Why You Need Eye Cream (+ Where You've Been Going Wrong)


Eye cream is one of those skincare products that’s often overlooked but trust us, this is a big mistake… Huge! Just think about it: your eyes reveal so much, from whether you stayed out too late or didn’t drink enough water the day before. So needless to say, if you want your skin to look bright, plump, and soft, taking care of the undereye area is crucial, and that means applying an eye cream twice a day.

But as with all skincare, there are plenty of ways you can slip up with your eye crease, but don’t stress – it’s not good for your skin – we’ve got you covered. We’ve curated a list of common eye cream mistakes and what you should be doing instead. Thank us later…

Why You Should be Using Eye Cream

Before we get into why you need an eye cream, let’s consult the experts on what it actually is. Dr. Dennis Gross describes it as “a product specifically formulated for the delicate area around the eye.” He continues that they’re specially formulated for concerns such as “fine lines and wrinkles, crepiness, puffiness, dark circles, and loss of elasticity.”

The skin around your eyes is actually 10 times thinner than the rest of the skin on your face, and because this area is so delicate, it’s also the first place to show early signs of aging. It can also reveal if your body is tired, stressed, dehydrated, or just not getting the nutrients it needs… thanks undereye circles and puffy eyes. Celebrity dermatologist Dr. Harold Lancer confirms, “Undereye bags can be the result of genetics, age, stressors, or a combination of all three. While addressing your stressors is recommended to promote overall personal health, you can further minimize the appearance of eye bags and dark circles with a high-quality proven eye product.”

eye cream

If you’re wondering how you differentiate between the good, the bad, and the plain old ‘meh’, look for ingredients like vitamin C and niacinamide to combat dark circles caused by hyperpigmentation, and those containing caffeine, like matcha, which is a vasoconstrictor (it tightens blood vessels) thereby improving dark circles caused by poor inflammation in this area.

If you’re looking to add plumpness, hyaluronic acid will give you an immediate boost while peptides will stimulate collagen production for long-term results. Other amazing actives include bakuchiol (retinol’s natural, gentler sister) to boost skin cell renewal, plus, soothing ingredients like aloe vera.

You’ll often find that some eye creams are also packaged in a way to help amplify their results. Case in point: our new WISHFUL Eye Lift & Contour 1% Bakuchiol & Peptide Serum, $45. The supercharged formula infused with bakuchiol and peptides to sculpt, tighten, and brighten comes in a bottle with a cooling Zamak tip applicator, which evenly distributes the formula while taking down inflammation. We like to keep ours in the fridge for that added cooling effect. It’s the ultimate wake-up call for tired, puffy eyes. Alternatively, there are also tons of amazing drugstore options if you’re on a budget; check out our fave drugstore eye creams here.

Where You’re Going Wrong with Eye Cream

via Giphy

Okay, so now you know you need to be using eye cream; here are all the things that could be going wrong…

Mistake 1: Not Using A Product Targeted to Your Concerns

Some eye creams are all-rounders, and others are targeted for brightening dark circles or reducing puffiness. Just like you need to find face products for your skin type of concern, it’s also worth bearing this in mind with eye creams. If you have very sensitive eyes, look for gentle formulas without harsh actives or high levels of caffeine, as these can sometimes cause irritation. If you tend to get dryness under the eyes, avoid retinol eye creams as these tend to be drying, and instead look for hydrating formulas, perhaps with a thicker formula.

If your eyes are neither of the above, think about what you want to target and opt for formulas designed for those things. If you’re under eyes are prone to milia (those tiny white bumps under your eyes), look for lightweight serums rather than thicker creams, which can lead to clogged pores and keratin build-up that causes milia. Eye creams containing retinol can also help prevent and improve milia.

Mistake 2: Applying Products in the Wrong Order

how to layer skincare products in the correct order

Applying your products in the correct order is another MUST. If you don’t, you can prevent your formulas from being properly absorbed, which is not only a waste of product but of your money too. The general rule is to apply the most lightweight formulas first so they can be easily absorbed without the barrier of heavier creams. Therefore, apply your eye cream after any essences and serums and before your moisturizer and face oil. You should also apply eye cream as part of your morning and nighttime routine.

Mistake 3: Applying Eye Cream Incorrectly

apply eye cream

Not only do you need to apply your products in the correct order, but how you apply eye cream is crucial. Resist the urge of applying loads of product, as this can either lead to milia or cause the product to pill (when tiny balls of excess product begin to form, thereby preventing product absorption). Instead, apply a small drop – approximately the size of a pomegranate – to each undereye and massage this up onto your upper lid. The upper lid is often forgotten, but this is an area that gets a lot of strain (from eye-rubbing and makeup removal to the fact that you blink up to 20,000 times a day!), and therefore is worth paying special attention to.

Fun fact: Over time, the skin and tissue around your “levator” muscle (which holds up your eyelid) stretches and gets weaker as you get older. The result is eyelids that become droopy as we age, which is why it’s extra important to feed this area of the skin with hydration, and collagen-stimulating ingredients like peptides.

Another key piece of advice? Be gentle. The skin around your eyes is so sensitive that harsh rubbing will increase the likelihood of sagging. Instead, use your ring finger(as this is the weakest) and gently tap the formula into your skin. Be wary not to go too close to your lash lines as this can irritate the eye. Finally, make sure you’re allowing enough time for your eye cream to absorb before applying your moisturizer.

Mistake 5: Only Using Eye Cream When You Notice Signs Of Aging

We’ve all heard the expression, “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it,” but that’s not the case with your skin. Just because your undereye is doing alright doesn’t mean you should skip eye cream. Dr. Lancer agrees stating, “It’s really never too soon to start an undereye treatment.” His advice? “Start in your late teens or early 20s, as soon as first signs of aging occur.”

Mistake 6: Not Being Consistent

With skincare, consistency is key. If you want to see real results, you need to use eye cream twice a day. Be mindful that it can take anywhere from weeks to months to show results, and those will all depend on your formula and application habits.

Finally, don’t forget to wear sunglasses when you’re in the sun, which helps protect the skin around your eyes as well as your eyes.

Do you use eye cream? Let us know in the comments below.

Disclaimer: Every product we review has been independently selected and tested without bias by our editorial team. Although some brands allow affiliate links, we never take payment to review products, so we may earn a commission if you purchase a product by clicking on one of our links.