From microcurrent facial tools to ‘eye-brators’ and mini rollers, these are the tools to soothe tired eyes
If you’re anything like us, you’ve probably got a hefty collection of eye-specific skincare sitting on your dressing table, from retinol eye creams to eye creams for mature skin, but sometimes when those under-eye bags and dark circles just won’t budge it’s time to draft in a skincare tool.
Not just for depuffing and tackling wrinkles and crows’ feet, eye tools also come in handy when it comes to ‘Zoom eyes’, those red, itchy, heavy and tired we’re all too familiar with from long hours spent in virtual meetings, according to eye care expert Natasha Sales, co-founder of eye care brand Peep Club, which she founded with optometrist Nicola Alexander-Cross.
“We blink six to eight times less when we look at a screen,” she says, “so our tears, which are like little sips of water for our eyes, are not replenished as often. Our eyes are essentially parched while we’re on a video call.”
Massaging eye tools such as Peep Club’s wand are ideal for stimulating your peepers to produce better quality tears throughout the day and keep them hydrated, while others encourage lymphatic drainage through vibrations or rollers to depuff eyes.
From ice globes to ‘eye-brators’ here are the eye tools we rate for making us look wide awake.
For puffy eyes: Foreo Iris Eye Massager, £119
Ever-youthful Paris Hilton, 40, keeps this tool (in pink, naturally) in her bag to banish puffy eyes and actress Jemma Chan loves it because it “mimics the tapping used in tradition Asian skincare,” she says. It has been dubbed an ‘eye-brator’ by fans thanks to the sonic pulsations that the brand is known for across all of its beauty tools. The pulsations encourage lymphatic drainage to keep your eye area looking bright. GTG’s digital writer (and Paris Hilton devotee) Melanie Macleod tried this to see what all the fuss is about.
“It’s made from ultra-soft silicone and does have a sex-toy feel about it (it’s not called a eye-brator for nothing). You put your eye cream or serum on first and then place the tool flat on the under-eye area and sweep it back and forth to drive in the product. It has eight customisable vibration and tapping speeds, depending on if you want a relaxing eye session, or to feel stimulated. As well as gently pulsating (if you’ve used Foreo devices before you’ll be familiar with the gentle hum) the top hooped section also sort of wiggles back and forth for the tapping sensation to encourage drainage. You sweep it from the inner corner to the outer corner of your eye for 30 seconds on each eye (don’t peer through the loop like I originally did, despite looking perfectly eye-shaped doing this has no effect) and voila, you’re done. I definitely felt more awake after my session and less puffy too.”
For dry eyes: Peep Club Eye Wand Heated Massager, £60
This magic wand was created with an optometrist and was designed to alleviate dry eyes that are watering due to blocked glands by stimulating said glands to produce tears that hydrate the eyes. (Eyes actually water because they’re dry, to try and hydrate themselves). GTG contributor Marie-Louise Pumfrey got acquainted with this tool.
“I’ve been obsessively using Peep Club’s wand every night to soothe my dry eyes. It has a smooth metal tip that heats up to 42 degrees in less than a minute. You sweep the tip along your bottom and top lid eye for 60 seconds on each area. It had a red LED light at the top which helps promote collagen and elastin production, so while the heat and gentle vibrations work on soothing dry eyes and aiding lymphatic draining, the little light helps with plumping too. It comes with a soothing coconut eye balm that goes on like butter which you smooth all over the eye area before using the wand. The whole process takes about two minutes; first apply the balm, then starting with the inner corner of your slowly work your way to the outer corner of your eye with the metal tip. It takes about 15 seconds and should be done for 60 seconds in total on the lower lid and then 60 seconds on the upper lid. I’ve been gently using it on my eyelids for about a minute on each and it’s now a favourite part of my nighttime beauty routine.”
Best before makeup: Fenty Skin Flash Nap Instant Revival Eye Gel-Cream and Eye Massage Tool, £36
The most pocket-sized of the eye tools we tried, this little lilac roller should not be under-estimated. Rihanna created this to give the illusion of a well-rested face when you’re anything but. Melanie Macleod tried it on tired eyes.
“The gel-cream is made from a reviving and hydrating medley of horse chestnut, hyaluronic acid, Persian silk tree and green tea and the mini-massager gives it a cooling boost, driving it into the delicate skin with zero tugging. The metal roller helps the cream glide over the skin, sinking in to create the perfect makeup base for smooth concealer and foundation. You only need to roll it back and forth along your under eye area a couple of times, but it’s fairly addictive and I found myself rolling it over the area for a good 30 second to enjoy the cooling sensation.
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“After using this my makeup glided on like a dream and my undereye area was definitely brighter than before.”
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For making your eye cream work harder: Dr Levy Twin Tech Beautifeye Spa free with Dr Levy Intense Eye Rescue, £155
Dr. Levy Eye Booster Concentrate has won so many awards, most recently in our own Get The Gloss Beauty and Wellness Awards 2020, where it scooped gold in the Age Well category. This delicate, watery gel stem cell serum has independent studies showing 26 per cent reduced wrinkle depth in eight weeks. Our tester GTG’s Victoria Woodhall is a fan and tried this kit, in which the eye tool comes FREE with the serum.
“No denying the serum costs a bomb, so to have a galvanic microcurrent device, which this is, to help push the product deeper into your skin, definitely gives more bang for your buck,” she says. “It has a flat metal plate that gently vibrates. You press this onto the serum after you have applied it for a couple of seconds. It’s a pat rather than a drag as the serums doesn’t have any slips. As the current is galvanic, it’s important to create a circuit lop with your fingers holding the metal plates at the side, but it’s not complicated. There’s a targeted nobble for deep lines at the top which I didn’t bother with. It’s a welcome extra that you can use with any serum and it left my eyes feeling buzzy and awake.”
For inflamed skin: Lumity Skin Gym Pro Ice Roller, £35
For a refreshing hit for hungover skin or a cooling treat on boiling hot days (remember them?) this glass globe is a godsend. You keep it in the freezer which makes the water inside freeze and then roll it over your face including under the eyes. Melanie Macleod put it to the test.
“Using in freezing early March temperatures was a shock to the system in that it’s extremely cold, but it’s a simple tool for tightening skin and making it look instantly refreshed and one I’ll keep on hand as days warm up.
“Surprisingly it doesn’t feel too cold to hold, I think because the handle is fairly slim. As soon as you take it out of the freezer it begins to melt inside so it easily glides over the delicate skin under your eyes without tugging. I gave this a try after a particularly intense weeping session (lockdown has been tough on us all!) when I didn’t want anyone on Zoom to notice my puffy eyes. I was deeply impressed by how quickly it took down redness, leaving me looking bright-eyed with no sign that I’d been sniffling into a tissue ten minutes before.
“Cold therapy has long been a fixture in red carpet facials thanks to its ability to give instant visible results, lifting and tightening the skin, constricting pores as well as stimulating blood flow to give a visible glow.
“If you’re prone to redness and inflammation or just need a bit of brightening, this is for you. Cold works cleverly on puffiness too. “Cold therapy can reduce swelling and inflammation by stimulating our lymph system and reducing fluid,” confirms facialist Pamela Marshall. “Dark circles under the eye can also temporarily be reduced due to the constricting of blood vessels.”
For gua sha fans: Hayo’u Beauty Restorer Precision Face Massage Tool, £31
GTG’s editorial director has been glued to her Hayou Precision gua sha since it launched a couple of years ago.
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“I also have the beautiful rose quartz version of this, I love it that much,” she says. “The original is made of cooling jade which is instantly soothing on tired eyes. Sometimes I just rest the flat side over my closed eyelid for a second and breathe. As a regular gua sha user, I love the rejuvenating flush it delivers, bringing nourishing circulation to the surface of the skin. When we’re stressed, our body diverts blood away from the skin to the muscles so we can ‘flee’. The result for our poor complexions is that we can look which can make us look sallow, dry and wrinkled.
“I don’t use the standard larger gua sha tool around the eyes as it tends to drag on the delicate skin, but this is perfect. Little light flicks of the short edge are enough o bring up that flush that you want (don’t forget to use an oil or a richer eye cream first). It works best crows’ feet, expression lines and is also brilliant for around the lips, eleven lines between the brow and takes just a minute, if that, to do the whole face.”
For improved elasticity: Davisage Face X’cercise Visager, £220
Think of this slingshot-shaped tool as a resistance band for the face. By placing it on different areas, in this instance under the eyes and on the forehead, it provides resistance to make the facial muscles work harder and tone up. Melanie Macleod gave it a whirl.
“There are two components to this tool; the silicone pads on the arms at the top which provide resistance during facial exercise, giving your muscles something to work against to make them tighten the skin and provide a firmer look, and the roller at the bottom which you roll over your face to ease toxins out of our lymph nodes.
“There are several ways to use this on the eye area. For bigger, brighter, less hooded eyes, place the silicone pads just above the brows and look down towards the tip of your nose for three seconds. The resistance from the tool helps tone the eye muscles and tighten and lift the eyelids. I repeated this five times a morning.
“For eliminating eye bags and tightening the under-eye area, place the tool just above your cheekbones and look up without raising your eyebrows, concentrating on lifting your lower eyelids and hold for three seconds. The resistance works the muscles to tighten the area.
“I can’t say I saw an immediate difference in hooded eyelids or undereye bags during testing, but my eyes definitely felt more awake and I imagine with time and committed usage you’d see a toning of the face. What I enjoyed most was gliding the roller back and forth under my eyes. It rotates easily so there’s no pulling even if you’re doing it on dry skin with no product. I could almost feel the lymphatic drainage.”
For a mini microcurrent facial: Foreo Bear Mini Facial Toning Device, £179
Foreo’s cutest pulsating facial tool, Bear Mini is designed to access smaller areas of the face, making it perfect for toning the eye area, especially crows’ feet and for lifting the brow as well as relaxing the face after a day on-screen and draining away puffiness. Victoria Woodhall tried the cutest eye tool out.
“This uses barely perceptible microcurrent technology as well as gentle massaging pulsations, emitted from the metal spheres with three current strengths which I was grateful for around the delicate eye area, especially on the brow bone, where the skin is thin and sensitive. Conductivity gel is a must with any microcurrent device and Bear Mini comes with a tester sachet of Foreo’s hyaluronic acid-rich Serum Serum Serum, although you can use your own, just make sure it’s microcurrent safe and that you have cleansed using an oil-free cleanser. I used it to lift my hooded eyes. After a week of using it my eyes felt and looked brighter. Not only did it relax tired screen eyes, it helped soften crows’ feet too.
MORE GLOSS: Foreo Bear Mini microcurrent device: why small is mighty