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.