Yes, you really need one—and these are the cult faves you can’t miss.
Let me guess what you’re think ing: Why can’t I just use my regular face cream? Well, “most face creams contain some sort of fragrance, which can aggravate eye skin,” explains dermatologist Dendy Engelman, MD. “And thick ones can also cause the under-eye area to retain moisture and look puffy.” So there’s that. Also, the skin around your eyes is superthin and delicate and has fewer and less concentrated oil glands to keep it plump and bright, says dermatologist Shari Marchbein, MD, which leads to the obvious dark circles, dryness, and puffiness. It also means your eye area will be the first part of your face to show signs of aging. Bottom line: If you want to prevent the above, you’re gonna need a targeted eye cream.
Four options that ’ll fix every eye issue ASAP
Why t hey happen “If yours are a bluish-purple color, it’s because the blood vessels under your skin are showing through,” says Dr. Marchbein. Tons of factors can cause this, including naturally thin skin, allergies, or lack of sleep. If your shadows are a brownish color, blame genetics (womp, womp). Your eye-cream fix: The best brighteners in the game diffuse shadows in two ways: They contain mica (light-reflecting particles that instantly mask under-eye darkness) as well as caffeine and antioxidants. “Caffeine can help constrict blood vessels, which minimizes their appearance, while antioxidants like vitamins C and B3 suppress pigment production to brighten the skin,” says Dr. Marchbein.
Why it happens Fatigue, dehydration, tears—they all cause fluid to build up around your eyes, says Dr. Marchbein. Not dealing with any of these but still see puffiness, especially in the a.m.? “It’s because when you’re lying down, fluids don’t drain properly from around your eyes,” says Dr. Marchbein. Your eye-cream fix: In this case, your product’s applicator is just as important as the formula itself. Look for a tool with a cooling metal tip (this L’Oréal Paris gel has one) and use it to really massage your eye area. It’ll increase circulation to help reduce swelling, says dermatologist Arash Akhavan, MD. “And as a rule, lightweight formulas (gels and serums) with antioxidants are better than heavy creams.”
Why it happens Because of the lack of oil glands around your eyes, this area is very prone to dryness and conditions like redness, sensitivity, and even eczema, explains Dr. Marchbein. Also, harsh cleansers and makeup removers can deplete your skin’s protective barrier, making things worse. Ugh, so not what you need. Your eye-cream fix: Your thirsty-ass skin is begging for all the moisture it can get. Look for a super-gentle eye cream with hydrating ingredients like glycerin and hyaluronic acid. (Skinfix’s nonirritating one, below, contains both.) “They’re humectants, which means they draw moisture from the air, pulling it into your skin to keep it looking plump and dewy,” explains Dr. Akhavan.
Why t hey happen Kim K. once said she doesn’t laugh for fear of aging. Extreme, yes, but there’s a kernel of truth to it: Every time you blink, squint, or smile, the skin around your eyes creases. Couple that with UV exposure and pollution, which deplete collagen (the protein that keeps skin plump and firm) and bam—lines become a very real thing. Your eye-cream fix: It’s retinol. The ingredient can smooth lines thanks to its ability to generate fresh, new skin cells and increase collagen and elastin production, says Dr. Marchbein. It’s powerful, though, so you should start out using it sparingly. Apply it twice a week at night, gradually upping the frequency as your skin builds tolerance.