Eye Cream: the magic ingredient!

Quick note: my mom has had such a positive experience changing up her skincare routine & switching to safer products that she’s here (again) to recommend one of her favorites – the Rejuvenating Eye Cream.
For speed readers: check out my 10-second summary below

  • Eye creams (& serums!) containing caffeine are the best choice
  • Caffeine has been scientifically studied as effective in skin damage repair, antioxidant function, and circulation promotion
  • Depending on your needs, try DIY, the Primal Life Organics Serum, the Coffee Bean Eye Cream or the Countertime Eye Cream (<<my mom loves this one!)

Ok, so the title says eye creams (did that grab your attention?) but what we’re actually talking about is both eye cream and eye serums.
Whether you use a cream or a serum doesn’t really matter – it’s the ingredient in them that’s important. In particular, caffeine! (It’s not just for coffee any more!)
Caffeine is an “active” (meaning an effective skincare compound) derived from natural ingredients, and is one of my favorites.
Eye treatments with caffeine can make the area around the eyes brighter and tighter while reducing existing damage.
Since caffeine is both water AND oil-soluble (and approaches nearly perfect topical absorption), it can be delivered to the skin via both water-based AND oil-based preparations.
It all depends on what you prefer. Water-based products tend to absorb more quickly and can be layered under other products and makeup; oil-based products tend to feel more emollient and are often used alone.
(Depending on my mood, I’ve used both the Countertime Eye Cream, which is a light cream, and the Coffee Bean Serum from Primal Life Organics, which is oil-based.)

What’s so magical about caffeine?

Caffeine is really phenomenal – and not just because iced coffee gets me through the day.
Caffeine used in skincare has been studied to

  • Repair the skin: it promotes the repair of DNA damage to skin cells (it is even known to help prevent skin cancer)
  • Reverse photo-aging from UV-induced skin damage
  • Have strong skin-level antioxidant properties (this is why it’s such a great anti-aging ingredient)
  • Increase circulation (this makes skin more vibrant and can reduce puffiness – caffeine also does this by mobilizing sodium)
  • Reduce redness (anti-inflammatory) when combined with other actives included in my recommended products

Caffeine is a well-studied skincare active that really, truly works.
And you have lots of options to choose from – check out my list below!

Where to get your caffeine fix (for your skin, that is)

(Remember that, with more natural options, it’s difficult to standardize the caffeine levels; but you should still get great results!)

  • For the frugal & crafty: Do It Yourself!

You can make your own caffeine eye serum with just five ingredients. Check out Real Food RN’s DIY recipe.

  • Cream-based, for the naturalist: Coffee Bean Eye Cream

This cream contains several natural actives that synergize with caffeine. It’s even been studied independently to reduce puffiness.

  • Oil-based, for the naturalist: Coffee Bean Serum

I adore this serum from Primal Life Organics. It smells wonderful, uses powerful yet simple ingredients, and it works. It’s very rich and emollient, and amazing as part of the Revival Package!

  • Cream-based, for quick results: Vibrant Eye Perfector

The Countertime Eye Cream comes from the Beautycounter line, which was developed as a science-based line of safer traditional products that are still high-performance.
From my mom: “this cream is excellent under makeup and absorbs well; it tightens and brightens the area under my eyes (I’m not even using concealer any more). It ranks a #1 on the Environmental Working Group scale. I highly recommend it!
My note: the reason this cream likely works quickly is because of the inclusion of several ingredients that enhance delivery of the actives, not just caffeine, while serving as emollients and hydrators; these ARE conventional ingredients (vs. the natural actives I like to promote) yet they are well-studied and I am confident they are safe. Their use takes advantage of some of the advanced science of cosmeceuticals that’s not necessarily available with a completely natural approach.
Be sure to check out some of the science at the end of this post.
No matter what you use, remember to PAT and gently PRESS the treatment on to the eye area – don’t smear or pull the skin. Just use your body heat to “melt” the product in, and use 1-ply toilet paper to dab off any excess.
Thanks for reading!
-Liz (and my mom!)
A few resources:
Protection from photodamage by topical application of caffeine after ultraviolet irradiation
Caffeine Protects Human Skin Fibroblasts From Acute Reactive Oxygen Species-Induced Necrosis
Less-known botanical cosmeceuticals
Caffeine’s mechanisms of action and its cosmetic use.
Reduction of Facial Redness With Resveratrol Added to Topical Product Containing Green Tea Polyphenols and Caffeine

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9 Responses

  1. Liz, thanks for the info! I consider myself very well versed on skin care, particularly natural skin care, but I was not aware of how beneficial caffeine could be. I’m definitely going to give one (or more) of these options a try!

  2. Hi Liz! I keep hearing you talk about Beauty Counter and wanted to see if you can suggest some items for me? I think you’re a Consultant for it so I’d like to give you the credit. Thanks!

    1. Hi Danielle! And thank you! The charcoal bar is INCREDIBLE and will be back in stock in a few days (that, plus the Tint Skin Foundation and the Sun Stick, made me fall in love with the brand). The mascara is really great and probably the safest high-performing one on the market. If you’re looking to really blow your budget and you’re not super gung-ho on the über natural skincare approach yet you still want something safer than most other options, the Countertime line is great! Oh, and I adore the crease brush and the retractable brush. I hope you enjoy whatever you get!

  3. Is it safe to assume that any of the ones that have “coffee” in the name will actually smell like coffee? If so, I’ll need to avoid them as the smell of coffee gives me a headache. I think I’ll give the one your mom recommends a try!

    1. Yup, Angela! The Coffee Bean serum definitely smells like coffee. You’ll want to go for one that has purified caffeine in it, like the Beautycounter eye cream (or any other cream you find with caffeine!)

  4. Hi Liz!
    This may sound like a silly question but…should I stay away from creams and serums that contain caffeine if I am sensitive to it when I ingest it? I stay away from it as Im trying to heal my adrenals. Is it different when applied topically? Have already tried some of the Beautycounter products and I love them, thank you as always for your great recommendations. 🙂

    1. Not a dumb question Alicia! Since I’m not entirely sure how caffeine is metabolized via the skin vs. ingested, I am just not sure :/ Certain things that you can apply topically will skip a “first pass” through the liver, for example, which is why topical progesterone can be powerful for example because it’s not immediately excreted. (I’m butchering that explanation but that’s the best I can do 🙂 so you might just have to try it. You could try a little vial of coffee bean essential oil which is super cheap from Skin Actives to find out? http://www.skinactives.com/Coffee-Essential-Oil.html Sorry I can’t be of more help! In a different phase of life I would have been able to dig up this info on topical caffeine metabolization for you but I’m seat of my pants with the SAHM life 🙂

      1. Hey Liz,
        Thank you for your reply. I just have a gut feeling that there’s gotta be something different than applying a small amount of cream around my eyes, than drinking several cups or even a cup of coffee. I took the chance and bought the BC eye cream and have just been applying every other day and in the morning as a precaution. So far so good. Im a mom of a 4 year old and 8 month old and lets just say the lack of sleep over the last few years has left me with some baggies under my eyes. I jumped at the chance when I heard about this safe but very effective eye cream. Thanks as always for the help and recommendations! 🙂

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