Lose Your Luggage. Well, at least on your face.

Drink to me only with thine eyes…
~ Ben Jonson

If you’re like me, there are some mornings when the only concoction my eyes would inspire is a shot of horror with a blindfold chaser.  I’m talking about that eye bagginess and bleariness that looks as if I’ve been on a 6-week bender — either that or cuddled up to a nest of Africanized bees in my sleep.  Childhood photos reveal that I had eye bags virtually in vitro.  And dark circles.  So you could say I’ve been on a lifelong quest to defeat face luggage.  When you wake up with enough bags on your face to make a skycap blush, here are some remedies that have worked for me (and gents, they’re not just for the ladies):

Cooling eye/face gel: Apply around the eye area (but not too close to your eyes) as soon as you get up; wait 5-10 minutes before you shower.  I use AM Rush by G7/Gap Men Daily Grooming.  It’s potent, so if you have sensitive skin, you might want to test it away from your eye area first.  An aside: there are many men’s grooming products that work well for women — and like dry cleaning (harrumph), they tend to be less expensive.

Neti pot: using a neti pot opens up nasal passages and helps drain fluid from the eye area. I’ve found it also helps me feel less sluggish.  If it works for ancient yogis…
Neti pots may seem a bit weird and uncomfortable, but they’re really not — and they’re fantastic for colds, allergies, and other sources of congestion.  I like the neti pot salts and ceramic neti pot I got at Whole Foods; the salts last forever.

Eye brightener: My most recent allies in the face luggage battle are eye brighteners and eye moisturizers with reflective elements. (Reflective, not sparkly. Large sparkles and frosts tend to emphasize wrinkles: ‘nuf said).  Dab these products around the eye with your ring finger, both under and over your concealer, allowing time for each to set between layers.  Also apply the brightener under and over your eyebrow, along the top of your cheekbone, and in the corner of your eye.  Blend well.  Even if I only have time to dab on eye moisturizer & brightener and no other makeup, I feel less like the Baggage Claim at LAX when I walk out the door.  My favorite products? Benefit Ooh La Lift Under-Eye Brighthening Boost (with a handy wand applicator) and Olay Regenerist Eye Lifting Serum.* Men, you could skip the Ooh La Lift and use only the Olay Serum.

Mascara:  Mascara, probably from the Italian, maschera, mask. As in what I feel like wearing when I see my Frazier-post-The-Thrilla-in-Manila eyes in the morning.  Mascara is my shipwrecked, only-one-product-on-the-island, must-have cosmetic.  Not to mention one of the fastest ways to perk up the face. Nota bene: if your eyes are really puffy, apply just a whisper of mascara; heavily-emphasized eyes/lashes will make you look puffier.  Here’s how to keep the inky fabulousness on your lashes and off your face:

1) After you open the mascara, scrape the brush on the opening of the tube, rotating the brush and removing the excess.  If you like, take a Q-tip and remove the excess from the opening before replacing the brush.  You may not have to do this after the first few times, and it’s certainly a step you can skip if you’re in a hurry.
2) Allow the mascara brush to sit for about 30 seconds (more if the mascara is very liquid).  This allows the mascara to set a bit and prevents globs from getting on your skin.  You’ll quickly figure out the best length of time for your brand.  If you’re pressed for time, wave the wand vigorously in the air to help it dry quickly.  Do this in front of others if you feel like being free live entertainment.
3) Apply mascara as usual.  For lower lashes, dab mascara at the roots and then use a brush or comb to sweep mascara carefully to the tips.  Less raccoon eye that way.
4) If you have time, uses an eyelash comb or brush to separate lashes. Tweezerman makes a great folding comb that won’t pick up lint from the bottom of your makeup bag.  If you’re going to use a brush and/or comb, I suggest applying the mascara to one eye and using the brush/comb on it before applying mascara to the other eye — too much drying time between application and combing can cause flakes.  If you really want to get technical, use a brush to remove excess mascara, then a comb to separate lashes.
My favorite brands (and I’ve tried most brands known to woman, from $2 to $20): L’Oreal Voluminous (the original w/ curved brush) and L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes. Million Lashes has the added benefit of a double opening, so no scraping off excess.  Yep. Drugstore brands. Nothing like a feeling of thriftiness to go with your Hepburnesque lashes.

*I’m not paid to endorse these products — and, as is perhaps obvious, you use them at your own risk.  But enough legalese.  Happy Freedom From Face Luggage!


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jeanne Slawson on August 14, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    As you infer, you come by those bags naturally – and though I do get up early, not early enough to go through all those steps, and I’m too lazy anyway 🙂 Love and loveliness, Mom


  2. Posted by Betsy Gibson on August 14, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    Love it! I have a few faves of my own, if you are interested in them….
    1. Eyelash curler is a must–helps open the eyes and may even obviate the need for mascara! I use it in the summer, when I am makeup free.
    2. Skinceuticals! Neutrally tinted SPF 50 that instantly evens out tone. It is the only thing I put on my face during the day.
    3. Olay Regenerist–the brightening kind for under eyes and the regular for entire face. I use these at night because the night cream smells, and I can’t sleep with it on!
    4. Neutrogena makeup remover pads. They easily take off the Maybelline Waterproof Great Lash that I use in instances where I may end up in tears (which could, in fact, occur at any time, I’ve discovered!)
    5. Cetaphil to wash my face. I suppose Cetaphil should have headed up my list.
    6. Burt’s Bees sheer lip balm.
    6.5 A touch of sheer mineral powder at night–or for any other occasion that warrants the use of mascara.
    7. Re-reading and incorporating some of Kiki’s tips to lighten the load on my face!!
    7. Always wear a hat!!!


  3. Great – love it when readers “share the wealth”!


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