No need for a catnap. From home remedies to prescriptions, these quick tricks will make your eyes look rejuvenated in no time at all.
Quick Tricks to Brighten Up
Even if you just got a new haircut and lost 10 pounds, if your eyes look exhausted, that's all anybody will notice. "More than any other facial feature, your eyes reveal the most about how you feel," says Austin, Texas, dermatologist Gregory Nikolaidis, MD.
But sometimes your eyes look tired even when you're not. Dr. Nikolaidis says his patients regularly complain about puffy, swollen eyes and dark circles that won't go away. While lack of sleep is the most obvious cause, allergies, hormonal shifts, genetics, and diet all play a part, as well.
Use a Hydrating Eye Cream
The skin around your eyes is thin and fragile, and if it's dehydrated, fine lines and wrinkles will be exaggerated. Use a moisturizing eye cream morning and night, and you should see a significant improvement almost immediately. Dr. Nikolaidis recommends SkinMedica TNS Eye Repair, $95, if you have both puffiness and wrinkles. It contains a combination of growth factors, peptides, and antioxidants to calm inflammation and fight lines. Garnier Nutritioniste Ultra-Light Anti-Wrinkle Firming Eye Cream, $15.99, is a great option if you want to diminish crow's feet over time. It contains retinol -- a serious wrinkle-fighter -- but it's gentle enough to use around the eyes.
Cut Back on Salt
The same way a salty meal can make your rings feel snug on your fingers, it can inflame the skin around your eyes. "A salty diet can cause puffiness," says Dr. Nikolaidis. And because the skin around the eyes is thin, it's especially prone to water retention. Limit your salt overall -- especially if your eyes tend to get puffy. If it's too late and you've already had the sushi with extra soy sauce, flush out your system in about 12 hours by drinking 8-12 glasses of water over the course of the day. If it was a weekend of too much salt, it could take two days or more of extra hydration to reduce puffiness.
Slice a Potato
You've probably heard of putting cucumber slices on your eyes -- they're great for relieving puffiness and redness. But if dark circles are your biggest concern, try potato slices instead. "Potatoes contain the enzyme catecholase, which acts as a skin lightener," say New York City dermatologist Jeannette Graf, MD. She suggests cutting a potato into thin slices and putting the slices into cool water -- this will keep them crisp and prevent browning. Then, sit back and relax with a cool potato slice on each eye for five minutes. The chilly temperature will calm puffiness, and the potato enzyme will work on your circles.
Get Your Brows Done
Messy or thinning brows can make your eyes look especially tired -- and they can make you appear older overall. “As you age, they can thin out, become coarse and unruly, or turn gray," says Natalie Plain, founder of Billion Dollar Brows. "And just as a new hairstyle can trim away the years, a well-groomed, well-defined brow can lend your face a years-younger look.” Treat yourself to an eyebrow makeover at a spa or salon -- they typically cost just $7-15. Ask for an arch to make you eyes look more open and refreshed. And if your brows are sparse, have them tinted to make them look fuller.
Try a Lash-Enhancing Prescription
Mascara is the golden child of the makeup world, and for good reason: Lush lashes make your eyes look younger and more awake. "We associate full, thick eyelashes with youth," says New Jersey and New York City dermatologist Rebecca Baxt, MD. "Long, thick lashes give you an instant eye-lift without surgery." Dr. Baxt recommends using Latisse, an FDA-approved lash grower. "It’s safe and helps grow lashes longer, lusher and fuller so you don’t even need mascara," she says. You will need a prescription from your doctor. Then, it only takes a minute to apply the product each night, and you'll notice a change in less than 12 weeks.
Fake It with Concealer
If all else fails, makeup can wake up your eyes in five minutes flat. Look for an under-eye concealer with brightening pigments -- they'll diffuse light and blur wrinkles. L'Oreal Visible Lift Serum Absolute Concealer, $12.95, disguises dark cirles while targeting lines with vitamin C and pro-retinol A. Choose a shade that's slightly lighter than the rest of your skin, but not so light that it gives you reverse raccoon eyes. Then, pat it on with the tip of your ring finger -- the warmth from your hands will help the product melt into your skin.