We’ve all had one of those mornings, usually after a sleepless night, where your eyes wake up but your brain doesn’t follow. You go into full caveman mode, on the hunt for the one thing you desperately need like you’ve never needed anything before: coffee.
Good java can make or break your morning, making the difference from being a functioning human being to a monosyllabic zombie. But, in addition to being a liquid stimulant, did you know that java is also a wake-up call for your skin? Or, more specifically, those sleepy eyes you just can’t seem to shake?
“It’s a very powerful antioxidant,” Dr. Anna Guanche says, which helps to reduce the production of the free radicals that cause fine lines and wrinkles. “In the long term it can reduce signs of aging.” Which, awesome, but when you wake up with bags big enough to see from space, you need something with some more immediate effects.
Don’t worry, your old friend joe has you covered there: According to Dr. Guanche, caffeine is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it constricts blood vessels. Since puffiness and dark circles are caused by a back-up of those vessels and other fluids, caffeine in eye products can help reduce the swelling and puffiness that make you look perpetually exhausted. Added bonus: It’s also anti-inflammatory and can boost circulation, helping you twofold with that dark circles problem.
There are plenty of different ways to caffeinate your under eyes, so to speak, but our new favorite (so much so that we put it in our newest product, the Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Retinol Eye Sleeping Mask) is coffeeberry. Coffee beans are actually the seeds of the coffee fruit. Because the berries resemble more of a fruit flavor than a coffee one, the fruit was traditionally thrown away. But, according to a 2009 study, the extract shows levels of corrective and reparative effects upon photoaged skin (read: premature aging caused by sun damage) and is also said to contain more antioxidants than green tea.
In fact, studies have shown that it actually contains the highest levels of antioxidants of any other caffeinated plants. Those antioxidant levels are stronger than coffee beans taken straight up because, as Dr. Guanche explains, “[the fruit] hasn’t been roasted, which denatures some of the active proteins in the ingredient.”
So, to recap: Caffeine can help you protect against premature aging, smooth fine lines, boost circulation, diminish puffiness, and make dark circles less noticeable. This is one of the rare instances where it’s okay to believe the buzz surrounding this particular ingredient.