Some of the first signs of aging appear around the eyes. While you can conveniently purchase commercially manufactured products at cosmetics and prescription counters -- sometimes at a hefty price -- you can also make effective natural remedies at home for little or no cost.
Refreshing Cucumber Gel
Cucumbers may be the best-known natural benefit for skin around the eyes. The technique of placing chilled cucumber slices over each eye is an inexpensive and effective way to quickly make tired, puffy eye-area skin look firmer and rejuvenated. For a naturally hydrating, cooling and astringent gel that can be used morning or evening, stir together 1 tspn. of fresh cucumber juice, 1 tbsp. of aloe vera gel and 1/4 tspn. of cornstarch; heat until boiling; then remove from heat and stir in 1 tbsp. of witch hazel. As the mixture cools, it will gel. Gently pat a little under each eye, and store the remainder in a jar in a cool place for future use.
If so, it can be a boon to bags and puffiness under the eyes. Use whole milk because its fat is soothing and hydrating. Pour cold milk in a small bowl, dip cotton balls in, gently squeeze out excess milk and place the flattened balls over puffy areas. Repeat with fresh cotton balls when the ones you’re using turn warm. This simple process can take down swelling in less than an hour, partly because the cold milk helps constrict blood vessels and reduce inflammation.
You don’t have to drink tea to get its health benefits. Tea leaves contain caffeine and a substance called tannin, which when applied directly help soothe and tighten skin and decrease puffiness. Steep a couple of tea bags in warm water, squeeze away excessive liquid and then place the bags over your eyes for about 20 minutes. Refrigerating the tea bags until they are cool before use can also help reduce puffiness. While any tea variety will do, chamomile is relaxing and herbal varieties add aromatic benefits to the treatment.
An Herb That Brightens
An herb that grows wild across the British Isles, eyebright’s dried leaves can -- as its name implies -- help brighten eyes. A simple recipe consists of pouring 1 1/2 cups of boiling water over 2 tbsp. of dried eyebright leaves. Let it steep for about 15 minutes, strain it and then refrigerate the liquid until cool. Using cotton balls, apply the liquid to the skin around the eyes. It soothes and brightens tired peepers.
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LaMont Jones was an award-winning fashion and beauty editor for a decade at the "Pittsburgh Post-Gazette." A five-time nominator and judge of the CFDA Awards, he covers New York Fashion Week regularly. Jones is a 2011 inductee into the Pittsburgh Fashion Hall of Fame and coaches fashion models.