The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - The Telegraph Magazine
Jan Masters Set your sights on good eye care
To use – or not to use – a separate eye cream? Our columnist enters the debate
OK, I admit it: I’ve rarely used eye cream. Occasionally, when knackered, I’ve reached for a perk-up caffeine serum. And because I don’t cry prettily like a Man Ray photo (my eyelids end up resembling uncooked chipolatas), I’ve come to appreciate the cold compress. As you shouldn’t apply ice directly to skin, a chilled damp flannel, laid over eyes for a few minutes, is très soothing. But with so many eyecare products out there, I felt it was time I peered into the pool of peeper treatments.
Now, I know the perceived duty of a beauty columnist is to deliver definitive answers but on this topic, the jury is not just out, it’s brawling in the deliberation room. Some skincare experts say eye creams are vital for your regime. Others suggest you can skip them if your facial moisturiser works for you. I’ve come to this conclusion: it depends.
First, some fundamentals. The skin around your eyes is one of the thinnest areas of the body – this is why the effects of fluid retention and sluggish microcirculation appear more prominent. It’s also prone to dryness, is often sensitive and ages faster, partly because the skin is so thin and prone to laxity, partly because the area is highly mobile. Not only do we laugh, frown and squint, we blink something like 28,000 times a day.
An important reason to consider using a separate cream is that your facial moisturiser might incorporate actives such as acids or retinol in levels that can be too strong for the delicate eye contour – beauty companies take this on board when creating eye creams. Texture is also a factor: perhaps you love a rich night cream, which is too heavy for eyes.
The key to achieving appreciable results is to consider what it is you most want to address. Be more specific than
‘I want to look 20 years younger’. Also rein in unrealistic expectations; agerelated droopiness, sagginess and pronounced bags and aren’t going to pack up and leave at the drop of an eye serum. But efficient formulations can certainly hydrate, freshen, strengthen and smooth.
If your eyes flag up fatigue, try Lumene’s new Nordic-c Valo Glow Boost Eye Serum (£22.90, johnlewis.com). It contains antioxidant-rich Arctic cloudberries and vitamin C to brighten, with hyaluronic acid and polyglutamic acid (a natural hydrating agent thought to hold four times more moisture than hyaluronic) to promote suppleness. I particularly like its cooling metal applicator that gently massages the skin without dragging.
If you’re more concerned about lines and crepiness, Biossance Squalane + Marine Algae Eye Cream (£43, cultbeauty.co.uk) acts on the texture of skin. Squalane is a modified form of squalene, which is an emollient lipid that can be found in our skin but declines as we age. The plant-based version here joins paracress extract (a herb nicknamed ‘nature’s Botox’), which can help soften lines and support the collagen network. All in all, a smooth operator.
New to the arena is U Beauty’ sthe Return Eye Concentrate (£138, harrods. com). Three years in the perfecting, it delivers biomimetic plankton extract and peptides to target puffiness and discoloration; vitamins, humectants and stevia extract to retexturise and tone; and diamond powder for a luminous finish. My tester, who hadn’t been told the eyewatering price, enthused about its depuffing and line-blurring benefits. And as you only need a smidge, it has mileage.
Sensible non-cream tactics? Clock up sufficient sleep, eat ahealthy diet, stay hydrated, cut back on alcohol and go easy on the salt (too much contributes to fluid retention). Lastly, I’m trying this: smile more, cry less.