With an abundance of products available to us these days, it's hard to decipher the necessary from the nice-to-have. Despite so many new types of products launching all the time—essences, sheet masks, and boosters—it's a classic product that we beauty editors still get asked about time and time again: eye cream. One question that always comes up: "Is eye cream a must-have in my skincare routine?" While team Byrdie avidly (and gently) tap eye cream on every day, we put this question to two skincare experts.
We went back to the basics and put every eye cream question you could think of to the experts, keep scrolling to find out, once and for all, whether you really need to buy that eye cream.
Meet the Expert
- Tariq Karim is the founder of Santi, a medispa located in the South Kensington neighborhood of London.
- Dr. David Jack is a London-based aesthetic doctor who focuses on skin health and anti-aging.
Do I really need a separate eye cream from my face cream—or is it just a way for brands to sell another product?
"Creams are designed specifically to suit their purpose. For the face, the consistency and texture will be different than for the eye," explains Tariq Karim, founder of Santi Medispa. "The skin tissue around the eye is at its thinnest, [so you] cannot have too many active ingredients. In fact, some leading eye creams are tested by ophthalmologists," he adds.
Aesthetic doctor, Dr. David Jack, agrees, "some face products contain ingredients at relatively high concentrations which may irritate the skin around the eyes more than other areas."
So does it matter if I have been using face cream around my eyes?
"If it's a face cream with no active ingredients, then it may hydrate the skin, but it won't do much around the eyes," says Dr. Jack. "Chances of skin and eye irritation are increased," adds Karim.
Okay, but if I don't have an eye cream, is it better to use nothing or use face cream around my eyes?
"Good question," Karim laughs. "You will be better off getting an eye cream. Or use an inert face cream to avoid any eye irritation."
Do I need to change my eye cream from teens to twenties, thirties, and forties?
"Nope, a good eye cream should suit all ages," says Dr. Jack.
However, Karim disagrees. "Absolutely," he says. "There are two factors at play: restoring moisture and increasing active ingredients to keep skin at an optimum. Both product characteristics should increase in the product as we age. Hence a change in product is necessary."
I'm noticing a lot of eye serums on the market now. Do I need a serum and cream for my eyes or just one product?
"Just one product should suffice, depending on whether you prefer a cream or a serum," says Dr. Jack. This is where both experts agree, "[You only need] one good product," confirms Karim.
Does it matter how I apply my eye product?
Both experts recommend gently applying eye cream onto the eyelids and underneath the eyes but not too close to the lashes because "even eye creams can irritate the eye if you go too close," says Dr. Jack. "The motion with fingers is not important—dabbing or circling generally won't make any difference," he adds.
What ingredients should I be looking for when I'm shopping for an eye product?
"Look out for hyaluronic acid for hydration and vitamin E," Dr. Jack advises. Karim recommends getting professional advice so you can buy a product suited to your skin's needs. "Otherwise, something simple that will at least hydrate is always a safe option. My two favorites are Bioeffect Eye Serum and NeoStrata PHA Eye Cream," he says.
Convinced you need to invest in a new eye cream? Shop some of our favorites below.
For those with sensitive skin, finding products sans fragrance, alcohol, and oil can be a challenge, but this moisture-rich formula fits the bill.
Hydration is a must when looking for a new eye cream, and this ophthalmologist-tested cream hydrates while softening fine lines.
If you deal with dark circles, Charlotte Tilbury's clinically-tested eye cream is said to brighten the appearance of dark circles by up to 21% in just eight weeks.
Packed with antioxidant-rich ingredients, this lightweight formula can be used day and night without being too heavy.