Skincare 101: How to apply eye cream for maximum effectiveness

We break down everything you need to know about eye cream.

Written by
Stephanie Anderson
Medically reviewed by
min read
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They say that the eyes are the window to the soul and for good reason. You can tell a lot from a person from their eyes, which is pesky because they're also the feature that's most likely to sell you out [1].

Big night out? Puffiness. Too much sun? Fine lines and eye wrinkles. You could always wear sunglasses everywhere you go and cultivate a new, mysterious persona. Or, you could hop on the eye cream bandwagon, and learn how to apply eye cream properly, so that you get the most bang for your buck.

You see, the area around your eyes is extremely delicate, so it can be one of the first places where you'll notice the signs of ageing. If you're wanting to avoid wrinkles, puffiness, sagging — and yes, those frustrating dark circles — the first step is to up your skincare routine, especially around the under-eye area.

Eye cream is a great way to treat everything from under-eye bags to premature ageing and more. Whatever your main concern is, there's an eye cream formula that's sure to become one of your go-to skin care products.

But how do choose the right eye cream for you? Do you apply your eye cream morning and night? Once a day? How long do you have to wait for it to fully absorb before moving on with your day? Ahead, we break down everything you need to know.

What does eye cream do?

Eye cream is a skincare product specifically formulated to care for the delicate skin around the eyes and to help prevent future damage.

The skin in this area is thinner, more sensitive, and prone to showing signs of ageing and fatigue earlier than other parts of the face. Eye creams can address these various concerns and provide targeted benefits for the skin around the eyes [5][7].

Some of the common benefits of using an eye cream regularly include:

Minimising puffiness

Puffy eyes can result from factors like fluid retention, allergies, and lack of sleep. Ingredients like caffeine and chamomile extract can help reduce puffiness by constricting blood vessels and promoting better circulation [1].

Reducing fine lines and wrinkles

The skin around the eyes is prone to developing fine lines and wrinkles due to repetitive facial expressions and the thin nature of the skin.

Many eye creams contain vitamin C, niacinamide, retinoids, and peptides, which can help stimulate collagen production and smooth out the appearance of lines and wrinkles [1][8].

Firming and tightening

As the skin loses elasticity over time, it can lead to sagging around the eyes. Ingredients like peptides and hyaluronic acid can help improve skin elasticity and firmness.[1][3]

Of course, while eye creams can provide benefits, they can't do all the work for you. It's equally important to make use of sun protection — including sunscreen, like Software's Daily Sun Defence SPF50+, and wearing a hat and sunglasses — as well as to ensure you're getting enough rest, and leading a healthy lifestyle.


The skin around the eyes tends to be drier and more prone to dehydration. Eye creams with hyaluronic acid and ceramides provide hydration and prevent the appearance of dryness, flakiness, and fine lines caused by a lack of moisture [1][3].

Reducing dark circles

Dark circles can be caused by factors such as genetics, lack of sleep, and thinning skin [1]. Topical eye creams can help brighten the under-eye area and reduce the appearance of dark circles.

If you're on the hunt for an effective eye cream, look no further than Software’s Multi-Peptide Eye Serum is packed with highly targeted ingredients that are formulated to treat undereye concerns from all angles. It helps diminish signs of dark circles and puffiness, reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and helps firm and smooth skin texture.

The hero ingredients in our Multi-Peptide Eye serum include:

  • Nonapeptide-1: Energises skin cells to brighten and smooth the skin
  • Sodium hyaluronate: Attracts, binds, and retains moisture in the skin barrier layers to keep skin hydrated and healthy
  • Acetyl Hexapeptide-8: Penetrates the skin’s deep layers to prevent the appearance of expression lines and wrinkles
  • Fucus Vesiculosis Extract: Prevents and reduces vascular inflammation to help reduce dark circles
  • Propanediol: Avocado extract that reduces puffiness under the eye and regulates pigmentation
  • Glycerin: Works immediately to tighten skin, making the surface seem firmer and tighter

When should I apply eye cream?

There's no right or wrong time to apply your eye cream — it really depends on personal preference and your own schedule.

Within your skincare routine, the general rule is that you should apply your eye cream after you cleanse and tone the skin, but before you apply your moisturisers and serum [4].

As for the frequency, most people use eye cream once or twice a day, but different skin types have different needs. The active ingredients also play a role here — if your eye cream contains ingredients like retinol or exfoliants, you might start by using it every other day to avoid potential irritation and gradually increase the frequency.

With that being said, it's worth noting that like any skincare product, consistency is key, so it's best to find a time that works for you and stick to it. You can choose to apply it in the morning, at night, or both, depending on your preferences and the specific benefits you're looking to achieve.

The most common times are:


Many people choose to apply eye cream as part of their morning routine, before applying makeup. This can help provide hydration and protection throughout the day and can help create a smooth canvas for makeup application.


Nighttime is a great opportunity to provide your skin with extra hydration and nourishment. Some eye creams contain ingredients like retinol or peptides that work well overnight to target fine lines and wrinkles.

How to apply eye cream

When it comes to using an eye cream, a delicate touch is imperative. Correct application will ensure that you're targeting the delicate eye area without causing any unnecessary irritation.

Here is a quick step-by-step guide:

  1. Start with clean skin: Gently cleanse your face using warm water and a mild cleanser to remove any dirt, makeup, or impurities from the skin around your eyes.
  2. Pat dry: Pat your face dry with a clean, soft towel. Avoid rubbing the towel against your skin, as this can cause friction and irritation.
  3. Use your ring finger: Dispense a pea-sized amount of eye cream. Your ring finger tends to exert less pressure than the others, and a pea-sized amount is usually enough for both eyes.
  4. Apply gently: First, dot the eye cream gently around the orbital bone — that's the bony ridge around your eye socket. Move in a semi-circle from the inner corner of the eye outward, with several small dots of the product.
  5. Tap the product in: With a gentle touch, tap the eye cream into the skin [6], being careful to avoid pulling or tugging on the skin as you go.
  6. Let it sink in: Allow the product to fully absorb before applying other skincare products and sunscreen.

Is it better to put eye cream on wet or dry skin?

For best results, it's generally recommended that you apply eye cream to clean, slightly damp skin — think lightly misted, rather than completely dry skin or dripping wet.

If you were getting out of the shower, for instance, you could lightly dry the excess moisture by dabbing your face with a towel but retaining some of the moisture.

Damp skin can help your skin absorb the product more effectively. On the other hand, applying eye cream to wet skin can dilute the product and potentially reduce its effectiveness.

That's because wet skin can create a barrier that prevents the eye cream from penetrating the skin and providing its intended benefits. Wet skin can also prevent the eye cream from spreading with consistency, as the extra moisture can cause the product to spread unevenly, or even bead up.

What not to do when applying eye cream

We've covers the dos, but what about the don'ts? Here are some fast and easy-to-remember rules:

  • Don't be aggressive: It's important to gently tap the product in. Rubbing, tugging or using too much pressure can lead to redness, damage, and the development of fine lines.
  • Don't get too close: Keep a safe distance from your eyes and lash line. This can lead to discomfort, redness and irritation.
  • Don't use too much product: A little goes a long way! Using too much eye cream can overwhelm the delicate skin and prevent it from fully absorbing the product.
  • Don't rush: Rushing through your skincare routine can lead to uneven application and accidental tugging on the skin.
  • Don't mix too many ingredients: Be cautious when using multiple skincare products containing active ingredients, such as doubling up on retinol products, as this can be irritating to the eye area.
  • Don't skip sunscreen: If you apply eye cream in the morning, don't forget to follow it up with a broad-spectrum sunscreen. The skin around the eyes is susceptible to sun damage, which can accelerate the ageing process. Using an eye cream will only get you so far if you're not also using a sunscreen product every day [1][7].

Do you apply eye cream on your eyelids?

No, you generally should not apply eye cream directly onto the sensitive skin of your eyelids. This skin is the thinnest skin on your body, which makes it extremely vulnerable to damage and sensitivity [1].

Your eyelids require products that are specifically formulated for eyelid care [2]. As it's such a delicate area, it's best to consider consulting a dermatologist or skincare professional for guidance.

When applying eye cream, it's best to focus on the skin around your eyes, also known as the orbital bone. This area includes the under-eye area, the outer corner of the eye (where crow's feet tend to form), and extending slightly upward onto the brow bone.

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