Eye Contour Guide: How To De-Puff, Soothe And Choose Eye Care Correctly
5 minutes read
Eye care is a complex subject. Almost all skincare-inclined people are concerned about their under eyes. But half of us don’t bother caring for it, and the other half expects far too much from a humble bottle of eye cream. We want it to brighten pigmentation, undo puffiness and smooth fine lines – and we want to see results quickly.
But our under eyes seem to have a mind of their own. Well, technically, they do. The skin covering the eye contour is structurally different from the skin on the rest of the face, so it needs to be cared for differently.
Here’s everything you should know about the best ways to care for the eye contour.
What’s different about the eye area?
Any area that’s prone to repetitive movements is likely to develop fine lines over time (as the skin loses elasticity), and therefore needs extra care. Think frown lines on the forehead or smokers developing wrinkles above the lip. The same rule applies to the skin around the eyes.
Plus, “the skin around the eyes is much thinner and more delicate than the rest of the face,” says Dr Flávia Pretti Aslanian, consultant and cosmetic dermatologist at Parkside Hospital. “It lacks oil glands and is therefore prone to dryness.”
She adds: “The skin here can suffer the effect of the powerful underlying circular muscles and their contraction due to light and darkness. This can cause demarcated wrinkles in this delicate area. Hence, the daily use of a suitable moisturiser is a great skincare practice.”
Plus, the area can unpredictable at times – so if you have troublesome eyes, you need a cleansing routine and make-up to care for sensitive eyes and protect their vulnerabilities.
Eye cream 101
Do you need an eye cream?
“It is essential to use an eye cream, as the cream will work as a barrier layer, and protect this delicate area from pollution, UV radiation, dryness, and prevent wrinkles,” says Dr Aslanian.
You may ask, why won’t any old face cream do the job? “Eye creams are formulated with gentle and nourishing ingredients,” Dr Aslanian explains. “They tend to have fewer irritants but are strong enough to help reduce wrinkles and fine lines.”
Choosing an eye cream
“Choose an eye cream that focuses on your specific concerns, whether that’s puffiness, darkness, signs of ageing or dryness,” recommends Charlotte McHale, Clarins Training Manager. “Ask for a sample first if you’re unsure.”
We love the Clarins Total Eye Hydrate, £32, that has a cooling formula, perfect for dehydrated under eyes. If fine lines are your concern, reach for Clarins Total Eye Lift, £62, is packed with firming albizia extract and brightening horse chestnut extract. And if you’re looking for a lighter serum texture, the Clarins Double Serum Eye, £58 is the one for you. It’s formulated 96% natural ingredients and is enriched with 13 plant extracts.
When applying your eye cream, ensure you are gentle and don’t use more product than you need.
“An amount around the size of a grain of rice is enough for both eyes,” says McHale. “Apply under the eye moving away from the nose, then above the eye working away from the nose for lymphatic drainage.”
When to start using eye cream
No matter your age, it’s never too late to start caring for the skin around your eyes. But we asked Dr Flàvia if there is a perfect age to start using eye cream. “I tend to recommend a good eye cream to my patients above 25 years of age, but this is not a strict rule,” she says. “Some patients with atopic eczema for example, might need to start using one much sooner in their life.”
Other ways to soothe, de-puff and care for the eye contour
Never sleep with make-up on
Sleeping with your make-up on spells all kinds of trouble for your skin and eyes. It can cause dryness, redness, irritation and infection. Plus, it could block pores and lead to breakouts.
“Carefully remove eye make-up using a product that’s ophthalmologically tested, like a specific eye make-up remover or a general cleanser safe for eyes,” says McHale. “Remember to be gentle and not drag the delicate eye area.”
“Creams or gels for the eye that contain caffeine are great for encouraging microcirculation and draining puffiness from around the eyes,” McHale explains. “Applying a cool compress (a cotton pad soaked in Clarins Gentle Eye Make-Up Remover, £23, straight from the fridge) will also help de-puff!”
You could also try the popular practice of placing cool teaspoons under the eyes. This is an easy and accessible way to de-puff after a tired day or before a big event. It helps constrict the blood vessels and encourages drainage of excess fluids under the eyes.
Try an eye mask
Treat the eye contour to an extra dose of hydration every once in a while. We like the Dieux Forever Eye Masks, £23 – they’re reusable sheet masks that you can use along with your favourite eye cream or serum. They help the product absorb better into the skin, leaving the area plump and hydrated.
Gently massage the forehead
Own a gua sha stone? Put it to good use – a gentle lymphatic massage on the forehead (using sweeping motions from the centre outwards) can help relieve tension and relax the eyes. You can learn more about facial massage techniques here and also the best beauty tools to invest in for smoother, toned and honed skin.
Don’t forget your sunglasses
The delicate skin around the eyes is extra prone to sun damage. “I recommend wearing sunglasses daily to prevent the contraction of the orbicular muscles around the eyes,” Dr Aslanian advises.
Next read: The Best Make-up For Sensitive Eyes