You’ve let it all out, and now it’s time to pull yourself together. These expert tips will take your face from blotchy red to ready for work, whether you have 10 minutes or 10 hours.

By Jenny Jin
Updated February 14, 2020
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A swollen face, a bright red nose, and puffy eyes from crying are all a dead giveaway that you aren’t feeling your best. There’s some value in figuring out how to make yourself cry if you’re in need of a little catharsis, but in many cases, you don’t want to broadcast the fact that you’ve been shaken up or perturbed enough to shed a few tears—and those swollen eyes from crying are difficult to miss. (They’re a little uncomfortable for you, too, if you’ve really been crying a river.)

“These effects can last for as little as a few minutes or stretch on for a few hours,” says Marina Peredo, MD, an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to expedite the process of getting rid of those swollen, puffy crying eyes.

How to get rid of swollen eyes from crying in 10 minutes

Getty Images

Getty Images

If you’re in a hurry, run your fingers under icy-cold water (or rest them on top of a few ice cubes), then, starting at the inner corners of your eyes, press down on the skin until you reach the outer corners of your eyes. Repeat several times to help drain the fluid (and puffiness) that has accumulated underneath your eyes. If you can, follow up with an eye serum formulated with yeast extracts (try Origins No Puffery) to flatten the area further.

To get rid of red eyes (in the whites of your eyes), use over-the-counter drops. “One to two drops per eye is sufficient and should wash away the redness upon contact,” says dermatologist Debra Jaliman, MD, the author of Skin Rules. (Try Clear Eyes Cooling Comfort Redness Relief.)

Finally, cover up your red nose, plus any other areas that have become flushed, with a yellow-tinted concealer (like Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer Kit). “Yellow undertones help cancel out red ones,” says celebrity makeup artist Tina Turnbow. Avoid foundation or powder. “If your skin is irritated from all the nose-blowing, the extra makeup will look cakey,” she says. Instead, apply concealer only where needed and set with a face mist. (Turnbow likes Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist.)

How to get rid of puffy eyes from crying if you have all night

To tamp down swelling, splash cold water on your face, then wrap a bag of frozen peas in a washcloth (this will contour to the shape of your face better than an ice pack). Hold the bag over your face for 15 minutes.

Next, zero in on your puffy eyes: Steep green tea bags in cold water for three to five minutes, squeeze out the excess water, then rest them over closed lids for 10 minutes. The antioxidant effect of the tea’s catechins constricts the blood vessels under the skin, deflating remaining puffiness.

Still red? Relax with cold cucumber or potato slices over your eyes. As with the tea bags, the cold will tighten blood vessels. Also, “cucumbers contain powerful antioxidants that reduce irritation, while potatoes contain a skin-lightening enzyme called catecholase,” says optometrist Justin Bazan, a medical adviser for the Vision Council and the owner of Park Slope Eye in Brooklyn, N.Y. Either will relieve swelling, but starting with the cucumber and following up five minutes later with the potato will depuff and brighten the eye area.

Any leftover redness or puffiness should subside while you sleep. But just in case, keep your head propped up on a firm pillow: The elevation will prevent excess fluid from pooling in your face. Those crying eyes will be gone by morning.