If you’re going to spend your hard-earned dollars on an eye cream, you want to make sure that you get the very most out of it — from choosing a formula with top-notch ingredients, to applying it properly. This isn’t difficult, per se, but it’s better to be over-prepared than not prepared at all, right? For this reason, we tapped Dr. Ellen Marmur, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City, for her tips on maximizing results, as well as her insight on the best ingredients for every concern (dark circles, fine lines, you name it). Your brightest, smoothest eyes are just a blink away.
Make Eye Cream Your First Step
Whether you have a two-step skin care regime or a 10-step one, “eye cream should be the first product you apply,” says Marmur. Eye cream can’t fully penetrate through other skin care products, so tapping it on after your serums, lotions, and creams will prevent it from absorbing. Always make it the first product you reach for morning and night.
Look For These Ingredients
Eye cream is essential to protecting the fragile skin around the eyes, and if you have additional concerns like darkness or undereye bags (which we all do because we’re, uh, human), look for these ingredients in a formula to make it do the most for you.
For fine lines and crow’s feet:
“Fine lines and crow’s feet improve with revved up collagen production and hydration, so look for a gentle retinol with smoothing hydrators like hyaluronic acid and protective antioxidants like green tea,” says Marmur. You can find all of these in the MMSkincare Bright & Tight Eye Cream.
Another great go-to option for targeting fine lines is the Keys Soulcare Radiant Eye Cream, as it’s packed with powerful peptides (i.e. the building blocks of proteins like collagen and elastin), sunflower oil, and gold foil to deeply nourish, hydrate, and smooth the under-eyes.
For dark circles:
Retinol will help plump up the thin skin beneath your eyes so darkness is less visible; vitamin C and niacinamide gradually lighten up discoloration.
“The eye area is similar to the lips — it’s the first to dry out and show aging,” says Marmur. Humectants like glycerin and hyaluronic acid attract hydrating water to skin and ceramides and squalene nourish.
Send those bags packing with tightening, puffiness-quelling caffeine and skin-brightening vitamin K.
Use The Right Amount
Just a dab'll do you! Seriously, you only need a pea-sized amount. Pat it beneath your eyes, from the inner corners to the outer corners; then bring any remaining cream up to your upper lids and brow bones.
Apply With This Technique
Pulling, tugging, or rubbing while dabbing on your eye cream can render your efforts pretty useless. Your eye area is so thin that being too aggressive here can lead to wrinkles and inflammation. “Apply the product with your ring finger,” says Marmur. “This finger has the weakest touch and provides for the gentlest application.”
Wait A Few Minutes Before Makeup
Give the formula many seconds (preferably at least 60) to sink in before going in with concealer or foundation to keep it from sliding off. Let it do its job, okay?
Don’t Forget Sunscreen
Most eye creams don’t contain SPF, but the eye area is very susceptible to UV damage like lines, loss of elasticity, and discoloration. In the morning, smooth a gentle mineral sunscreen over your face, beneath your eyes, and over your temples and brow bones. Mineral sun protectors — as opposed to chemical ones — are less likely to irritate the sensitive skin here.
Give It a Few Weeks
Fresh, gorgeous eyes don’t happen overnight (although a good night’s sleep always helps). For best results, wait six to eight weeks of daily use — day and night — for the ingredients to kick in and work, says Marmur.