When Should I Break Up With My Eye Cream?

When Should I Break Up With My Eye Cream? featured image
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You’ve been in this relationship for a while, and they’re just not living up to your expectations. How much time does an eye cream deserve to start putting the work in? Is it a case of “it’s not you, it’s me,” or is it time to kick your eye cream to the curb? And who should you rebound with? We got the experts to answer your most frequently asked questions about eye cream and help set us up for skin-care success.

Featured Experts

  • Tina Alster, MD is a board-certified dermatologist based in Washington, D.C.
  • Doris Day, MD is a board-certified dermatologist based in New York
  • Daniel Schlessinger, MD is a board-certified dermatologist based in Omaha, NE

How Long Should I Give Eye Cream to Work?

When it comes to skin care, how long a product takes to work has a lot to do with what that product is trying to do. But no matter what, it’s important to start small.

“A patch test is the application of a product on the underside of the wrist (which is relatively thin-skinned) for a few days in a row,” Washington, D.C. dermatologist Tina Alster, MD explains. “This will provide an initial assessment of a product’s irritation potential.”

Think of the patch test as the speed date. You’re just trying to see if your skin and the product are compatible. Then, you need to know how long to give a trial period.

“It really depends on what you’re trying to treat,” says Omaha, NE dermatologist Dr. Daniel Schlessinger. “If your eye cream is designed to treat puffiness, you should see a result much faster than products meant to address wrinkles and other signs of aging.”

Puffiness is usually addressed one of two ways. Cooling products and hydrating products work to reduce inflammation, which tends to happen quickly. Anti-aging, on the other hand, has more to do with cell turnover, which takes more time.

“Skin turnover occurs every 30 days, so any new product should be used for one month before assessing early clinical response,” Dr. Alster explains.

Is My Eye Cream Working?

“You really need consistent use over a few weeks to see the kind of results these products advertise,” Dr. Schlessinger explains. Eye creams designed to address discoloration should result in a steady lightening of the area. It should also feel softer and look brighter over time.

“If it’s a brightening product and the pigment that you’re trying to brighten is more superficial, that can take as little as a week,” New York dermatologist Doris Day, MD says. “But if the pigment is deeper, it can take a few months because of skin cell turnover and the process of pigmentation that’s driving that discoloration. So you might start to see a change early, but to see a real change, or a longer-lasting change, or a complete change, that could take a few months.”

The same can be said for anti-aging eye creams. If you’re dealing with very fine lines, you’re likely to see some moderate improvement over a few weeks of use. While sometimes the issue is more time, it’s also important to note that eye cream can only go so far.

When Eye Cream Doesn’t Work

Not seeing results from your eye cream could have a few reasons. That is why it’s useful to speak to a board-certified dermatologist about your routine.

“That’s really when you would want to talk to a dermatologist,” Dr. Day says. “Because either you’re not using the right product or it’s the wrong concentration, or you might be applying it in the wrong order. It could be that you’re using the wrong formula. There’s a whole bunch of things behind it. That’s why we go through dermatology residency for three years where all we do is look at skin.”

“We have a lot of great products out there, but there is certainly a point where they will no longer meet your goals,” Dr. Schlessinger says. “You need to set expectations for how much, if any, change you’re going to see from use of an eye cream.”

Seeing a board-certified dermatologist can also help determine if your goals are still attainable with a product or if you need in-office treatment or surgical intervention.

“Especially in terms of the eye area, a certified professional like a board-certified dermatologist or an eyelid surgeon is really required to assess your complaints and what it will take to reach your goals,” Dr. Schlessinger says.

Eye Creams for Dark Circles

1 / 3

Shiseido White Lucent Anti-Dark Circles Eye Cream ($65)

With over 700 positive reviews, this formula utilizes a Shiseido-exclusive Dark Circle Diminisher, which addresses discoloration in three ways. Targeting the root cause of pigmentation, preventing future pigmentation and improving circulation in the sensitive under-eye, this eye cream leaves skin softer and visibly reduces blue and brown circles over time.

“I am a mature age woman and African American with dark circles,” says one 5-star review. “I have been using this product for 2 months now morning and before bed. I was amazed how my dark circles have diminished greatly which I can just use an under eye concealer without the foundation.”



2 / 3

SkinMedica Instant Bright Eye Cream ($92)

Using Lytera 2.0 Pigment Correcting Serum, this eye cream uses marine extracts and hyaluronic acid to to boost moisture and correct darkness. Instead of harsh retinols, this formula brightens with phenylethyl resorcinol, an antioxidant found naturally in pine trees.

Re-energize and rejuvenate your under eye with the perfect blend of caffeine and pigment-balancing antioxidants for an overall brightening boost.



3 / 3

PCA SKIN Vitamin B3 Eye Brightening Cream ($85)

Using Vitamin B3 to deliver brightening power to tired eyes, this formula from PCA SKIN is approved for all skin types to reduce the look of under-eye circles and darkness. Niacinamide provides moisture and helps reduce redness and yellowing in skin for a more even skin tone, while botanicals help tighten.



Eye Creams for Puffiness

4 / 6

Murad Targeted Eye Depuffer ($64)

Inspired by microcurrent technology, the Depuffer from Murad promises a fix for your puffy eyes in as little as five minutes. The peptide-powered formula is designed to be massaged in with the cooling tip, which helps contribute to the immediate depuffing effect. A light-reflecting complex also helps to immediately treat the look of tired eyes, while ginseng, lily and caffeine help to improve the look of under-eyes over time.



5 / 6

SkinCeuticals A.G.E Advanced Eye Cream ($116)

With nearly 1,000 positive reviews on Dermstore, this SkinCeuticals eye cream is the real deal. This dry-finish balm is formulated with Proxylane, a concentrated flavonoid blend, glycyrrhetinic acid, and Matrixyl 3000. Powerful peptides work to reduce puffiness in tandem with caffeine, to provide immediate relief and 24-hour hydration.

In a clinical study, SkinCeuticals found a 24 percent improvement in under-eye puffiness in just eight weeks.



6 / 6

iS CLINICAL Youth Eye Complex ($115)

This powerful eye cream delivers an 86 percent improvement in skin hydration, improving the look of puffiness and eyebags. Hyaluronic acid works together with retinol and palmitic acid to address dark circles while smoothing skin and evening tone.

“It provides such intense, lasting moisture to the eye area that it plumps the fine lines away,” says one 5-star review. “And while it is a bit pricey, a little truly does go a long way. I would say a bottle lasts me about 5-6 months, so it’s well worth it.”



Anti-Aging Eye Creams

7 / 9

StriVectin Advanced Retinol Multi-Correct Eye Cream ($79)

Designed to address fine lines and wrinkles, this eye cream uses Optimized Surface Release Retinol to ensure your skin is getting the most from the formula. Rambutan and hibiscus fruit extract work together to target firmness and hydration, improving the skin’s water intake and its elasticity.

The metal applicator helps depuff without tugging on skin and the formula is gentle enough to be used twice daily. After eight weeks, users saw a reduction in wrinkle complexity, branching wrinkles and fine lines.



8 / 9

Tatcha Ageless Revitalizing Eye Cream ($144)

Powered by plants, this formula uses peony and honeysuckle to improve skin elasticity and address the look of fine lines and wrinkles. This hydrating eye cream uses Okinawa red algae and hyaluronic acid to provide long-lasting moisture while a trio of anti-aging superfoods restore radiance to skin.

The emollient formula is designed for the delicate under-eye and isn’t heavy or greasy. And like all Tatcha products, are perfect for those with sensitive skin.



9 / 9

IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Bags ($42)

Dubbed the “instant eye lift,” this eye cream won our 2023 NewBeauty Award for Best Instant Under-Eye Smoother for its powerful and viral de-puffing and tightening. The culmination of over 10 years of skin-care research, this eye cream won’t leave a white cast and will play nice with your makeup.

“It smooths and conceals my lines and puffiness. I use it both with and without makeup, but after concealer if I have it on. Pro tip: you can use it to smooth smile lines as well.” —Tatiana Bido, aesthetic content manager



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