend playing Cutting Crew’s “(I Just) Died In Your Arms” while you do so. It won’t make your eyes less puffy but it is a great song to cry to. (And yes, of course I have a Spotify playlist just for crying.)
To prevent puffiness, Rouleau says to keep your head elevated while you sleep. “Sleep on two pillows at night to encourage proper drainage to reduce unnecessary fluid retention in the morning,” she explains. And then hop in the shower the next morning. “Heat from the water dilates (relaxes and opens) lymphatic vessels to help assist with drainage of fluids, wastes, and toxins that build up in the vessels,” Rouleau says. “When you wash your face in the shower and the water is directly hitting you with force, this helps to stimulate excess fluids to move out of the eye area. In addition to the heat helping with the circulation, your vertical position in the shower helps drainage move out of the face area. When you get out of the shower, splash your skin with very cold water to then shrink capillaries to reduce puffiness. So, technically you’re opening up the vessel walls with hot water, and then closing them with cold water.” (A note from me: the shower is also a great place to cry, though I would soundtrack that with some Lana Del Rey or Mazzy Star.)
Rouleau also recommends keeping a gel mask, like her Bio Calm Repair Masque ($50), in the fridge for such sobbing situations. “Gels naturally retain a cooler temperature making them effecting for redness reducing and cooling heat-activated, puffy skin,” she explains.
It’s not like I will ever need to hide the fact that I’ve been crying, since I’ve just told the entire internet that the situations and places I cry in is basically the end of Green Eggs and Ham (I would cry in the rain / and in the dark / and on a train). But for those of you who don’t like to overshare, now you know what to do.
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