Fast Fixes For Tired Eyes
Many makeup artists wax poetic about eyelid primer because it helps eye-shadow go on smoothly and stay put. I agree; those are good things. But the main reason I can’t live without lid primer is that it camouflages red, puffy eyes (today’s swollen, mottled lids are courtesy of staying up past my bedtime to watch last night's debate).
Lid primers are akin to concealers in that they cancel out what you don’t want, such as darkness or redness. They’re also typically skin-colored, or just a tad lighter than your skin tone, which provides a brightening effect and detracts from puffiness. Also, they're safe for use around the eyes—meaning they won’t migrate into your eyes or irritate the delicate skin there—which is not true of all concealers, so I do not recommend subbing in cover-up in place of primer.
I am currently using Votre Vu Lingerie Pour Les Yeux Anti-Aging Eyelid Smoother ($29; votrevu.com), which is available in two shades (I wear Light). I just use my ring finger to tap it over my eyelid and browbone. On many days, I add a swipe of mascara and that’s the extent of my eye makeup. I've also tried and like Trish McEvoy Eye Base ($29; trishmcevoy.com), which comes in five shades (I wear Bare); Kimara Ahnert Eye Fix ($27; kimara.com), available in only one shade and really only appropriate for light to light-medium skin; and Mally Beauty Perfect Prep Eye Primer ($35; mallybeauty.com), which flatters almost any skin tone.
Prefer a non-cosmetic way to combat puffiness (or even better, prevent it)? I recently spoke to Howard Sobel, MD, an NYC dermatologist, about this very topic. Here are his simple strategies to try before bed—or upon awakening:
Put lubricating drops in each eye before you go to bed to keep eyes moist overnight. If your eyes are very dry [common when you’ve stayed up too late], the body will retain water in an effort to combat that moisture loss—and you'll wake up swollen. Try Clear Eyes Pure Relief for Dry Eyes ($11; walmart.com)
Don’t use rich or heavy eye creams because they'll trap water around your eyes, leaving you over-hydrated by morning. (Heavy eye creams can also do this.)
Skip eye creams that are heavily fragranced. Eye skin is delicate and sensitive, and fragrance frequently irritates and causes inflammation.
Forgot to try Sobel's P.M. tricks? Take an anti-inflammatory (e.g. two aspirin or Ibuprofin).
Tap a tiny drop of topical hydrocortirsone cream around the eye (but NOT on the lids) to deflate inflammation. Then use your ring finger to lightly massage under the eyes to get blood (and water) moving and circulating away from your eyes.