14th Dec 2020
Is that extra tube of eye cream on your bathroom shelf a necessity or a marketing gimmick? Melanie Morris asks the experts to find out.
Once-upon-a-time, bathroom cabinets weren’t complete without small, ornate, squat jars, usually with very thick glass bottoms (to distract from the tiny amount of product housed within), containing formulations created especially for the fragile, easy-to-age eye area.
Unquestioning, we invested, usually pretty hefty amounts of money, for these precious, nutrient-rich recipes.
The experts’ take
“I’m known for saying that I don’t believe in eye creams as a standalone concept, as I fear that they often are marketing lead example,” says Jennifer Rock, AKA The Skin Nerd. “I think things have evolved massively over the last few decades whereby it’s not essential to have a separate eye cream; technology has advanced allowed us to push what we can apply around the eye area and not cause any short-term oedema, or a sensitisation.”
A lot of highly respected industry individuals would agree. Yes, eye creams are great and have their place, but it depends what you want to achieve and really, we should be looking at the ingredients in our skincare (and whether a product has been ocularly tested and approved), rather than forking out for another product.
Collect ingredients, not products
So, with that in mind, what do we want? Well, to start, we should be hunting out ingredients. “Look for vitamin A, peptides, hyaluronic and Tyrosine inhibitors; vitamin A will help with oils, and thus tackle milia, those little white spots that appear under the eye. It will also help synthesize collagen and elastin. Peptides (proteins) like pro-collagen peptide1, Arginine, collagen and Matrixyl are good for similar reasons and will help decrease the depth of the line of the wrinkle.
I also think hyaluronic acid is important to help what we call “drinkles” – the dehydration lines that appear in that area because the tissue is so light and lacking in density.
And then for pigmentation or dark circles, that’s where vitamin C comes in. Finally, I would also look for caffeine for constricting of vessels around the eye area.”
Chances are, these days, you may find most or all of these ingredients in your existing skincare. “For example,” says Jennifer, “There might be a vitamin C range that has a vitamin C at the same level in their serum and their moisturising eye cream. I feel that negates the need for me to buy a separate serum just because it’s industry standard.”
The homework matters
Of course, as with any skincare programme, the one that works is the one you use – morning and evening, every single day. No point having all those products simply sitting on a shelf. “So many come to the salon for a solution, but really, what’s done at home is 70 per cent of the protocol”, says therapist Nuala Woulfe. “We do the other 30 per cent”.
Jennifer agrees. “Treatments will always have their place, I personally have had PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma therapy, to stimulate collagen production) and Ultherapy (to tighten skin and stimulate collagen) done, as I feel that trying to trigger my body’s own collagen and elastin is ultimately the goal. On a less invasive level, we should all be wearing HEV (High Energy Visible Light) protection glasses when sitting at computers every day, and of course, wearing SPF, right up to the eyeballs.”
If your eye area really does need extra attention
Some people are genetically predisposed to accelerated ageing in the eye area and there’s different types of ageing: mechanical ageing where people are animatedly smiling scrunching and squinting, and the usual chronological ageing. So, when applying any product around the eyes don’t agitate things further. “Apply it with your ring finger, the least amount of tension, and tap it all around,” advises Jennifer. ‘Don’t wipe it on, I personally apply straight after cleansing, before I put my actives on.”
And for a quick eye fix? “Jade rolling is ideal if you want that kind of instant result, but I don’t believe it has any long term medical impact, it’s more just instantaneous if you suffer from puffing which is an aesthetic issue, rather than oedema, which is medical.”
My own addition to eye-brightening is the addition of white, or nude-toned eyeliner to the waterline, to brighten and bounce light into the area. And if anyone is sending care packages from the US, be sure to ask them to include Visine eyedrops for sparkling, super-white eyes to distract from the effects of nearby skin ageing.
If you’re gonna do it… do it right
Whether dedicated to the area or not, these are the (eye) creams of the crop.
Matrixyl Argireline Vitamin C anti-ageing serum with hyaluronic acid, around €70, Asterwood Naturals
A super-potent combination of hero actives to counteract age signs.
Skin Veg and Skin Protein, €42 each, Skingredients
Face serums that contain all the ingredients to upregulate eye ask well as skincare.
Total Eye Lift, €68, Clarins
An eye cream worth investing in, promising to lift and brighten the area within 60 seconds.
Powerful-Strength, Line-Reducing and Dark Circle-Diminishing vitamin C eye serum. €42.30, Kiehls
Pretty much self-explanatory, thanks to the generous amounts of active vitamin C incorporated.
Skinceuticals AOX+ eye gel, €72.80, Skinceuticals
Targets puffiness and fatigue, and protects against the ageing effects of environmental pollutants.
Featured image collage via Jason Lloyd Evans
Read more: The beauty gifts IMAGE readers really want for Christmas
Read more: 5 new eyeliners to amp up your eyes above the mask
Read more: How to turn your bath into a self-care sanctuary
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