Time to wave goodbye to tired eyes, banish bags and beat puffiness for good
Trying to find the best eye cream for you can be an overwhelming and, frankly, exhausting experience. How do you know what concern to target? How often should you use one? What’s the right way to apply?
There are so many questions that we thought it best to ask an expert. We grilled Consultant Dermatologist Dr Justine Kluk on all things eye creams, and this is what she had to say…
What’s the best way to apply eye cream?
Put a small amount of product on a clean fingertip and smooth below the eye, over the crow’s feet area and pat onto the brow bone just below your eyebrows. I would tend not to apply any cream with active ingredients directly to the upper eyelid as there is a high risk of causing irritation. Moisturising eye creams are of course absolutely fine.
Why do we need a separate cream for our eyes?
The skin around our eyes is very much thinner than anywhere else on our bodies. This means that products are absorbed much more readily and adaptations may be needed to the products we use elsewhere on our faces or bodies as the risk of irritation is much higher. Certain ingredients may also need to be avoided so close to the eyes. The same goes for other other eye products. I would recommend using a gentle micellar water or dedicated eye makeup remover for taking off makeup and avoiding vigorous rubbing. Protect the eyelid skin with SPF in Spring and Summer and wear sunglasses to avoid squinting. Moisturise the skin twice daily or use a dedicated eye cream tailored to your specific needs. If any redness, itching or flaking occur, stop using the product.
What are dark circles? What causes them? Is there a difference between hereditary dark circles and other bags?
Some of the more common concerns I hear from patients about the eye area are dark circles and hollowing beneath the eyes. As well as smoothing wrinkles, products containing retinol or peptides can also help minimise dark circles by boosting collagen and plumping skin thickness if they are caused by thin skin exposing underlying vascular structures. This is often a feature of skin ageing, but in some cases translucency of the under eye skin can be hereditary. Retinol-based creams may also help with dark circles due to increased skin pigmentation, which is more common in skin of colour, and Vitamin K oxide can help with purplish discolouration from blood vessels.
What ingredients should you look for in an eye cream?
For dry, crepey skin around the eyes, products containing humectant ingredients like hyaluronic acid can give the skin a smoother, less lined appearance and increase comfort.
Eye creams with retinyl palmitate (a vitamin A derivative) stop sugars sticking to and inactivating collagen to reduce dark circles, fine lines and puffiness.
Don’t panic, we don’t expect you to just go out and find one now; we’ve scoured the beauty halls and trialled an almighty selection of the latest offerings to bring you a select edit of the best out there. So you can rest assured that your hard earned pennies are only spent on the ones that really work.
If you’re dubious about the necessity of an eye cream in your regime, consider what Justine said about the delicacy of the skin around your eyes; it’s 40% thinner than the rest of your face, which is why it’s so important to use a cream tailored to the area. It’s this delicacy that makes your eyes prone to crêpe-ness, creasing and crows feet long before the rest of your face. Not only is skin thinner but research has shown it’s also subjected to ‘repetitive stress from micro-eye movements’ – AKA blinking, which we do on average over 28,000 a day.
Keep scrolling to see our edit of the best eye cream for every concern and, remember: when it comes to application tap in the product using your ring finger (your weakest finger). Don’t rub.
Best eye cream for dark circles
If dark under eye circles are the result of lifestyle factors like lack of sleep or a poor diet (rather than pigmentation or skin structure), then the good news is you can do something about them with the best eye cream for puffiness. Sunday Riley’s first eye cream will help you with this – it’s a good’un. It nourishes the area under the eye, which smooths the skin making it easier for light to bounce of it. Bright eyes ahoy.
Best eye cream for wrinkles
For a two-pronged attack on fine lines try Murad’s Renewing Eye Cream. The anti-ageing powerhouse retinol (otherwise known as Vitamin A) combines with powerful peptides that help strengthen the paper-thin skin around your peepers so skin looks firmer and wrinkles are noticeably reduced.
Best anti ageing eye cream
Founded by cosmetic surgeon and skin expert Dr Marco Lens, Zelens is the go-to for skin worthy of the red carpet. The smoothing Triple-Action eye cream targets crow’s feet, fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes with a potent, botanical-enriched formula containing marine collagen and hyaluronic acid.
Best eye cream for puffiness
If, when you wake up, you get big dark circles and puffy eyes, then you should opt for something lighter, like an eye serum. The molecules are much smaller in these formulas adn therefore will penetrate into the skin easier and won’t sit on top of your eye socket, exacerbating the puffiness.
If you’re still looking for ‘the one’, keep scrolling for some of our other favourites. We’re certain you won’t leave here empty-handed…
The ultimate powerhouse for eyes, this serum is gentle enough to use both day and night (use twice a day for accelerated results), but contains souped-up age-defying ingredients including retinyl retinoate to plump skin, visibly fade fine lines and wrinkles and help with dark circles. After using consistently for 7 weeks now, I can truly say I see a smoother, less discoloured eye area.
Inspired by the 'banana powder' used by make-up artists to colour correct the skin, Banana Bright eye cream contains pigments that brighten and colour correct the area. The cream, which has a lovely buttery texture, is also packed with vitamin C and smooths fine lines and the skin's surface to better prep the area for make-up.
Ever since CeraVe hit UK shores, it has been a favourite among the beauty elite. It's a brand developed by Dermatologists at low prices. This eye cream is non-sticky, fast absorbing and moisture-boosting, which in turn brightens the eye area and gets rid of dark circles.
Technically not an eye cream per se, but the benefits are so good we had to shout about it. Roll this soothing little gel stick across your under eye area and the whole thing will be noticeably smoother and less puffy, with a lasting cooling effect. Keep it in your bag to stave off tired eyes.
Yes, this is on the more expensive side, but this little vial will last and last. The roller-ball applicator dispenses the exact amount needed around the eye socket. Not only does this feel DIVINE if kept in the fridge, it's also super soothing before you go bed. The powerful blend of natural plant extracts, oils and a gentle retinoid to help improve the appearance of fine lines. Add it into your bedtime ritual.
Sometimes you'd happily take a wrinkle, a couple of fine lines and shadows under your eyes, if it means you can just have a bit of relief for tight, red and sore skin. We completely understand and that's why you should look no further than Avène.
You know the famous Origins GinZing eye cream?! Well meets it's cousin. It does the same incredible job at brightening and de-puffing, but it now comes in this handy on the go tube with a soft sponge for delicate application.
This eye cream is the real deal, tackling both pesky crow's feet and dark circles in the process. Unlike other creams, it's utterly weightless and super refreshing to boot.
Channel your inner millennial with this avocado-based eye cream, which is super hydrating and perfect for those drying winter months.
Okay, okay, TECHNICALLY a serum, we know. But the effect that this tiny potent potion has on your under eye circles blew us away, so we just had to include it. Apply morning and night for considerably lighter dark patches. Use with the brand's hero under eye masks, and consider your bags bidden goodbye.
You are going to love this night eye cream. It looks like a smooth gel, that goes on like velvet to combat not only pollution, UV and effects from lack of sleep, but it also has a special repair technology that helps with blue light. Not that that should encourage you to increase how much you look at your phone.
If you have super dry skin around your eyes, then this will do wonders at helping fix that. However, that is not the only reason why we love this. After under a week of using this, it transformed skin from parched and tight to supple and irresistibly soft. We found ourselves stroking our eye sockets - weird, but also so good.
Here are the three boxes that this eye cream ticks: 1) plumps and hydrates with hyaluronic acid; 2) reduces puffiness and tighten skins (thank you witch hazel); and 3) it's tinted so will cover your eye bags. Tick, tick, tick.
Don't forget to protect your eyes from sun damage - they will be the first feature to show the signs of age, caused by the sun's rays. The Ultrasun SPF30+ Eye Cream is the perfect choice for the coming summer months, although we advise you to wear this all year round, even when the sun isn't shining.