Do You Really Need An Eye Cream?

I don’t use an eye cream. In fact, I think I have never bought a full size eye cream. When I was younger, I’d tell myself I didn’t really need it and would think about using one when the first fine lines would appear. And when they did, I got hold of a few samples at my local beauty store and well, they never worked that well. Yes, they moisturize my skin but they didn’t help with dark circles, bags and fines lines as they claimed they would. They just performed as a regular face moisturizer so that’s what I started using on my eye area too. This got me thinking: what’s the difference between eye and face moisturizers?

Eye creams don’t contain special ingredients

Turns out there really isn’t that much difference. I know most face moisturizers state on the packaging not to use the products on the eye area which makes us think something horrible will happen if we do but is that really true? Just open your cabinet and compare the ingredients of your face moisturizer with those of your eye cream. As you can see, the ingredients are pretty much the same. And there’s no wonder why. After all, both the skin and eye area need moisture, hydration and antioxidants (SPF too!) and the ingredients that provide these benefits are the same.

There aren’t really any special ingredients for the eyes. No special antioxidants or moisturizing agents that can be used on the face but would cause havoc on the eyes. No special ingredient that would remove dark circles or bags (if there were, no one would have dark circles or bags anymore). What eye creams can do is to reduce their appearance thanks to light-reflective particles and make fine lines and wrinkles appear smaller by filling them in with silicones. But these silicones and light-reflective particles are the same ones used in face moisturizers and foundations.

Eye creams aren’t necessarily more gentle

But isn’t the skin around the eye area thinner and more delicate? Yes, it is but that doesn’t mean that you need a special cream for it. Lots of eye creams, for instance, are scented and fragrance is an ingredient that can often be irritating. So, you see, just because a cream is targeted for the eyes, it doesn’t mean it’s gentler. In addition, not all eye creams have a lightweight texture. Some actually have a heavier consistency than that of facial moisturizers!

The exception to the rule

There is a case when your usual face moisturizer may not be suitable for your eye area too. That’s when the skin of your eye area is different from the skin on the rest of your face. For example, if you have oily skin you would need a lightweight, not too emollient moisturizer but if the skin on your eye area is dry, it won’t work well there as dry skin needs more moisture than what your facial moisturizer for oily skin can provide. Of course this only means that you need a different cream for the eye area, not necessarily an eye cream.

The bottom line

Your eye area needs just what your face needs: a well-formulated moisturizer that moisturizes, helps fight premature aging and provides sun protection. And you don’t need to spend twice as much money to buy a facial moisturizer (yes, that’s what eye creams really are) packaged in a tiny jar or tube to get that. Just apply your usual moisturizer on your face as usual and then use what little is left of it on your fingers on your eye area. You’ll get the same results without spending any additional money!

Do you use an eye cream?

32 Comment

    • Dao, I’m sorry that you had a bad experience when you tried to use your face moisturizer on your eye area. I do think it depends on the product as there are some face moisturizers that won’t work on the eye area, just like there are face moisturizers that cause havoc on the skin. Some products work, others don’t. But even if your usual face moisturizer doesn’t work, you can always buy one that is scent-free and lightweight and use it on the eyes as that’ll probably cost you less than using a separate eye cream but work just as well.

  1. Hi! Another nice article! You are lucky you can do this. I never had much luck using my face cream in the eye contour, I usually get little red bumps that are quite annoying. However I never had much luck with eye creams either as my upper eyelid is quite oily and my lower lid area is dry. Though it seems the last one I bought is performing better than all previous ones (which included high end and pharmacy brands). The fine lines I had under my eyes from dehydration are getting better and my under eye circles too (although the packaging says nothing about circles and no cream had ever improved their condition). It was a good surprise and I was just expecting it to be moisturizing. Also, my upper eyelid is no more oily than it was before and that’s good. For reference it’s Bioderma Sensibio eye contour cream.
    Sandra L´s last blog post ..Adaga em FlorMy Profile

    • Sandra, it can be really hard to find a good moisturizer for the eye area when different parts have different needs. I am glad to hear the Bioderma cream is working well for you. I think people should just use the products that work best for them, it’s just that I don’t agree with the concept that you need a separate eye cream. The eye area needs a moisturizer, but whether the label states eye or face doesn’t really matter as they are pretty much the same thing really.

  2. I confess: every time I buy something beauty-related, I ask for a sample of eye cream “to test because I have very sensitive eyes” – I survive on samples… ;)
    (and eye cream samples are quite generous, compared to the size of the actual cream!)

    • Leo, lol, but good for you. Eye cream samples are generous indeed and they last quite a while. :)

  3. I think your point about whether a moisturiser is suitable for use in the eye area is key. I use an eye cream for two reasons: 1-my face cream has SPF and can irritate my eyes. 2-in middle age, my eye area is much thinner and drier than my facial skin, so I use a rich eye cream.

    In general, though, your observations are absolutely right!

    • Jamilla, I think it depends on a product really. Some are well-formulated, others aren’t. It’s just a matter of finding what works for you and better suits your needs. If the skin of the eye area and that of the face have different needs, then it is obviously best to use different products but they could just be two face moisturizers and not necessarily a face moisturizer and an eye cream. They are all just moisturizers really and if you find a product that works, you should stick to it despite on how it is labelled. I just disagree that only eye creams are suitable for the eye area cos they are just expensive facial moisturizer in smaller jars.

  4. i found that subversive apothecary’s serum works for everything, and has made my (emerging) fine lines under my eyes much more moisturized and not as pronounced. WAY better than any drugstore purchase.

      • But isn’t it also important to use sunscreen around your eyes as well? Possibly in a facial moisturizer made for sensitive skin if the eye cream is too harsh?

        • Sophie, yes, it’s important to wear sunscreen around the eyes too. I just use my regular face sunscreen, but you could use a moisturizer with SPF that’s not too rich as well.

  5. Great post!
    I use eyecream since a couple of years. When I was in high school I use my moisturizer on eye area too, I was scared when I read that it shouldn’t be used there. To be honest I never had problems but I prefer to use eyecream since my eye contour is dryer than my face.
    La Bisbetica´s last blog post ..Comprare on-line- Bottega VerdeMy Profile

    • La Bisbetica, there really is no reason why face moisturizers can’t be used on the eye area, unless they contain harsh and irritating ingredients. But if a product irritates my eye area, I just wouldn’t wanna use it anywhere else. In that case, a separate cream for the eyes is necessary, but it doesn’t have to be labelled as an eye cream. A richer facial moisturizer would do but if you’ve found a good eye cream that works well for you, by all means keep using it.

  6. I do apply some of my lighter face moisturizer around my eye area.

    But generally, I do use a dedicated eye cream (or two) for my eyes. Before I used only one type of eye cream for day and night.

    Now I use Lancome Neuroshield eye cream with SPF 15 for day time, and Lancome Renergie Yeux for night time. The Renergie eye cream really works for the developing fine lines around my eyes.
    Vonvon´s last blog post ..A-Blush-A-Day- Nos 29 &amp 30- MAC Mineralize Skinfinshes – Refined &amp Light Flush – Swatches &amp ReviewsMy Profile

    • Vonvon, I’m glad you found an eye cream that works well for you. I wish eye creams were cheaper though since they are just regular moisturizers but in a smaller packaging.

    • MarciaF, I just think it is a matter of finding a good moisturizer for mature skin though. I really can’t bring myself to splurge on eye creams knowing they don’t contain any special ingredients for the eye area. But maybe in my 50s I’ll change my mind, who knows?

    • Nikki, I’m glad they work well for you. I don’t have anything against eye creams, I just don’t understand why they have to be so expensive when they don’t contain any special ingredients but come in a smaller packaging. But if they work for you, that’s great. :)

  7. I really need a cream to target the fine lines under my eyes. Im 26 and the lines make me look 46! Help! I have tried Estee Lauder advanced night repair and now im using Avon Dermafull….i just dont know what ingredients to look for…

    • Roxann, to reduce fine lines the only ingredients that work overtime are Retinoids. They can be irritating at first so use them carefully. Other ingredients that will prevent new fine lines from forming or existing ones getting worse are antioxidants like Vitamins C and E and sunscreen. I hope this helps.

  8. I don’t use eye creams because I have dry skin and use a really thick and hydrating moisturizer on my whole face – including my eye area. And usually eye creams are twice the price for half the product. I sometimes use the Clinique All About Eyes that I see you have in your “how to apply eye cream” post, but I only use that because it was a free-with-purchase product.
    Jeni´s last blog post ..Pretty HurtsMy Profile

    • Jeni, I agree with you. Your face moisturizer will do, no need to spend extra money on eye creams which are expensive but come in small packaging. That Clinique cream was part of a travel-size set and I thought it worked well even though it’s a shame that comes in a jar instead of a tube.

    • Adia, if it makes you feel good then keeping using eye creams lol. But yes, they really aren’t that different from face creams.

    • Tammy, I’m glad you found a cheap moisturizer that works for you. I don’t think you really need an eye cream. They are so expensive that, if you a different skin type in different areas, buying two face moisturizers will be less expensive than buying a face moisturizer and an eye cream. And work just as well.

  9. I agree, I’ve come to realize after getting older, that I’m only throwing my money away when I purchase a separate eye cream, even experts, the honest ones, who aren’t trying to make a buck, will agree too.

    If my moisturizer, and or sunscreen can’t cover my entire face, including around my eyes, I won’t purchase it. I also, won’t purchase anything in a jar, if it states it has antioxidants in it.

    • fluthergirlraggedyme, I agree with everything you said. You are a smart shopper. I too think it’s not worth it to buy a moisturizer that’s not good for your entire face and antioxidants in a jar are a big no-no indeed.

  10. I really think that is nice you have an article so interesting such as, eye care creams my addition to this topic is that hope people make research about the products they use since with the new technology people can post whatever they want, believe that not necessarly true. In my experience I have seen people when they get little bumps on the around under eye area. Those bumps are not easy to eradicate therefore, for the amount of cream that I need to take care of my eyes I rather to pay the price and listen the dermatologist knowledge rather than somebody just post whatever she or he thinks.

    • Jose, that’s a good point. I believe that bloggers’ reviews can be helpful as they tell you how thin/thick the texture is, how it smells, if the packaging dispenses too much product or not… But then how well a product works depends on the ingredients and to learn how those work requires a lot of study and research. The opinion of a blogger can’t substitute that of a dermatologist of course (I always recommend you go see one, especially if you have serious skincare problems, for a proper skincare routine and treatment that will suit your needs), but can enrich it by pointing out all the little bits that dermatologists may not take into consideration such as a bad scent.

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