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Do Eye Creams Really Work?

Five beauty editors to weigh in  

By Lucy Adams

There are few products that divide the beauty world like eye creams.

For some experts, eye creams are over-priced, underwhelming moisturisers. For others, they’re essential; a beauty ‘must’ for anyone who’s worried about fine lines or wrinkles (in other words, most of us).

Team eye cream will argue that the area under your eyes is thinner and more sensitive and therefore requires a specific product. Team “just use your normal moisturiser” is less convinced.

“Eye creams don’t do much in my opinion,” says cosmetic expert and surgeon Dr Yalda Jamali. (Guess which team she’s in?) “Unfortunately many eye creams can fall into marketing traps.”

Dr Jamali says that issues like lack of moisture, dehydration, skin texture, puffiness or pigmentation can usually be addressed by your regular skincare products. So, if you understand what’s in your beauty products (and know their strength), she recommends simply extending them up to and around your eye area.

If you’re not confident about what’s in your products, a specific eye formula may be the answer, as they are formulated to be gentle – but still active – enough to use around your eyes.Take actives like retinol, our anti-aging superhero. You need to be really careful playing with full strength varieties up around your eyes, but it can be done if layered correctly with other skincare (and once you have built up a tolerance to it by introducing it gradually).

Here, were ask a few more friends in the know to weight on what they think…

Sherine Youssef, PRIMER contributing beauty editor and gloss etc co-founder

“Do I believe in them? Sometimes. For me, moisturisers hydrate and seal in everything underneath, so I reckon as long as you’re using a good serum to treat or correct any concerns you have, you can use your regular face moisturiser around the eye area.

But here’s the thing: I’m prone to dehydration and milia, those tiny white bumps (hardened keratin) that pop up whenever I use thicker creams around my eyes. So, say it’s winter and I’m using a heavy-duty hydrator, I can’t use that under my eyes and do actually need a separate product that’s both hydrating and light. A few I like: Laneige Water Bank Eye Gel, (I love the whole Water Bank range), Kora Organics Berry Bright Vitamin C Eye Cream (I’m really into the texture), and It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Eye Cream (it’s tinted blue for an instantly wide-eyed effect).  Like I said, it’s a hot-topic issue!”

Iantha Yu, freelance beauty editor

“I’m in an open relationship with eye cream, I dip in and out of the category because it’s not really a top concern for me. There are other products that I swoon over immediately: serums, moisturisers and sunscreen definitely reign supreme in my priorities.

In saying that, there’s no harm in using one, and I have tried some great ones in my time. Right now, I’m using Dr Naomi’s Catfish – I love the blurring formula that feels balmy yet not at all heavy under makeup. Before that, I used to use Ultraceuticals Ultra C Firming Eye Cream  which was nourishing and rich, perfect for a night-time treatment. I’ve also used Olay Eyes Deep Hydrating Eye Gel, which feels extra cooling when stored in the fridge, making it a no-brainer for summer.”

Amy Starr, freelance beauty editor

“I actually don’t use eye cream often (people hate to hear this but I don’t use concealer either – quelle horreur!) purely because, largely based on genetics, it’s not a problematic area for me. For my skin, it’s more likely to be puffiness than dark circles so I find my time is better spent on a lovely lymphatic drainage massage using a good quality oil or a nice little gua sha routine to get the skin of the area pumping and plumping and refreshed. I find great results come from a little manual labour and have always responded well to touch rather than a complicated product formula.

Saying that, I have recommended Estée Lauder ANR Eye Complex to a zillion people because I swear by the reparative super powers of the face serum. The latest version of the Eye Concentrate also comes with a cooling metal applicator, so you get to reap the benefits of the soothing application too. It’s a delight when you store it in the fridge. For a thriftier version, I love Avene’s Soothing Eye Contour Cream. It’s super lightweight (so all types can enjoy it) and uber hydrating. Not tonnes of bells and whistles in the formula, but a good solid, soothing and smoothing moisture layer for peepers.”

Lucy Adams, beauty editor PRIMER

“There are some beauty products that are nonnegotiable in my daily routine – like SPF and mascara, for example. But when it comes to eye cream – I guess I’m a bit of a fence-sitter.

As we know the skin under the eyes is extremely delicate and thin and often ages first. So, keeping it well moisturised is a MUST. I just don’t always opt for specific eye creams to do this – especially not in the warmer months. I find that my natural oils and a bit of serum (nothing too active) extended upwards is enough. But in those skin-thirsty winter months – and perhaps when I spend more time on cocooning my skin – I’m a fan.

For a luxe option I’ve always been a huge fan of  Sodashi Eye and Lip Smoother it’s super hydrating, helps alleviate any pesky puffiness and is great for wearing under concealer. Lately, I’m loving Goop’s GOOPGENES All-In-One Nourishing Eye Cream the mini applicator dispenses just enough for you to lightly tap around the area.”

Emily Algar, freelance beauty editor

“I have always been one of those beauty editors who doesn’t believe in eye cream! I find them quite thick, overpriced and so often they leave me with milia. But I’ve started to notice fine lines and creasing, so I’ve been making an effort to use one morning and night. And when you find one that delivers results, it’s easy to stick to!

I gravitate towards anything with a melting texture and slight tack – I love a fresh, dewy finish. But with that being said it needs to be light in texture, as anything thick or overly occlusive will just congest me. I am a huge fan of the Rationale #3 The Eye Crème . It’s hydrating and reflects light beautifully, illuminating any dark circles.  Cosmedix Opti Crystal- Liquid Crystal Eye Serum is another favourite. The texture is sticky so you have to use it at night, but it brightens and depuffs like nothing else I’ve tried – I just wish it wasn’t so expensive!”


Blurring Eye Cream

Ultra Ceuticals

Firming Eye Cream


Hydrating Eye Gel


Waterbank Eye Gel

KORA Organics

Berry Bright Vitamin C Eye Cream

IT Cosmetics

Bye Bye Under Eye Eye Cream

Estée Lauder

ANR Eye Concentrate


Soothing Eye Contour Cream


Eye and Lip Smoother


Nourishing Eye Cream


#3 The Eye Crème


Eye Genius Brilliant Eye Complex

BY Lucy Adams

Lucy Adams is PRIMER's beauty editor

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