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21 Best Eye Creams 2022 For Under-Eye Bags And Puffiness

To use eye creams, or not to use eye creams? That is the question.

Some reckon you can save money – and faff – by using a swipe of your regular facial moisturiser. But many experts argue that the delicate skin around our eyes (which is 10-40 percent thinner than the rest of our face) warrants a product developed specifically for this area, AKA: one of the very best eye creams. A truly high-performance eye treatment.

Still need convincing? We asked Dr Dendy Engelman, top skincare specialist and Elizabeth Arden‘s consulting New York dermatologist whether eye creams can really make a difference.

Best eye cream: quick links

  1. Best eye cream for wrinkles: Shiseido Exclusive Ultimune Eye Power Infusing Eye Concentrate, £58, LookFantastic
  2. Best eye cream for bags and puffiness UK: Origins GinZing Eye Cream, £26, Boots
  3. Best eye cream for sensitive skin: La Roche Posay Hyalu B5 Hyaluronic Acid Eye Cream, WAS £27 NOW £21.60, Look Fantastic
  4. Best eye cream for dark circles: MZ Skin Soothe & Smooth Hyaluronic Brightening Eye Complex, £95, MZ Skin
  5. Best budget eye cream: Olay Retinol24 Night Eye Cream With Retinol & Vitamin B3 15ml, £17.50, Boots

Is eye cream necessary?

“I always say yes. Before you start thinking about injectables or anything like that, take a look at what you’re doing with your skincare,” says Dr Dendy. “You’re never too young for eye cream because we know it’s going to be the first area to really show crepiness, fine lines and wrinkles, so you do want to hydrate there.” However, it’s an area that can respond quickest to skincare, so you’ll start to see results more quickly, which is encouraging.

@mheri.jackson / Instagram

Why do you need a separate eye cream?

“The thin skin around the eyes is the first to show signs of ageing, but if you induce collagen and elastin formation in thin skin, it very much translates clinically,” says Dr Dendy. However, thin skin can mean regular moisturisers can be too irritating. “We have to make sure that the cream is formulated for the eye area so that it’s not too irritating,” she adds. 

It’s not just the density of our skin, that’s different. “There are fewer sebaceous glands around the eye area than in oilier areas like the T-zone,” says Dr Dendy. “Less oil means increased risk of wrinkling so I think you absolutely need the separate step of an eye cream to nourish,” she says. 

How to apply eye cream

As well as under the eyes, Dr Dendy recommends going up on the brow bone and down to the crease. As for where to avoid? “If you put eye cream on your lash line, it’s going to transfer through into your eye while you sleep, which is irritating and then you’ll rub and scratch it,” says Dr Dendy.

What ingredients should we look for in our eye cream?

If you do decide to incorporate an eye cream into your skincare routine, there’s a wide variety of ingredients that can be called upon to tackle eye-related concerns like appearance of dark circles, crow’s feet, lack of elasticity, dry skin and puffiness. Here’s a few to keep an eye out for, and for higher concentrations of each active ingredient, check out our eye serums edit.

“A retinol eye cream is necessary to help stabilise melanocytes [the cells that create pigment in skin] in order to prevent hyperpigmentation. It also thickens the dermis [which can mean veins appear less prominent], improves texture, smooths lines and wrinkles and hides purple skin tones,” explains clinical facialist Kate Kerr.

Vitamin C is a champion for brightening skin and diminishing pigmentation and dark circles. It works in a number of ways, first, it can supercharge collagen production (for thicker, plumper, bouncier skin), second the potent antioxidant can help to neutralise UV damage (which can increase pigmentation under-eyes).

Hyaluronic acid is magic at hydrating and nourishing tired eyes, which is especially important given how much time we spend on our phone and video calls. Reach for an eye gel with hyaluronic acid for immediate de-puffing.

Ceramides plump skin and are the building block of healthy skin, they aid moisture retention and fortify our barrier function to keep all those good ingredients locked in. 

5. Caffeine

When applied to skin, caffeine encourages vasoconstriction (the constricting of the blood vessels under our eyes), which can lead to a reduction in puffiness. We’ve found the best caffeine eye creams here.

It’s also important to make sure the eye cream you choose makes realistic claims. No amount of eye cream can erase blue eye circles (which can be hereditary), though they may be able to ease them. Alongside vitamin C and retinol, look for light-reflecting and colour correcting properties, as these will disguise and deflect.

A good eye repair cream will also create a smoother base for makeup to sit seamlessly on top of. Combined with an incredible concealer (these are some of our faves), you can ensure your eye area always looks fresh, even if you’re not feeling it.

Which eye cream is best?

Dr Dennis Gross is the nearest you’ll get to clinic-level skincare at home. All of his products are based on results-driven ingredients and techniques used in the lab, which is why the Advanced Retinol + Ferulic Triple Correction Eye Serum is well worth having on your radar.

Elsewhere, the best eye cream for puffiness is Origins’ GinZing Eye Cream. For when coffee just isn’t enough, the caffeine and ginseng in GinZing Eye Cream de-puffs bags and brightens dark circles. You’ll notice the difference in seconds.

Dr. Dennis Gross Advanced Retinol + Ferulic Triple Correction Eye Serum

Origins GinZing Ulta Hydrating Energy-Boosting Cream Moisturiser

Here’s our full edit of the best eye creams to smooth, soothe and brighten.

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