Sunday, February 7, 2016

Eye Area Care: Eye Cream and Beyond

by Claire McCormack

Common knowledge: The number one, most basic tool for an ageless and flawless eye area is a quality eye cream. Which eye cream(s) you select is a very personal choice, based on everything from specific concerns to product consistency. Once you've found one (or a few) eye cream(s) that you really love, learning proper application is just as important. Think you're a pro? EYE'll be the judge of that. For supposed pros and novices alike, here are some eye cream application best practices and eye area care tools and tips.

First Things First

Mini-spatulas are a must.
Does your eye cream come in a jar? Many do, so do yourself a favor and DO NOT stick your finger directly into the jar to apply. Instead, use a spatula. Many eye cream jars come with spatulas, but if yours does not, you can buy a whole bag of them at Ricky's. Believe me, it's money well-spent. Eyes are a "mucus membrane", a.k.a. a portal for germs and other nasties to enter and leave the body.

If you stick your dirty fingers into your eye cream jar every day, it will soon become a veritable petri dish. Using a clean tool like a mini-spatula to scoop out your eye cream will help protect you from a stye, a cold ... or worse.

Put a Ring (Finger) On It

No matter what the instructions on your eye cream's packaging say, always use your ring finger to apply all eye care products. Your ring finger has the gentlest touch, which is all you want to use on the delicate and thin skin of the eye area. Press or tap cream on with light pressure (Don't rub or tug!). Dot the eye cream under your eye, moving from the inner to the outer corner. Then use a light patting motion to gently press the product into the skin to absorb.

Love Your Lids

There's an ongoing debate about whether eye cream should be applied to lids. Personally, I have always applied my eye cream to my lids. If you think about it, the 'eye area' goes from the brow down, then out as far as your crow's feet go (smile fully in the mirror and you'll see just how "out" those crow's feet do go), as well as the actual area under the eye. Signs of aging can be seen in all of these places. As we age, our eyelids can become loose, wrinkled and crepey. By regularly applying eye cream to your eyelids, you keep them firm, hydrated and youthful-looking. Keeping your lids in tip-top shape also makes eye shadow go on easiest and look its best for the long haul.

Shamara Bondaroff.
Don't just take my word for it. I asked skin whispering facialist, Shamara Bondaroff of SB Skin, where she stood on the lids vs. no lids eye cream debate, and she agreed that lids need love, too.

"Absolutely. They probably need it the most, since it's such delicate, thin skin. I only put eye cream on lids at night, though; in the day, eye cream may cause your makeup run."

So follow your under eye application with a gentle glide along the orbital (or brow) bone, again from the inner to the outer corner. I always give the pressure point in the inner, upper corner of my eye a nice, firm press for a few moments with whatever eye cream is left on my fingertips. It's a great tension reliever.

Proceed With Caution

While you do want to apply your eye cream generously, be sure to also apply it carefully.

To avoid irritation, don't apply your eye cream too close to your eye. Don't worry, the cream will spread itself within an hour or so as it warms. Also take care not to get eye cream on your eyelashes, as that will also lead to the product entering and irritating your eye.

Especially be careful of any products with SPF in them. If even the tiniest dot gets in your eye, it will sting like the dickens for several minutes.

Other Things to Consider

When shopping for eye creams, research ingredients, analyze your own eyes/eye area and consider your main concerns (puffiness, dark circles, firmness, lines, all of the above ...)

Some superstar ingredients to look for are ultra-hydrating hyaluronic acid (Lavido Alert Eye Cream), peptides (Emma Hardie Age Support Eye Cream) to restore collagen and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and vitamin E (B. Kamins Laboratories Eye Cream).

I love face oil, but I make sure to apply it — or any other thick skin care product — carefully so as to avoid my eye area. Many products claim they are totally safe to put around the eye, but if you've ever suffered from milia, I don't have to tell you that that is not always the case. Milia — those little white bumps that usually form around the eye — are a buildup of oil underneath the skin.

This excess oil usually comes from using products that are too rich for your skin. Because a layer of skin has grown over this buildup, milia cannot usually be removed superficially and/or at home — at least without major pain and possible scarring. So though you may think that the heavier the eye cream, the better it is for anti-aging, don't fall into that trap! When it comes to milia prevention, using a light — or even gel-based — product is best.

Beyond the Cream: Other Products My Eyes Love

Institut Esthederm Eye Contour Lift Patches: These under eye masks work wonders. However, sorry to say that you DO have to cluster them — at first at least — to see real results. You can't use them once a month and expect a transformation. But if you do commit to using these patches once a week for a few weeks, you will be amazed at how bright, smooth and revived your under eye area (an really, your whole face) will look.

Binchotan Eye Mask: I've gushed about this eye mask many, many times, and I will keep gushing — it is THAT good. This soft and luxurious mask is a pampering treat for your eyes. It contains a layer of Binchotan charcoal, which emits infrared rays that help to gently stimulate blood flow, healing and soothing the eye area and relieving fatigue by easing pressure on the optic nerve. It is a priceless tool for relaxation, meditation, stress relief, sinus pain, airplane travel and, of course, a restful sleep!
Similasan\Irritated Eye Relief Drops: Now that many of us look at screens most of the day, our poor peepers get pooped. These homeopathic eye drops stimulate your body's natural ability to temporarily relieve redness, dryness, burning and irritation, without any potentially irritating ingredients. Many other eye drops have vasoconstrictors that may exacerbate bloodshot eyes if used more than directed. I just love this stuff! I have a bottle in my bathroom, my bag and my car.