To use an eye cream, or not to use an eye cream? That is the question.
Some reckon you can save money – and faff – by using a swipe of your regular facial moisturiser. But many experts argue that the delicate skin around our eyes (which is 10-40 percent thinner than the rest of our face) warrants a product developed specifically for this area, AKA a truly smashing eye cream.
Still need convincing? We asked Dr Dendy Engelman, top skincare specialist and Elizabeth Arden’s consulting New York dermatologist whether eye creams can really make a difference.
Are eye creams really necessary?
“I always say yes. Before you start thinking about injectables or anything like that, take a look at what you’re doing with your skincare,” says Dr Dendy. “You’re never too young for eye cream because we know it’s going to be the first area to really show crepiness, fine lines and wrinkles, so you do want to hydrate there.”
Why do we need a separate eye cream?
“The thin skin around the eyes is the first to show signs of ageing, but if you induce collagen and elastin formation in thin skin, it very much translates clinically,” says Dr Dendy. However, thin skin can mean regular moisturisers can be too irritating. “We have to make sure that the cream is formulated for the eye area so that it’s not too irritating,” she adds.
It’s not just the density of our skin, that’s different. “There are fewer sebaceous glands around the eye area than in oilier areas like the T-zone,” says Dr Dendy. “Less oil means increased risk of wrinkling so I think you absolutely need the separate step of an eye cream to nourish,” she says.
How/where do we apply eye cream?
As well as under the eyes, Dr Dendy recommends going up on the brow bone and down to the crease,. As for where to avoid, “if you put eye cream on your lash line, it’s going to transfer through into your eye while you sleep, which is irritating and then you’ll rub and scratch it,” says Dr Dendy.
What ingredients should we look for in our eye cream?
If you do decide to incorporate an eye cream into your skincare regime, there’s a wide variety of ingredients that can be called upon to tackle eye-related concerns like dark circles, fine lines and puffiness. Here’s a few to keep an eye out for:
“A retinol eye serum is necessary to help stabilise melanocytes [the cells that create pigment in skin] in order to prevent hyperpigmentation. It also thickens the dermis [which can mean veins appear less prominent], improves texture, smooths lines and wrinkles and hides purple skin tones,” explains clinical facialist Kate Kerr.
2. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a champion for brightening skin and diminishing pigmentation and dark circles. It works in a number of ways, first, it can supercharge collagen production (for thicker, plumper, bouncier skin), second the potent antioxidant can help to neutralise UV damage (which can increase pigmentation under-eyes).
3. Hyaluronic acid
Hyaluronic acid is magic at hydrating tired eyes which is especially important given how much time we spend on our phone and video calls.
Ceramides plump skin and are the building block of healthy skin, they aid moisture retention and fortify our barrier function to keep all those good ingredients locked in.
When applied to skin, caffeine encourages vasoconstriction (the constricting of the blood vessels under our eyes), which can lead to a reduction in puffiness.
It’s also important to make sure the eye cream you choose makes realistic claims. No amount of eye cream can erase blue bags (which can be hereditary), though they may be able to ease them. Alongside vitamin C and retinol, look for light-reflecting and colour correcting properties, as these will disguise and deflect.
A good eye cream will also create a smoother base for makeup to sit seamlessly on top of. Combined with an incredible concealer (these are some of our faves), you can ensure your eye area always looks fresh, even if you’re not feeling it.
So, what are best eye creams to buy in 2021?
Our readers are big fans of Glossier’s Bubble Wrap Eye + Lip Plumping Cream. In fact, you voted it the very best eye cream out there in our most recent GLAMOUR Power List beauty awards thanks to its 2-in-1 ability to protect and hydrate our most delicate facial features (our eyes and lips) with hydrating hyaluronic acid.
Following the success of Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate and utilising the same barrier-boosting powers, Shiseido’s Exclusive Ultimune Eye Power Infusing Eye Concentrate is able to restore and strengthen the delicate skin around the eyes to improve firmness, reduce puffiness and improve the appearance of lines and dark circles.
Elsewhere, the best eye cream for puffiness is Origins’ GinZing Eye Cream. For when coffee just isn’t enough, the caffeine and ginseng in GinZing Eye Cream deflates puffy bags and brightens dark circles. You’ll notice the difference in seconds.
Best Cyber Monday eye cream deals
- Shiseido Exclusive Ultimune Eye Power Infusing Eye Concentrate 15ml, WAS £58 NOW £46.40, LookFantastic
- Origins Ginzing™ Vitamin C Eye Cream to Brighten and Depuff, WAS £26 NOW £23.40, Boots
- Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Eye Base, WAS £35 NOW £28, LookFantastic
- Institut Esthederm Intensive Hyaluronic Acid Eye Contour Serum, WAS £34 NOW £23.80, LookFantastic
- REN Clean Skincare Radiance Brightening Dark Circle Eye Cream, WAS £42 NOW £31.50, LookFantastic
To help you find your match, we’ve rounded up more of the best creams to smooth, soothe and brighten.