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How to Find the Best Eye Cream

How to Find the Best Eye Cream

The eye area is one of the first places to show signs of aging, and we can unequivocally tell you that great skincare plays a pivotal role in that anti-aging fight. However, finding an effective eye cream turns out to be no easy task.

Eye creams are often advertised as being "specially formulated" for the sensitive, thin skin around the eyes. Most also claim to get rid of puffiness, dark circles, and "re-contour" sagging skin—yet, in many cases, they fail to live up to their promises. That's why people keep buying eye cream after eye cream and continue to be disappointed time and time again.

The good news: There really are skincare options that work beautifully to improve the appearance of wrinkles and other eye area concerns. You just have to keep your expectations realistic so you can get off the eye cream-buying treadmill and just use what works! Surprise: What works best might not be a product labeled "eye cream"!


Why You May Not Need an Eye Cream

First, it's important to know there isn't any research indicating that skin around the eyes needs different ingredients from those you use on the rest of your face. Most people are shocked when we tell them this and the inevitable question that follows is, "But isn't the eye area more sensitive and thinner than the skin on the face?"

The answer is yes, the eye area does tend to be more sensitive and the skin around the eyes is thinner than skin on the face, but that just doesn't translate into needing different ingredients. Again, there's no research indicating otherwise. In other words, skin everywhere on your face needs to be handled gently by using only non-irritating formulas loaded with beneficial ingredients. The eye area shouldn't get the good stuff and the face the bad stuff.

Especially troubling is that many eye creams actually contain skin-aggravating ingredients, such as fragrant plant oils, synthetic fragrance, or skin-sensitizing plant extracts. All of these can trigger a negative reaction that makes the appearance of wrinkles, sagging, and dark, dull, dry skin worse.

What the eye area really needs are potent antioxidants, skin-replenishing ingredients, and skin-restoring ingredients in a soothing, truly fragrance-free formula (no essential oils sneaking in pretending to be good for your skin when they aren't). These are the same ingredients that are vitally important for your face, neck, and chest as well.

In fact, if you're already using a gentle yet effectively enriched moisturizer or serum, it may be perfect for the eye area, too!

What to Look for in an Eye Cream

You don't necessarily need a separate eye cream if you're already using a well-formulated facial moisturizer or serum that has the right texture for the skin around your eyes. That type of face product can absolutely work effectively around the eye area, too.

The exception to this is when the moisturizer and serum you use for your face isn't emollient or enriched enough for your eye area. The eye area is often drier, has a loss of firmness, and shows dark circles. These concerns require a more luxurious, enhanced formula, and that's where the best eye creams excel.

If you want to use a separate eye cream at night, then you need to make sure it meets all the requirements of a highly supplemented, dense, cushioning formula that keeps the surface of skin supremely hydrated while allowing the concentrated skin-renewing ingredients to slowly and purposefully absorb into skin.

Paula’s Choice RESIST Anti-Aging Eye Cream

The eye cream qualities we just described above is exactly how our RESIST Anti-Aging Eye Cream was formulated, but we made it even more concentrated and innovative. It has a lavish, balm-like texture that you apply evenly in a dabbing motion over the eye area as you would an overnight mask. It is not meant to be massaged into skin until it disappears. For this reason, it's most likely very different from any other eye cream you've ever used.

The deeply moisturizing buttery emollients remain on the surface protecting skin against moisture loss and dehydration all night long. Meanwhile, the concentrated, skin-brightening and skin-restoring ingredients slowly absorb into skin in a time-released fashion for the ideal revitalizing impact. Dry skin, dark circles, fine lines, and loss of firmness all appear to diminish by morning.

As always, whatever eye cream or face moisturizer you opt to use around your eyes, only select those that are packaged in air-restrictive, opaque containers to keep the light- and air-sensitive ingredients stable. That means no jars! Eye creams in jars are a waste of money because they allow the superstar ingredients to degrade far too quickly! We repeat: For best results, do not buy any eye cream packaged in a jar. Given how many are packaged in jars, your list of superior eye creams just got a lot shorter!

Dark Circles, Puffy Eyes, and Sagging Skin

Now we want to bring in a bit of reality because great skincare should never be about fantasy or myths. We want you to understand what even the best skincare products can and can't do, especially when it comes to the unique problems of the eye area. With this knowledge you can truly achieve great results!

One of the more stubborn problems for any eye cream to address is chronically puffy eyes. This is because more often than not the puffiness is a result of fat pads under the eyes that have shifted and then pouched through skin, causing a noticeable swollen protrusion (often referred to as "undereye bags"). This isn't something skincare products can impact.

However, if you have puffy eyes that come and go, or are mostly only present when you wake up in the morning, then a superior eye cream can be your new best friend. This type of transient puffiness is often caused by natural fluid buildup, not getting enough sleep, allergies, overindulging in alcohol, using skincare products that contain irritating ingredients, and not getting all of your makeup off at night.

An exceptionally soothing, hydrating, well formulated eye cream can help significantly improve the appearance of acute puffy eyes. You would also need to make some lifestyle changes to obtain a complete transformation. You'll find more details on what you can do for puffy eyes here.

Regardless of their cause, it's 100% certain that dark circles won't improve if you don't use a sunscreen rated SPF 30 or greater every day. Sadly, this is something many eye creams lack. At night, an enriched eye cream can help alleviate dull skin, increasing reflective radiance. That can be impressive, but if your dark circles are really dark, you will need to consider doing more. Learn what you can do for dark circles here.

In terms of sagging and wrinkles, all the same astounding antioxidants and skin-replenishing ingredients for the face are great around the eye area, too, but you must keep your expectations realistic. You can help skin look and feel firmer to a certain degree, but no skincare product can magically pull up drooping eyelids or sagging under-eye bags. Both of these concerns, when more prominent, are best dealt with by a cosmetic surgeon, not skincare.

During the Day, SPF is Key!

Last but certainly not least, we'll leave you with this. Daily sun protection is key for keeping the appearance of wrinkles and other eye area concerns at bay (you knew we were going to say that, right?). Moreover, if used as directed with other sun protection measures, it decreases the risk of skin cancer.

If the eye cream you're using doesn't provide sun protection, then your best option is to apply your eye cream and then follow with an SPF-enhanced daytime moisturizer or foundation/concealer with sunscreen.

Our SKIN RECOVERY Daily Moisturizing Lotion with SPF 30 is a beautiful option that offers a subtle, dewy glow plus gentle, mineral-based sun protection. It's also moisturizing enough to be used on its own!

Sunglasses are a nice extra measure of defense, for the eye itself as well as for skin around the eye, but they don't replace the need for sunscreen. For maximum protection from sunglasses, look for styles that block light from above and from the sides rather than just straight on. Several brands offers this style in various fashionable designs so you don't have to compromise extra protection for looks.

About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books about skincare and makeup. She is known worldwide as The Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare. Paula’s expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international radio, print, and television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and providing expert advice that solves your skincare frustrations so you can have the best skin of your life!