For speed readers: check out my 10-second summary below
- Eye creams (& serums!) containing caffeine are the best choice
- Caffeine has been scientifically studied as effective in skin damage repair, antioxidant function, and circulation promotion
- Depending on your needs, try DIY, the Primal Life Organics Serum, the Purist Eye Cream or the Beautycounter Eye Cream (<<my mom loves this one!))
Ok, so the title says eye creams (did that grab your attention?) but what we’re actually talking about is both eye cream and eye serums.
Whether you use a cream or a serum doesn’t really matter – it’s the ingredient in them that’s important. In particular, caffeine! (It’s not just for coffee any more!)
Caffeine is an “active” (meaning an effective skincare compound) derived from natural ingredients, and is one of my favorites.
Eye treatments with caffeine can make the area around the eyes brighter and tighter while reducing existing damage.
Since caffeine is both water AND oil-soluble (and approaches nearly perfect topical absorption), it can be delivered to the skin via both water-based AND oil-based preparations.
It all depends on what you prefer. Water-based products tend to absorb more quickly and can be layered under other products and makeup; oil-based products tend to feel more emollient and are often used alone.
What’s so magical about caffeine?
Caffeine is really phenomenal – and not just because iced coffee gets me through the day.
Caffeine used in skincare has been studied to
- Repair the skin: it promotes the repair of DNA damage to skin cells (it is even known to help prevent skin cancer)
- Reverse photo-aging from UV-induced skin damage
- Have strong skin-level antioxidant properties (this is why it’s such a great anti-aging ingredient)
- Increase circulation (this makes skin more vibrant and can reduce puffiness – caffeine also does this by mobilizing sodium)
- Reduce redness (anti-inflammatory) when combined with other actives included in my recommended products
Caffeine is a well-studied skincare active that really, truly works.
And you have lots of options to choose from – check out my list below!
Where to get your caffeine fix (for your skin, that is)
(Remember that, with more natural options, it’s difficult to standardize the caffeine levels; but you should still get great results!)
- For the frugal & crafty: Do It Yourself!
You can make your own caffeine eye serum with just five ingredients. Check out Real Food RN’s DIY recipe.
(While a DIY serum means you can’t standardize the caffeine levels, you should still get great results.)
- Cream-based, for the naturalist: Purist Caffeine Eye Cream
This cream contains sea buckthorn oil and several natural actives that synergize with caffeine. (The only downside is it’s a little hard to get out of the bottle. Fair warning!)
- Oil-based, for the naturalist: Coffee Bean Serum
- Cream-based, for quick results: Vibrant Eye Perfector
The Beautycounter Eye Cream comes from a company with a science-based line of safer traditional products that are still high-performance.
From Liz’s mom: “this cream is excellent under makeup and absorbs well; it tightens and brightens the area under my eyes (I’m not even using concealer any more). It ranks a #1 on the Environmental Working Group scale. I highly recommend it!”
Liz’s note: the reason this cream likely works quickly is because of the inclusion of several ingredients that enhance delivery of the actives, not just caffeine, while serving as emollients and hydrators; these ARE conventional ingredients (vs. the natural actives I like to promote) yet they are well-studied and I am confident they are safe. Their use takes advantage of some of the advanced science of cosmeceuticals that’s not necessarily available with a completely natural approach.
Be sure to check out some of the science at the end of this post.
No matter what you use, remember to PAT and gently PRESS the treatment on to the eye area – don’t smear or pull the skin. Just use your body heat to “melt” the product in, and use 1-ply toilet paper to dab off any excess.
Thanks for reading!
-Liz (and my mom!)
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