A puffy face is one of the most inconvenient evils. It can’t be solved with heavy-duty concealer or a generous slathering of your most intensive moisturizer. The difference may seem minimal (to everyone else), but when you’re feeling puffier than usual, you see that difference acutely, and you can’t stop seeing it. Whatever the cause—one too many cocktails, gorging on a high-sodium feast, or just staying up past your bedtime (or, as in many cases, some combination of the three)—there is a solution that’ll bring down the bloat. Celebrity aesthetician Joanna Vargas and board-certified dermatologist Dr. Jennifer MacGregor of Union Square Laser Dermatology let us in on their de-puffing secrets.
Keep reading for seven tricks, guaranteed to return your face to its pre-bloat state!
Lymphatic Drainage Massage
Vargas calls the lymphatic drainage massage “a lost art,” but one to rediscover if your face is in need of a little refreshing. To draw away the waste that’s built up in your system, massage your skin in gentle circles. Vargas says to start at the top of your face, massaging around your eyes, and then working down towards your jaw. Be sure to get both sides of your face and neck, too. You can also use tools like a jade roller or gua sha stone instead of your fingers.
Think you should be avoiding coffee to help prevent a puffy face? Not quite, according to MacGregor. "It’s a great pick-me-up and a diuretic that de-puffs in a flash. Many eye creams even contain caffeine to use topically to brighten the eye area and reduce puffiness."
If you're not a coffee person, drink some green tea to kick-start your system. “The additional water will hydrate your body and will flush out your system, while the polyphenols help to attack fat cells and protect the skin against free radical damage,” Vargas says. “Diet-wise, I recommend eating greens at every meal—this will reduce puffiness and bloating, even within the same day.”
Getting your body moving can make all the difference for your bloated face. "When we lay still and flat overnight, swelling accumulates and settles around the eyes. Getting upright and getting some light exercise will help," MacGregor says.
Confirmed: Cucumber slices de-puff eyes. “It's old fashioned, but it works,” Vargas says. “And the silica in the cucumber will help with skin elasticity.” Place some chilled cucumber slices on your eyes, and run an ice cube across your face—you’ll look and feel tighter in minutes.
Embrace the Cold
Speaking of ice cubes, as it turns out, cold temperatures can help de-bloat a puffy face. MacGregor explains that cold constricts blood vessels and reduces swelling. "In winter, you can just go walk outside or use a pack of frozen peas. If you want to get fancy, there are also cold masks, cold rollers, and cold patches that can be applied to puffy areas," she says.
The right skincare products can also help a puffy face, like Joanna Vargas' Daily Serum ($85). Formulated to exfoliate and balance your skin tone, smooth on the serum with a cold jade roller for a complexion that feels and looks more resilient.