Do you really need to bother with eye cream?

woman with eyes closed applying eye cream under eyes
woman with eyes closed applying eye cream under eyes
9:00am, Fri 22 Jan 2021
CBAD8A00-D2B9-4E0E-ADDF-D0366C357A34 Created with sketchtool. E9A4AA46-7DC3-48B8-9CE2-D75274FB8967 Created with sketchtool. 65CCAE04-4748-4D0F-8696-A91D8EB3E7DC Created with sketchtool.

Some people swear by it, diligently tapping and smoothing their favourite formula around their eyes every night. Others claim it’s a waste of money and won’t make any difference. So what, really, is the deal with eye cream?

Is a separate pot of extra-gentle eye-enhancer an absolute essential for anyone wanting to delay or diminish crow’s feet, under-eye bags and dark circles – or will a regular moisturiser do the same job?

Here, four skincare experts give their verdict on whether you really need to invest in eye cream.

“Eye creams really do make a difference”

Abigail Williams, national education manager at Caudalie, believes that every beauty buff should have a good quality eye cream in their daily routine.

“The delicate skin around the eye area is the first to show lines, dehydration, and the effects of a busy lifestyle,” she says. “And YES, eye creams really do make a difference.”

She points out that while they have a similar formulation to face moisturisers, eye creams are designed to target specific concerns without causing irritation.

“They are additionally formulated to effectively reduce puffiness and smooth out lines and wrinkles. Many eye creams are fragrance-free and lighter than a face moisturiser, making them suitable for even the most sensitive eyes.”

Caudalie Firming Eye Gel Cream

Caudalie Firming Eye Gel Cream, £36

“Everyone should use eye cream from their mid-20s”

“The skin around the eyes is up to 10 times thinner and more delicate than the rest of the face, therefore making it vulnerable to damage from sun exposure, environmental pollutants and glycation,” says Lisa Goldfaden, co-founder of Goldfaden MD, believing that when it comes to wrinkles, prevention is better than cure.

“Everyone should have an eye cream included in their regime by their mid-20s,” she says, recommending tailoring your product choice to your skin concerns.

close up of woman's face with fingers pointing at one eye

“Looking to target issues of puffiness and dark circles, choose an eye cream which contains anti-inflammatory-fighting ingredients, such as Vitamin K, arnica, peptides, caffeine and/or soothing tea extracts.

“Retinol can help to increase cell turnover, thereby minimising dark circles and textural changes. These types of products may also help stimulate collagen production, thereby preventing volume loss.”

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It’s important to note that care must always be taken with retinol, as it can cause irritation. Always start slowly, applying a couple of times a week, before building up to daily use.

Goldfaden adds: “Peptide-based eye creams often present an effective alternative to retinol-based products, especially if you have sensitive skin.”

Goldfaden MD Bright Eyes

Goldfaden MD Bright Eyes, £48, Space NK

“You don’t need a different product for around the eye”

Katie White, facialist and founder of Re:lax, says: “I love recommending multifunctional products, as they are better for the environment and my clients’ bank balances.

“I don’t believe that you need a different product for around the eye, so long as you select the product carefully.”

She warns against face creams that contain “acids, too much fragrance or strong retinol, which can lead to irritation of the delicate eye area”.

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Instead, she recommends using an oil and gently massaging it around the eyes: “By including a little bit of massage, you increase microcirculation to the area, which stimulates collagen and elastin production, as well as promoting lymphatic drainage to brighten and depuff.

“If you really wanted to take it a step further, I would recommend investing in a good quality microneedling stamp, which can be used up to the lash line and around the sensitive eye for amazing results in hydrating, anti-ageing and brightening.”

Olixia Amazonian Cacay Facial Oil

Oilixia Amazonian Cacay Facial Oil, £48

Re:lax Stamp and Glow Microneedling Stamp

Re:lax Stamp and Glow Microneedling Stamp, £30

“A good face cream is really all you need”

“Having thin skin around the eyes also means this area comes with its own specific problems, such as dark circles, puffiness and bags, as well as often being the first place that fine lines and wrinkles develop. So, there are lots of reasons why this is an area that deserves your attention,” says Dr Jason Thomson, dermatologist and head of medical at Skin + Me.

He explains that while eye creams can temporarily plump the skin, it’s unlikely they’re potent enough to eradicate that purplish colour under your peepers.

“Creams that claim to treat your dark circles are often going to end up disappointing. This is largely because dark circles are usually caused by multiple factors, including your genetics and your skin tone, which no cream will be able to influence.”

He recommends going to see a dermatologist if you’re very concerned about dark circles. As for eye cream?

“The skin around your eyes is a special area, but a good face cream – that’s gentle and moisturising, as well as a high factor, broad spectrum SPF [for daytime use] – is really all you need to benefit your entire face.”

Katherine Daniels Daily DNA Defence SPF30

Katherine Daniels Daily DNA Defence SPF 30, £50

So, they jury’s out on whether or not eye cream is worth your hard-earned pennies. Our advice is to stick with what works for you – and if that includes buying a separate eye cream, go for it (though it might not be worth spending a fortune on one) and if not, stick with a multi-tasking moisturiser and get to grips with facial massage.

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