You might have found the Ross to your Rachel when it comes to serums and almost got your skincare regime down to a T, but where does an eye cream fit in? They’re often the last piece of the puzzle – but actually, they’re an important one.
Whether concealer is settling into lines more than it used to, or dark circles are a permanent part of your daily routine, investing in a targeted eye serum or cream can really make a difference.
To find out which eye creams are really worth splurging on, the Elle Beauty Lab has done the research for you, asking 430 women to test a range of brands to find out which ones live up to their claims. The Elle beauty team has also curated their favourites below, so you have all the best options.
Why buy an eye cream?
‘The skin around the eyes is thinner and more fragile,’ explains Dr. Maryam Zamani, oculoplastic surgeon and founder of MZ Skin. This means it requires special treatment – especially if you’re trying to get rid of stubborn dark circles or erase the signs of a late night.
The best eye creams can work to tackle a wide range of concerns, including dryness, puffiness, dark circles (to a certain extent – let’s be real), and fine lines and wrinkles. To ensure you’ve got your hands on your perfect match, it pays to delve into the ingredients a little.
For puffiness and eye bags, caffeine could be the one. ‘It reduces the build-up of lipids that lead to eye bags, and firms and restructures skin proteins to smooth, firm and tone the surface,’ says Dr. Zamani.
For fine lines, hyaluronic acid is your secret weapon. Proven to hold up to 1000 times its weight in water when correctly harnessed in a formula, ‘it prevents moisture loss, helps smooth wrinkles and improves the skin surface,’ she explains.
And for dark circles, your best bet may lie in a spot of product cocktailing. Try using a retinol-based eye treatment at night, which can boost collagen production, then cheat with an illuminating cream for instantly brighter eyes by day. While no eye cream on this earth can change your bone structure (which can contribute to the appearance of shadows under the eyes), reflective pigments work wonders when it comes to tricking the light.
How often should you apply an eye cream?
It depends on how often you feel your peepers need a little pick-me-up – and what ingredients your cream features – but the general rule is in the morning and before you slip into bed at night.
If an eye cream includes retinol (as many of the wrinkle-focused ones do) then keep it reserved for night time. As powerful as retinol is, it also makes skin more sensitive to UV rays, meaning the morning isn’t exactly ideal application time. Apply before you snooze and don’t forget your SPF in the morning – that part is non-negotiable.
Vitamin C, on the other hand, is great for a morning routine. Although there’s no reason the brightening ingredient can’t be used at night, it’s more potent in the AM due to its antioxidant powers, which help keep free radicals at a distance.
How we test
Our panel of 430 testers tried a range of eye creams designed to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, as well as address puffiness and dark circles.
Testers reported back on the effect each cream had on fine lines, crow’s feet and deep wrinkles, as well as moisture levels and firmness over four weeks.
Here, discover the very best eyes creams in the bunch…