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The Reluctant Groomer: Under Eye Cream

If you really want to hone in on an ideal personal grooming routine, you have to be willing to step outside of your comfort zone and try something new occasionally. In the spirit of discovery and humility—and just a pinch of sadism—we send our fearless writers to the outer limits of the grooming-verse to gather intel about new, exciting, and extreme products and practices. In this installment of The Reluctant Groomer, BB Man correspondent Nick Fauchald tries eye cream for the first time.

“If all else fails, read the directions.”

This is among my father’s favorite maxims, and the one I fail to heed most often. Recently, after receiving some eye creams to try—Kiehl’s Eye Alert and Algenist Complete Eye Renewal Balm—I immediately discarded the cardboard packaging and the miniature instruction manuals within. The last thing I smeared under my eyes was eye black in my little league days. So naturally, I employed the same technique in this case. Each morning I smeared a generous amount of a different cream below each eye, so as to have an A/B comparison of the results. After a few days, I didn’t notice much difference, aside from greasy eyelids.

I decided to root through my trash to find the discarded directions.

It turns out that using too much eye cream can have an adverse affect: Apply too much and it can work its way into your eyes, which stings something awful and can actually increase puffiness over time. Instead, you’re supposed to gently dab a very small amount (about the size of a small grain of rice) under each eye using the tip of your ring finger.

Reading the directions taught me something else too: the best place to store eye creams isn’t next to the toothpaste—it’s next to the open can of tomato paste…in the fridge. A refrigerator keeps the creams cold, and turns them into makes for an awesome refresher the morning after a long night at the bar.

Armed with my new knowledge, I rebooted my testing.

I’d like to say that a short string of way-too-late nights of carousing and eating salty food were all in the pursuit of science, but really, they’re par for the course. This made me a perfect test subject. Both the Kiehl’s and the Algenist effectively hid my morning-after baggage and dark circles, but each went about its business in a unique way. I found Kiehl’s Eye Alert to be especially fast acting, immediately uplifting my thousand-yard zombie hangover stare into a look that was boardroom-ready. I’m guessing that was the caffeine in that product. The Algenist had similar perking and brightening effects, but they came on a bit more slowly. It was less like a spot fix and more like a long-term solution for combating fine lines and wrinkles. I’ll keep both in my ever-growing stable of products.

I doubt Dad ever intended his advice to be applied to hungover eyes, but I’m glad to have it.

Nick Fauchald

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