How to Apply Eye Cream

The definitive guide on how to apply eye cream the right way.


A good eye cream can do wonders for tired, dehydrated skin, but are we using it in a way that ensures we’re getting the most bang for our buck?

If you’ve done your research, you’ve likely come across conflicting advice as to exactly when and how to apply eye cream. Some say directly after cleansing, others say before moisturizers, while the rest say it should be the final step before SPF. To clarify any confusion, we’ve developed a one-stop guide to understanding how to apply eye cream the correct way.

Whether you’re new to the skincare game, looking to expand your skincare routine with the addition of eye cream, or in need of tips on how to address dark circles or wrinkles, we’re certain you’ll take away something valuable from our guide. Let’s get started.

When to Include Eye Cream or Eye Contour Cream in Your Routine?

So, should we be applying eye cream early on in our skincare routine, or at the end? There are varied answers to this question, and none of them are necessarily wrong. What determines the effectiveness of these different application methods is the consistency of the eye cream itself.

When it comes to layering skincare products, the general rule of thumb is that we start with the products that have the lightest or thinnest consistency and end with products with the thickest consistency.

When using an eye cream with a light consistency, like a gel, for example, it’s best to apply it early on in your routines, right after cleansing and toning. At this stage, the skin is supple, moist, and devoid of any other products, allowing thinner eye creams to penetrate right in. Japanese eye creams are perfect if you’re looking for lightweight, fast absorbing eye creams.

Richer eye creams, on the other hand, are best applied before or after moisturizer, depending on which of the two is thicker. This is because thicker eye creams will still be able to effectively penetrate through all the other layers of products already applied on the skin.

If you aren’t already using eye cream and you’re wondering when to start, keep in mind that it’s always best to start early, ideally in your early 20s. Eye cream is best used preventatively, and not just when you’re already beginning to see signs of aging.

Morning or Night?

Though most people apply eye creams at night, we can certainly use them during the day too.

A simple way to determine which eye cream is best for night or day use is by looking at its consistency and ingredients.

Eye creams formulated for nighttime use are usually thicker and contain a richer concentration of anti-aging ingredients and moisturizing factors.

Anti-aging ingredients, like retinol and vitamins C and E, boost skin cell renewal and improve skin texture; while moisturizing factors like hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and peptides restore hydration, strengthen the skin barrier, and address fine lines.

Together they’re designed to saturate the skin and help enhance its reparation process during the night. These types of creams are also better suited for night use because they contain ingredients like retinol and vitamin C which are best kept away from sun exposure.

In contrast, daytime eye creams typically contain a lighter concentration of moisturizers with the added benefit of caffeine to awaken tired, puffy eyes; brightening ingredients such as arnica and niacinamide to help with dark circles; and SPF.

While nighttime eye creams can leave an oily sheen after application, the light formulation of daytime eye creams is non-greasy and easily absorbed, which is great if you’re going to be wearing makeup over it.

Applying eye cream during the day isn’t an absolute must, especially if you’re already using a serum or moisturizer that contains ingredients suitable for your eye area. So unless you have dry skin, or the winter months is making your skin feel more parched than usual, you can skip the day time eye cream altogether.

Common Application Mistakes

Woman with incorrect eye cream application (

Knowing when to apply eye cream is just half the picture. To reap the full benefits of the product, it’s important to understand the proper way of applying it as well.

Being too rough or excessive in the way we apply eye creams can impact our skin negatively. It can sometimes exacerbate puffy under eyes, wrinkles, and dark circles, and defeat the purpose of applying eye creams.

Here are some of the common mistakes people make when applying eye cream:

Using it in the wrong order

If we apply an eye cream with a thin consistency after a heavy moisturizer, it won’t be able to effectively penetrate through the other products and reach the skin to work its magic. Thus, applying skincare products in the proper order ensures we’re getting the most benefit out of each item.

Using it on dry skin

Eye cream, like any moisturizing skincare product, is best applied on moist or damp skin. Damp skin will readily absorb the eye cream and help lock in all that moisture. Some eye creams have lighter consistencies, so make sure that your face isn’t soaking wet when applying them. Excess moisture can easily wash the eye cream away, leaving nothing left for our skin to absorb.

Using too much

Some may think that being overly generous with eye cream will benefit the skin more, but in this case, a little goes a long way. A good way to determine how much eye cream to use is to observe how your eye area feels after a minute or two of gently working the product in.

If your skin still feels greasy and overly saturated with an oily sheen that’s taking longer than usual to work in, consider using less product next time. Remember it’s always easier to add on products than to remove the excess.

Too close to the lash line

When we apply eye cream directly on our upper eyelids and lower lash lines, we risk irritating our eyes and causing our eyes to look extra puffy in the morning. Eye creams tend to spread further when warmed up by our body heat, and as we blink our eyes, the product will continue to shift until it seeps into our eyes.

Rubbing it in

The skin around our eyes is extremely thin and delicate so it’s important to be gentle with this area. Unnecessary harsh rubbing can damage the tiny blood vessels under the skin, making it more prone to dark circles, wrinkles, and fine lines.

Not giving it time to sink in

Some of us breeze through our skincare applications without so much as a breather between steps. While eye gels and serums are more lightweight and can be absorbed more readily, eye creams tend to be richer. It’s good to let eye cream sit awhile – at least 10 to 15 minutes – to let the skin fully absorb the product. Not giving our skincare products time to soak in prevents them from penetrating deeper into the pores and giving our skin the maximum benefit.

How to Apply Eye Cream

Woman with proper eye cream application (

Now that we’ve determined what eye cream to use and which step it should occupy in our skincare routines, we can go into how to apply the product properly.

  • Use a dime-sized amount of eye cream. The eye area is quite small, so this amount ensures that the product is fully absorbed and nothing is wasted. You’ll know you’ve applied the perfect amount when your skin feels soft, supple, and not greasy.
  • Use the pads of your ring fingers. The ring finger is the weakest of all our fingers, so you’re less likely to exert too much pressure and damage the fragile skin around the eye when applying the eye cream.
  • Dot the eye cream along your orbital bone. Start from the outside corner of your eye, where crow’s feet usually form, and then move downwards alongside the eye towards the inner corner.
  • Tap the eye cream into your skin. Make sure to do this in a gentle, dabbing motion all the way around the eye socket to ensure that the area is fully moisturized.


How our eyes look can be very telling. They can give us away if we’re tired and are also often the first to show signs of aging. The good thing is that early and consistent use of eye creams is one way we can manage this. Hopefully, our guide has helped shed some light on how to use eye creams and how to make them work for your needs. If you’re looking for more natural alternatives, be sure to check out these natural eye cream recipes or these natural and organic eye creams.

Did you find our guide helpful? Or do you think we missed out on some key points? If you have tips about using eye creams, we’d love to hear about it, so feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!


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