Physical Health, Wellness / Self-Care

Why Eye Cream isn’t just tiny Moisturizer

It’s expensive for a reason.

words by: Adam Hurly
Jan 18, 2022

There’s a reason we “show our age” the most around the eyes (ditto for hangovers): That skin is some of the thinnest and most susceptible on the body, and it loses its firmness and resilience as we age. Not to mention all of the strain that our expressions put on it—a wide-eyed smile is worth the wrinkles, we say, but it should also merit using a dedicated eye cream.


“Why do I need to buy an eye cream?” That’s the question we grooming and beauty pros get all the time. “Isn’t eye cream just tiny moisturizer, except way more expensive? Why can’t I just apply my moisturizer to the area?”


That’s a legitimate read on the situation, because eye cream does feel like tiny moisturizer, with a high price tag. What you can’t see, though, is the high concentration of ingredients packed into that product. Eye cream is, in fact, a mega moisturizer, and its disproportionate cost (given its size) is made up for with these ingredients that specifically target matters concerning the eyes.


Two types of eye creams

There are two different types of eye creams: Those that promise immediate or overnight benefits, and those that target long-term priorities. Oftentimes, a product that targets short-term benefits, if used daily, can also provide long-term ones. But because there are thousands of products on the market, you need to acquaint yourself with the specific products you use and understand their individual goals, as well as how they work together.


Short-term benefits: Eye creams with short-term benefits will target things like puffy under eye bags (caused by a lack of firmness in the skin that allows the fat deposits under the eyes to sink down); dark circles (which show up after a poor night’s rest, when you’re dehydrated or hungover, or after a long day), due to thinning and translucence of the skin layers; as well as general dryness caused by environmental factors. These products will often boost circulation with caffeine, or deliver hydrating and firming ingredients like hyaluronic acid and ceramides.


Try: Kiehl’s Avocado Eye Cream


Long-term benefits: Eye creams that play a long game will also offer hydrating and firming ingredients, but they may not promise to get rid of morning under eye circles or puffy bags. They’ll instead target things like permanent dark circles and ongoing loss of moisture and resilience. These products will amp up the ceramides, the peptides, the smoothing and exfoliating acids (in eye-sensitive concentrations), as well as the Vitamin A, C, and E. They’re likelier worn overnight, and their continued use can prevent the onset of more wrinkles and fine lines, as well as those puffy bags and next-day dark circles.  


Try: Youth to the People Superberry Dream Eye Cream


Short-term remedies aren’t better or worse than long-term ones. It boils down to your priorities; you can even use a short-term product in the morning and a long-term one in the evening if you want to pair them together. 


Eye serum vs. Eye cream

You’ll also find many eye creams are in fact eye serums. In general, it’s a matter of preference as to which one you use. Serums are themselves highly concentrated and can seep into the skin to work proactively (and often correctively, too). However, eye creams are, in principle, highly concentrated; this makes it less of a debate as to which product you choose. If you do opt for a serum, however, it’s important to layer it underneath the facial moisturizer. You can apply an eye cream before or after a moisturizer.


Try: Cardon Dark Circles Eye Rescue Serum


How and where to apply an eye cream

You only need a pea-sized amount of cream, or a drop or two of serum. If you use a serum applicator stick, the product will distribute itself as needed. Target the area underneath the eyes (above the cheeks), then out to the side of the eyes and up around the expression lines. You can apply the excess underneath the eyebrows and over the eyelids if you like, but don’t start the application in this area. The majority of it should go below and up to the sides.  


Some people like to avoid any pulling and tugging that comes with a sweeping application. In this case, you can also use your ring finger to gently tap the product into the skin. The ring finger doesn’t have as much strength or dexterity as your pointer finger, which is why people like to use it for this task. (Tt’s a delicate area, after all!)


Last year, it was a trend to put eye cream on lips. What. If you need tips on how to treat dark under eye circles, read this.


Photo via Getty Images