Way back in the glory days of my ~youth~ I fancied myself an expert at getting rid of hickeys. It all started when I convinced my high school boyfriend that it was 100 percent, without a doubt, impossible to get a hickey on your face. As it turned out, though, it’s actually quite possible, as was evident by the giant-ass welt I gave him on his cheek. Out of a super-fun combination of guilt and embarrassment, I went on a mission to test every trick, hack, and old-wives’ tale that would help me get rid of a hickey—and fast.
So, after years of practice (here's a shoutout to my college roommates, who very kindly leaned me their necks…for science), I’ve narrowed down the art of disguising a hickey to seven foolproof steps. Check them out and prepare to destroy all the evidence of—what I’m hoping was—a grand ol’ time.
How to Get Rid of a Hickey Tip #1: Reduce Swelling with a Cold Spoon
Alright, before you do anything, grab a clean spoon and throw it in your freezer for eight to ten minutes. Then, while your hickey is ideally relatively fresh, firmly rub the cold spoon on top of the affected area. It might feel kinda uncomfy, but even derms agree that you should trust the process. “The cold will help minimize the blood seeping out of the vessels into the skin,” says dermatologist Doris Day, M.D., adding that you’ll want to repeat this a few times throughout the day to keep swelling down.
How to Get Rid of a Hickey Tip #2: Speed Up the Healing Process with Aloe Vera
Fun fact: Aloe vera is way more than just a slimy plant that feels wonderful on sunburns. Thanks to its antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, a thin layer of aloe vera cream or gel can keep your hickey from swelling up. Just keep in mind that applying aloe vera to your hickey twice a day isn’t going to make it magically disappear—it is a bruise, after all—but it’ll definitely help speed up the healing time (which can take anywhere from two days to two weeks, BTW).
How to Get Rid of a Hickey Tip #3: Soothe Your Skin with a Banana Peel
Okay, this is going to sound a little bizarre, but banana peels are actually the unsung hero of the hickey-fighting game since they’re loaded with skin-soothing antioxidants and vitamins. Remove the peel from a ripe banana and gently rub it all over that hickey of yours. Again, it’s not going to totally erase it, but it’ll help it heal way faster (and, like, less painfully).
How to Get Rid of a Hickey Tip #4: Promote Circulation with a Warm Compress
Sooooo, it’s been four days since you got your hickey and it’s still there—welp, it’s officially time to bring some heat into the equation. This will allow new blood to circulate throughout the area, helping it heal faster. Just wet a washcloth with warm water and firmly hold it on the bruised area for about five minutes (and since you definitely don’t want to burn your skin, remember that warm > hot).
How to Get Rid of a Hickey Tip #5: Apply a Vitamin C Cream
There’s a good chance vitamin C is already in your skincare routine. The crazy-effective ingredient helps boost your skin’s collagen production (aka what keeps your skin looking soft and healthy), which is important when you’re trying to heal a hickey. Again, don’t expect any miracles, but applying a vitamin C cream to the affected area during the healing process is a smart move.
How to Get Rid of a Hickey Tip #6: Eat Vitamin K–Rich Foods
Another vitamin you’ll wanna look toward while getting rid of your hickey? Vitamin K found in foods like broccoli, kale, spinach, and brown rice helps your body absorb clots of pooled blood, like your hickey. So, down a salad or throw some kale in your smoothie to speed up the recovery of your hickey.
How to Get Rid of a Hickey Tip #7: Promote Blood Circulation with a Toothbrush
Would this really be a hickey survival guide if I didn’t at least mention the toothbrush method? Here’s the gist: Using a toothbrush with super-soft bristles (you don’t want anything to tear or peel your skin!), gently move the brush over your hickey to stimulate blood circulation. You’ll want to move the bristles in different directions to make sure the clotted blood has room to spread, repeating the process for five to 10 minutes. It won’t feel great, and definitely don’t press too hard, but try repeating it every day while your hickey fades.
The Final Word
There ya have it: Now you’re equipped with the best, no–B.S. tricks for getting rid of a hickey. Just remember, though, that while these DIY solutions will definitely speed up the healing time of your hickey, they, unfortunately, won’t make ’em disappear overnight. But if you walk through these steps, you can expect your hickey to heal noticeably faster—and that, my friends, is what I call a win.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.