Your eyes are, without question, one of the most important features of your face. They’re a powerful tool for communication and are among the first things a person sees when they meet you for the first time. They’re also, as you may know, exceedingly delicate. The skin around your eyes is the thinnest on your entire body, which makes it uniquely vulnerable to damage. Because the area can be so fragile, age-related skin concerns, like fine lines and puffiness, tend to appear here relatively early. As such, we recommend everyone use eye cream morning and night—not only to help keep the area looking its best right now but also to help prevent future damage.
Of course, even the best eye cream won’t do you much good if you’re not using it correctly. Luckily, we’re here to help. In this Kiehl’s guide, you’ll learn how to apply eye cream properly. We’ll also introduce you to some of our favorite eye-area treatments and help you determine which formulas suit your needs best. So settle in and keep reading to learn how to use eye cream.
How To Apply Eye Cream:
4 Basic Steps
If you ask us, how you apply your eye cream is almost as important as what formula you choose to use. Here, learn the four can’t-skip steps you’ll want to follow every time you reach for your chosen eye treatment.
Start With a Clean Canvas
You don’t want to apply eye cream over dirty or makeup-covered skin, so cleansing your face should be the first step in your eye cream application routine. If you wear makeup, start by taking it all off. You can use a standard makeup remover for this, but we recommend reaching for a two-in-one cleanser, like Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Face Wash. Made with calendula and glycerin, this foaming face wash not only removes makeup but also deeply cleanses skin without over-drying or stripping. The creamy gel formula also helps calm and soothe skin and leaves it feeling instantly refreshed and revitalized.
Start by dampening your face and hands with warm water, then pump the cleanser into your hands and work it into a lather. Massage it onto your face using gentle circular motions before rinsing off and patting your skin dry. If desired, follow with your toner and serum, then continue to the next step.
Choose a Formula That Fits Your Needs
Avocado Eye Cream
Once your skin is clean and you’ve applied your facial treatments, like essences and serums, turn your focus onto your eye area. We recommend reaching for a formula designed for your specific needs. If hydration is your main focus, try Avocado Eye Cream. This Kiehl’s classic, which contains creamy shea butter and avocado oil, immediately smooths and hydrates to improve the appearance of under-eye skin texture. The rich formula also helps brighten and depuff tired-looking eyes.
To address age-related concerns like crow’s feet, use an anti-aging eye cream, like Powerful Wrinkle Reducing Eye Cream, instead. Formulated with copper PCA and calcium PCA, the powerful treatment helps boost elasticity and visibly refines skin texture. With continued use, it helps reduce the appearance of puffiness and improves the look of under-eye wrinkles, giving the eye area a smoother appearance.
In the evening, we recommend using a nighttime eye cream, such as Midnight Recovery Eye. This unique formula with squalane and evening primrose oil helps smooth and restore the eye area while you sleep. It’s suitable for all skin types and can be used nightly for fresher, younger-looking eyes by morning.
Of course, the above are just three of the many eye creams we offer at Kiehl’s—head here to see our full lineup.
Tap Your Product On
Once you’ve found your formula, it’s time to apply it. Because the skin around your eyes is so thin, you want to be extremely gentle: Vigorously rubbing your eye cream on may stretch the delicate skin, leaving you vulnerable to under-eye bags or wrinkles down the line. Therefore, we recommend gently tapping your eye cream on instead to avoid damaging the skin.
Here’s how: First, dot on your chosen eye cream under your eyes. You don’t need too much; a few small dots (or one larger, pea-sized dollop) is plenty. Then, use your ring finger to slowly tap the formula around the hollow of your eye, working from your inner corner out toward your temples, then back up along your brow bone. Pat any excess formula onto your eyelid—just be sure to avoid getting any cream in your eyes. If you have bags under your eyes, looking upward while you pat your eye cream on may help you get better coverage.
Apply Your Facial Moisturizer
After applying your chosen eye cream, you can go ahead and finish off your routine by smoothing on your go-to facial moisturizer. We have many different face creams to choose from, but for lightweight, non-greasy hydration, we recommend Ultra Facial Cream with Squalane.
The iconic formula—our #1 best-selling moisturizer worldwide—provides both immediate and long-term hydration, helping to give your skin a smoother, healthier appearance. It’s suitable for all skin types and can be used morning and night for soft, beautifully hydrated skin. Apply it to your face, neck, and chest, taking care to allow the cream to absorb before applying your sunscreen (a must for daytime) or any makeup.
How To Get The Most Out Of Your Eye Cream
Now that you’ve got the basics of eye cream application down, you’re ready to learn a few of our trade secrets. Ahead, find four of our top tips for making the most out of your favorite eye cream.
Layer Formulas For Added Benefits
Powerful-Strength Dark Circle-Reducing Vitamin C Eye Serum
If you want to turn up the dial on your usual skincare routine, try layering eye treatments for an added dose of skin-softening hydration.
Start by applying a lightweight eye cream or serum, like Powerful-Strength Dark Circle-Reducing Vitamin C Eye Serum, to clean, dry skin. The water-based formula, which contains vitamin C and hyaluronic acid, immediately smooths and hydrates the under-eye area to help improve the appearance of tired-looking eyes. It’s clinically-demonstrated to help diminish dark circles and puffiness and is lightweight enough to layer under richer eye creams—even during the daytime.*
After patting on your eye serum, layer on the cream of your choosing. Be sure to give both products plenty of time to absorb before applying makeup, like under-eye concealer or eyeliner.
*Clinical grading of the full panel tested in an eight-week study.
Cool Your Cream Before Application
Late nights, long flights, scrolling through TikTok for a little bit too long—these can all make your eyes feel (and look) fatigued. Wake them up by popping your eye cream in the skincare fridge for several minutes before applying it.
While this trick works with any eye cream, it's especially invigorating when paired with an energizing eye cream like Eye Fuel. The men’s formula with caffeine and niacinamide provides a cooling dose of weightless hydration and helps visibly reduce puffiness and dark circles. It’s suitable for all skin types and can be used morning and night (chilled or room-temp, but we prefer the former) to help refresh your eye area.
Try a Skincare Tool
Using a skincare tool like a jade roller may enhance your eye cream application and help improve the appearance of under-eye bags when you’re feeling puffy. If you don’t have a jade roller or similar tool on hand, though, don’t stress: A cooling eye stick, like Facial Fuel Eye De-Puffer, can do the job. The unique, balm-like eye cream glides on easily and helps depuff the under-eye area, reviving the appearance of tired-looking eyes. It’s highly portable and can be used daily or as needed to help wake up the appearance of strained eyes.
Try a Hydrating Eye Mask
When your face feels especially dry or undernourished, you reach for a face mask. Why not do the same for your eye area? Help revive your eyes by treating them to a 10-minute DIY mask with our Avocado Eye Cream. Just apply a generous, visible amount of the creamy green formula to your under-eye area and let it sit for approximately 10 minutes. Then, use a soft tissue to gently wipe away any excess product, tap in the residue, and instantly enjoy a brighter, more refreshed-looking eye area.