Tips & Products To Disguise Tired Looking Red Puffy Eyes

Author: Charlotte O'Shea

You may suffer from redness around your eyes due to eczema flare ups (me too) or perhaps you are pink and puffy during hay fever season (yep, me too) maybe a few glasses of wine is all it takes for your peepers to appear bloodshot and bleary (bloody hell, me too) or maybe pregnancy hormones for some reason beyond your comprehension or control, have meant that you wake up every day looking as though you have spent the previous evening crying intensely or had some kind of severe allergic reaction to to your own bed. Yes you guessed it….ME TOO.

I can just about deal with the water retention, the unsexy waddle and the moon face, but the state of the windows to my soul had left me fed up and not wanting to leave the house. Or at least only in dark glasses and a big hat.

Rather than wallow in my vanity, I have instead been researching and testing methods and products that will help to combat or at least disguise redness and puffiness and assist in making your eyes appear more sparkly and clear. I hope you find the tips useful and I would love to hear some of your own advice and experiences in the comments box below.

Use A Cold Compress {or in my case, SPOONS}

I have kept teaspoons in the freezer ever since I was a teenager. James thinks it’s hilarious. But honestly – for a quick reduction of eyelid swelling, nothing works quite as well as the pressing the cold oval part of the spoon over your closed eye for a minute or two. I sometimes press the handle underneath my lower lash line to take away any puffiness in the bag/dark shadow area too.

Apply A Flesh Toned Liner On The Lower Eyelid Rim

This is not a new trick, it’s as old as time, but one that I used to ignore as it just seemed like yet another step to my make-up routine that I don’t have time for. Realistically it takes seconds, and a flesh/pale eyeliner inside your lower eyelid rim REALLY reduces the appearance of redness. Your eyes also appear slightly bigger. The dogs whatsits of lower rim pencils is Charlotte Tilburys Rock N Kohl Eye Cheat, it doesn’t irritate and even though it’s fairly spendy, it lasts forever.

A close second is NYX Wonder pencil in “Light”. It’s slightly chalkier but again doesn’t irritate at all and is a bargain £4.50.

Use Eyecream {Applied Sparingly}

Along with irritated redness often comes flaky dryness which makes concealer look well…a bit crepey and shit. I am a huge fan of Bobbi Brown Extra Repair Eye Cream but you only need the teeniest amount. I press it on gently – never rub, and let it sink in for a good ten minutes whilst I’m brushing my teeth and getting dressed before I would consider applying make-up over the top.

For those of you with normal/combination skin types who require a less intense product, my sister, my Mum and various online beauty gurus swear by organic brand Antipodes Kiwi Seed Oil eye cream, it is light and refreshing but creates a smooth hydrated base.

Apply Yellow Based Eyelid Primer

For summer months and for those of you who don’t suffer with flakes, Bare Minerals “Well Rested” brightening powder works really well to counter act pink hues, blue veins and general unevenness on your lids. I’ve used it on and off for years. I brush a tiny bit on with a regular concealer brush and extend it right underneath my brows, it also works well as a base for eyeshadow and liner.

More recently (and more suited to parched types) I have discovered Benefit Air Patrol BB Cream Eyelid Primer which is A.Mazing. My eyeshadow looks so smooth and my whole eye area appears less knackered looking. The packaging gets some getting used to (more gimmick than practicality) but if you invest in some I promise that a) you won’t regret it b) just squeeze a very small amount from the tube and you will prevent clogging/mess.

Both products come with SPF20 – a must for the thin delicate skin around the eye area.

Use Hydrating Eye Drops BEFORE Bed

I found this tip in Good Housekeeping magazine and it works, apparently dehydrated eye glands accumulate fluid which causes puffiness so a few drops before bed means significantly less swelling by morning. Genius.

Sweep A Gold/Champagne Shadow Underneath Your Lower Lash Line

Another trick I have used for years, I don’t really know why it works to make you look fresher and more awake but it does. I use an angled eyeliner brush to sweep shimmery shadow from the inner corners across to the outer corners of my lower lash line.

I favour Urban Decay Half Baked for its longevity but there are many of these types of shades available at a variety of price points. And if you own an eye palette of any kind I guarantee there will be a champagne hue in there you can try.

And Voila! less red, less puffy, and more looking like you. Product recommendations most welcome in the comments section below.

  • Benefit BB Cream Eyelid Primer
    Benefit BB Cream Eyelid Primer
  • Urban Decay Half Baked
    Urban Decay Eyeshadow, Half Baked
  • Bobbi Brown Extra Eye Repair Cream
    Bobbi Brown Extra Eye Repair Cream
  • bareMinerals Well-Rested® Eye Brightener SPF 20
    bareMinerals Well-Rested® Eye Brightener SPF 20
  • Charlotte Tilbury Rock 'N' Kohl Liquid Eyeliner Pencil, Eye Cheat
    Charlotte Tilbury Rock 'N' Kohl Liquid Eyeliner Pencil, Eye Cheat
Purveyor of short shorts. Make-up junkie. Hopes to grow old disgracefully.
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18 thoughts on “Tips & Products To Disguise Tired Looking Red Puffy Eyes

  1. It’s interesting to hear you recommend Bobbi Brown extra repair eye cream Charlotte – I have terrible eczema around my eyelids and after a year long flare up when I couldn’t wear any make up/constantly looked awful and like I had a black eye 😱 it’s finally under control so I’m ready to risk products again. I’ve heard wonders about this cream but I was nervous about it being too strong on sensitive skin, but it’s good that you find it ok. Maybe time to try it! Thanks 😊

    1. Hi K, I would try it very sparingly – and ask for a sample pot before you commit to buy, they are usually pretty generous at the Bobbi Brown counter. But yes it is literally one of the only ones I can use and I’ve tried LOADS.

      For eczema flare ups on my lids I use a tiny amount of Aveeno cream until I have it all under control. Did you find out what was causing yours? x

      1. A type of fungus (grim!) but it meant that once I finally found a GP willing to investigate and prescribe something other than temporary fix harsh steroids, there was actually a treatment. Still very sensitive though so I’ve got to be careful and as a result don’t tend to wear any eye make up, but could do with something. Good tip about the sample, I’ll pop to the counter next time I’m in town.

        1. Oh K that sounds uncomfortable, I’m glad you found a treatment. I don’t blame you for giving eye make-up a miss for a while, perhaps introduce one product at a time and just wear for a few hours to see how you get on. On the subject of Bobbi Brown, their Everything mascara doesn’t irritate my skin or lenses at all – it’s very gentle. As is Avene eye make-up remover gel (no fragrance or oils), have a butchers next time you are in Boots x

  2. I suffer with eczema around my eyes. When I made not using anything prescribed by my Dr I use vaseline as my eyes are so dry and also really like becca under eye corrector before concealer as you then don’t need to use as much concealer. Concealer wise I like clarins instant concealer and nars radiant creamy. X

    1. HI Gina! Thanks for the product tips, I also use vaseline sometimes, I dab a little bit on extra dry patches before bed. I’ll have a look into the Becca corrector, sounds fab x

    2. Gina – I’m a big fan of all three of these products too, so I’ll second the recommendations Charlotte! Especially the Becca corrector, just had baby no. 2 and am finding it great at faking non-knackered eyes!

  3. He’s so going to kill me for writing this, but Gavin struggles big time with a very dry and flaky eye area. His trick? Disposable refrigerated fake cucumber eye patches. Usually found in cheap chemists and doubtful if they actually contain any *real* cucumber.
    But honestly, he’s tried a stupid amount of things over the years and a 10 min lie down with these on (and subsequently rubbed around the eye) immediately followed up by his usual moisturiser is his sworn by technique.
    Quite hilarious to watch, even more hilarious when he’s in a local chemist buying 10 packets 🙂

    1. Naomi, I have never heard of this before but I’ve just googled it and they look amazing if not a little odd! I’m going to give them a try. Thanks

    2. Naomi these sound amazing!!!! I have never heard of them before either – but if they work then they work x

  4. The ordinary caffeine eccg works amazing for getting rid of dark circles under my eyes plus so cheap worth a go

        1. Thanks for coming back Emma, I will give it a whirl – maybe on one eye first to test sensitivity (also to see if it works compared to the other eye ha!) xx

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