The Eyes Have It

Creams, gels, masks and make-up for putting the pep back into your peepers!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Wether you consider them a window to your soul or a window to how many times your kid woke up last night, there’s no denying that our eyes are one of the most visual indicators of our overall health and well being. Stress, lack of sleep, allergies, screen time, smoke, sun exposure and diet are all factors which can impact our eyes and have an effect on their appearance.

I’ve used eye products on and off since my 2os, with varying degrees of efficacy and with little foresight; I never really thought about the day when I’d actually need them to start working

At almost 40, and being the beauty junkie that I am, I’ve used eye products on and off since my 2os, with varying degrees of efficacy and with little foresight; I never really thought about the day when I’d actually need them to start working. After a recent period where my eyes bore the brunt of sleepless nights and some stressful decision making, I found myself staring into the badly-lit mirrors in the office toilets, marvelling at my newly acquired bags. It was time to get off the fence and commit to using an eye cream.



Of course, one of the fastest routes to sparkling, bag-free eyes is 8 hours of sleep and plenty of water; and If you want to avoid lines around the eyes, always wear sunglasses with UV protection, don’t smoke and never smile or laugh. But where would be the fun in that? Thank goodness for science…

First of all, it should be noted that there is a school of thought that the serum and moisturiser you use on your skin should be perfectly suitable for your eye area, and for a lot of people it is. But if, like me, you find it can irritate your eyes then a dedicated cream is the better option.

So, which ingredients should you be looking out for and what do they do? Some of the most common ingredients found in eye creams and gels are as follows:

  • Caffeine – helps constrict blood vessels (thereby reducing the appearance of dark circles) and reduce puffiness
  • Peptides – promote the production of collagen (when collagen is depleted, our skin is thinner and dark circles are more visible)
  • Antioxidants – protect the collagen from damage
  • Sodium hyaluronate/hyaluronic acid – plumps and hydrates
  • Silicone/dimethicone – cosmetic ingredients to help prime skin and create a smooth surface

The market is flooded with products, and you’ll find formulas which contain all of the above (along with unicorn tears and fairy dust), and there are products like those from The Ordinary, which are single ingredient formulas for targeting specific concerns. While I am a big fan of The Ordinary and their approach to skincare, I’m not a fan when it comes to eyes. If your eye concerns include puffiness or ‘bags’, dark circles and laughter lines, three products applied in one sitting is going to be overkill. Better to apply one thin layer of a multi-ingredient product and not overwhelm the delicate skin around your eyes.

My go to product for some time has been Nude Advanced Renewal Eye Complex – a product which I can literally feel working on the skin around my eyes. The tightening effect is miraculous. But, in the interests of research, I’ll be switching to Skin Laundry’s Renewing Eye Cream when I next run out, after reading the reviews and previously falling in love with the effects of their Wrinkle Release Sheet Masks (they’re not cheap, but my god they are good!).



As well as the accumulative benefits of a nightly eye cream, there are quick wins to be found with eye masks, which offer a boost by way of almost instant brightening, tightening and de-puffing. While these effects are generally short term, they can be the perfect thing to pep up your peepers before an important event, be it big pitch at work, big date or big day.


And if you’re still in need of a pick me up, there are plenty of make up options to brighten your outlook. I’m a big fan of Garnier’s BB eye cream, as it works as both skin care and make up. The caffeine-enriched formula goes on sheer and not at all chalky (chalky does nothing whatsoever to help the situation), and feels fresh and light on. Keep it in the fridge and the metal rollerball applicator is even more of a comfort to tired eyes.

When I trained as a make-up artist, our tutors warned us about using ‘make up artist’s favourite’, YSL’s Touche Elcat, cautioning us that it sometimes caused eczema-like reactions around people’s eyes and that it was a product best avoided. I’ve never experienced that reaction myself, but it sent me off looking for an alternative and I discovered what is now called Flash Luminizer Radiance Booster by Dior. This gel-like formula has a brightness to it that, to me at least, transcends that of it’s competitors, and it’s been a firm staple in my bag ever since.

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