It’s a debate as old as time itself: do you really need an eye cream? The answer is a resounding ‘yes’. Despite usually being packaged in the tiniest of pots, the best eye cream is like a soft-focus lens for crow’s feet and can help disguise dark under eye circles.
Yes, it’s another step in the old skincare routine, but necessary because regular serums and face creams aren’t necessarily formulated for the fragile skin that sits just below your lower lash line. Even the very best face serums may have actives that are too potent for this delicate area, while some creams are too rich and clog pores, causing milia (those pesky small white bumps) to form under the skin.
According to Lee Etheridge, education director at bareMinerals, we should be taking every precaution to treat the eye area if we want to delay the visible signs of ageing.
‘The skin here is thin. It’s made up of less collagen and elastin compared to the rest of the face,’ she says. ‘When you consider the average person blinks 23,000 times, it’s not surprising that the eye area is susceptible to wrinkling.’
What to look for in the best eye cream
Sadly, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to tackle puffiness, fine lines and under-eye shadows, so consider applying two different creams to this unique area daily.
‘In the morning, your main issue is puffiness caused by water retention from laying flat all night,’ explains Etheridge. Look for a gel with a slight nip to it as the chilly sensation will instantly de-puff. Combine it with a tool like a jade roller and the extra cooling sensation will only help matters.
‘It should also be high in antioxidants to fight free radical damage from pollution,’ Etheridge adds.
At night time your skin is in recovery mode, so switch to a richer cream to really nourish and lock in moisture. ‘One with a high concentration of peptides and skin-smoothing eyebright extract will help to soften the appearance of expression lines,’ she adds.
If you’ve spent your day sitting under air-conditioning or central heating, tackle crêpiness around the eyes with a humectant like hyaluronic acid, which draws water into the skin and helps keep it there. Just avoid overly oily formulas at all costs – especially those containing mineral oils and petroleum, which can swamp the skin and easily travel up into the eye.
How to apply eye cream properly
As the under eye area is so delicate, you also want to avoid any vigorous rubbing. ‘Put a small amount of product on your ring finger (your weakest in terms of exerting pressure) and smooth below the eye, over the crow’s feet area and pat onto the brow bone just below your eyebrows,’ says consultant dermatologist Dr Justine Kluk.
So whatever your primary concern for your under-eye area, we’ve got you covered with our edit of the best eye creams below.