I spent a year testing eye creams: here is what works

They help keep the skin around the eye area moisturised and as taut as possible

One abysmal, wet day last December – when we did things like meet people – I visited one of the world’s most prominent dermatologists, who happens to be German, at an impossibly fancy hotel in London. As we talked, I could see her examining my face with professional interest. Apropos of nothing, she said: “Yes bat af course you would benefit from this ingredient yourself because you heff lines around your eyes.”

“Well,” I thought. “Well.” That was about it. She continued speaking and I determined that it may be time to invest in a good eye cream, while simultaneously appreciating and feeling discombobulated by her Teutonic frankness. This is not, after all, how Irish people speak to one another.

I have spent the year since trying various eye creams. In general, eye creams are far less effective overall than they claim to be. That does not mean, though, that you should not use one if your eye area bothers you. Here are the things an eye cream will not significantly fix: prominent under-eye darkness, deep-set tear troughs under the eyes or marked lines. What they can do is help a little by keeping the skin around the eye area moisturised and as taut as possible, and they can also help conceal darkness. If you need more than this, under-eye fillers from a good cosmetic doctor can work visual miracles.

So, with a realistic view to eye products, here are some of the best I’ve used this year.


Japanese brand Curél's Moisture Eye Zone Essence (€31 at boots.ie) is perfect for dehydrated skin around the eye area. If your skin needs a basic care and maintenance product that sits nicely under make-up and works well at night, this gel cream is ideal.

The Korean trend – to use eye creams all over the face instead of moisturiser – is making its way to our side of the world and L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Filler Eye Cream For Face (€25 at pharmacies nationwide) is a western take on the trend. It doesn’t have the increased richness you’ll need for mature skin but it’s a nice, easy option if you don’t want to worry about eye cream as a separate product.

So too is Avène Hydrance Aqua Gel (€30 at boots.ie), a facial moisturiser that works beautifully under foundation and is light enough to work well around the eyes.

For something harder hitting and better for skin after 40, Murad Environmental Shield Vita-C Eyes Dark Circle Corrector (€64 at cultbeauty.com) is wondrous. Non-congesting, it's rich enough to really moisturise the eye area and contains Vitamin C and a little light reflection to significantly brighten.

Finally, for puffiness, Fraicheur Ice Globes (€104.99 at faceiceglobes.com) are miraculous. Yes, you can try the old cold spoons trick and it's better than nothing. However, these icy spheres (rather unfortunately referred to as "blue balls" online) will visibly de-puff in minutes. They're expensive but they really do work. They also look rather entertaining in use, which is an underestimated benefit.