Nothing says relaxation and rejuvenation like two cucumber slices resting on your closed eyes as you lounge in a white robe with your favorite face mask on. If you’re really lucky your hair is lifted off your neck and held high in a twisted towel with a nourishing hair mask. Sounds like heaven to me and probably anyone you ask after a long day at work.
How did this image with the cucumber eye covers become the ideal spa treatment in so many of our minds? When our eyes are feeling heavy and we look in the mirror and see dark circles the natural remedy seems obvious—cucumber slices. You’ll be happy to hear that science actually backs up this anecdotal trick.
The cucumber’s unique hydration and soothing properties really do give us the renewal we always felt was there. And now we have the science to prove it.
Meet the cucumber
The cucumber, also known in the scientific community as cucumis sativus, is a part of the gourd family and a summertime cousin to our fall favorites like pumpkins and squash. Although we use cucumbers more like a vegetable in salads and other dishes, it is actually a fruit. It’s kind of like the whole tomato revelation you have in grade school—acts like a vegetable, but really it’s botanically classified as a fruit.
Cucumbers have to thicker outer layer, dark green skin, but once you cut into them they have almost like a jelly composition with a few tiny seeds. However malleable their insides seem you still get a nice crisp when you bite into them. Their taste and smell are cool and fresh, with a hint of sweet and earthiness. Everything about them screams fresh hydration.
The capabilities of the cucumber
Not only are cucumbers the refreshing topper you need in every summer drink, but they’re also great for your health. When taken internally, they are loaded with vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin C which helps brighten your skin's appearance and nourishes the skin
- Thiamine helps your body use carbohydrates as energy and is essential to the body’s metabolic system.
- Riboflavin which is essential for the body’s growth. It helps break down fats, proteins and carbohydrates to be used for energy, as well as allowing your body to use oxygen.
- Calcium is known for building strong bones and keeping them healthy.
- Magnesium regulates muscle and nerve function and can help prevent muscle cramping.
Cucumbers also have hydrating and soothing properties that we will dig into later.
Beauty benefits of cucumbers
We all seem to understand the beauty benefits of cucumbers without actually knowing why or how it affects us in such a refreshing way. We’ll break it down for you.
Controls look of puffiness
Due to ascorbic and caffeic acid, the cucumber helps bring down the water retention rate, diminishing the appearance of swelling and puffiness around the eyes. The cool temperature of the cucumbers works a little but like ice, decreasing the blood flow to the area to reduce the look of swelling.
Reduces look of dark circles
The antioxidants and silica present in cucumber help slow down the appearance of dark circles by lightening the skin's look around the eyes.
Reduces the appearance of eye wrinkles
Cucumbers are a natural moisturizer because of their high water content. Placing cucumber slices on the eyes helps in hydrating your eyes and the skin around them. This, in turn, helps in reducing the look of lines and wrinkles after repeated use.
Reduces look of under eye bags
Pro tip: Grind cold cucumber until it becomes a paste. Add either lavender oil or chamomile oil to it along with some honey for extra soothing effects. Apply it under your eyes using your fingers lightly. Leave this for 10-15 minutes and wipe it off with a damp cloth. This will aid in reducing the look of under-eye bags.
A lot of natural skin care brands use cucumber in their after-sun remedies because of its intense cooling and soothing effects.
Reduce the appearance of dark spots
Similar to how it brightens the look of dark under-eye circles, you can apply it to dark spots anywhere on the body.
Minimize the appearance of large pores
Cucumber is a natural cleanser and can help cleanse pores. This property also makes cucumber juice a great natural toner so you can avoid harsh alcohol-based toners.
How to use cucumbers for the eyes and the skin
- Peel the cucumber skin. This isn’t necessary but the skin could contain pesticides that you don’t want near your eyes. Better to be safe than sorry.
- Cut the cucumber into ½ inch slices and put them in the fridge to cool. The cooler they are the more soothing it will feel. Once they’re nice and cool pull them out and find a comfy seat.
- In a reclined position, either seated or completely laying down, place one cucumber slice over each eye and just relax while the healing benefits of the cucumber soak into your skin. Put on a podcast or some music. My favorite is to take that time to meditate and focus on my breathing.
- If one side of the cucumber becomes warm against your skin flip it over for new coolness.
If you don’t have time to lounge for a bit turn your cucumbers into a cucumber paste, mix with honey and lavender oil and apply the paste to the area around your eyes. This allows you to be up and moving while you hydrate your eyes.
Because it is an all-natural remedy for rejuvenated eyes, you can perform a cucumber eye mask as much as you’d like. You can’t over-do it. If you don’t see results, you may consider speaking to a healthcare professional about excessive puffiness and darkened skin.
Treat yourself with a cucumber eye mask for soothing and cooling benefits that will give you a rested and youthful look without chemicals or very much effort. If putting vegetables on your skin isn’t really your thing, try out our Anti-Aging Eye Cream that harnesses the power of cucumbers and other under-eye super charged natural ingredients.