Friday, August 7, 2009

Beauty Revelation: Eye Creams

Recently, while having a discussion on the merits of eye creams, something occurred to me that had never crossed my mind. Well, perhaps it did flicker in every once and again, but my years of training shut it out. I had asked Cora (YouTube's VintageorTacky) why she didn't mention using an eye cream in a video she did on her skin care routine. As we all know, the skin around the eye area is thinner than the skin elsewhere on the face, making it more sensitive. This is why the skin around your eyes is usually first to show signs of stress, sun damage and age. Cora's answer: "I've read a lot of info saying that there is noting innately special about eye cream..."

This got me thinking, and reviewing ingredient lists in my head. I did some quick research and discovered something that I should have noticed a long time ago: most of the ingredients in my eye creams were the same type of ingredients as those in my facial moisturizer! Now, I've been trying to get myself in the habit of using an eye cream for the past 7 or 8 years, and for some reason, it's part of my routine that never sticks. I can use 3 treatment serums and 2 moisturizers during one application, but for some reason I can not remember to put on one of the 10 eye creams I own. Now, I know why. My mind was secretly rebelling against the establishment that has been selling us 1/2 ounce sized jars of moisturizer, telling us that it's special for the eye area, and charging the same price as they do for a 1.7 ounce jar of face cream!

I thought that I had to be missing something, and I needed expert back up, so I wrote a quick e-mail to renowned dermatologist Dr. Jeffrey Benabio. I explained my question, posited my hypothesis, and hit send, only half expecting a reply. Dr. Benabio has been featured in Allure, Glamour, and O, The Oprah Magazine; to expect that he would reply to a lone little beauty blogger would have been silly. The very next morning, however, I got my reply. It was simple and concise, and I will reprint the good doctor's answer here, in it's entirety so that there is no mistake:

The difference between eye cream and a facial moisturizer are insignificant. The only real difference is the label.


There you have it folks. Don't waste your money. Use whatever the hell you want on your eyes, it makes no difference. OK, so maybe that's taking it too far, but I do feel I owe an apology to the hundreds, nay, thousands of women I've sold eye cream to. If there's one thing that makes me feel a bit better, it's this: the concerns a woman has about her eye area may not be the same concerns she has about the rest of her face. In other words, don't expect your facial moisturizer to get rid of under eye puffiness or wrinkles unless it is designed to do those things for your face.

So what have we learned today? If your skin care concerns are consistent from your eyes to the rest of your face, save yourself a wad of cash and let your facial moisturizer pull double duty. If, on the other hand, you have separate concerns for your face and eyes, you may want to stick to your tiny-weeny little jar of eye goodness. Better yet, find a big old jar of facial moisturizer that treats your eye area concerns, and pick it up instead- the price per ounce will be a much better deal- just think of it as buying in bulk!


Musing on Beauty said...

I am sure you're right but I have a question in terms of texture. If you're using a rich face cream, isn't that going to clog pores around the eyes and cause milia? I think I heard that somewhere.
Anyway, I do use an eye gel most of the time because I like the consistency, but sometimes I skip it and use my face cream :-)

Unknown said...


Though the doctor didn't mention it, I tend to agree with you that using creams that are too rich around the eyes can cause milia (tiny white bumps under the skin- you see them often on newborns)I myself have them in the past.

Though perhaps I should have,I didn't mention that issue in the post because this entry was less about how to choose a product and more about the fact that you don't need a specific eye cream. Also, it was around 3AM when I wrote it, so...:)

I guess the key word is TOO rich- chances are if your skin is dry enough that it needs a rich face creme, your eye area is probably parched as well.

Of course, any moisturizer that clogs the pores around your eyes will do the same for those on the face, so you should always ensure that whatever you're using, whether on your face or eyes, is noncomedogenic.

Anastasia said...

Wow. Despite my cynical nature, I never particularly thought to question this, either. I'm cerainly glad you did.

I have always applied my moisturiser all over my face, including on my eyes, when I've used it, but then used eye cream, too. Whilst I'm sure extra care when applying/removing make-up to the eye area needs to be taken, you're right in that there's no point spending such a huge amount on a tiny tub that contains exactly the same stuff as my face cream!

I'm going to compare my Lancome Hydra Zen moisturiser to the same eye cream right now.

Unknown said...


I'd love to see what you find w/ your comparison. I'm sure there are some differences, like less of the active ingredients (for the "sensitve" eye area) or added ingredients for eye-specific concerns (caffeine for puffiness, for example.) While companies aren't stupid enough to sell the same EXACT product, I bet there are some definite similarities. Let us know either way!

Anastasia said...

Lancome Hydra-Zen facial Gel Cream:
Water, glycerin, cyclohexasiloxane, cetearyl ethylhexanoate, alcohol denat, amonnimum polycryldimethyltauramide/ammonium polycryloydimethyl taurate, CI 14700, red 4, madecassoside, sodium chloride, sodium hyaluronate, paeonia suffruticosa/paeonia suffruticosa root extract, eugenol, triethanolamine, chlorphensin, salicylic acid, cellulose acetate butyrate, polyphosphorylcholine glycol acrylate, polyvinyl alcohol, dimethicone, dimethiconol, limonene, xanthan gum, benzyl alcohol, isopopyl myristate, propylene glycol, alpha-isomethyl ionone, moringa pterygosperma seed extract, disodium edta, rosa gallica extract /rosa gallica flower extract, methylparaben, butylene glycol, butylphenyl, methylpropional, fragrance, phenoxyethanol, (F.I.L B32878/1)

Lancome hydra-zen eye contour gel cream:
Aqua (Water), Cyclopentasiloxane, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Polyacrylamide, Mel (Honey), C13-14 Isoparaffin, Zea Mays (Corn Oil), Tocopherol, Escin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hedera Helix (Ivy Extract), Acetyl-Dipeptide-1 Cetyl Ester, Caffeine, Magnesium Gluconate, Triethanolamine, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat Germ Oil), Iris Florentina (Orris Extract), Triticum Vulgare Extract (Wheat Germ), Dimethicone, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dimethiconol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Terminalia Sericea (Terminalia Sericea Extract), Sesamum Indicum (Sesame Oil), Rosa Gallica (French Rose Extract), Laureth 7, Glycine Soja (Soybean Oil), Oryza Sativa (Rice Bran Oil), Methylparaben, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate

There are quite a few differences, at least in this case, mainly I think that the eye cream seems to have a lot more natural plant extracts in.

Unknown said...


Thanks! Interesting, I do notice that the first 3 ingredients (which make up the bulk of the product)are the same, though in different concentrations.

Regulations on product labeling (at least in the US) require that any ingredient over 1% be listed on the label, and that the ingredients are listed in order starting with those in highest concentration. The first 3-5 products comprise the majority of the finished product, but some ingredients could be so low in concentration that they are essentially ineffective.

I do wish cosmetic labeling regulations were a bit more stringent, are there any major differences in the EU guidelines?

Halifax @ Sparkled Beauty said...

I learned this from Paula Begoun's "bibble", a bit too late after stocking up some eyecreams that were on sale. Now this confirms it :-)

Eye Cream Reviews said...

The first time that I have used eye creams was on my twenties out of curiosity. Who would have thought that it works wonders even if you are still young. Well, of course I got scared of trying out all the products so the solution are dermatologists. A visit or two to them doesn't really hurt and it is one of the best ways to get the best products for the eye cream.

Faye @ Best Eye Cream said...

An under eye cream has many types and the best way for you to choose the one ideal for your case is by knowing the options that you’ve got.

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