From talking to friends – and all sorts of women, actually – I know that it’s the lines around the eyes that bother them the most. We should be thanking our lucky stars to be living right now, when skincare technology’s so advanced, because those magical light-reflecting ingredients in an eye cream can do a lot to ‘blur’ the appearance of those lines, creating a sort of ‘halo’ effect that refracts the light so it bounces off the skin in a super-flattering way. So use the same trick when you’re trying out an eye cream as with a day cream: let it sink in. Then see if there’s any residual gleam on the skin afterwards – in which case that cream’s going to be good news for magicking away the appearance of those lines and wrinkles.
As the day wears on, though, that subtle sheen can disappear, with the result that the eye zone can look dry, and lines become more visible. That’s ageing. So what I do is carry my eye cream around with me and use a dab or two during the day, even over make-up. I’m keeping the anti-ageing ingredients topped up, at optimum levels – but I’m also adding back that vital radiance, literally turning the clock back in the second or two it takes to pat my cream in.
The other bug-bear women have about their eyes is puffiness – and sometimes dark circles. (Occasionally both!) When I was working on my own skincare line, my brief was really simple: NO PUFFINESS! I didn’t want to wake up with any excess under-eye baggage. What I’ve found out is that sometimes, eyes are sensitive to creams because the creams are applied too close to the eye itself: you only need to dot an eye cream onto the brow-bone, and the ‘orbital’ bone around the eye, for it to do its job. While you’re sleeping, the natural eye movements make that cream travel to the lid, and the under-eye zone. If you apply a cream too close to the eye – or it’s too rich – then it can travel into the eye itself, triggering irritation and sensitivity, and swelling the tissues around the eyes.
But if you do wake up with puffy eyes, I’ve got the answer: thin cucumber slices straight from the fridge and placed on the eyelid. I’ve even been known, if I wake up with a puffy face, to put ice cubes in my basin, fill it with cold water and literally plunge my face into it! You have to be a bit careful with this if you’re prone to broken capillaries, but if you stick to once in a blue moon it’s an absolute miracle-worker – especially before a big event, or if you’re about to have your photo taken.
But you know what? When it comes to lines around the eyes, it’s really worth remembering that when someone talks to you, they look into your eyes – not at the skin around them. Eyes really are the windows to our souls, and nobody I know – no man, or woman, let alone a child – is in reality going to look at you and see those lines. They’ll see the sparkle in them. So when it comes to lines around the eyes, can I make a plea for little self-acceptance? (As well as a dab or two of eye cream, during the day…?)
What Jackie O. could teach the rest of us…
There are two reasons the eye zone tends to develop lines before the rest of the face. Fact: eyes are more expressive – that’s why they’re so sexy! – so the skin crinkles every time we laugh or smile. Second: the thinner skin is more vulnerable to sun damage, but it’s also angled so that the sun strikes it more directly than the rest of the face. So I have a wardrobe of sunglasses which I wear outside – partly to stop my pale eyes squinting in bright sunlight, but also to put a barrier between the skin around my eyes and the sun. When it comes to sunglasses, go for big lenses, dark tints – and wide arms, if possible, which will keep the sun from damaging the skin at the side of the eyes.