What Do Eye Creams Actually Do? Turns Out They Might Be More Effective Than You'd Think

Leandro Crespi / Stocksy

These days it can seem like there are way too many skincare steps to keep up with. From special serums to peels and oils, it can feel a little overwhelming. Because of this, sometimes we feel a little confused over which steps are vital. But what do eye creams actually do and do you really need one? Let's take a deep dive into the world of eye creams...

What do eye creams actually do?

Eye creams are essentially moisturisers specifically designed with the sensitive eye area in mind. Like moisturisers you use on your face, eye creams promise to use active ingredients such as antioxidants to help to hydrate and reduce the appearance of puffiness and dark circles. I find you can boost their cooling and nourishing capabilities by keeping your cream in the fridge and using a mini metal roller ball to apply it with. Experts are keen to point out that eye creams don't totally transform the appearance of skin, but they definitely have their daily benefits.

Do you need an eye cream?

In short, yes. The overwhelming reason to invest in a specific cream for the eyes is because the skin around there needs special attention. I spoke to dermatologist and medical director of European Dermatology London Dr Stefanie Williams to find out more.

She tells me, "Because the skin around the eyes is so thin, this area has a much higher risk of adverse reactions to skincare, even though the rest of the facial skin might be quite robust and ‘normal’."

"So for the delicate eye areas it’s particularly important to use an eye cream, which is hypoallergenic and gentle, if you tend to have trouble with skin reactions."

How should you apply eye cream?

Application is the most important part of using an eye cream. As Doctor Gross wrote in the New York Observer, the skin around your eyes is some of thinnest on your face, making it incredibly delicate and vulnerable to heavy handed application. I find using your ring finger helps give a lighter touch, and instead of rubbing your eye cream in, gently tap all around the eye area (not getting too close to the actual eyes themselves). As revealed on beauty podcast Fat Mascara, legendary beauty journalist Jean Godfrey June is a huge advocate of the 'pat, don't rub' technique. If it's good enough for JGJ.

What are the best eye creams?

There are so many eye creams out there, but I've picked out my favourites I have tried over the years:

Sunday Riley Auto Correct Eye Cream


Cult Beauty

Using a unique blend of caffeine, horse chestnut and Brazilian ginseng root extract with watermelon and shea butter, this formula works to de-puff, brighten and hydrate the delicate eye area. Oh, and the handy pump is the absolute best for dispensing product.

Simple Kind To Eyes Eye Balm Soothing



As with all of Simple's products, this eye cream is suitable for the most sensitive of skin types. And at under a fiver, you can't really go wrong with this nourishing formula.

Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream



A beloved formula that pre-dates Origins' bestselling Ginzing moisturiser, this product is packed with ingredients to make eyes look super bright and awake in the morning. If you suffer from dark circles in the morning, this will be your new best friend.

Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Crème



This formula is absolutely incredible, and brightens the eyes on a pretty miraculous level. Packed full of vitamin C, this illuminating cream is perfect for priming the under eyes for concealer and other makeup.

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Eye Cream


Charlotte Tilbury

With a super lightweight gel texture, this will never make the eye area feel weighed down in product. It's excellent at hydrating the sensitive area, and is ideal for more mature skin types due to its anti-ageing properties.

Clinique Pep Start Eye Cream



This handy tube is ideal for all skin types, including younger complexions that are just starting out with eye creams. It's super energising and will have eyes looking ready to face the day.

Superfacialist Vitamin C+ Dark Circles Eye Cream



The best thing for dark under eye circles is a shot of vitamin C, and this formula is packed full of the stuff. It's also affordable at under £10. Win, win!