The Dos And Don’ts Of Eye Cream


Tapping, dabbing, massaging. Everyone applies eye cream a little differently, like we're each a special, puffiness-hating snowflake. But should you actually be putting the stuff on all willy nilly, or is there an objectively superior application method? The truth is...slightly complicated. It's less that there's a single correct strategy, and more that there are lid hydration best practices. This isn't just something we thought up on our own (although our inner lives are vast!)—dermatologists agree. "I don’t think there is any one right way," Dr. David Colbert admits. "Basically, you should be gentle." But what does gentle even mean? Gentle like 'pretend your face is an antique silk wedding dress once owned by Princess Grace of Monaco', or gentle like 'just don't give yourself contact dermatitis'? To clear up what, exactly, anything related to eye cream is about, Dr. Colbert has a few useful pointers:

Tap and/or massage
"Soft massage and patting are both great," the doctor advises. You can press the cream in, you can try light, sweeping strokes, or you can even put it on a cotton round and leave it on under your eyes for a couple of minutes.

Pull at your skin
"You don’t want any stretching," Dr. Colbert says. "The skin under the eye is a different structure from the rest of the face; it's more delicate." So if you're really moving your skin around when you rub cream in, you're probably doing it too hard.

Let it sink in
Give your eye cream about a minute (or longer, if possible) to absorb before you put makeup on top of it. That way, your powder or concealer won't cake up from the extra emollient base in the eye cream.

Put on too much
If you pack on the product, it won't make it more effective. It will, however, creep into your eyes and irritate them. Just put a pea-sized dab on your ring finger, then dot it on your brow bone and about a half inch underneath your eye. That's all!

Photo by Lacey Gattis.

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  • kt mo

    i've been wearing eye cream since like, junior high because i'm terrified of getting old. But it turns out i wasn't wearing it far down enough on my cheeks, and now that i've passed the 25 year mark, i have crinkly skin there. i would recommend patting the stuff farther out towards your hairline, and down onto your cheekbones than we normally think of as our eye area. Just my 2 cents.

    That last sentence is weird, but hopefully you know what i mean.

    • Erica Rae Deutsch

      i read once to think of your eye area as a 90-degree triangle with the right angle being at the inner corner of your eye (specific, i know), and then extend the other two corners to just above the nostril and out to the hairline. not sure how reliable that is, but hearing your experience i guess i'll start trying it!

    • kelly

      i would look at other aspects of your routine before suggesting you apply eye cream all over your face

  • Ashlee Adele Brame

    This is a great post, Its always good to know the best ways to actually apply a product as opposed to knowing just what you should be putting on your skin.

    Ash xxx

  • Prince & Sullivan

    Very good post!!!



  • Alessia

    That's a great post it's so helpful. I always put on too much and I'm not enough gentle with my skin :S xoxo

  • melissa

    Interesting and helpful! Never heard some of these tips before.

  • kelly

    intotheglossers, whats your fave eye cream with SPF?
    i wish ITG would do more posts talking about the importance of sun protection. i know it's not sexy but it doesn't matter what eye cream you use unless you protect your skin from the sun

    • Nina Holland

      I agree! I'm very fair and would love some recommendations. :)

    • Makeup With A Heart

      I haven't found any so far that haven't made my eyes sting and water like crazy--don't try the Murad one--but sunglasses with UV protection should do the trick.

  • JasminCharlotte

    Interesting, I've been using the Body Shop Vitamin E eye cream but haven't noticed much of a difference. Will keep trying!

    • Patrish

      I used that eye cream for a few months and it didn't do anything to reduce/prevent puffiness, lines, and dark circles (except well, to hydrate, which I think is basic for any eye cream)

  • Charmystique

    Can I just say what pretty eyes those are! 0 wrinkles/crow feet/milia seeds at all. I would wanna know what eye cream she's using.

  • Isabelle McWilliam

    Great tips!

  • Behind the Mirror

    Love this post! Very informative! I have been on an eye cream kick lately trying to really minimize the look of my dark bags from the harsh winter... I put up a post about it not that long ago, would love for you to check it sometime if you have time:

  • Clever Girl Reviews

    I just started using Tarte's Maracuja one, so far so good as long as it stays in the eye area!

  • Neelam

    What I want to know is whether we should be putting eye cream 'near' our eyes? Most experts and brand tutorials say we should apply it around the orbital bone, and not on the delicate eye lids.

    • Ann Clothier

      I've tried a million eye creams. The only one that I can put on my eyelid without any irritation to my eye has been the Murad intense hydration cream. My eyelids have a tendency to get dry and flaky. This stuff clears it up overnight! It is the only product I'll use on the lid. However, there are other great creams I use under and around.

  • Filipa Martins

    I´m obsessed with eye cream!!! thanks for the tips it always helps. I´m now 32 and if i could i would be slappin´it on every hour.... you now just in case...

  • AuNaturelMel

    Hmmm...the one point I disagree with (even though it came from a doctor...I know, I know) is "massaging." For the rest of the face, yes; for the eye area, no. I always dab, and go from the outer corner inward; less tugging that way.


  • Nazimun

    Thanks for the information ....I used to apply very little quantity like you say but my eyes gets burn when I wake up in the morning under eye skin is normal...Pls suggest me Wat to do should I change the cream.