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woman applying eye cream

What does eye cream do?

Eye cream products have devotees, who couldn’t live without a slick under the eye, and naysayers, who believe it simply doesn’t work. Haters insist that moisturiser alone must do the job, if its works on the rest of your skin. Eye cream lovers, in contrast, insist that cream brightens, reduces puffiness, dark lines, and even the appearance of crow’s feet.

In this article, we’re going to investigate which camp has the right take on eye cream. We’ll assess eye cream’s benefits and advise how to apply it. Finally, we’ll suggest which ingredients you should keep an eye out for, as they indicate an effective eye cream.

Benefits of eye cream

Although eye cream’s efficacy remains controversial, here’s what the experts have to say about eye cream’s benefits:

  • Developed to treat the delicate eye area. Celebrity facialist Sarah Chapman believes eye cream is a must, as the skin around the eye’s ten times thinner than elsewhere on the face. The additional delicacy of the area means special care’s required.1

  • Healthy-ageing Dermatologist Dr Li, with the University of British Columbia, advocates using eye cream, as the right cream with the right ingredients can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles with consistent application2.

  • Beat dark bags. Dermatologist Dr Justine Kluk advises that eye creams with active ingredients, like retinol, can encourage skin opacity to reduce the appearance of dark bags under the eyes[3].

How to apply eye cream

Dr Justine Kluk, a dermatologist, advises you to be cautious when applying eye cream, due to the delicacy of skin in that area. The best way to apply eye cream is to put a pea-sized amount of product on your ring finger (your weakest), and smooth outward, from below the eye to the upper brow bone.4

Eye cream ingredients to look out for

We can’t promise that all eye creams work, as there’s so much variance in ingredients from brand to brand. However, you can state confidently that some common elements work better than others.

Keep your eye out for these ingredients, to make sure you’re purchasing an effective eye cream:

  • Retinol. Retinol is the most potent healthy-ageing ingredient available on the market today. They are effective at reducing the appearances of wrinkles.5 However, retinol is incredibly irritating to sensitive skin types, so please patch test before applying to the delicate under-eye area.

  • Vitamin C. Vitamin C is a potent soothing ingredient and supports the skin to produce collagen.6 As a result, vitamin C can reduce puffiness and enhance elasticity in the under-eye area to diminish the appearance of bags.

  • Hyaluronic Acid. Sensitive skin lovers should reach for an eye cream with hyaluronic acid, which isn’t as irritating as vitamin C and retinol can be. Hyaluronic acid can improve skin elasticity and reduce the appearance of skin roughness, to increase hydration for a better overall appearance.7
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Expertly reviewed by:

Last updated: 2 December 2020


1 https://www.glamourmagazine.co.uk/article/does-eye-cream-work

2 https://www.flare.com/fashion-beauty/do-eye-creams-work/ 3 https://www.marieclaire.co.uk/beauty/skincare/best-eye-cream-214461 4 https://www.marieclaire.co.uk/beauty/skincare/best-eye-cream-214461 5 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2699641/ 6 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3673383/ 7 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3970829/
Manisha Taggar

Author: Manisha Taggar

Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate

Joined Holland & Barrett: May 2019

BSc Hons in Pharmaceutical & Cosmetic Science

Manisha started her career at a Cosmetics distributor as a Regulatory Technologist followed by a Regulatory Affairs Officer, ensuring the regulatory compliance of cosmetic products from colour cosmetics to skincare.

After 3 and half years in this role, Manisha joined Holland & Barrett as a Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate in 2019.

Manisha specialises in Cosmetic products, both own-label and branded lines, ensuring that these products and all relating marketing material comply to the EU Cosmetics Regulation.