Give them the TLC they need, or your eyes will reveal the truth about your age and lifestyle
They say that eyes are the windows to the soul. But any cosmetic surgeon will tell you that they are also a permanent advertising hoarding for the type of life you’ve led – and the first place doctors will look if they want a clue to your real age. ‘The easiest way to tell a woman’s age is by looking at her eyes – or, to put it more precisely, the skin that surrounds them,’ says Dr Patrick Bowler, chairman of the British Association of Cosmetic Doctors. ‘It’s such a delicate area, and sees so much movement – squinting, smiling and blinking – that it’s one of the first areas to show signs of ageing.’
But what can we do to erase the signs of too many late nights, not enough sleep and too much sun? Before you resort to the knife, here are some rules to follow which should make a difference to the look of the skin around your eyes.
Massage the eye area
Gently massaging the area around your eyes with the tip of one of your fingers is great for draining any excess fluid, boosting blood circulation and plumping out fine lines, says Vaishaly, favoured facialist of Elle Macpherson and Sophie Dahl. ‘Use a few drops of facial oil to prevent the skin pulling, and massage the skin using a circular motion. Be gentle but firm. Start above the eyebrows and move round the eyes, finally sweeping back along the eyebrows. Do this for about a minute, morning and night, to keep skin supple.’
Use a good concealer
Concealers are the heavy-duty weapon of your make-up bag, and in order to do their job properly – covering dark circles, hiding uneven pigmentation and masking spots – they need to be pigment-heavy and have a waxier, thicker texture than your foundation. However, these qualities mean that this product can be slightly drying and difficult to blend. To counteract this, always make sure your skin is well moisturised before applying – the skin close to your eyes has a fraction of the oil-producing sebaceous glands of your nose and forehead, so you need to over-compensate. Next, create the ideal base by applying some primer, which both smooths skin and improves the concealer’s holding power. Finally, choose a yellow-toned concealer a shade paler than your natural skin tone and dab on gently with the pads of your fingers.
Wear big shades
Good news: this season’s oversized sunglasses get a huge thumbs-up from the eye experts. ‘The sheer size of these lenses means their UV-protective frames cover a far larger area than conventional frames, so there’s less chance of the sun’s rays reaching your eyes,’ says consultant optometrist Sarah Morgan. ‘This is great news if you are concerned about crow’s feet and age spots, and vital for the long-term health of your eyes.’ The price of your glasses and their lens colour have no bearing on how well they will protect you against the sun. Simply look for sunglasses that block 100 per cent of both UVA and UVB rays.
Whether you’re taking off eye make-up, applying an eye cream or curling your lashes, remember that the skin around your eyes is very thin (between 0.04 and 0.06 millimetres thick) – much thinner than elsewhere on your face – so it demands a lot of TLC. ‘Use a slow, soft motion and avoid rubbing your eyes,’ says facialist Anastasia Achilleos, who looks after some of London’s A-listers, including Kate Moss. ‘Always opt for oil-based eye-make-up removers over creams as they’re more efficient at dissolving make-up quickly. And make sure you gently press rather than rub products into the skin, as this is great for helping combat puffiness and dark circles.’
Get the right cream
There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all eye cream. It is a case of choosing one that treats your specific area of concern. So if you tend to get dark circles, opt for one containing caffeine (it helps to tighten dilated capillaries so the skin layers that lie across them don’t look so dark); if you’re concerned about pigmentation, use an SPF eye cream for day; and if you want to tackle lines you should use a cream that not only has an SPF, but which contains anti-ageing ingredients such as retinol and peptides. Once you’ve found the right cream, the most important thing is to use it regularly.
Now show them off!
Capitalise on a newly rejuvenated eye area by making the eyes themselves grab some attention. The shortcut to defined eyes has always been a few coats of mascara – and now a new kind of brush has kickstarted a lash-enhancing revolution by allowing you to apply multiple coats without clumping. Max Factor spent five years developing the groundbreaking flexible rubber brush for its Masterpiece mascara, and now the technology is being adopted by a whole host of imitators. ‘These new wands are incredible because they distribute the mascara so evenly,’ says celebrity make-up artist Ashley Ward. ‘It means you can get so many different looks, from fluffy lashes to a sexy, swept-out Sixties look. The trick is to get the brush right into the root of your lashes and apply using a zig-zag motion. Keep layering until you get the look you want – it’s foolproof.’