In Allure magazine’s book, Confessions of a Beauty Editor, the author asserts that special creams for the eyes are unnecessary: skin around the eyes “does not require its own product. Regular moisturizer works just fine.” I couldn’t disagree more. Eye area skin has important characteristics and as we get older (than the average 20-something magazine editor) they become more pronounced and demand specialized treatment. In fact, I would go so far as to say that a damn good eye cream is the best investment you can make.

The skin under the eye does not have much support structure, which is why it wrinkles easily and isn’t very elastic. The eye area is also surrounded by some of the thinnest and most delicate skin on the body. There are few oil glands to lubricate this area. Furthermore, eyes have some very specific issues and needs. Here are some of them:


A bump in the road to beauty can, admittedly, appear anywhere on the face, but the eye area is especially prone to perplexing little white lumps. Although they may look a bit like whiteheads, they are actually keratin-filled cysts that are formed when skin cells become trapped under the epidermis. The most common cause of milia is from using heavy skincare products that contain comedogenic ingredients, which can prevent the sloughing and shedding of dead skin cells. If this is something you have experienced, then be sure to look out for an eye cream that is a light formula, or is even closer to a serum or gel in consistency. One recent find is Retrospect’s Flash Firm Eye Gel (good for puffy eyes – see below) and AQ’s excellent lifting eye serum is another light gel.


If your shampoo has ever made you cry, you know how sensitive the eyes can be. Some commonly used cosmetic ingredients are actually known to cause ocular damage – such as  triethanolamine, hexylene glycol and sodium hydroxide. A good eye cream should be formulated without them, such as Snowberry’s Smoothing Eye Serum, which is effective with no nasties.

Dark circles

Your regular moisturizer will be of little use for dark under-eye circles. There are some specific ingredients that can be of some help, and they are a key feature of some of the newest, good quality eye creams. They include Hesperidin methyl chalcone (in ReLuma’s Eye Cream), Bioskinup Contour 3r, Haloxyl and Eyeseryl. Read more on the causes of and solutions for dark under eye circles. You’ll find haloxyl and eyeseryl in Your Best Face Correct.

Puffy eyes

If you are saddled with bags then keep an eye out for Eyeseryl in eye creams such as Skinfinite LOL. This is tetrapeptide-5 and it is supposed to reduce water retention and ensure lymph drainage, while protecting collagen from cross-linking that causes baggy eyes. Additionally, it reduces leaking of fluids from the capillaries into the tissue, which can cause puffy eyes.

Crepey lines

Delicate eye area skin seems to be prone to a specific kind of dry wrinklyness that is known as crepeyness. Slathering on a rich moisturizer isn’t necessarily the answer, at least not for me. I was only able to actually eliminate crepe (probably my most successful anti-aging experience to date) when I made the investment in a very good eye cream. After a few months use, people started to notice. Friends would say how good I looked and point vaguely in the direction of my eyes. I have never looked back. (The eye cream in question was YBF Correct and it is still a firm favorite).

Applying eye cream

My esthetician, Ildi Pekar, taught me to apply eye cream with a gentle circular motion that starts at the outer eye, travels under the eye towards the nose and then over the lid. In other words, the opposite direction from your wrinkles.