At the risk of making myself sound like a totally inept beauty editor, I've never really seen the point in eye creams. They make bold claims about eradicating fine lines and erasing the effects of a 3 a.m. bedtime and two bottles of wine (maybe I'm hyperbolising), but I've always had the sneaking suspicion that they're just a face moisturiser in a tiny tub—for triple the price.
Of course, I've dabbled with various formulas over the years, but none have ever set up a permanent home in my skincare stash. Sure, some of them felt nice when applied, but I never got that immediate visible result promised. (What can I say? I'm impatient.) In fact, the only instant result I ever experienced was when I awoke after using a very popular eye cream to find that a cyst had formed under my eye. Nice.
So what was it that caused me to come out of eye-cream retirement? I had heard rumours flying around in the beauty world for a while of a £6 product that genuinely brightened tired eyes and soothed puffiness. The price point was a definite point of intrigue but for me, the real sell was that this product contained 5% caffeine—an ingredient that I know delivers results within skincare.
The product in question is The Ordinary's Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG. If you haven't heard of The Ordinary, just know that it's an innovative skincare brand that's part of the larger Deciem beauty group. The brand is renowned for its high-performance formulations, but its unique selling point is the low prices. In fact, the vast majority of the products come in under the £10 mark. I've been using the eye cream for the past few weeks now and can honestly say it's become a staple in my morning routine. Keep reading to find out exactly why it's so great.
More of an eye serum than an eye cream, I was immediately impressed with the lightweight texture of The Ordinary's Caffeine Solution. Eye creams are notorious for their rich, heavy textures, but personally, I've found in the past that using a thick lotion under my eyes can clog the pores and cause breakouts (or in my case, that unsightly cyst). Unlike formulas I've used in the past, this one sinks immediately into your skin, so there's no waiting around in the morning to apply your makeup. Perfect if you're a fan of the snooze button like I am.
As I mentioned earlier, the ingredients in The Ordinary's Caffeine Solution were the real draw for me. It contains a 5% concentration of caffeine (super high for a beauty product) and a purified natural compound called epigallocatechin gallatyl glucoside, which is found in green tea leaves and is a potent antioxidant. The benefit in beauty products is the way it can help to minimise damage within your skin cells and protect your skin from harsh environmental factors. Independent studies have shown that this, combined with the topical use of caffeine, can help minimise the appearance of dark circles and reduce puffiness. Basically, while other creams might claim to be able to brighten and disguise the effects of a late night, this one actually prevents tired-looking eyes altogether.
While I won't claim that The Ordinary Caffeine Solution is a miracle worker (on a particularly hungover Sunday, this stuff didn't even touch the sides of my eye bags), but on a daily basis, I've found that my eye area looks so much brighter than before. I apply it daily (after my face serum and before my moisturiser) and find that it instantly cools and calms any puffiness, and just makes my face look a little bit perkier. I'm using less concealer than ever before, and have skipped it on some days altogether when I'm having a natural makeup day. And for the cost of a couple of coffees, you really can't do much better than that. Keep scrolling to shop some of my other under-eye beauty favourites.
I keep a pot of these hydrogel patches in the fridge and apply them on days when my eyes are looking particularly tired. They feel absolutely amazing on the skin and contain soothing cucumber extracts, hydrating hyaluronic acid and my best friend, caffeine, to get the job done.
This isn't cheap, and—let's be honest—it looks like a sex toy, but I keep coming back to this unique beauty tool. Designed to mimic a fingertip massage (stay with me), it pulsates over your under-eye area to encourage lymphatic drainage and boost circulation which, in turn, will reduce puffiness. It basically feels like you're enjoying a fancy facial in the comfort of your own home, and I kind of love it.
These are a real treat to use on evenings when you really want to pamper yourself. Once out of the packet, the masks begin to gently heat up to really soothe the muscles around your eyes and relax tired eyes. I normally use these on a Thursday night when I'm feeling my most frazzled, as they really help me to switch off and unwind.
For coverage and luminosity, this concealer is my latest love, as you need just the smallest dot to completely cover up any dark circles. Even better, it has an incredibly moisturising formula, so there's no risk of it creasing or cracking throughout the day.
I love using a jade roller to massage serums all over my face, and this mini one is perfect for the under-eyes. Once I've patted in The Ordinary's Caffeine Solution, I'll spend a minute rolling this beneath my eyes to help the product to absorb.