Find out if your eye cream is working and how to shop for the right one with our expert tips

Keeping fine lines at bay, de-puffing and combatting dark circles… When it comes to taking care of the skin around our eyes, the struggle is real.

“This area of skin is up to five times thinner than the rest of your face – there are fewer oil-producing glands and lower collagen levels compared to the rest of the body,” says Janette Ryan, Vichy education and training manager. Cue: eye cream.

Make sure you’re getting results from you eye cream with our tips
Getty – Contributor

But how do you know if yours is working? And how do you shop for the right one? Read on for firmer, smoother, brighter peepers.

 How to apply eye cream

Before you give up on your current eye formula, check you’ve been using it properly. First, ensure you’re applying it at the correct time of day according to the instructions (night time or morning and night) and at the right stage in your skincare regime. “Always apply eye cream before your moisturiser,” says Janette.

Give your eye cream a few minutes to sink in before you apply any make-up
Getty – Contributor

“This should remind you to avoid the eye contour with your moisturiser, as too much product on such a delicate area may cause congestion and lead to puffiness.” And remember, because the area you’re working with is so small and the skin is thin, less product is more.

“After cleansing, take a rice-grain-sized amount and apply it to the bone surrounding the eye contour,” she explains.

“Dab it with your ring finger, working from the outer corner inwards, then across the upper eyelid. Finish with a smoothing movement from the inner corner outward.”

If you use yours in the morning, give it a few minutes to sink in before you apply any make-up so that it can get to work properly.

How to choose the right eye cream

Your skin type around the eyes is…

Sensitive Opt for a lightweight balm, gel or serum and look for products that have minimal ingredients – Janette recommends 13 or fewer. “Products that are free from fragrance, alcohol and colourants are best for eyes that are prone to irritation.”

Dry “Go for a rich, creamy texture, as this will provide the skin with more comfort on application, as well as nourishment,” says Janette.

Are you getting results?

If you’ve been using the same eye product for a while but aren’t sure if it’s working, check how your skin feels in comparison to when you first started using it. “You should notice a difference in texture within the first week,” says Janette.

You should notice a difference within the first week if you’re using a good eye cream

“The skin around your eyes should feel smoother and dehydration lines should be starting to disappear.” If you are prone to puffiness, though, hold your horses – it can take up to four weeks to see a change and dark circles may take up to eight weeks to fade.

“If your eye cream is working, your skin will feel softer, the eye contour will look brighter and fresher and your eyelids should look less swollen,” explains Janette.

“If the eye contour is still quite dull and lined after four weeks of daily use it might be time to try something else.”

What do you want to target

Eye bags and dark circles

Look for products containing caffeine, which is known to stimulate blood flow, so helping drain and decongest the area. “Caffeine restricts the blood vessel dilation and oedema – the build-up of fluid in the body which causes the affected tissue to become swollen,” Janette explains. “Its decongestive properties decrease water retention and help to reduce the size of bags under the eyes and lessen the look of dark circles.” Vitamin C is also good for brightening the skin around the eyes.

Fine lines

Hyaluronic acid works to tackle fine lines, so a cream that contains this super-ingredient should be on your shopping list. “It guarantees plumpness and more importantly hydration, which is key when it comes to tackling fine lines,” says Janette. “Hyaluronic acid acts like a sponge to hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water.” Not only this, but it releases antioxidants to protect the skin from external aggressors such as pollution.


As well as caffeine, ingredients such as cucumber and arnica work to reduce swelling around the eyes. If you’re using an eye gel or serum, help to de-puff the area further by keeping it in the fridge. “This will provide an immediate cooling, calming and constricting action on the blood vessels,” adds Janette.

Cream of the crop

Best for puffiness

The Love Jamila Eye Cream ontains soothing aloe to help de-puff, as well as hyaluronic acid and argan oil to hydrate the area
  • Easy On The Eye Avocado Eye Cream, £9, Love Jamila – buy now

Best for fine lines

The Eye D-Crease has active ingredient Matrixyl to optimise collagen production and firm up the skin and it’s also rich in natural moisturisers and protective antioxidants
  • Prai Beauty Ageless Eye D-Crease, £28, Look Fantastic – buy now

Best for dark circles and eye bags

This is fresh and light to apply, plus contains caffeine and hyaluronic acid to help decongest and drain puffiness around the eyes

Vichy Minéral 89 Eyes, £20 , Look Fantastic – buy now

Best for plumping

This is antioxidant-rich and hydrates and leaves skin smooth and plump – perfect for use around the mouth and eyes
  • Glossier Bubblewrap, £23, Glossier – buy now

Best for crow’s feet

This serum firms, brightens and helps reduce the look of crow’s feet, thanks to anti-ageing ingredient retinol
  • Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Eye Serum, £65, Debenhams – buy now

Best for brightening

The Beauty Shot contains light-reflecting pigments and brightening tuberose white flower cell extract for a boost of radiance
  • Keep Young & Beautiful Instant Brightening Beauty Shot Eye Lift, £33, M&S – buy now


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