UNPOPULAR OPINION OF THE WEEK

THE BROKEN EYE CREAM DREAM

Don’t despair, eye creams do serve a purpose, but they can’t work miracles.

Phoebe McDowell | 12.11.2019

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We often abandon all common sense. We queue to board planes despite having allocated seats. We slosh white wine over red wine on champagne coloured sofas. But best of all, we apply creams in pursuit of restoring eyes to their prepubescent state.

At the time of writing, no formula can do anything of the sort. Not one with the slime from a snail, nor the clipped wings of a mid-flight bee. And it doesn’t matter how much mileage you do with your jade roller, that you keep it in the fridge, or stick white commas under your eyes; without a medical procedure, bags, sagging and circles are permanent fixtures. Deep down we know that, right? But alas, brands whisper nice words in our ear about brightening, firming and de-puffing, and against our better judgement, we think, ‘maybe this one, maybe this time’.

It’s no wonder we clutch at proverbial straws. An Olay study confirms all suspicions that eyes can look up to 22 years older than our chronological age. Why? Skin around the eyes is devoid of elastin and collagen, and subject to a lot of micro-movements, like blinking and twitching. The lack of sebaceous glands at the outer corner of eyes means that crows splay their feet there. Moreover, poor circulation causes skin around the eyes to retains water, which sits on the surface like the only soufflé you ever wished would collapse. Essentially, skin around your eyes is thin and delicate, meaning everything is easy to see and hard to hide.

"An Olay study confirms all suspicions that eyes can look up to 22 years older than our chronological age."

Accepting that the results of creams are ephemeral, not eternal, is the first step. After that, satisfaction is yours for the taking, because there is improvement to be had. For example, any kind of moisture is good for dry skin. And caffeine is considered a vasoconstrictor and a diuretic, which means it not only narrows blood vessels, but also reduces the appearance of bags and dark circles, (operative word: appearance!). Then there are peptides, which reinforce naturally occurring, vital proteins in skin like collagen, elastic and keratin. But these ingredients can be found in droves in regular moisturisers, and while creams with the texture of meringue mixture would have us believe that consistency matters, experts agree that non-eye specific formulas more than suffice. “Put simply, a wrinkle is a wrinkle. It doesn’t matter whether it’s on your neck or around your eye, the ingredients and formulas don’t differ,” says Dr Colette Haydon, founder of the no nonsense skincare brand Lixir. So that’s that. Realign your expectations and invest in a decent concealer.

Below, you baggage allowance equations.

HAND BAGGAGE

La Mer The Concealer, £65

The much-vaunted miracle broth - a mixture of kelp, magnesium and calcium - has been distilled into this bullet. Sink into your sockets and swipe, the colour and consistency melds beautifully with skin.

The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG, £5.80

What do you mean you don’t know how caffeine helps? See above, please. And true to the company’s transparent form, on the website there’s the following disclaimer: ‘Hollowness in the eye contour ... is not to be mistaken for dark circles, [which] cannot be addressed with topical skin care, including this formula’.

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CHECKED BAGGAGE

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronised Recovery Complex II, £58.00

ANR is reassuringly high tech, but all you need to know is that it does the job of an iron, smoothing out crumples, and making everything look tight and straight. Of the original ANR, 10 bottles are sold every minute worldwide - go figure.

Lovely and light, though not short of coverage, Charlotte Tilbury Magic Away Liquid Concealer, £24,

Hides galloping bags and hangovers in a single spongey swipe. And best of all, it doesn’t sit and clog in lines.

By Terry Hyaluronic Tinted Hydra-Powders, £42

Hyaluronic acid infused powder, this plumps deflated bags and prolongs the life of your concealer to protect against clammy commutes.

EXTRA AND OVERWEIGHT BAGGAGE

For bulging bags: Blepharoplasty

A tiny incision is made along the lower lash line, to excise the fatty tissue, i.e. the bag.

From £1,500 at Dr Maryam Zamani at Cadogan Clinic, 120 Sloane Street, SW1

For lax lids: Triple Eye Lift Plasmage treatment

Administered over two to three sessions, this involves Ultherapy (ultrasound) and Plasmage (a device that delivers heat created by ionised gas) to remove sagging skin.

From £2,995 with Dr Stefanie Williams at Eudelo, 63 Bondway, Vauxhall, London SW8 1SJ 

cover illustration by tyler spangler

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