There’s a dizzying array of options when it comes to eye cream. Finding the best eye cream means having to decipher complex lists of ingredients and big promises from brands on results.
But is it all necessary? Or, could the answer to brighter, firmer undereye skin be right beneath our noses, or in the bathroom cabinet, specifically?
Creating your own DIY eye cream is simpler than it sounds, mixing natural ingredients such as shea and coconut butter with essential oils and pure vitamin E. But can a homemade version measure up to its high-street rivals? We asked three women to make and put a DIY eye cream to the test for a month and report back on the results.
DIY eye cream – the results
After a month of switching up their usual cosmetic eye cream for a DIY alternative, the results are in. This is what our testers had to say.
Katherine Tilling, 46
Favourite eye cream: Decléor Peony Anti-Ageing Eye Cream Absolute, £66
Eye cream is the one skincare step I never skip; I work early mornings as a teacher and I feel like applying eye cream instantly perks up my complexion. I usually pay quite a lot for my eye cream, but was happy to try something new – and have to say I was pleasantly surprised.
The texture was light and felt very moisturising, plus the scent reminded me of Elemis Superfood Facial Oil. The product disappeared into my skin easily and I did notice a difference in terms of puffiness after a few weeks of use. I wouldn’t say I saw a noticeable change in comparison with my usual eye cream, but that suits me if I can get the same effect at a fraction of the price. Whether or not the long-term anti-ageing impact would be compromised by the replacement, I’m not sure. But after using the product for a month, I didn’t see any real change due to the switch, which was encouraging.
The verdict: I’m impressed with the results and would continue to use this over my usual eye cream, at least in the short term.
Bronia Burlinska, 32
Favourite eye cream: Liz Earle Instant Brightening Eye Cream, £22.50
I’ve been thinking more and more about sustainability and how my choices are impacting the environment. I don’t eat meat, I recycle and am a fan of buying vintage – but I’m willing to admit my dedication falls short when it comes to my beauty routine. I’d be lying if I said all my products are purchased with sustainability at the forefront of my mind. So, for me, using a DIY eye cream is one way to reduce my carbon footprint when it comes to beauty.
I kept the cream in the fridge, as the consistency doesn’t hold up too well with the central heating on, or on hot days if the weather is warmer. Plus, popping the cream on chilled is a really refreshing step during my skincare routine and great for reducing puffiness. I enjoyed the natural fragrance of this eye cream, as it reminded me of a spa or a botanical brand like Aesop. The scent of essential oils never fails to make me feel relaxed and I imagine this cream could also work well as a balm for pressure points when feeling a little stressed. A month on and I’d say it doesn't have quite the same brightening properties as my usual Liz Earle eye cream, but it’s great for reducing puffiness and my skin continues to feel hydrated and smooth.
The verdict: I’m keen to experiment with more DIY beauty, especially when thinking about the positive impact on the environment. I’m not quite ready to fully give up my favourite skincare brands just yet, but would like to try and incorporate some more homemade creams into my routine.
Lynne Hughes, 60
Favourite eye cream: Guinot Age Logic Eye Cream, £90.75
The eye cream was very easy to source and put together. Virtually all the ingredients were available in Holland & Barrett and I already had aloe vera gel and shea butter cream from The Body Shop at home. I halved the ingredients and it filled two pots, which I would imagine would last for several months.
I've tried lots of different eye creams, as I have sensitive skin and am allergic to quite a lot of products. This cream was light and fresh, went on smoothly and gave me no adverse reactions – perhaps because it was all natural ingredients. I did think the cream was quite greasy at first, but I experimented and realised I only needed a small amount, patted lightly around the eyes. The formula works best if you use it sparingly, so it should last for ages.
After a month’s use, I definitely found it kept the skin around my eyes very hydrated and soft. The cream stopped my eyes feeling dry and wrinkly after removing my eye makeup, which is always a winner. I think the product works best in the evening, when you don’t mind using a little more and feeling a little greasier, so it has time to fully sink in overnight.
The verdict: I’d switch to a DIY eye cream for short periods of time, as the effects are good and homemade creams have lots of benefits, but I do like to try different products – and, at my age, I want something a little more firming.
Feeling tempted to experiment with a DIY eye cream yourself now? Us, too...
How to make DIY eye cream
The easiest way to lay this out if you would like to recreate the experience for yourself at home is like a recipe. There are just natural five ingredients in this cream, which was adapted from a recipe by Dr Axe, a doctor of natural medicine and clinical nutritionist. Dr Axe has written extensively on ancient principles of nutrition and how natural, active ingredients can boost our skin health, as well as his overall health, making him an expert of natural remedies.
What are the benefits of using natural ingredients?
“Because we cannot see inside the body, the skin often provides the first obvious marks of ageing,” Dr Axe writes alongside his DIY eye cream recipe. “Diet is a huge component in how our skin looks and feels; however, there are ways to positively affect the skin and create a beautiful glow and fewer wrinkles, including less visible crow’s feet, using natural remedies.
“Because natural oils are pure and do not contain toxic ingredients, they can be absorbed safely and effectively, helping your skin and the areas around your eyes retain moisture, therefore reducing the appearance of wrinkles. This works by allowing the nutrients and proteins in essential oils, like frankincense oil, to encourage cell regeneration.”
DIY eye cream ingredients
- 10 drops frankincense essential oil
- 1oz pure aloe vera gel
- 1oz unrefined shea butter
- 1oz unrefined coconut oil
- ½ tsp vitamin E
DIY eye cream method
- Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl, using a spatula or spoon.
- If the coconut oil or shea butter are solid, you can gently heat them in a small pan, then add the rest of the ingredients so that the mixture blends easier.
- Once blended, transfer the DIY eye cream into a glass jar.
How to apply DIY eye cream
Like most steps of your skincare routine (bar SPF), eye cream should be applied morning and night. It’s been proven that when it comes to our skin, consistency is key. In fact, studies have shown that sticking to a strict skincare routine is more important than the ingredients of products, so I asked my testers to stick to their new eye care routine religiously.
Contrary to the popular consensus that it should be the last step of your routine, eye cream should be applied before serum and moisturiser. “Do not apply your eye product last,” says Caroline Hirons, straight-talking skin care expert and author of Skin Care. “No matter how carefully you apply your serums and moisturisers, you will always get some in the eye area, and then your eye product won’t be absorbed where you want it to be.”
The delicate eye area is very sensitive, therefore we need to handle it with extreme care. That’s where a gentle application technique comes in; under no circumstances should you ever pull, drag or rub. Instead, dot your eye cream – about a pea-sized amount – around the hollow section of your lower eye socket and pat the product in gently.
In short: 6 very valid reasons to try DIY eye cream
- You’ll save money. Eye creams can be expensive – and whether we’re paying through the nose for a clever marketing spiel or not isn’t always obvious. The ingredients in the above DIY eye cream recipe will set you back around £20 and will last you throughout multiple top-ups.
- You’ll know exactly what’s in it. It can feel as if you need a degree in cosmetic chemistry to decipher some eye-cream labels. Making your own gives you complete control over what’s going on your face.
- It will be toxin-free. On that note, thanks to the use of all-natural ingredients, you won’t have to worry about putting something on your skin that could be potentially damaging in the long run.
- It’s more sustainable. Invest in one glass jar and keep topping up, rather than needlessly consuming more and more plastic, which often features in the packaging of high-street skincare.
- You can choose whatever scent you wish. Our recipe featured cell-regenerating frankincense oil, but that’s not to say you can’t get clued up on the benefits of other aromatherapy oils and create a delicious scented eye cream that will be a joy to put on each morning.
- Often, so-called high-tech ingredients used in high-street eye creams won’t actually help with anti-ageing. Dermatologist Fayne L Frey argues that ingredients like caffeine, peptides or collagen “are added to an eye cream formulation to enhance sales. There is no scientific evidence that these ingredients have any real benefit or that they can reverse the ageing process.”
Lauren is deputy editor at woman&home.com in the UK and became a journalist mainly because she enjoys being nosy. With a background in features journalism, Lauren has worked on the woman&home brand for four years. Before woman&home Lauren worked across a variety of women's lifestyle titles, including GoodTo, Woman's Own, and Woman magazine. After starting out working for a local paper in Yorkshire, her journalism career took her to Bristol where she hunted out stories for national papers and magazines at Medavia news agency, before landing a job in London working as a lifestyle assistant.
Lauren loves helping people share their stories, bringing experiences to life online, honing her interview techniques with everyone from authors to celebrities, headteachers to local heroes. As well as having a good nose for a story, Lauren has a passion for the English language and years of experience optimizing digital content to reach the widest audience possible. During her time at w&h, Lauren has worked on big brand campaigns like the Amazing Women Awards and assisted in developing w&h expert-approved Buyer's Guides—the place to go if you're looking to splash out on an important purchase and want some trusted advice. In addition to her journalism career, Lauren also has a background in copywriting for prestigious brands such as Inhabit Hotel, eco-development K'in in Tulum, social enterprise The Goldfinger Factory and leading London architect Holland Harvey, using language in all its glorious forms, from detailed guidebooks to snappy social content.
A big fan of adventure, Lauren is also a keen travel writer and loves sharing tips on where to find the best places to eat, drink, and be merry off the beaten track. Lauren has written a series of travel guides for London hotels and loves sharing her insights into a destination's cultural and culinary offerings. If you need a recommendation on any UK destination, she's more than happy to help. At the weekend, you'll usually find her hanging out with her pet cat (or anyone else's pet she can get her hands on), escaping to the countryside, or devouring a good book.
Follow her adventures @laurenkatehughes
LinkedIn: Lauren Kate Hughes
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