Little known fact: eye creams, other than a few ingredient tweaks, aren’t actually much different from the serums and creams you already use on your face.
Ingredients like caffeine, peptides and humectants are found in a range of skincare products. That being said, when the focus is the eyes, products that address hydration, inflammation, plumping and constriction of blood vessels will be necessary to reduce the appearance of dark circles.
It’s important to note that if your dark circles are hereditary, it’s unlikely that any cream will help. That’s just the way it is and we are all about honestly here.
If your issue isn’t genetic, be judicious in your product selection. Brands that promise an overnight miracle typically contain mica, a pearlescent ingredient used in cosmetics. That’s right, some eyecare brands use tints to cosmetically reduce the appearance of dark circles, like your concealer. This is not a cure. It’s a cover up.
Here are some of our favorite eye products with active ingredients that we find to be helpful and why:
Dr. Loretta, full disclosure, is a dermatological advisor to Dieux. We wanted to work with Dr. Loretta Ciraldo because of her deep experience and knowledge in skincare and because we think she’s an angel on earth.
Now, for her eye gel. This product pairs perfectly with our reusable eye masks. It’s important to remember your under eye area is sensitive as it’s the thinnest skin on your body. Because of this, using typical brightening agents and antioxidants like vitamin C can lead to increased irritation. Dr. Loretta uses Antioxidant Lipochroman® which protects from free radical damage in addition to Chromabright® which works to fade uneven pigment. Added marine algae peptides condition skin to withstand climate changes and keep skin supple, hydrated and firm.
It’s gentle and effective.
Part of the reason eyes appear tired is because they’re dehydrated. Paula’s Choice’s eye gel has a nice blend of antioxidants, hydrating peptides and skin-soothing ingredients to calm down the skin around your eyes while keeping it plump.
Another ingredient you’ll see popping up often in eye creams is Niacinamide. Why? It helps restore barrier function and soothes skin. That being said, like with all things, the dose matters, you don’t want to be chucking 20% Niacinamide on your under-eye skin. Nope. Simple, hydrating and a great starter eye cream if you tend to have irritation.
Their eye gel won an Allure beauty award but in looking at their face cream, the ingredient lists were uncannily similar. While ingredient lists are only an indicator from brand to brand (i.e. finding "copies" of popular formulas isn't that easy), when you're looking at the same brand, same family of products and same hero ingredients (in this case, Hyaluronic Acid), it's likely it's a similar if not identical formula. Bonus? With the face cream you can apply to the entire face placing your Forever Eye Mask on top. Also it's over triple the size for less money.
With a solid mix of humectants (water loving ingredients like glycerin) and peptides this eye cream is great for the price point. With what appears to be the name brand MATRIXYL 3000 peptides (palmitoyl tripeptide-1 and palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7) and added SYN®-COLL (Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5), these peptides boast in-vivo studies that at certain concentrations reduce wrinkles, boost collagen synthesis and improve texture. As it’s a thicker balm (most of the other products we recommended are eye gels), to use with the Forever Eye Mask, simply dampen the under eye, use your ring finger to tap the eye cream on, and sit the mask on top for up to 10 minutes.
Lastly, as much as we love retinols and resurfacing agents, the Forever Eye Mask does actually enhance the effectiveness of products. Knowing this, never use prescription products, which tend to be more concentrated and higher in dosage, underneath the mask or ingredients that can lead to irritation (AHAs and high concentrations of Vitamin C in particular).