There’s only so much camouflaging you can do for dark under-eye circles and puffy eyes. But, if you have that tea kettle screaming every night anyway, why not use a couple of those tea bags to pamper those peepers?

While research is limited in how tea can specifically benefits our eyes, it’s no secret tea has a ton of health benefits. Plus, there is evidence on the benefits of using cold and warm eye compresses specifically for the eyes. Tea bags conveniently make an ideal compress both in size and price.

So get steeping! Here’s what to look for when it comes to tea bags for your eyes.

Black, white, and green teas

These teas have antioxidants and caffeine that may help with dark circles, reduce swelling, and improve skin elasticity and even fine lines around the eyes.

Herbal teas

These teas are naturally decaffeinated and can be soothing AF. Herbal teas may help inflammation and puffiness. Here are some popular herbal tea options:

Cold tea

The coolness from cold tea compresses may help with swelling, puffiness, and pain. Cold compresses can help with dark circles (making blood vessels constrict) and help with pain from minor injuries and pink eye by reducing inflammation.

Warm tea

Heat and moisture from warm compresses can help with itchiness and infections, dryness, and help cut down inflammation.

Warm compresses can also help blepharitis — a fancy name for inflammation of the eyelids thanks to bacteria, scalp dandruff, or issues with eyelid oil glands.

Using a warm compress over your eyes can help relax the irritating flakes stuck around the eyelashes and thwart future oil gland clogging. Warm compresses can also help relieve styes.

Choosing your tea

TeaDark circlesBlocked oil glandPuffy/swollenStye Pink EyeRosaceaRed eyesBlack eyeDry eyes
Black 🍵🍵

















When possible, it’s best to grab organic tea bags that are bleach-free to dodge any irritating chemicals. (Watch out for staples, too!)

  1. Steep two tea bags in hot water for about 5 minutes.
  2. Remove and squeeze out extra fluid (be careful, it’s hot!).
  3. If you want a cold compress, let the tea bags chill in the fridge for about 10 to 20 minutes. If you want a warm compress, wait about 5 minutes until they are cool to the touch.
  4. Apply them to closed eyes for 15 to 30 minutes.

Pro tip

Use your fingertips to add some soft pressure or even gentle massaging motion around your eyes. If you’re using a cold tea bag, consider adding a slice of chilly cucumber for extra feels.

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Dark circles

  • Use: black or green tea
  • Compress: cold
  • How it works: Raccoon eyes be gone! Part of the reason for those dark circles may be thanks to enlarged blood vessels under the eyes. Throwing a chilly tea bag over these dark circles may make the vessels shrink, restricting blood flow to the vessels around your eyes that cause that bluish color.

Blocked oil glands

  • Use: black tea
  • Compress: warm
  • How it works: A warm compress can help ease and unclog oil glands, while the black tea can help inflammation. This may also help if your blocked oil glands have created a small bump known as a chalazion.

Puffy, swollen eyes

  • Use: black, green, eyebright, rooibos, or chamomile tea
  • Compress: cold
  • How it works: If you have black or green tea, the caffeine can restrict blood vessels, making puffy skin taunt. The antioxidants in black and green teas (flavonoids and tannins) also have an anti-inflammatory effect and can also help tighten the skin. Green tea may work a little better since it has higher levels of flavonoids.) Eyebright, rooibos and chamomile teas also may have a similar anti-inflammatory effect.


  • Use: chamomile
  • Compress: warm
  • How it works: Say bye to the stye. This red, painful bump that sprouts up under the eyelid (or even at the base of the eyelid) is usually thanks to an infection. Using a warm chamomile tea bag compress for about 10 to 15 minutes a few times a day can help free the stye’s pus and help it heal.

Pink eye

  • Use: eyebright, green tea, chamomile
  • Compress: cold
  • How it works: Pink eye, aka conjunctivitis, happens when mucous membranes become irritated and swollen. A cold tea bag compress may help soothe some of the painful dryness and inflammation. Eyebright tea may help inflammation, plus it has antimicrobial properties that can help keep bacteria at bay. Green tea can also help reduce inflammation. Any of these teas may help remove extra fluid from your eye, helping swelling and irritation.


  • Use: lavender, green, chamomile
  • Compress: cold
  • How it works: If you’re dealing with rosacea around the eye area, you may benefit from the anti-inflammatory properties in lavender, green, or chamomile tea. These teas may lessen redness and irritation to calm the skin.

Red eyes

  • Use: chamomile, rooibos, or green tea
  • Compress: cold
  • How it works: Bloodshot eyes? No probs. This less than flattering look happens when blood vessels under the eye get aggravated. This can be calmed down with a cold tea bag compress. These teas can also help refresh aching red eyes and lower swelling thanks to their anti-inflammatory properties.

Black eye

  • Use: green, black, lavender, chamomile
  • Compress: cold
  • How it works: Put the steak down. A cold tea compress on a black eye can help reduce pain and swelling. Green and black tea help reduce inflammation, while lavender and chamomile may help calm irritation and relieve pain.

Dry eyes

  • Use: black, eyebright, or lavender
  • Compress: warm
  • How it works: Dry eyes happen when you don’t produce enough tears. Rather than tuning into a Lifetime movie to get the tears flowing, try one of these teas as a warm compress. This may help get those glands flowing (in a good way) to enhance tear quality and relieve irritation.

Your eyes are sensitive — don’t mess around with hot tea bags. Keep an eye out (pun intended) for any irritation around your eyes after using them. If you notice you’re eyes are irritated, it’s best to stop using that type of tea.

Other precautions include:

  • Before and after use, wash your hands.
  • Take any makeup off and remove contacts before using tea bags.
  • Use cool or warm, never hot, tea bags.
  • Avoid tea bags with staples (that’s just a horror movie scene waiting to happen).
  • Avoid bleached tea bags.
  • Keep liquid out of your eyes (make sure to squeeze ’em properly before use).
  • Avoid directly touching or rubbing your eyes.

Research is still needed to discover just how effective tea bags are with eye conditions. But we know tea bags make super useful cold and warm eye compresses that can help soothe annoying eye conditions.

Your peepers are sensitive, so be careful with any objects around your eyes. If you think you have an eye infection or serious eye condition, make an appointment to see your doctor.