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Do eye creams really work?

Lucy longingly asks…I just bought Eyecon from Benefit, but I’m not sure if it’s really doing anything. What are eye creams and is their claim of reducing under eye circles and puffiness at all valid? What ingredients should I look for in an eye cream for these things?

The Right Brain strikes an optic nerve:

Do eye creams really do what they say they’ll do? Well, the answer is a little bit yes, a little bit no. All skin creams (should) moisturize. But eye creams have some added responsibilities.

1. Moisturization

They’ve got to moisturize without adding a lot of heaviness or greasiness. After all, it’s likely that you’ll be apply some kind of make up around your eyes and you don’t want an eye cream to interfere with your foundation, for example.

2. Mildness

They need to be extra mild, since the area around the eye is particularly sensitive to irritation. Fragrance free is best.

3. Tightening

Perhaps most relevant to your question, they should tighten the skin around the eyes since they claim to reduce wrinkles. While they can’t work miracles, they can do this to some extent by adding polymers that form a film on the skin as they dry. This film can make the skin look and feel a little bit tighter.

The Eyecon product you cited seems designed to do just that. It contains ingredients like Ethylene/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, Butylene Glycol, Glyceryl Polymethacrylate, and Sodium Polyacrylate. These are all film forming agents that can help eyes feel less puffy and look less wrinkled.

Of course the effect varies from person to person; even in best case scenarios it may not be dramatically noticible; and even if it does work it’s only a temporary fix at best. But if you notice enough difference you might want to continue using the product.

Want another opinion? Paula Begoun, the Cosmetic Cop, has a much harsher opinion of eye creams. She says that they are no different from facial moisturizers and that they are “a whim of the cosmetics industry designed to evoke the sale of two products when only one is needed.” Meow!

The Beauty Brains bottom line:

Eye creams are essentially moisturizers that are modified for use on the thin skin around the eyes. While they don’t work miracles like they claim, they do contain ingredients that may offer some temporary benefit. We sa

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