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How to find the best eye cream for you

January 1 | 3 minute read

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Words by Kerri Gordon and Sherine Youseff

Originally published on | May 22

It's one of the most hotly-contested questions in beauty: do you really need eye cream?

We fall firmly in the ‘yes’ camp and here’s why. The right eye cream can give you the bright, healthy-looking eyes of your dreams. Usually packaged in small pots or tubes, they're loaded with active ingredients that can help smooth out the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, brighten dark circles, reduce puffiness and deeply moisturise.

What are the benefits of eye creams?

The skin around our eyes is thin and the most delicate and fragile on our faces, with absolutely zero sebaceous glands (these glands produce sebum which keeps skin from drying out) and with less collagen and elastin fibres than the rest of our facial skin. Our eyes are also expressive and all those repetitive movements we make every day (smile, squint, rub our eyes when we're tired) eventually lead to permanent markings around our eyes.

All of which is why eyes are one of the first spots to show signs of lines and wrinkles, and why your regular face serum or moisturiser might not cut it. Why? Because these facial formulas are generally not made to treat skin as thin as that under your eyes, and may contain active ingredients that could irritate the delicate area. Your face serums and moisturisers may also be too rich and lead to milia (those hard white bumps that can happen when heavy creams clog pores).

Enter: eye cream. Here's how to find the right one for you.

For wrinkles and fine lines

If we're lucky, we get the privilege of ageing and all the good things that come along with it. But the fine lines, wrinkles and dullness? Not always as welcome.

Most eye creams typically target fine lines in one way or another, and that's down to a handful of key active ingredients like retinol, glycolic acid, peptides and niacinamide, which are proven to clear away dead skin cells (typically the cause of dullness and unwanted texture), smooth out the appearance of wrinkles, support elasticity and firm up the delicate eye area. These kinds of potent eye creams are best reserved for nighttime use, when your skin is going through its natural renewal processes and not exposed to any sunlight.

For dark circles

Before you find an under eye cream for dark circles, it’s best to figure out what’s causing them, as this determines their colour and treatment. Dark circles caused by a lack of sleep or poor diet are usually dull or ashy-toned, while dark circles linked to genetics are often stagnant blood and will appear more blue or purple.

Now you’re ready to grab a high-powered eye cream that utilises ingredients that work in the long term (such as brightening vitamin C and clarity-enhancing retinol), and ingredients to work right now (any blurring and illuminating ingredients can help diffuse light and add luminosity to instantly brighten the eye area). It’s also important to remember that sometimes, puffiness and bags can make the under-eye area look shadowy and so you might think you have dark circles. Treat the puffiness first, and then, if you still see dark circles, tackle those.

For dehydration

Even if you're not prone to dry or dehydrated skin, you might still find that the under-eye area is parched, and crepey skin, creased concealer, and more prominent fine lines are all giveaways that your skin is thirsty. The good news is that this is one of the easiest concerns to treat! Load up on ingredients like hyaluronic acid, snow mushroom and squalane in nourishing oil and cream formulations.

For puffiness

Under-eye puffiness, be it the result of tiredness, diet, an upset immune system, or changing environmental conditions, unfortunately can't be completely camouflaged with concealer. So a dedicated eye cream, serum or gel with targeted ingredients and a dedicated delivery system are your best bet.

Look for depuffing ingredients like caffeine, circulation-boosters like Ginseng, cooling ingredients like cucumber and aloe vera, and products that come with metal tips or rollerballs to both cool and give your eyes a delightful massage to help encourage lymphatic drainage.

For something preventative

We all know prevention is better than cure, and when you remember that our natural collagen production starts to slow at around age 26, introducing an eye cream into your regime ASAP may be your saving grace later down the line. If you’re not too worried about any specific concerns just yet, your best bet is a cream that is hydrating and rich in antioxidants, protecting your delicate eye area from external agers like pollution, infrared radiation and blue light.

Related topics and brand tags

Eye creamSkin careEye careEstée LauderKiehl's

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