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TikTok is bursting with skin knowledge. Among beauty lovers and influencers, the app is packed with dermatologists and aestheticians, all of whom are using the platform to decode new skincare trends and, most recently, to dispel skincare myths. One of those myths is that eye cream is suitable for everyone.
We've long been told that eye cream can minimise fine lines and wrinkles, fade dark circles, reduce puffiness and improve sagging but it is always a point of discussion among skin experts, specifically whether it really is necessary or actually does what it claims. As a beauty editor, I'm lucky enough to try many eye creams but I have to admit, I'm not a fan. I have acne-prone skin and find them way too heavy. They only clog my pores, leading to milia (small, white bumps which occur when keratin is trapped under the skin), whiteheads and puffiness in the morning. Interestingly, I'm not alone.
Lately, a TikTok video by cosmetic registered nurse, Vanessa Lee, caught the attention of 2.1 million viewers. In the video, Vanessa claims that eye cream has the potential to block the glands around your eyes and can make the skin appear bumpy. Instead, she recommended her followers try eye jellies: much lighter, water-based eye creams or gels which hydrate the under-eye area and keep skin nice and smooth without blocking pores. Unknowingly, Vanessa started a skincare revolution, and the trend for eye jellies is growing fast.
What are eye jellies and what are the skincare benefits?
Eye jellies are gel-textured, water-based products which work in a similar way to eye creams: moisturising, hydrating and minimising the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles without feeling greasy, heavy or clogging skin.
Experts argue that most eye creams do not go deep enough to prevent things like dark circles and eye bags, although they may plump up fine lines temporarily due to their hydrating benefits. That's why eye jellies sound like a better option, as they do all of that without feeling thick or weighty on skin.
"It comes down to preference as well as skin type," says Nalan Aksahin, senior aesthetician at Rejuv Lab London. "Lighter eye products tend to have a gel or serum-like feel, and glide on smoothly. Heavier or thicker creams take a little more time to be worked in evenly. Gel-like consistencies often also have a cooling effect on the skin so they are great for tired eyes, hay fever sufferers and general puffiness." Anecdotal evidence suggests that applying a thick layer of eye cream before bed can make under-eye puffiness worse in the morning. If this is you, a lightweight eye jelly might make a better addition to your PM skincare routine.
How do you use eye jellies and do they work?
Skincare should be applied in a particular order, from the thinnest texture to the thickest. If you use a face serum, apply your eye jelly afterwards. If you just use moisturiser, apply your eye jelly before. As they are so light, they can be used in both the morning and the evening to moisturise under-eyes and eyelids.
They shouldn't be underestimated, either. "A good quality, light product will still hold all the key ingredients needed to protect and treat the sensitive skin around the eyes as compared to something thick or heavy," says Nalan. "In fact, a lot of lighter products are specifically developed with oily skin in mind. Formulators know that oily skin experiences other conditions, such as ageing or dehydration, and so produce eye products with these concerns in mind."
I was intrigued by Vanessa's viral video so I had to give the eye jelly trend a whirl. I usually just use moisturiser and SPF, taking both products up to my eye area, but I'm in my late 20s and want to step up preventative skincare. That means taking better care of my under-eye skin.
I opted for Freck's So Jelly Cactus Eye Jelly, $42.25, both morning and evening and was pleasantly surprised by the results. The texture is bouncy at first and when massaged into the skin, it transforms into a featherlight milk which absorbs fast. The star ingredient is cactus flower extract, packed with moisture. Unlike heavy eye creams, I haven't experienced any little white bumps, clogged pores or puffiness come morning. "Using a lighter cream around the eye area will help control oil levels throughout the day," adds Nalan, "and will help stop mascara from smudging or eyeshadow from creasing, too."
What are the best jelly eye creams?
While there are thousands of eye creams on the market, eye jellies are a little more under the radar, but they do exist. Try The Body Shop's Oils of Life Eye Cream Gel, $45, which is a bouncy gel-cream with brightening particles and nourishing rosehip oil to banish dry skin. The brand's Drops of Youth Bouncy Eye Mask, $39, is even more springy in texture and makes the ultimate overnight eye cream. It's cooling and refreshing.
Beauty editors everywhere rate Fresh Beauty's Rose Hydrating Eye Gel Cream, $59. Although it's light, it's packed with hydrating hyaluronic acid and antioxidants to protect delicate skin against environmental damage, which can exacerbate the signs of ageing around eyes. I also rate Weleda's Hydrating Eye Gel, $27.95, as it contains hydrating cactus, cucumber and moisturising glycerin. The roller ball is really soothing, too.
Overall, if you're looking to incorporate eye care into your skin routine, I'd recommend eye jellies over eye creams any day. Not only are they better for those whose skin gets clogged easily but thanks to the weightless texture, ingredients are better absorbed into the skin for maximum results. It's a win-win.