Caffeine Eye Cream

Glam-Up Days are coming! Beauty exclusives and more in NORDSTROM stores starting July 19.


In a sea of beauty claims and all the confusion surrounding active ingredients, The INKEY List is a brand that want you to know exactly what your skincare is doing. The brand promises simple, single ingredient led formulas to incorporate into your skincare routine based on what you need as a budget friendly price (everything in the line ranges from $6.99 to $14.99). As an aside: beauty products in the United States are not legally allowed to make claims that they affect your biology (i.e. lash restoration, increasing collagen production, etc) because they then need to be regulated by the FDA as drugs (think Latisse). The FDA defines cosmetics as products that “cleanse or beautify the appearance” without affecting a person’s cell functions.

Since most people don’t know all of the ingredients goes into their beauty products, The INKEY List has set out to demystify those contents lists. However, I couldn't help but notice that the active ingredient - the one that affects the skin - is listed on the front but the ingredient list doesn’t end there. Granted, it’s understandable that the designing chemists need to put preservatives and stabilizers into the formula for the actives to be continuously delivered in a consumer-friendly way. Basically, everything creamy that can live on your shelf for 6+ months has extra ingredients.

Naturally, I researched all of the ones in the product I tried to see what the hype was about. Let’s see how well The INKEY List does at being “your beauty translator”.



Photo by    Sam Manns   .

Photo by Sam Manns.


The Ingredients

The first ingredient listed is water, which is a good start. The rest of the list looks like hieroglyphs for those who are not chemistry literate. We see some usual suspects such as squalene and hyaluronic acid, darlings in the skincare industry for their ability to help hydrate the skin for a youthful and moisturized appearance. The rest of the list is a collection of emollients, emulsifiers, penetration enhancers, stabilizers, preservatives, and surfactants (agents that balance oil and water on the skin’s surface to the product doesn’t pill). All of the products are low to no hazard according to the FDA. The exception is glyceryl behenate, a penetration enhancer, which has been shown to be an irritant in some cases. The other ingredient that raised a red flag is phenoxyethanol, a preservative that has been found to be an irritant by European standards, which are stricter than the US.

If your eye area gets dry, red, or irritated in any way while using a product, discontinue use and talk to your derm.

Highlighted Ingredients

Caffeine: reduces the look of puffiness by increasing blood circulation - less blood pooling = less puffiness.

Beautifeye™: a botanical complex that includes Persian silk tree extract (albizia julibrissin) to increase the strength of elastin fibers in blood vessels leading to better blood flow and less darkness around the eye area.

Matrixyl 3000™ Peptide: a complex of two active peptides (palmitoyl oligopeptide and palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7) suspended in stabilizers and emulsifiers to help support collagen production for the decreased appearance of texture around the eyes (i.e. fine lines, wrinkles).

Ingredient Callouts

Free of: formaldehydes, formaldehyde-releasing agents, phthalates, mineral oil, retinyl palmitate, oxybenzone, coal tar, hydroquinone, triclosan, and triclocarban. Synthetic fragrance (there are trace amounts ~ less than 1%).

This formualtion does include both soybean extract and some animal-derived fats, however, so be aware of this if you have allergies or are a vegan.

They also claim to be free of paragons but we’re learning that not all parabens are bad/toxic.

Photo by    Eric Ward   .

Photo by Eric Ward.



As with any eye cream, it’s recommended that you use this product twice a day - once in the morning and again before bed. I would pop this on before you do your moisturizer since the texture is more like a gel than a cream. That way it can absorb fast and doesn’t have to fight against the bigger molecules of your face cream (though I wouldn’t recommend putting your face cream until or around your eyes).

I’ll cleanse, apply serums, and then plop this cream all around my orbital bone (the bone circling the eye socket). I pat this on with my middle and ring fingers gently and I do the same to my lip area. The skin on and around the lips is as gentle as around the eyes - and just as susceptible to fine lines. I give it just a moment to absorb then top off my skincare with my moisturizer and an SPF.


As with most new product launches - especially at a price point under $20 - I’m weary of the effectiveness of the formula.

With that being said, I was extremely surprised and delighted when this eye cream came through.

The gel-like texture was moisturizing and gentle on my eye area (I have highly reactive skin). It absorbed so quickly AND it didn’t pill at all. I repeat - it did not form those terrible balls of gooey that poorly absorbing products tend to when you follow with a moisturizer or concealer. It has an almost nonexistent scent that I don’t think would trigger any allergies or headaches.

Yes, but does it work?

That was the other surprise! I began to see results immediately. My eye area was brighter and more hydrated from the first use. I’ve been using this product twice a day with military-like discipline and I’m pleased to say that, after a month, it’s actually improved the general condition of the skin around my eyes. My dark circles area little less dark in the morning and my puffiness is only triggered if I’ve had too much wine or salt before bed (and even then it’s not as bad as before).

Not only am I getting away with using less concealer but this product is so no-nonsense that I actually enjoy using it day and night.

It’s cooling and refreshing with a quick absorption rate and easy to see results. I didn’t set out to like this product but I am genuinely blown away but their transparency and effectiveness (and price point). Now if only they would give you a layman’s terms guide to their chemical ingredients. #WeCanDream



Caffeine Eye Cream

The INKEY List



P.S. Have you seen Stranger Things 3 yet?

Cover photo by Drew Graham.

Glam-Up Days are coming! Beauty exclusives and more in NORDSTROM stores starting July 19.