Got bags? Top products for tired eyes

Chloe Schneider
Chloe Schneider
Chloe is a writer and content strategist with bylines in mindbodygreen, Mashable, Ageless by Rescu, and more. She's a mum to one-year-old Felix, and believes that you can have it all, you just can't have it all at once
Created on May 22, 2024 · 5 mins read

No matter which phase you’re in, how many hours of sleep you’re getting, or how much you love your kids - parenting can be incredibly tiring. It demands mental and physical energy at all hours, taking its toll on our poor, tired eyes.

Make no mistake — there’s no shame in dark circles or bags and I would be willing to bet no one notices whatever it is you catch in the mirror. But taking a few moments to show your eyes a little TLC isn’t about what others see or think, it’s about helping you feel your best even on the most exhausting days. 

The products in this list were selected to help brighten both your eyes and your mood. Whether it’s a cheap and cheerful concealer for the car or a luxurious bedtime ritual you’re after, we’ve got you covered. Bright eyes, full hearts, can’t lose! 

Hard-working serum without the price tag

Caffeine can work a double shift on tired eyes. Yes, it gives you a burst of energy after that morning flat white, but did you know that when applied topically it can also help you look more awake? 

This lightweight, luxurious-feeling serum from The Ordinary contains a mega dose (5% concentration) of caffeine to reduce puffiness and non-genetic dark circles, along with highly-purified EGCG from green tea leaves to brighten. Plus, it’s about a quarter of the price of other eye serums. 

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Illuminating anytime eye cream

If you need a daily eye cream that sits beautifully under makeup, look no further than Ole Henriksen’s Banana Bright+ Eye Créme. This one has a cult following for a reason — with vitamin C, antioxidants, and banana powder-inspired pigments, it has an instant brightening effect and improves the look of fine lines, and wrinkles over time. Use it as an illuminating base under your concealer or on its own for makeup-free days. 

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Gold-standard night cream

Make this luxurious, hydrating, repairing pot of gold from Estée Lauder part of your bedtime ritual to visibly reduce dark circles while you sleep. It’s formulated with hydrating superhero hyaluronic acid and antioxidant-packed vitamin E, as well as Estée Lauder’s exclusive FR-Defence technology that helps protect the eyes from pollution and blue light — a perk for those of us who wind up catching up on work or messages before drifting off to sleep.

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Pick-me-up duo for puffy eyes

If you have a toddler who goes from exhausted to 100% battery-charged after a 5-minute car nap, the concept of a ‘flash nap’ will be all too familiar. Fenty Skin’s flash nap might not give you toddler levels of energy, but it will help revive your tired eyes quickly. The pack contains a lightweight eye gel cream along with a cool-tip massage roller that can be used together at any time of day for a quick pick-me-up.

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Ice-cold massage sticks

Put the spoons back in the drawer; these Cryo-Ice Massage Sticks are a far superior way to bring some cooling life back to tired eyes. After placing them in the freezer or cold water for a few minutes, simply massage the eye area, forehead, and cheeks using a gentle rolling motion to wake up the whole face and get your circulation moving. 

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Gua sha tool

Gua Sha, an alternative healing therapy that involves gently scraping the skin with a tool, can be traced all the way back to the Paleolithic age. Today, scientific research has shown this ancient practice really can improve microcirculation, benefit the immune system, and more. When it comes to the eye area, a gua sha tool used with a gentle oil, can help ease tension and reduce puffiness to leave you feeling and looking a little more awake. 

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Faultless smudge-free mascara

Even a hint of mascara can help widen the eyes and make you look more awake than you feel. This one from KIND Collective checks every box — super affordable, 100% vegan and cruelty-free, comes in sustainable packaging, completely smudge-free tubing formula, includes ingredients that help promote healthy lash growth and strength and leaves your lashes looking long, voluminous, and perfectly groomed. Doesn’t get much better than that. 

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On-the-go concealer

If you’re anything like me, you might not get time to look in the mirror until you jump in the car or a video conference, and by that point, you don’t have time to spend on a complicated concealing routine. In those moments, this magic little wand from MCoBeauty is your saviour — the sponge-tip wand makes application easy while the blendable formula instantly smoothes and conceals dark circles and fine lines, without looking caked on or dry. 

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Top-rated lash curler

Whether you’re following it up with mascara or not, a lash curler can bring life to tired eyes in a snap. The ProCurl Curler from Tweezerman is a top-rated award-winner for a reason — it has a unique design with a narrow top bar and a thick, wide, curved pad at the bottom to help you get maximum curl on every lash. It might not be the cheapest option out there, but as a daily go-to that lasts the distance, the cost-per-use is hard to beat. 

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Soothing self-heating eye masks

When we think about soothing the eyes, we usually turn to the fridge. And while cold spoons and cucumbers do a wonderful job, sometimes warmth gives off the grounding, soothing energy our tired eyes really need. These self-heating eye massages deliver about 20 minutes of gentle heat to help you feel like you’re at the spa, while encouraging dark circles and eyestrain to fade away. 

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Your eye revival routine

Nothing beats a solid 8 hours and regularly-scheduled time to yourself, but when life gets chaotic, a little eye care routine can be just the energizing self-care you need. Find the products you love, leave what you don’t, and remember skincare and makeup are meant to be fun — if something feels like a chore, it’s probably not right for you. 

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