Eye creams are one of those divisive things. Some people wouldn't dream of skipping that step, while others merely smear their moisturiser a little higher (when they can be bothered). My dermatologist audibly gasped when I told her I'm definitely in camp B, and barely use them. Peering more closely at my crows feet she declared that the skin around the eyes is much more delicate and requires different, more specific ingredients. Then predictably recommended a fancy treatment that sounded expensive.  Sidestepping the upsell, I was finally convinced to go on my own quest to find an eye cream that could deliver real results. I quickly discovered that most eye creams often promise the world yet underdeliver. However, in a sea of duds, I did discover some gems that did hydrate, brighten and tighten - all without causing the dreaded milia (small white bumps). Read on, to discover the 3 eye creams that will make my cart again next time.

Best for puffiness: Clarins Total Eye Lift

When I heard this cult classic eye cream sells 4 every minute, I was instantly intrigued.

The Clarins Total Eye Lift is touted as an all-in-one designed to soften fine lines, eradicate puffiness and diminish dark circles. So, did the results live up to the hype? I have chronic purple pigmentation under my eyes (that honestly requires 5 minutes and multiples layers of concealer to cover!), but after three weeks of applying this religiously (day and night) I noticed the  intensity of the dark hollows had slightly faded – but the darkness wasn’t entirely eradicated (and to be honest, I never expected surgical-like miracles from eye creams).

The real heavy-lifting benefit of this product comes from its superior hydrating and depuffing effects. The product contains caffeine (de-puffing), shea butter (nourishing), albizia extract (puffiness/dark circles) and cassie wax (lifting + smoothing) – all of which worked synergistically to soften fine lines and tighten under-eye puffiness. I noticed the serum deeply hydrated my dry patches in under a day, but I only noticed a visible reduction in fine lines and under-eye bags after the 3rd week. Were the results drastic? No, but they were impressive enough to warrant a mini party, because my eyes did look fresher and tighter.

Best for dark circles: Ole Henriksen Banana Eye Cream

While I prefer to receive skincare advice from experts, I confess that I’m guilt of spending a pretty penny on viral social media recommendations. I saw multiple reels claiming the Ole Henriksen Banana cream produced a “white-out” like effect on dark circles– the results were supposedly akin to the concealing power of banana powder.

So did the Ole Henriksen Banana Bright eye cream live up to the hype? The yellow-tint of the eye cream does provide some instant cosmetic colour-correction for dark circles, however it is subtle; the eraser like claims of instant dark circle eradication are exaggerated. However what it does do is visibly brighten the skin and softly hydrates the skin over a short period of time. In the first week I noticed a reduction in darkness and by the third week the under-eye darkness (whilst still present) had faded to a light purple – I jumped for joy, as it cut-down my under-eye concealer application time! Dry skinned girls may need to find a more nourishing eye-cream, as it’s quite a light-weight cream.

The super star ingredient is the gold-stabilised vitamin C, which is an effective brightener and collagen stimulator. However, sensitive skinned girls beware – this ingredient can cause some irritation at first, so I made sure to gradually build the amount of product I used (although for eye creams you should never exceed more than a pea sized amount for both eyes, because it could cause more irritation and puffiness). Pro tip: vitamin-c is highly unstable when exposed to air and therefore the potency and effectiveness is drastically diminished – so remember to keep this product away from sunlight and tightly closed!

Best for underneath makeup: Elizabeth Arden 8-hour cream.

Supermodels swear by the Elizabeth Arden 8 hour cream and it’s achieved legendary status in the beauty world – being Elizabeth Arden’s best-selling product for decades. There’s no fancy ingredients (the main ingredient is lanolin) and it doesn’t promise miracles, but for some reason it trumps all under-eye primers I have used (both high-end and drugstore). This creamy formula makes my under-eye concealer apply smoothly, look airbrushed and bring a soft glow that somehow plumps up my under eye hollows. It’s also fantastic for dry patches and flakiness. I gently pat the formula around my eyes and within a few hours the dehydrated areas have softened. Despite the richness of the cream it remarkably does not break me out!

I don’t use this for any targeted under-eye treatment (it also doesn’t bill itself as an anti-ageing cream either), but it’s my go-to for flawless makeup application and brighter peepers.I love a dewy finish, so I apply a small pea sized amount and pat it in with a beauty blender. For girls who prefer a matte look, I certainly recommend placing some powder – as it does have a glossy look. However, I personally love the dewy effect, because it keeps parched skin at bay throughout the day – even through the must brutal cold weathers!

Story by Kristina Zhou. Holding image by @lintin9095 via UnSplash.

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