Tried and tested: Eye creams, gels and serums worth a look

It’s all about the eyes as Rachel Marie Walsh puts creams, gels and serums to the test


Olay Firm & Lift Eye Renewal Gel, €9.36,


Olay is the world’s most profitable mass skincare brand, according to 2016’s Forbes ranking, so probably sells quite a bit of eye gel. This is the cheapest of their eye moisturisers currently available in Ireland and, as the label promises roughly the same effects as the others it might seem the best buy, but it it isn’t. Denatured alcohol can make a formula thin and sweet-smelling but is drying and sensitising, so can be bad news for skin.

Soap & Glory Puffy Eye Attack Turbo-Boost Hydragel, €16.99,


Puffy Eye Attack’s ingredients list includes potent antioxidants and comforting plant extracts. Soap&Glory suggests a lot of effects that this gel won’t deliver (immediately and without daily UV protection, at least) but this is true of most brands in this product category, so why not be competitive? If they’d put this in a tube or airtight pump-bottle I’d give it top marks.

BEST BUY: Bioderma Sensibio Eye Gel, €17,


This is a nice fragrance-free gel from the same line as that pink-topped makeup remover that gets Bioderma so much blogger-love. It contains caffeine, which has a mild constricting effect that give the ‘anti-poches’ claim some grounding. Dark circles are sometimes the result of UV damage and in such cases the variety of antioxidants in this and any formula can improve shadows when used in conjunction with daily UV protection. This gel is hydrating without being tacky or greasy, so works well under eye makeup.

Benefit Puff Off! Eye Gel, €30.50,


Puff Off! is pitched as gel but actually has a lotion-like texture, as well as several ingredients — alcohol, perfume and various fragrant extracts — more likely to irritate and inflame skin than reduce puff. Further undermining the name, the formula seems more directed at colour-correction. It contains a decent amount hesperidin methyl chalcone, a citrus fruit extract that can lower the filtration rate of capillaries, thereby reducing the bluish look of veins. There are also makeup ingredients, including a pink tint and luminous particles and bismuth oxychloride, a talc alternative.


No7 Protect and Perfect Intense Advanced Eye Cream,€23.50,


No7 has five skincare lines, four anti-ageing and one “everyday,” as well as the kind of international presence that would allow delivery of gentle, antioxidant-rich formulas at affordable prices.

This isn’t really how it goes. The brand does not provide full product ingredients list on its own website, so consumers can’t compare their creams on content the way they could in-store, but there are substantial amounts of perfume and/or alcohol in almost all their eye moisturisers.

Nonetheless, No7 is often a very convenient brand to get your hands on, and if choosing between eye products I recommend No7 Youthful Eye Serum, €19.50, a silky, irritant-free mix of antioxidants and water-binders.

BEST BUY: L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Laser Renew Anti-Ageing Eye Cream, €27.99,


Top marks for L’Oréal’s gentle, fragrance-free eye cream. Rich in hyaluronic acid, almond oil and other potent antioxidants, it comforts and refreshes eyes in the short-term while protecting against/ working to repair environmental damage over time. The silicone base keeps it smooth under makeup.

Garnier Skin Naturals UltraLift Eye Contour Care, €13.99,


Garnier is L’Oréal Paris’ sister-company and this cream actually has some ingredients in common with the above. As you might expect of a cheaper formula, antioxidant concentrations are lower. The pro-retinol touted by the brand is actually quite insubstantial but this cream does contain some comforting plant oils and is fragrance and alcohol-free.

Estee Lauder Revitalizing Supreme+ Balm, €58


The best thing about this not-at-all-balmy cream is its very pretty jar! Though even that perk is undermined by its effect on the formula’s and light-sensitive ingredients. You may be prompted to buy it anyway by the temporary brightening effect the mica has at first instance.


Vichy LiftActiv Serum 10 Eyes & Lashes, €25.99,  


The first thing to note about this serum is that it does nothing for lashes. Vichy says it leaves them “fortified” which suggests either that they grow long enough to incur the same breakage as regular hair (imagine that!), so require a serum sealant, or that this serum encourages new growth, which only (prescription-ingredient) Bimatoprost and its analogs have been prove to do independently. Skincare benefit-wise, the formula has an anti-ageing peptide and some hyaluronic acid. It is comprised of 5% rhamnose, an antioxidant plant sugar. More prevalent than any of these great ingredients is mica, a pearlescent makeup ingredient that makes skin brighter until you cry or wash.

Lancôme Advanced Genifique Eye Serum Light-Pearl, €55,


This is high in bifida ferment lysate, a hydrating yeast that soothes inflammation and can offset UV damage. Other nice things about this product include the anti-inflammatories escin and Vitamin E and a natty titanium-ball applicator (this doesn’t actually do much for skin beyond feel cool and redistribute fluid around the eye socket for a while).

BEST BUY: La Roche Posay Toleriane Ultra Eye, €19.99,


La Roche Posay’s eye moisturiser is a soothing gift to puffy eyes. Light as whipped cream but emollient-rich, it keeps the area hydrated without interfering with makeup. A couple of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories aid skin’s natural repair if you also use daily UV protection.

Olay Eyes Firming Eye Serum, €32.99,


As Olay eye products go I think there are no better buys than this lightweight serum and Regenerist Eye Lifting Serum, €27.99. Both are irritant-free concentrates that include the above Olay gel’s better ingredients, as well as supportive skin-soothing extracts. Airtight packaging keeps their formulas stable and, used with daily UV protection, both support healthy skin cell renewal and collagen development, as well as the lightening of under-eye pigmentation.


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