A veteran magazine beauty editor/writer (and a member of the 40+ club), Genevieve Monsma created MediumBlonde to help Gen Xers and Baby Boomers age the way they want.


Best Bets for Bag Deflation

Best Bets for Bag Deflation

My 6 a.m. alarm (thank you very little, back-to-school schedule), combined with fall allergies and a fairly-regular evening glass of wine, have conspired to create chronic morning under-eye puffiness. My Belif First Aid 360 Eye Care Mask (aka my morning eye cream), which I wrote about here, does help (and feels good), but lately it hasn’t been quite enough. So, I’ve been experimenting with treatments that specifically target tired, puffy eyes with promises of deflation, tightening, smoothing and brightening. Here, my three favorites:

When I’m running out the door Dr Brandt No More Baggage De-Puffing Eye Gel

This peach-colored gel (pictured above) goes on like eye cream and feels chilly (in a good way) on the skin. It starts working on contact, using what the brand calls Filmatrix technology (a fancy name for a temporary skin-tightening cocktail of plant and algae extracts) The product chemists also threw in peptides to help with skin firmness and elasticity long-term, as well as caffeine, which boosts blood circulation in the skin. (FYI: Blood pooling in the under-eye is a common cause of swelling and darkness). I assume the product’s peach tint is intended to counteract the appearance of dark circles, but I still tapped concealer on top as it didn't brighten enough for me. The product, otherwise, did not disappoint. Puffiness deflation happened quickly and effectively: By the time the product was dry (after about a minute), and I'd tapped on concealer, I was good to go.                                                  

Verdict This is a fast-acting, everyday solution for mild puffiness. It could also take the place of your a.m. eye cream.

When no one but the dog will see me Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Hydra-Gel Eye Patches

These gooey under-eye patches cling to the skin so, while I was testing them, I was able to sit in my home office, answering emails, writing posts, and ticking off my to-do list. The patches themselves are akin to gummy candy and come saturated in a solution of hyaluronic acid, ceramides, collagen, caffeine and arnica. The first three ingredients smooth, plump and hydrate; the latter two help with swelling and darkness, respectively. It’s also worth noting that this product is fragrance-free, a plus for a contact-lens wearer like me whose eyes are easily irritated.

So how well do they work? Well, they feel amazing. The first time I tried them, I left them on for almost an hour, rather than the recommended ten minutes, because they were so cooling and soothing. Once I took them off, my eyes did indeed look less puffy and my skin also looked smoother and brighter. The results lasted the duration of the day.

Verdict This treatment provided noticeable de-puffing, plus it made my under-eye skin look plumper, smoother and brighter. The time investment (and inability to wear them outside the home) makes these impractical for daily use (even though the package indicates they're safe to use once a day). But I’d take the time to use them on mornings when I’m extra puffy (and can spare ten minutes)—or if I need to revive (and look alive) before heading out for the evening.

When you have time to truly disconnect Talika Eye Decompress

Prepping this product is a little like a seventh-grade science project, so if you’re like me (and slow to start in the morning), make sure you’ve had some coffee first. The process: Take the white cloth “pod” and drop it in the blue de-puffing solution. (I’ve posted a video of this on Instagram if you can’t even begin to picture what I’m describing.) The pod then expands like a child’s bath toy, morphing into an eye mask. The mask covers your eyes completely (think: sleep mask) so this treatment requires you to lay (or at least sit) down while you’re wearing it. I didn’t realize this the first time I tried the treatment, so I just laid down on the rug in my bedroom. And promptly feel asleep. You’ve been warned: Set an alarm.

The solution is comprised of ingredients to hydrate and soothe, and it smells like rosewater (very French). After I peeled it off, I did look better-rested (my accidental twenty-minute nap probably helped too), and my skin looked smoother and plumper.

Verdict While this product feels and smells terrific—and did deliver on the promise of soothing tired skin and shrinking puffiness—I rarely have ten to fifteen minutes to totally tune out the world on a busy work morning. Where I’d use this: while taking a bath in the evening (if I were a person who took baths in the evening), on a  weekend when everyone else in the house is off playing lacrosse, or on a plane if you plan to sleep. Apply before you nod off—and wake looking exceptionally refreshed. 

WORTH NOTING: All three products in this post aim to diminish puffiness (i.e. fluid-related swelling), not permanent bags  caused by something like pronounced under-eye fat pads. To fix that, you need a surgeon.

Darling, You Look Radiant!

Darling, You Look Radiant!

What Works: Brenda Wu, General Manager, SkinCeuticals

What Works: Brenda Wu, General Manager, SkinCeuticals