Tweakment Finder TWEAKMENT




Eye Cream

Written by: Becki Murray

Last Updated: 27 February 2024

The skin around your eyes is thinner and more fragile than the skin on the rest of your face. It has fewer oil glands, so it dries out more easily; and because our eyes help us express ourselves, the skin around them gets pulled, stretched, and scrunched up a lot. All of that makes the skin around your eyes the first area to develop wrinkles.

To look after the skin around your eyes, you can apply an eye cream, a specialised product designed to nourish and protect the skin without making it puffy. They can also improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles around the eye.

eye cream

What does eye cream do?

Eye creams are specially formulated to help hydrate and strengthen the delicate skin around the eye, so they can improve the appearance of wrinkles.

There are a few reasons why you might want to use an eye cream. The skin around the eyes is thinner and more fragile than the skin on the rest of the face, and also has fewer oil glands, meaning that it dries out more easily. Dry skin wrinkles more quickly than well-hydrated skin, so thinness and dryness together mean that this skin is more prone to wrinkling than the rest of the face’s skin. Also, the skin around our eyes gets more than its fair share of being pulled, stretched and scrunched up because our eye muscles are constantly working to help us to express ourselves. Put together, this means that the skin around the eyes is typically the first part of the face to start showing its age and wrinkling.


What are the benefits of using eye cream?

Eye cream can hydrate and moisturise the skin around your eyes to reduce dryness and to keep the skin elastic. It can also reduce fine lines and wrinkles around your eyes and improve the skin’s texture.

Some eye creams aim to reduce the visibility of dark circles and bags under the eyes, but most such creams tend to have only moderate success doing so.


How can eye creams reduce fine lines and wrinkles?

Eye creams can reduce fine lines and wrinkles in five main ways:

  • Hydrating the skin. Eye creams improve hydration by including humectant ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and glycerine. These ingredients draw water into the skin, making it look plumper and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Moisturising the skin. Eye creams include occlusives, such as petrolatum or plant oil, to form a protective barrier on the surface of your skin, preventing moisture from escaping and so keeping the skin plump.
  • Stimulating collagen and elastin production. Collagen is the protein that forms the scaffolding of your skin, giving it structure. Elastin is the protein that gives your skin stretchiness and resilience. Stimulating the production of collagen and elastin helps keep your skin firm and elastic.
  • Delivering nutrients. Eye creams nourish the skin around your eyes with nutrients such as peptides (short chains of amino acids), plus antioxidants that fight free radical damage, which can increase wrinkles.
  • Providing caffeine. Many eye creams contain caffeine. Rather than ‘waking up’ the skin in the way that drinking coffee jump-starts the nervous system, caffeine in eye creams has an anti-inflammatory effect, so it calms redness and constricts blood vessels, making wrinkles less visible.


Can eye cream help with dark circles and puffiness?

If you suffer with dark circles or bags under your eyes, the first thing to blame is your genes, though a lack of sleep and an unhealthy lifestyle will only make dark circles or bags under the eyes look worse.

Unfortunately, very few eye creams have any sort of impact on eye bags or dark circles, no matter what the manufacturers claim.That’s because dark circles are the result of blood vessels beneath the eyes showing through thin skin, and it’s often a problem that is genetic. Only makeup, and lifestyle changes and tweakments can help – and even then, only to a certain extent.

But if you want to try an eye cream that will help you minimize puffy or baggy eyes, look for one that is light and hydrating and that contains active ingredients such as peptides that may help to soothe and smooth the eye area. Keeping the skin around the eyes hydrated helps to plump up the skin a fraction, and ingredients like retinol or peptides make the skin thicker and firmer skin so under-eye darkness is less likely to show through.

Are there specific eye creams for sensitive skin?

Yes, there are plenty of eye creams designed for sensitive skin. If you want an eye cream for sensitive skin, look for these three factors:

  • Hydrating and moisturising ingredients. Hyaluronic acid and glycerine help keep your skin hydrated. Moisturising ingredients such as squalane help your skin retain the moisture.
  • Calming ingredients. These include oatmeal, ceramides, and aloe vera.
  • Lightweight texture: Loading on a heavy cream can make your skin puffy. Instead, look for an lightweight, oil-free formula that won’t clog your pores.

Make sure the eye cream avoids alcohol, harsh fragrances, and essential oils, all of which can irritate your skin.

What ingredients are effective in anti-ageing eye creams?

Anti-ageing eye creams include many different ingredients, but the following five categories and ingredients are typically the most effective for reducing the signs of aging:

  • Humectants. Hyaluronic acid, glycerine, and other humectants attract moisture into your skin, preventing dryness and keeping the skin plump.
  • Ceramides. These naturally occurring lipids keep your skin supple by strengthening the skin barrier and locking in the moisture.
  • Antioxidants. Antioxidants such as vitamin C, niacinamide (vitamin B3), and green tea extract help protect your skin against damage from free radicals, which can make your skin wrinkle and sag.
  • Retinol. This vitamin A derivative can encourage your skin to renew itself and to produce more collagen, helping fight lines and wrinkles.
  • Caffeine. As mentioned earlier on this page, caffeine in eye cream has an anti-inflammatory effect rather than giving you a kick in the eye.

Are there eye creams that target specific concerns like hydration or firming?

Yes — plenty of them.

If your primary concern is improving your skin’s hydration, look for an eye cream that includes humectants such as hyaluronic acid and glycerine and moisturising ingredients such as squalane or ceramides. The humectants draw moisture into your skin and the moisturising ingredients keep it there.

If firming your skin is your main aim, look for an eye cream that will shift your skin’s collagen and elastin production into higher gear and strengthen your skin barrier against environmental damage. Retinol and peptides are good for stimulating collagen and elastin production, while antioxidants (such as vitamin C) help strengthen the skin barrier.

What is the correct way to apply eye cream?

Apply it to dry skin after cleansing. Eye cream goes on before other products, including your general moisturiser. You really don’t need to use too much – a fat grain-of-rice-sized amount should do the trick.

Use the eye cream sparingly, using your ring fingers. Why the ring fingers? Because they’re less powerful than your first and second fingers and a bit less dexterous, so you will use them thoughtfully and lightly. Rather than smushing the eye cream into your skin, tap it on lightly to distribute it beneath the eye and up around the browbone.

During the day, use an SPF over your eye cream to protect the delicate eye area from UV damage.

Most skin experts advise not putting product onto the upper eyelid itself, pointing out that some product will probably transfer itself from your browbone. Do not apply the eye cream too close to your eyes either, as if it enters the eyes it has the potential to cause irritation. Give it time to absorb before moving on to the next step in your skincare routine.

How often should eye cream be used?

How often you should use an eye cream depends on your skin, the type of eye cream, and the effect the eye cream has on your skin.

Most eye creams are designed for use twice a day, though some heavier eye creams are intended for once-a-day use. Read the instructions for your eye cream and try applying it with the frequency recommended. If that frequency works for your skin, stick with it; if not, experiment to find the frequency that suits you better.

Can natural-ingredient eye creams be as effective as conventional-ingredient creams?

In general, yes — natural-ingredient eye creams can be as effective as their counterparts that use synthetic ingredients. That said, the natural ingredients are not necessarily better for you than synthetic ingredients, and the key to the effectiveness of an eye cream will lie in the way in which it is formulated and how well it suits your skin. So you will usually be better off judging an eye cream by how well it works for you rather than by the sources of its ingredients.

What are the latest advancements in eye skincare?

Eye skincare is a hot topic that is the focus of considerable research and development efforts. Here are four examples of the latest advancements in eye skincare:

  • Custom eye creams. Various companies offer skin analysis and personalised skincare routines that include eye creams tailored to your skin’s specific needs.
  • Microcurrent toning. You can use handheld microcurrent devices around your eye area to stimulate the muscles under the skin, improve circulation, and boost collagen production. Microcurrent toning can help your skin better absorb eye creams, giving you greater effects from them.
  • Bioactive ingredients. Scientists are experimenting with bioactive ingredients such as marine extracts that can brighten and hydrate the skin, probiotics than can help balance the skin microbiome, and growth factors that can rev up your skin’s production of collagen and elastin.
  • Blue light protection. Researchers are developing eye creams that help protect your skin from the aging effects of blue light from screens.


Do I need an eye cream?

You don’t have to use an eye cream. Many people don’t bother with eye creams, but there are some fabulous ones around if you want to try them.

Are there tinted eye creams?

Many eye creams are also tinted, which is helpful for covering up dark shadows if you can find a cream the right colour for your skin tone. Eye creams may also contain optical brightening ingredients which help to bounce back the light in a way that blurs wrinkles and reduces the look of dark circles, though you will get a better cover-up effect if you use concealer designed for the purpose.

Does eye cream get rid of puffy eye bags?

In a word, no. No eye cream is going to get rid of eye bags. There are many reasons why eye bags develop – they may be genetic, or they may have crept up on you with age, as the fat pads in the face and around the eye begin to shrivel with age, and the skin above them begins to sag. Or, as the ligaments beneath the eye stretch a little, the fat pads beneath the eye bulge forward into a pouch. Either way, it is going to take more than an eye cream to sort them out (you are talking about tweakments, or possibly surgery), but using the right eye cream – something that is lightweight and hydrating, and which will boost collagen production around the eye to keep the skin firm, will keep the skin heatlhy and strong.

Puffiness in the eye area is usually the result of fluid retention, or allergies. Eating too many salty foods, or drinking too much alcohol are common culprits for making eyes go puffy, particularly if you also sleep with your face squashed into the pillow.

Using a lightweight, hydrating eye cream will help to keep the skin healthy and firm, and if you tap gently around the edges of the eye socket with your ring fingers as you apply your eye cream, this may help lymphatic drainage in the eye area, which will help reduce puffiness. The old trick of gently rolling and pressing the backs of chilled teaspoons across puffy eye bags can help reduce them, too. The high-tech version of this is to use a mini microcurrent device with an eye serum to stimulate the tiny muscles around the eye, and wake up your natural lymph drainage mechanisms.

Another claim you may have seen made about eye creams is that eye creams containing caffeine ‘wake up’ the skin – this isn’t actually true. The caffeine, if it gets into the skin (and I say if because there’s little evidence that the caffeine actually manages this), has an anti-inflammatory effect, which may make dark circles and puffiness less obvious.

Do eye creams work?

Yes they do – but it depends what you want them to do – they can’t work miracles. Eye creams can reduce the appearance of wrinkles by hydrating the skin to plump it up and to slow the rate at which new wrinkles form. For starters, well-hydrated skin beneath the eye may appear less dark than dehydrated skin.

In terms of helping with dark circles, while eye creams can’t get rid of these completely, they can reduce their appearance in a few ways. The inclusion of peptides and retinoids in eye creams helps here: peptides are like tiny messengers within the skin which activate particular processes in it, such as creating the building blocks of firmer skin (such as fibrillin) – this helps the skin to appear less wrinkled. Retinoids will stimulate the production of collagen, which will make the skin thicker and firmer. So thicker, firmer, better hydrated skin around the eyes will look better, and may reduce the appearance of dark circles, though it’s not going to get rid of them.

Secondly, many eye creams contain light-reflecting particles and skin-coloured tints, which both help to make the under-eye area appear less dark – although a concealer will do the job better.

How well an eye cream will work for you also depends on the types of eyes you’ve got – for example, puffy eyes that are sensitive and will swell up if you put too heavy a cream on them will particularly benefit from a lightweight specialised eye product.

Where to apply eye cream

Read the instructions on your specific eye cream – some creams are meant to be applied just under the eye and around the outer edges (where crows’ feet form), but some are meant to be applied to the eyelids as well. If you don’t have the instructions and aren’t sure where to apply it, I’d advise being cautious and leaving out the eyelids.

Why does my under eye cream burn?

This sounds like a problem – your eye cream should not sting or burn. If it does, stop using it immediately. Burning or stinging could be caused by one of two things: either fragrance in the product (parfum) causing an irritant reaction to the skin around the eyes (although most eye creams tend to be fragrance-free), or applying too much product, to the point where it gets too close to the eyes, gets picked up by the eyelashes and gets into the eyes. If this happens, it can really hurt, and you should rinse your eye thoroughly, preferably with cooled boiled water.

Can eye cream cause dry eyes?

It shouldn’t. It’s supposed to be hydrating the eye area – however, while this is unusual, it could be part of an irritant reaction if your eye cream contains fragrance (listed as ‘parfum’ in the ingredients list). Most eye creams, however, are fragrance-free, in part because of their potential to irritate the eyes.This could also be due to allergies, separate from use of the eye cream.

What is the best eye cream?

The best eye cream for you is the one that suits your budget, doesn’t irritate your eyes, and produces the effects you want – whether that is reduced wrinkling, better hydration, or firmer, less puffy skin.

Have a look at the shop on my website for some of my favourite eye creams. Or book in for a one-to-one consultation with TTG’s skincare Shenaz for personalised recommendations.


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Alice answers your question. Want to ask Alice a question? Pop it in here and check back in a few days for the answer.

Could you please tell me what is the best eye cream for crepey under eye skin? I use ZO skincare but a No7 eye cream and it’s not helping.

Hiya, TTG editor Georgia here. Eye cream can help hydrate the area and reduce the appearance of that crepiness some of the way, but it won't eliminate it completely – for that, you'd need a tweakment like PRP, RF needling, or mesotherapy – something to build up collagen under the skin and smooth out its texture. Book in with a practitioner who specialises in the eye area and have a consultation to find out which is the best option for you. And you may want to try a new eye cream too – we really like both of these....

What would you recommend for the criss-cross pattern of wrinkles under my eyes?

Start by using a really good eye cream which will hydrate and strengthen the skin and help smooth the appearance of the wrinkles. Then maybe a type of radiofrequency microneedling, or a heat treatment like Tixel, that can be used close to the eyes to rejuvenate the skin, or an injectable treatment like PRP to regenerate the under-eye skin and smooth out the wrinkles. Find a great practitioner in your area, book a consultation and see what they can suggest that might help you....

Do I need a vitamin C eye cream for bad eye wrinkles?

Hiya, TTG editor Georgia here. A vitamin C eye cream would help brighten up the area and restore some 'springiness' to the skin, thanks to its collagen and elastin-boosting properties. But if the wrinkles are 'bad', as you say, and more of a concern than any pigmentation you might have in the area, you'd be better off with an eye product that contains retinol instead, like this one, to directly target them. Go slowly when introducing retinol into your skincare regime, especially around your eyes, using it just twice a week at first, and 'sandwich' it with a hydrating serum or moisturiser before and afterward while your skin is getting used...

I’m looking for solutions for under-eye wrinkles. I’m 61.

Start by using a really good eye cream which will help smooth the appearance of the wrinkles, then I'd suggest reading up on the various tweakments that can help with under-eye wrinkles, like laser and radiofrequency. Take a look at this recent Tweak of the Week video, too. You can see how much radiofrequency microneedling improved Linda Lusardi's under-eye area. Next, find a fab practitioner in your area and have a consultation with them to see what treatments they can suggest that you would be comfortable trying....

I'm 53 and have started to suffer under my eyes. The skin seems loose and is causing creases. What do you recommend or what ingredients I should aim for? Thanks

Sympathies, it's just what happens as we age, perfectly natural but not something that brings us joy. I'd start with a good quality eye cream to help hydrate and strengthen the skin, and take a look at the concerns on the site where you can look at all our specific advice for eye concerns.

Hi Alice, can you please recommend a good eye cream & concealer for mature skin?

I'm a big fan of the Elequra Eye Architecture cream which is light, hydrating and supportive. Re a concealer, I'm loving Monika Blunder's Blundercover which is a foundation that you apply with a brush so you can dabble as much or as little under the eyes as you need. Or, I just use the Neostrata Sheer Physical Protection SPF50 all over my face and as it has a light tint, I find it makes a good concealer, too, if your colouring is at all like mine.

Buying from your website post-Brexit – I live in France... will I be charged import taxes?

There's always a chance you'll be charged import taxes but we can't say for certain either way. Please email us at [email protected] with details of what you'd like to order and your address, and we will give you a shipping quote which will include any extra costs/ taxes we are informed about.

I have read your information about the three recommended eye creams but still don’t know which one to use. Which is your number 1?

Ah, tricky! They're all great. Why not start with the Elequra Eye Architecture cream and see what that does for you? If you have the budget, the Medik8 R-Retinoate eye cream is fab. It will give you results, but it's gentle with it.

I am 43 and have very crepey eyelids. What is the best hydrating serum to use? Should I consider a blepharoplasty?

In terms of products, use any you like - you can find a selection of my favourite eye creams/ serums here. Skincare can only do so much though. It won't tighten eyelid skin significantly and a blepharoplasty may be necessary to get any real results, especially if the eyelids are very lax, as you say. The only way to know what's best for you is to have a consultation with a surgeon. Look for an oculoplastic surgeon who specialises in eyes and is very experienced in blepharoplasties (search 'oculoplastic' on this site for the ones that are listed here). Laser treatment around the eyes and across the eyelids will tighten the skin but...

Best eye cream for wrinkles not bags

These three on this link are all brilliant eye creams. Also, wear sunscreen during the day, to protect the delicate skin around your eyes from damaging UV rays.


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