Updated 08/24/21. The skin around the eyes is thinner than that on the face and has very few oil glands to keep it moisturized. Plus, we blink 10,000 times per day, squint, and smile, so it’s no wonder this is one of the first areas to show signs of aging. To reduce these signs of aging, people often introduce an eye cream into their daily skincare routine.
I think this is great—after all, I’ve always been a believer in the power of eye cream. However, throughout my three decades of experience working as an esthetician, I’ve noticed that clients often become frustrated by a lack of results. They feel like their eye cream isn’t working, so they go on to try a variety of different ones, all to no avail. The truth is that there are a few reasons why this could be happening…well, five reasons to be exact. Keep scrolling to see them all.
5 Reasons Why Your Eye Cream Isn’t Working
Reason #1: It Doesn’t Contain the Right Active Ingredients
The goal of any eye cream is to provide moisture to plump up thirsty skin cells and reduce the appearance of fine lines. If you have additional concerns such as dark circles, deep wrinkles, puffiness, or loss of elasticity, your skin requires more. Depending on your specific concerns, there are a whole host of science-based skincare ingredients you can turn to. These are better than organic ingredients since nature doesn’t always give that extra boost that’s needed when signs of aging start to appear.
Active Ingredients to Look for in an Eye Cream:
- For firming activity, look for an eye cream with peptides, retinol, and DMAE
- For dark circles, look for an eye cream with chrysin, caffeine, and stable vitamin C
- For puffiness, look for an eye cream with oat kernel extract, licorice extract, and aloe vera
- For dryness, look for an eye cream with ceramides, glycolic acid, and hyaluronic acid filling spheres
Reason #2: Your Eye Makeup Remover Interferes With Eye Cream Absorption
Let’s say you remove your eye makeup with an oil-based product, such as petroleum jelly, or any other hardworking remover designed to take off waterproof makeup. In the process of the removal, an oily film is being deposited on the skin. Next, you wash your face with a cleanser that can’t cut through the oil, such as a cleansing balm or other oil-based cleanser. What you’re left with is a coating over the skin cells that makes it impossible for the active ingredients from your eye cream to absorb and effectively do their job. (I talk about this whole theory in my double cleansing post.) That’s why I recommend skipping an oil-based remover and choosing a water-based formula like the Soothing Eye Makeup Remover. Your eye cream should perform better.
Pro tip: Apply eye makeup remover to a lint-free Toning Cloth or cotton pad and gently press down on the eye, holding for 20 seconds before wiping away. This gives your eye makeup a chance to dissolve, avoiding unnecessary rubbing and tugging, which can weaken the elasticity of the skin around the eyes.
Reason #3: You Might Not Be Using It Often Enough
Just like with anything else in life, the more effort you put into caring for your eyes, the better the result will be. Since eye cream is an extra step above and beyond cleansing, toning, and moisturizing, it can often get neglected. But here’s the thing—eye creams don’t necessarily offer immediate results, so you have to use them regularly for them to take effect. I recommend applying eye cream at least once a day and preferably at night. You might want to use an eye cream or gel in the morning if you wake up with puffiness, though. (Here’s what a morning skincare routine and an evening skincare routine should look like—in a perfect world.)
Reason #4: You’re Not Exfoliating Around Your Eyes
Reason #5: Perhaps Your Expectations Are Too High
I wish this was not the case, but an eye cream, just like any other skincare product, can only go so far. Aging is a fact of life and depending on your lifestyle and genetics, it can show up sooner rather than later. Concerns like dark circles can be really stubborn to treat. The same goes for loss of elasticity, as it’s difficult for this to bounce back once it’s already set in. As for under-eye puffiness, there are some things you can do. Your best bet is to consult a trusted skincare expert to learn more about addressing your specific concerns.
I hope this post was helpful for those of you who feel like your eye cream isn’t working. I also hope it leads you to be a more informed skincare consumer. After all, knowledge is power!
Celebrity Esthetician & Skincare Expert
As an esthetician trained in cosmetic chemistry, Renée Rouleau has spent 30 years researching skin, educating her audience, and building an award-winning line of products. Trusted by celebrities, editors, bloggers, and skincare obsessives around the globe, her vast real-world knowledge and constant research are why Marie Claire calls her “the most passionate skin practitioner we know.”