We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.

Things to remember

Whether you’re going through a tough breakup or have another difficult situation that’s bringing you down, crying is a part of life. It’s an emotional response unique to humans. It may have even developed to help with survival.

Still, the puffy, red eyes you get after a crying session don’t have to bring your mood down any further. Keep reading to learn how you can quickly ease your symptoms and stock up on products to help next time you’re in a bind.

When you cry, fluid congregates in the eyelids and around the eye area. Reducing the swelling is all about cooling and moving the fluid away from the eyes.

1. Apply a cold compress

A cold compress can help reduce swelling. Simply grab a clean washcloth and wet it with cool water. Sit up in bed or in a comfortable chair. Apply the wet washcloth to the skin under and around your eyes for a few minutes, using gentle pressure.

2. Apply cucumber slices or tea bags

Cucumber slices can also help soothe puffy eyes and reduce swelling, but you have to have a refrigerated cucumber on hand. If you do, wash your cucumber before cutting two 1/4-inch slices off. You can save the rest of the cucumber for later. Keep the slices on your eyelids until they’re no longer cool.

The idea with using tea bags is all about caffeine. Most varieties of black tea contain caffeine, and there’s some evidence that it can penetrate the skin, ease puffiness, and increase circulation. To try this method, wet two tea bags, refrigerate for 20 minutes, and then place them on your eyes for 15 to 30 minutes.

3. Gently tap or massage the area to stimulate blood flow

You can work to increase blood flow to the affected area by gently tapping or massaging around your eyes.

To do this:

  1. Work the pressure points in your brow for a few seconds before sweeping your fingers from the inside corner of your eye outward. This helps drain that area that’s inflamed.
  2. Then tap at your sinuses using two fingers on each hand, starting on either side of your nose and working outward. You may even feel fluid moving in this area.
  3. It’s all about moving fluid, so you may also want to gently massage the lymph nodes in your neck. Work in a downward motion, away from your face.
  4. Continue for about 3 minutes, and repeat as needed.

4. Apply witch hazel

You may have witch hazel hanging around in your medicine cabinets. This astringent helps with inflammation and redness, making it a good choice to combat puffy eyes. To use, apply witch hazel to a cotton pad and apply the pad to your eye area for 5 to 10 minutes.

Popular, alcohol-free witch hazel brands include Thayers, T.N. Dickinson’s, and Quinn’s.

5. Use an eye roller

Eye cooling gels that are applied using a metal roller ball can also help with inflammation.

The First Aid Beauty Detox Eye Roller gets solid reviews and uses caffeine in its formula to have a similar effect as tea bags. A higher-end option is Clinique’s All About Eyes Serum. It describes its application as a “mini massage” that both cools and hydrates.

Apply by holding the product much like you would an eye pencil. Sweep it back and forth on the affected area to massage in.

6. Apply a chilled face cream or serum

Again, cooling down the eye area can help reduce puffiness by constricting blood vessels. Try chilling your favorite face cream or other products, like eye cream, before applying.

The Body Shop’s Soothing Night Cream is gel-based and lightweight. It also contains calming aloe.

Organys Rejuvenating Eye Cream is a best seller for its ability to fight dark circles and puffiness. It’s also organic and not tested on animals.

The redness you experience after a good cry comes from the blood vessels in your eyes. Constricting the vessels is the only way to completely ease the redness. You can also use makeup to create a similar effect.

7. Use eye drops

Eye drops can be used to help with anything from dryness to supplementing your natural tear production. Other varieties use vasoconstrictors to help with the redness you experience with crying or allergies. To avoid further irritation, try choosing preservative-free solutions that contain fewer additives.

Most formulas aren’t recommended for people who wear contact lens, so read labels carefully and consider taking out your lenses before using.

To use these products, apply one or two drops into your eyes up to four times a day:

8. Tightline with blue eyeliner

Navy blue eyeliner has long been used to enhance the whites of the eyes. A tightline is a technique that’s similar to tracing the waterline. It’s sometimes called “invisible eyeliner” because it simulates the natural area of darkness in your lash line.

To do this, take blue eyeliner — L’Oreal’s Infallible Eyeliner in Navy is a good choice — and wiggle it along your lash line. You may need to do a “dot-dash” to get the whole way across.

Stila’s Smudge Stick Eyeliner in midnight blue or bluefin is another good option, and it’s also waterproof.

9. Apply color-correcting concealer

The skin under your eyes may darken after crying. You may also have redness around your nose or other spots on your face. A good concealer can help mask these telltale signs and give you a refreshed look by color-correcting.

Look for a green concealer to help neutralize redness. Green is opposite red on the color wheel, leading the two colors to cancel out. You can apply concealer to affected areas and blend well using your fingers or a beauty blender.

Highly rated concealers include Maybelline’s Green Cover Stick and IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Redness Neutralizing Cream.

For all-over color correction, consider using a powder like Physicians Formula Mineral Powder to lightly cover the whole face.

10. Apply color elsewhere

Pink colors on other areas of your face may detract from redness around your eyes and nose. To do this, try using blush on your cheeks and a rosy shade on your lips.

Apply blush to the apples of your cheeks after you’ve finished putting on concealer and foundation. You can apply lip color throughout the day if it wears off.

HAN Skin Cosmetics Natural Cheek and Lip Tint does double duty, as it can be used as both blush and lip color. Best Organic Cheek Tint is a vegan option that can also be used on lips.

Along with puffiness and redness, your eyes may feel dry after crying. Not only that, but your whole face — especially the skin under and around your eyes — may also feel dry. Rehydrating your body and your skin should help bring back moisture.

11. Drink water

Grab a tall glass of water and keep drinking. Water infuses your whole body with hydration. Although you may have heard that you should drink eight glasses of water a day, experts now recommend 15.5 cups for men and 11.5 cups for women. That’s a lot of water, so consider that this amount includes all fluids from drinks and foods.

If you don’t like plain water, you might try squeezing in a bit of lemon. There are also fruit infuser water bottles that let you insert your favorite fruit to flavor your water.

Another option to add taste is using all-natural water flavor enhancers. Stur, for example, is sugar-free, calorie-free, and also contains antioxidants.

12. Cleanse with moisturizing face wash

Use a face wash that won’t strip away moisture and dry out skin even more. CeraVe Moisturizing Face Cleanser removes dirt and makeup from skin while maintaining its protective barrier. This formula was developed by dermatologists and is also noncomedogenic, phthalate-free, and fluoride-free.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cleanser is another hydrating wash you can find at most drugstores. It contains hyaluronic acid that increases skin’s hydration and “locks” it in. This brand is also recommended by dermatologists.

Each product has its own instructions, so read the package labels carefully. Washing in the morning and at night is enough. Use lukewarm water and your fingertips and gently pat dry with a soft towel.

13. Apply a moisturizer

Once you’ve finished cleansing your skin, apply a moisturizer straight away. Doing so will help further lock in moisture. You’ll want to look for a kind that’s meant for normal-to-dry skin and doesn’t have any acne-fighting ingredients, like salicylic acid.

CeraVe is, again, a popular choice. It gets good marks for its long-lasting 24-hour power and hyaluronic acid content. Era Organics is a more natural option that contains aloe vera, manuka honey, coconut oil, and vitamins, among other organic ingredients.

These methods should help ease your symptoms after a good cry. They may help you feel a bit better, too. Self-care and love are important in times of sadness or stress. Take time for yourself each day — even if it’s only for a few minutes.

Better yet, talk out your thoughts or just unwind with a trusted friend or family member. A professional therapist is another good option. They can help you sort out your feelings and prescribe medication if needed. Just remember that you don’t have to go through whatever you’re facing alone.