“I thought you’d look worse” wasn’t the kindest thing I heard in the months after my 40-year-old husband died of a sudden heart attack, but it wasn’t the most cringe-worthy either. In that first year, I was neither able nor willing to control my tears, but I worked in a NYC office where it wasn’t feasible to hide my puffy eyes behind dark sunglasses.
I tried cucumbers, tea bags and cold spoons, but these remedies were no match for eyelids so swollen, they actually hurt. I experimented with a ton of product, and found three that allowed me to cry all night and erase the evidence the next morning.
If you’re grieving a death, break-up or scary diagnosis, these three secret weapons can let you experience the healthy benefits of catharsis — without having insanely puffy eyes and mascara running all over your face. I’ve shared them with every mourning woman I know.
I have no affiliation with these brands nor am I being compensated for including them here.
1. Use puff-reducing gel.
I use Baggage Lost Puff-Reducing Eye Gel by Dr. Denese ($23). I store mine in the fridge because, um, where else do girls keep eye gel? Apply a healthy layer of the gel to the entire eye area. Puff-reducing ingredients include sweet almond oil, aloe extract, wheat protein extract and caffeine. As the product dries (about 10 minutes), you’ll actually feel your lids shrinking.
Pro-tip: Wash away any gel residue before applying moisturizer or putting anything else on your face (including my next suggestion).
2. Give yourself an electric facial!
If you’re still a little puffy, break out the FaceMaster. This handheld micro-current machine by Suzanne Somers (yep, that Suzanne Somers) stimulates lymphatic drainage and minimizes puffiness in three to six minutes. FaceMaster is on the pricey side ($215), but well worth the investment: since discovering this electric facial, I haven’t once called in sick with a cryover.
Bonus: It can also be used to temporarily reduce wrinkles on all areas of the face.
3. Get a great mascara.
The best mascara I’ve found for flash floods is Blinc ($26), a silicone-based formula that neither runs nor irritates your eyes. Blinc binds to your lashes for awesome length and separation, yet enables you to cry without prompting a Tammy Faye mudslide.
Pro-tip: For length plus full lashes, try the Amplified version of this product.
Looking your best while feeling your worst is a small consolation in times of tragedy. But knowing you can release your emotions without stressing about a morning meeting or event can be a valuable tool in the grieving process. So go ahead, cry your eyes out. Let yourself grieve. It’ll be your hurt-y little secret.