The delicate undereye area is one of the first bits to show signs of stress and ageing, so it’s important to take good care of it. Whether it’s puffiness, dark circles or fine lines, there’s a plethora of problems we’re dealing with and our quest to solve all of them at once can feel never-ending.
Before we get overwhelmed with all the best eye creams on the market promising to banish bags and depuff, we spoke to two experts to give us the lowdown on the best night-time regimes to help us all wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
However, before we even start on our nightly beauty regime, we need to consider the impact our daily routine may have on our eyes.
Things such as prolonged screen time and the amount of water we consume can contribute to dry and puffy eyes.
“Take lots of breaks from screens and devices, and remember the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look at an object over 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Also, get away from a screen for five to ten minutes every hour,” says Bhavin Shah, Contact Lens Practitioner of the Year 2020 finalist.
If puffiness is your problem, then it may be down to dehydration. “Drink lots of water; redness and puffiness are often caused by dryness,” adds Bhavin. “Drinking enough water will help.”
And for an extra moisture boost, eye drops are a great way to perk up your peepers. “Using drops for dryness is like using moisturiser for the eyes – great for making them feel better,” says Bhavin.
We all know getting a good night’s sleep is key and no amount of lotions and potions will fix a sleepless night. To help us nod off, we should all be looking to switch off up to an hour before we actually go to bed.
“Get enough sleep – tiredness, especially from late-night mobile-phone use, can make the eyes red, tired and puffy. You should put your phone away about 30-60 minutes before sleeping, to allow your mind to relax. The blue light from modern smartphones is very stimulating and can disrupt sleeping patterns,” adds Bhavin.
“If these tips don’t help, see an optometrist who specialises in red eyes and can perform an examination to investigate any underlying causes, especially in the case of chronic dryness and redness.”
Eyecare routines recommended by experts
Dr Hennah Bashir, advanced aesthetic physician at www.drhennaesthetics.com
We all are occasionally guilty of slipping into bed without removing our makeup properly, but cleansing is an important step that we really shouldn’t skip – especially around the eye area.
What’s more, it’s not just what we use – it’s also how we apply it. “Skin should always be patted, not rubbed, when being cleansed or treated with skincare, as the skin around the eyes is literally the thinnest skin in the whole body and can be easily irritated or damaged,” says Dr Hennah.
Use a serum designed for the undereye
Serums penetrate much deeper than creams, so it’s worth investing in this step of your regime if you want faster results.
“Apply an undereye serum or treatment cream, such as The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% & ECGC, £5.80, or a vitamin E- or C-based serum to leave on skin overnight. A good undereye serum should be able to brighten the undereye area and address undereye puffiness,” adds Dr Hennah.
“Key ingredients to look out for in a good product are caffeine, ginseng extract, vitamin C, vitamin E, coconut oil, ceramides, hyaluronic acid and glycerin.”
Gently massage to help boost circulation
“Daily massage around the eye after applying a serum will promote blood flow to the undereye area and help fluid retention in the undereyes overnight,” says Dr Hennah.
“I advise my patients to invest in a jade facial roller, as massaging your face with this every night can increase blood circulation and aid lymphatic drainage, thereby making skin better and reducing puffiness around the eyes. Place the roller in the refrigerator or on ice before use. Massaging with cold jade can help skin look younger by stimulating more rapid turnover of dead skin cells, but it’s not a quick fix; you need to do this every night to see benefits.”
Apply a night cream
“Skin around the eyes is prone to wrinkling if not kept well hydrated and night time is a good opportunity to nourish and hydrate skin with a night cream of your choice,’ says Dr Hennah.
“A heavier moisturiser without SPF can be applied as a final skincare step at night. This can be an oil-based cream if you suffer from dry skin (Neal’s Yard does beautiful night-repair creams packed with essential oils) or a lighter hyaluronic-acid-containing cream if you are prone to breakouts or oily skin overall. Look for growth factors and ceramides and AHAs as key ingredients for night cream.
“Some extras to consider are to use a retinol eye cream twice a week to speed up the skin cycle for younger-looking skin overall. Or ask for a prescription-strength brightener, such as hydroquinone or cysteamine, for really unsightly dark undereye circles if nothing else works.”
Do a thorough cleanse
A deep cleanse in the evening is vital, not just to remove makeup but dirt and pollution, too.
“Begin by removing all of your make-up and cleansing. Generously apply an oil-based eye-makeup remover to two cotton pads and gently hold and press on closed eyes. Let it sit for a few moments as the remover begins to melt away and break down some of the stubborn eyeliner and mascara. Then gently swipe, using the cotton pads from the inner corner outwards, and repeat until all of your face and eye-makeup is removed. No rough rubbing!” says Nicole.
Use a toner to restore skin
“Apply a natural toner to cotton wool and gently begin wiping your face. Using a toner helps to remove any excess makeup, dirt and cleanser, while restoring the skin’s natural pH,” adds Nicole. Once skin is fully cleaned, softly pat serum into your skin using your fingertips. Remember to be extra gentle around the eye area.
“It is important to use a serum particularly at night prior to your eye cream, as eye
serums are lighter in weight and their molecule size of ingredients allows for deeper and quicker absorption into the skin’s deeper layers, which can work overnight to prevent the signs of ageing,” adds Nicole.
Apply your eye cream and gently massage
Once your serum is fully absorbed, it’s time to layer on some eye cream. It’s often heavier than serum, so should always go on top.
“Again, go gentle around the eyes, pressing in and giving yourself a light mini massage using the tips of your fingers in a circular motion,” says Nicole.
“Carve out some time in your night-time routine to press firmly on some of the acupressure points around the eyes. Start from the inner corner near the nose to move under and outwards and then above the brows. Finish by using the tips of your thumb and index fingers to squeeze and lift below and above the brows, starting outwards and moving inwards.” Follow this step with your moisturiser.
Finish with a face oil
“Finishing your night-time skincare routine with a face oil is going to provide that extra layer of moisture to sink and work in,” says Nicole.
“Remember, when the skin is adequately hydrated, this will help lessen the appearance of skin ageing. Using a face oil that contains bakuchiol can also help lift the appearance of wrinkles. Bakuchiol is considered the natural alternative to retinol without the harsh side effects that retinol can display with dry and sensitive skin.”