Why Eye Massagers Can Be A Great Addition To Your Beauty Routine

The low-down on their skin-boosting benefits.

by Kelsey Stewart
Originally Published: 
Your guide to eye massage tools, the beauty devices that can fight puffiness and under-eye bags.
Getty Images/ wagnerokasaki
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I’m no psychic, but I’m guessing you have a gua sha sitting on your nightstand. While the tool is great for depuffing and toning the skin, more high-tech beauty devices have entered the facial massage scene (gua sha has been around since the 14th century, after all). Plenty of these work to sculpt the jaw and cheekbones, but the uptick in eye massaging tools is proving this area deserves the same devoted attention, too.

Like any facial sculpting device, the goal of an eye massage tool is to tighten the area while reducing the look of puffiness. However, there are several kinds offered up: manual massagers (like a gua sha or jade stone tool), those that use vibration technology (see: Foreo’s IRIS Illuminating Eye Massage), some newer iterations that implement light therapy (such as Talika’s Time Control Eye Contouring Device), and lastly, microcurrent devices (including the beloved NuFace). Essentially, these all work to boost the under-eye area in slightly different ways — some more high-tech than others.

But before going more in-depth on these tools, it’s helpful to know why your under-eyes could be experiencing puffiness or dark circles in the first place. According to Nichelle Temple, a New York-based esthetician and founder of Inderma Studio, there are a number of factors that can contribute to the two skin concerns. “Hereditary is one — it can definitely run in the family,” she tells Bustle of both under-eye bags and dark circles.

Additionally, Temple notes that diet and lifestyle factors can affect the area. You know when you wake up after a restless night with dark circles? That happens when there are more blood capillaries in the under-eye area or when they’re dilated, which makes them noticeable under the skin. Dehydration can also make the skin under the eyes sag, and eating salty foods can cause you to retain water, resulting in under-eye bags.

Luckily, with the help of these buzzy tools, no one will have to know you were up all last night binging You season three. Ahead, learn more about the wonders of eye massaging tools, as explained by experts.

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How Eye Massagers Work

Essentially, Temple says these tools work to help with lymphatic drainage under the eyes. “Our lymphatic system does not have a pump the way that our heart does to move our blood around,” she explains. “The lymph can become stagnant, and it relies on us to help move the fluid that gets trapped in the body along.” In other words, gliding one of these massaging tools can help to drain that fluid to reduce puffiness under your eyes.

Adding to that, New York City-based board-certified cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Michele Green, M.D. says manually massaging the eye area with one of these tools increases blood circulation to promote improved skin elasticity and boost collagen production. As such, she agrees that these devices can help improve the appearance of dark under-eye circles, fine lines, puffiness, or eye bags.

How To Use An Eye Massager

According to NYC-based makeup artist Suzy Gerstein, each eye massager tool has unique instructions that should be followed for best results — but generally, you want to move up and out towards the temples to aid in lymphatic drainage. Also key? Using feather-light pressure. “Every time we pull on the lower eyelid skin, you are stretching the skin,” Dr. Diane Madfes, M.D., FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist and assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, tells Bustle. Because the skin under your eyes is much thinner than the rest of your face, stretching it can lead to wrinkles.

Green recommends using an eye massager on a daily basis as part of a regular skin care routine to achieve the best results. Like a gua sha or jade roller, it helps to use the tool after applying a serum or face oil to make for easier sliding motions. As an added bonus: “Eye massage devices can enhance the absorption of skin care serums and creams and can be used in tandem with them to deliver maximum benefits,” says Green. That’s because when you apply your products and then massage over them with a tool, the ingredients are penetrating deeper into the skin.

To get the most out of this beauty perk, Green recommends using an ingredient like retinol or vitamin C to further firm and brighten the under-eye skin. Her pick? “The Dr. Dennis Gross Advanced Retinol + Ferulic Triple Correction Eye Serum with retinol and ferulic acid helps with tone and texture in the eye area and can be used with some eye massagers to enhance the effects,” she tells Bustle.

Best Eye Massagers

Below, find the five eye massaging tools to shop. You’ll look more awake and fresh — even if that’s not quite the case.

A Vibrating Eye Smoother

A massaging tool with vibration therapy not only feels good, but brings legit benefits to your skin.“This device is designed to provide a gentle massage to the eye area through pulsations and light tapping, helping to eliminate visible signs of aging around the eyes like crow’s feet lines and dark under-eye circles,” says Green.

A Light Therapy Device

According to Green, the new Talika Time Control device takes advantage of two different wavelengths of light to produce an anti-aging effect. “The two varying wavelengths of light help to induce collagen production within the skin, thickening the thin skin of the under-eye area, and reducing inflammation that leads to premature aging,” she explains.

A Gua Sha Tool

If you want to go the traditional gua sha route, Gerstein recommends this one. “It works with and without skin care,” she explains. Because it’s stainless steel, the tool is a breeze to sanitize — she suggests spraying or rubbing it down with an alcohol wipe. “I like to follow it with an anti-inflammatory product like the new SoapWalla Brilliance Face Serum which contains turmeric to decrease redness and tone down inflammation.”

A Jade Stone Massager

Though this one doesn’t have the more high-tech bells and whistles (like microcurrent or light therapy), it’s still great for quashing puffiness. “The way that this device works is through the application of pressure to acupuncture points, giving a calming effect and helping to reduce puffiness,” says Green. She recommends keeping it in the fridge so it’s extra-cooling on the skin when you use it.

A Microcurrent Toning Device

If you already own a NuFace, all you need is the Eye and Lip Enhancer Trinity Attachment to hit your under-eye area. According to Temple, microcurrent — aka what the NuFace uses — works to stimulate collagen and elastin for firmer, brighter skin.

Studies referenced:

Mac-Mary, S. (2019). Identification Of Three Key Factors Contributing To The Aetiology Of Dark Circles By Clinical And Instrumental Assessments Of The Infraorbital Region. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol.

Saniee, F. (2012). The effect of microcurrents on facial wrinkles. Pars of Jahrom University of Medical Sciences. DOI:10.29252/jmj.10.2.9

Vairo, G. (2009). Systematic Review of Efficacy for Manual Lymphatic Drainage Techniques in Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation: An Evidence-Based Practice Approach. J Man Manip Ther.

Wunsch, A. (2014). A Controlled Trial to Determine the Efficacy of Red and Near-Infrared Light Treatment in Patient Satisfaction, Reduction of Fine Lines, Wrinkles, Skin Roughness, and Intradermal Collagen Density Increase. Photomed Laser Surg.


Dr. Diane Madfes, M.D., FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist and assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Dr. Michele Green, M.D., New York City-based board-certified cosmetic dermatologist

Nichelle Temple, a New York-based esthetician and founder of Inderma Studio

Suzy Gerstein, makeup artist

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