Beauty: Beauty on the Go, by Kristen Ma

After landing in Chicago from a recent flight, I was welcomed by a prompt swelling of my face. Between the dehydrating flight and the change in the temperature, my body (more specifically the bags under my eyes) decided that it was a perfect time to retain water.

Luckily, I always travel prepared with a few multi-function beauty ingredients and products just for times like these. So, for all you out there who battle the bloat, here are a few simple things you can do to bring down puffy eyes. But keep in mind, these little tricks are best for acute puffy eyes (puffiness brought on by lack of sleep, internal heat, or dehydration). If you are looking to treat perma-eye bags, it’s better to start with assessing the healthiness of your kidneys (which control water metabolism).

1. Witch Hazel Eye Pads – I always pack a witch hazel hydrosol when I travel. Not only is the floral water a nice astringent for any of those change-in-climate breakouts, but it also is a natural antiseptic for cuts. witch hazel is also good for potential infections as well as for taking the itch out of pesky insect bites. Fortunately for me, it is also excellent for battling puffy eyes. Simply place cotton pads soaked in witch hazel hydrosol onto your eyes for 15-20 minutes and its anti-inflammatory and anti-kapha properties will work their magic. It is important to make sure that you use a pure, organic source. If you pick up some diluted witch hazel from the drug store, it can either be of poor quality, or mixed with alcohol which will dry out and irritate the delicate skin around the eyes.

2. Clay Eye Mask – Yes, I wrote the words “clay” and “eye” in the same turn of phrase. You may think that clay would dry out your eye area, but if you use it occasionally and in the proper way, you won’t be aging yourself in the slightest. Because clay is cooling and purifying, it is a great ingredient for calming the skin down. I use it mixed in with other masks on irritated skin to take down redness. Acute puffiness is often triggered by heat (whether it is internal heat from poor digestion, colds and flus, or alcohol consumption). Clay is excellent for soothing and drawing out dampness from blemishes. From my personal experience, it does the same with puffy eyes. It is important not to use clay which is made by mixing a powder with water. A more mud-like clay has some moisture in it, and clay masks like the Pure + Simple Purifying French Clay Mask or  Jurlique Intense Recovery Mask have moisturizing ingredients and oils in them to offset the purifying actions of clay. I always travel with a sample size of clay mask, because whether it’s used as an overnight spot treatment or as an eye mask, it usually is put to good use!
Simply apply the clay mask all over the eye area (right over the eye lids), and let it set as you would if doing a mask for the entire face. After it’s rinsed off, you will find your eye nicely “de-puffed”.

3. Ice ‘em – I was able to get ice cubes easily from the ice machine which was conveniently located on my hotel room floor (it was fate!).  You can place ice cubes over the witch hazel compress, or you can simply do a bit of eye massage with the ice cubes (as long as your aren’t bothered by holding cold, cold, cubes). Later on into my trip in Chicago, I booked myself a cold stone eye treatment at natural spa The Ruby Room. The treatment simply felt like ice cubes being placed in a formation around my eyes. While it felt good in a “beauty is pain” sort of way, you could save yourself the $60 and DIY it with ice cubes. Or if you are uber prepared, you can also ask room service for a couple of spoons and leave them in the mini bar fridge overnight. The next day you can place these on your eyes as your icing treatment. I heard that Elizabeth Taylor used to douse her face in ice water in the morning to take down puffiness. Works for Liz, works for me.
Along with these handy tips, it’s very important to guzzle down as much water as you can. This will cool heat internally and aid dehydration. The other thing you will want to do is to make sure that you have good, regular bowel movements. Some puffy eyes can come from constipation, so when accumulated wastes are eliminated from the body, inflammation and water retention will be reduced as well.

So, don’t be afraid if you easily get affected by a new environment and are prone to edema (water retention). These on-the-go treatments are simple and can easily be done almost anywhere in the world.

Kristen Ma is the co-owner of Pure + Simple Inc., a group of Holistic Spas with its own line of Natural Skincare and Mineral Make-up.  She is an Ayurvedic Practitioner who has studied in Canada, the United States and India.  She is also a Certified Esthetician with eight years of practical experience, having worked in Canada as well as Australia.  Most recently, Kristen has authored “Beauty: Pure + Simple” which was published by Mc Arthur and Company.  Kristen has written on the subject of Holistic Beauty for Vitality Magazine, Blink and Jasmine.  She is also a regular contributor to B Magazine, Tonic and Sweat Equity Magazine. She blogs regularly at Holistic Vanity.