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eye creams

Are Eye Creams Really Necessary?

Reviewed by Marta May 20, 2014 13 Comments

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:

Eye Creams for Milia

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. A great find is Sevani Ageless Eyes Revitalizing Eye Serum ($54 in the shop), which is a soothing blend of essential oils and AQ Skin Solutions Eye Serum ($99 in the shop) is an excellent light gel that won't clog pores.

Eye Creams for Sensitivity

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 ($53 in the shop), which is effective with no nasties.

Eye Creams for 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 , 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 ($150 in the shop) and Hesperidin methyl chalcone in Medik8 Pretox Eyelift ($70 in the shop).

Eye Creams for Puffy Eyes

If you are saddled with bags then keep an eye out for Eyeseryl in eye creams such as Skinfinite LOL Eye Serum ($49 in the shop). 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. You'll also find Eyeseryl in ReLuma Eye Cream ($95), as well as their key active of stem cell conditioned media that helps with wrinkles.

Eye Creams for 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. The very light, gel-like consistency of AQ's Eye Serum (mentioned above for milia), goes amazingly far — just a pea-size pump does both eyes. In addition to smoothing the under-eye area and lifting the lids, an added bonus is increased eyelash growth. One recent find is E'shee Clinical Esthetic Alpha and Omega Gene Therapy Eye Cream ($284 in the shop) — a splurge that is worth the money. It took my eyes, which were already in fairly good condition, to a whole new level of improvement. The skin of my eyelids and under-eye area feels firmer, flatter and smoother, probably thanks to trifluoroacetyl tripeptide-2, which is a new peptide to me that I was pretty excited to discover.

How to Apply 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.

  • December 7, 2014

    by Tiffany

    HI there, I just turned 40. I have milla, dark circles (blue / purple in color) and puffy eyes. Do you have any recommendations for an eye cream/treatment that might address all 3? I have combo skin & luckily I don't look my age yet and don't have much in the way of wrinkles. I would like to keep it this way as long as possible.

  • January 25, 2013

    by Asya


    I would also like to try Arcona's eye cream . I am in my mid-thirties and have always had puffy eyes, but now with my second child and being constantly sleep deprived the problem has worsened.

  • January 23, 2013

    by Jan

    Airless pump is what keeps me from purchasing Correct. It's too expensive to waiste and I've yet to get a fault-free pump. I've tried the paper clip and still can't get all the costly product, plus is seems qutie unsanitary.

  • January 23, 2013

    by JustD

    I'm still stuck on Osmosis Refresh PM Eye Repair Serum. It's worked wonders for me and now I'm alternating using it with the AQ Serum and I see hardly any evidence of what others see I cannot tell you, but nobody's said anything to me. On the other note, I was taught to use the application method for eye creams when I was a teenager by Way Bandy at an appearance he was at in my hometown and I've never stopped. He was monumental in the way I approached everything about makeup and skincare.

    Marta, you always say a lot of great things about YBFs Correct, no doubt it must be good, but it's still too far out of my range, so I'll stick with these lovelies for now until I'm.....80ish LOL.

    Thanks for another great source of info Marta as always.

  • January 23, 2013

    by Liz


    I would love to try the Arcona peptide eye serum. I'm in my mid 30s and have always had a problem with puffy eyes! I've tried several creams/serums/etc but most are focused on dark circles, which is not my problem. I'd love to try it and write up a thorough review with before and after pictures. Thanks

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