I’m an eye-cream sceptic. I’ll layer up serums like a crazy person and drop top dollar on trying any mist or a mask, but when it comes to eye creams I’ve always thought you’re getting less product for more money. The skin is a mere centimetre from the rest of your face – how different can its treatment need to be?
There are some interesting facts. A study by Olay claims skin in this area loses moisture up to 50 per cent faster than the rest of your face. And seeing that the skin around your eyes is thinner than elsewhere, it creases more when we laugh/cry/give side-eye. So, there’s compelling evidence for the necessity of eye creams… but does that mean they work?
Sensing my total scepticism, The Pool tasked me with finding a few worth the investment – and who better to try them than an eye-cream refusenik? I dutifully plastered a pile on – most did nothing, some made my make-up a total mess, but I’ll admit it: I’ve discovered a couple of crackers.
Sidenote: none will change your life for ever. All of the effects are temporary. If they weren’t, Harley Street’s surgeons would be well and truly out of a job. And, spoiler alert, not one made a dent in my killer dark circles, which are genetic and there whether I’ve slept eight hours or not. But for fine lines, puffiness and dullness, there is hope – and it turns out it comes in a tiny tub/tube.
the Good all-rounder: Olay eyes Ultimate Eye Cream
At 34, I have fine laughter lines to add to my dark circles (lucky me), so I was keen to try some multi-purpose creams first. This one has a drawback – it’s in a pot, meaning it doesn’t contain a whole pile of active ingredients (they become ineffective quickly if they’re in sunlight or air), but, for £24.99 ( although it’s usually on sale somewhere with a third off), this is a reliable effort and you get loads. It’s slightly tinted, which makes it great for minimising dark circles on no-make-up days (although it’s no match for concealer), and did a good job of blurring out fine lines.
the De-puffer: e.l.f. Hydrogel Undereye Eye Masks
I’ve written about eye masks before and love the amazing Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels, but I’ve found another option that I might like even more. These e.l.f. Hydrogel Undereye Eye Masks are now in my Holy Trinity of hangover cures, alongside ibuprofen and prawn-cocktail crisps. Pop these juicy (I know – gross word, but appropriate) masks on after a shower and your eyes are calmed, fine lines are filled and the cooling sensation reduced my headache by about 20 per cent. It’s magic (probably).
the skin Plumper: Vichy Aqualia Thermal Eye Awakening Balm
My fine lines were plumped out by the hyaluronic acid in this great (and relatively cheap) eye cream. If it’s going near my eyes, which are sensitive, I also want a product to be fragrance-free, which this is, so it caused zero irritation.
the Overnighter: Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Concentrate
If you’re going to spend a decent whack and don’t know where to start, I’ll almost always recommend Estée Lauder. The Advanced Night Repair Eye Concentrate worked overnight to brighten and leave my eyes looking less red and knackered… like when you wake up on holiday after a solid 10 hours of sleep. As with all the above, pat on clean skin with your ring finger (it’s weaker, so you don’t drag and damage the eye area).
the LINE-BUSTer: La Roche Posay Redermic [R] Eye Cream
Want to know the only ingredient I trust to actually improve (rather than temporarily plump) fine lines for more than eight hours? It’s retinol. While it was initially used in cosmeceuticals for improving acne, it was found to have great effects at smoothing wrinkles. Because the eyes are so sensitive and delicate, I would never recommend a retinol serum in this area, so stick with a specially formulated eye cream. This is the best I tried under £50. It tingles a bit at first and should be used two/three times a week initially and only at night. ALWAYS use factor 50 SPF the next day – oh, and did I mention that the number-one thing that will age eyes is the sun? So, if you don’t use an SPF daily, all of the above is basically a waste of time.