We are conditioned by the beauty industry to believe that caffeine is good for our skin but is it really?
Caffeine is supposed to be this magical stimulating ingredient that has remarkable benefits for the skin. It is a soothing antioxidant that apparently gets rid of dark circles, puffiness even cellulite. I have dark circles (mostly hereditary and a bit lifestyle related too), I suffer from morning puffiness and I am dehydrated around the eyes so I need all the help I can get to get my face look tolerable every morning. The good beauty junkie that I am could not resist getting my hands on The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG thinking higher the percentage of the caffeine the better. I have used eye creams before that contained small amounts of caffeine but never that high a percentage. The question is: is it any good?
The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG is a light, soft gel-like serum that was designed to improve the look of dark circles and puffiness under the eyes. Along with the high percentage of caffeine, it contains highly purified Epigallocatechin Gallatyl Glucoside (EGCG) gained from green tea which acts as a powerful antioxidant and inflammatory agent.
There aren’t many studies available out there on the benefits of caffeine so all I can do is rely on well-respected experts’ opinion and trust my instincts when testing the formula. The reviews I’ve seen are mixed when it comes to the Caffeine Solution. Some say it’s amazing, some say they don’t see improvement by using it, it’s not proven how beneficial caffeine is and what percentage is the ideal to use. Paula Begoun (the founder of the highly respected brand Paula’s Choice) and Beautypedia goes as far as saying that such high percentage of caffeine can even be irritating to the skin. Goodness! What have I got myself into?
Trying to forget about potential irritation and focusing on the positive reviews I added the caffeine formula to my morning routine. After cleansing I put the tiniest amount around the eyes with a patting motion, wait for it to dry and then I go in with my eye cream. I have only been using it for two weeks but I have to say, it has been a pleasant experience so far and I haven’t had any visible irritation. The effects as you put it on the skin remind me of the Hyaluronic Acid serums I have used before. It feels cooling, slightly hydrating and firming straight away. It definitely takes down puffiness which means it takes less time to get my face into shape in the morning. That alone is a great result to me. After the initial positive experience, I am incredibly curious to see any long-term effects, especially on my dark circles. It might be a good idea to do before and after pictures as I am finishing the bottle. I can’t wait to report back to you on this one because along with my healthy scepticism there is my persistent desire for wanting to know.
I am fascinated how little information there is available on the effects of caffeine and the studies that are available are not conclusive about the benefits of it (especially regarding dark circles and cellulite). Treatments for the eye area seems the least researched in the cosmetics industry but I have the feeling we will see a change soon enough.
Before I finish this ‘first impressions’ post, let me remind you that ‘dark circles under the eyes’ is a complex subject, there can be different causes of it so if caffeine is some sort of a remedy in some cases, not all types of dark circles might be improved by the use of it. Same goes for puffiness. If it is due to water retention it is easier to treat. However, if it is due to fat deposits, that will require a different type of intervention.
The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG 30ml is alcohol-free, oil-free, silicone-free, nut-free, vegan and cruelty-free. It is available in UV-protective packaging (as EGCG is sensitive to light) for £5.80 on the Deciem website or at Victoria’s Health.