Some people may think of eye cream as just moisturizer in a smaller tube but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Eye cream should be an essential part of any beauty tool kit, whether your skin is dry, sensitive or oily, and whether you’re in your 20s or enjoying your 50s. Selecting the right under eye cream and incorporating it into your daily routine helps prevent eye wrinkles from forming, and also treats any fine lines that you may have. But not all eye creams are created equally.
Related: Best Eye Cream for Wrinkles
What Does An Eye Cream Do?
Eye creams do a few different things. Think of an eye cream as a multi-tasker, as they protect, prevent and restore. The best eye creams hydrate and protect the delicate skin around the eye area by delivering a big dose of moisture. They protect the skin with a blend of antioxidants and some add further protection with a broad spectrum SPF. The best eye creams also restore the eye area by tackling the signs of anti-aging. More than that, eye creams can deliver long term as well as instant benefits. Long term benefits include improving the appearance of fine lines and discoloration, while quick fixes include brightening the eye area with pigments and optical diffusers, as well as depuffing the eye area.
Why Use Eye Cream?
If you already use a day cream, night cream and a serum, you may hesitate to buy another hyper specific beauty product. But eye creams are formulated differently to facial moisturizers, as the skin around the eyes is thinner and more delicate than the face. By some estimates, the skin around the eyes is 40 percent thinner than the rest of the face. This area is also highly prone to showing the signs of aging first, as the eye area skin tends to be dry and thin.
The thinner skin in the eye area also absorbs products very quickly, so the formulas need to address that. Think about it another way- would you use soap to remove your eye makeup, or a specially formulated product that won’t irritate the delicate eye area or sting your eyes?
The holy grail of eye creams is one that provides a dollop of moisture without being too heavy or greasy. While mature skin may appreciate a thick formula, using a too-rich formula on younger skin can cause makeup to slide right off.
Should I Have Day and Night Eye Creams?
No matter how old (or young) you are, it’s important to use an eye cream every single day to keep this area well nourished- after all, dry skin tends to show wrinkles faster. And if you are already seeing fine lines appear, a wrinkle fighting eye cream is a must. Take a look at our picks for the best anti-aging eye creams.
Most people use separate products for their day and night eye creams. The best eye creams for the day are deeply hydrating and offer protection against the sun and damaging free radicals. Look for an eye cream that is formulated with a broad spectrum SPF. The best night creams are formulated differently, and while the day is all about protection, the night is about restoration.. Sunscreen isn’t needed for a night cream, but they tend to be richer, thicker and more hydrating. They may also contain anti-aging ingredients such as retinol.
Related: Best Retinol Eye Creams
Which Eye Cream Should I Use?
With so many eye creams on the market, it can be tough to narrow down the right one for you. One way to whittle down the field is to think about what eye area concerns you may have – is it hydration, fine lines, dark circles, puffiness, or some combination of all of these, depending on the day? Are you a man or woman? Or maybe you have sensitive skin, or are looking for an affordable eye cream that contains super brightening powers.
Today’s innovative formulas can do everything from soothe itchy eyes to eliminate puffiness, along with fading dark circles. Try to find a formula with a high SPF to help protect the delicate eye area from the sun’s damaging rays as well.
Related: Best Eye Creams for Dark Circles
Do I Only Need One Eye Cream?
Your eye cream needs may also change with the seasons, depending on where you live. Dry eyes need a rich formula in the winter but you may need to switch to a lightweight gel in the warmer, humid summer months. Eye treatments come in three different basic types of formulas- gels, creams, and serums. The right one for you may be a matter of personal preference. Tap some on gently and see how it feels. There is always a bit of trial and error involved when trying any new skincare product. It can take a few weeks to see how a product reacts with your skin or if your new eye cream makes your eye makeup crease and smear. Some formulas layer well under concealer while others do not.
How Should I Apply Eye Cream?
Eye cream should be applied twice a day, in the morning and in the night. If your eyes aren’t too dry, you may opt for a lightweight gel or serum during the day and switch to a thicker eye cream at night- perhaps one that is formulated to tackle the signs of aging.
Related: Best Eye Creams for Puffiness
Always apply eye cream in a gentle tapping motion, preferably using your pinkie (or index finger, as long as it’s clean). Eye creams should be applied below the eye, around the crow’s feet area, and the browbone area just below your eyebrows. You may want to avoid applying eye creams with active ingredients (such as retinols) to the upper eyelid, as it could cause irritation.
If you’re worried about pulling and tugging on the skin, try an eye cream with a metal applicator tip. The metal has an instant cooling effect on the skin. For extra “chill” to help with depuffing tired eyes, try storing your eye cream in the fridge.
What Ingredients are in the Best Eye Creams?
To help narrow down your hunt for “the one,” it’s helpful to think about what you’re asking your eye cream to do for you – and then read the label carefully.
The main role of an eye cream is to hydrate the skin and protect this delicate area. Look for products containing moisturizing hyaluronic acid, which hydrates the skin and give it a smoother appearance by filling in fine lines. Hyaluronic acid is an all-around superstar as it holds up to 1,000 times its weight in water and acts like a moisture magnet, by drawing water to itself. Ceramides also help boost hydration, along with oils (like jojoba or avocado), butters and glycerin, which is a humectant.
Vitamin A derived retinol is a key wrinkle fighter. It helps encourage cell turnover to reveal fresher, smoother looking skin. Retinol can also help fade dark spots and discoloration and supports collagen production.
Other vitamins to look out for include vitamins C and E- these powerful antioxidants help give skin a glow and boost skin elasticity while soothing the skin. Anyone with sensitive skin may prefer an eye cream with neuropeptides. It works similarly to retinol, meaning it supports collagen production, but can be less irritating to the skin.
Other ingredients to look for if you have puffy eyes include caffeine to perk up the eye area. It is a vasoconstrictor which means it helps shrink blood vessels and temporarily tightens the skin area. If your caffeine is coming from green tea, it will also help tackle irritation and redness.If puffy eyes are a concern, the anti-inflammatory arnica can also de-puff. Growth factors can also help, as they decrease the look of wrinkles. Growth factors, are not the same as growth hormones, are also ideal in eye creams. They are natural substances made by the skin cells that support the repair of damaged skin, as a result of ageing or environmental factors. They promote the formation of collagen and elastin to provide firmness and elasticity.
Related: Best Firming Eye Creams
Here’s a look at some of the best eye creams of 2021.