3 Steps: How to Create a Skincare Routine for Undereye Bags and Fine Lines

Did you know that eye creams are overpriced moisturizers? If you have purchased more than two eye creams, but nothing seems to work, you're not alone.

To begin with, there are different types of undereye bags and fine lines, and there is no one eye cream that works for everything. To figure out which products you need, you have to find out what type you have.

Using 3 tests, we're going to help you figure why your fine lines, dark circles, or eye puffs are happening, and we'll also help you decide how to treat them. With the pinch test, the bed test, and the spread test, you can figure these things out.

Let’s start with "the pinch test."


Use the pinch test to find the cause for dark circles.

The pinch test shows you whether or not you truly have discoloration around your eyes. Some people simply have naturally darker pigmentation around their eyes. But, if your concern is darkness in the undereye area, this test is going to help you figure out why it might be happening and what you need to use.

How to do the pinch test

Make sure your nails aren’t too sharp, take your fingers, and very lightly pinch the little under-eye area. When you do this, the blood leaves the skin, but then it begins to flow back upon releasing it.

When you let go, does the darker color automatically disappear and slowly come back? If so, that means the discoloration is probably due to poor circulation. On the other hand, if you pinch your skin, and it still stays colored upon being pinched and let go afterward, the “discoloration” is probably just your skin’s natural pigmentation. 

Natural pigment is a much different situation than a lack of circulation around the eye area. Likewise, you’ll need different products. For pigments, you’ll want to look for ingredients that help to calm down overactive melanocytes. Melanocytes are little cells that cause pigmentation. To calm them, you can use an eye cream or facial moisturizer that has vitamin C, licorice, tranexamic acid, or alpha arbutin. You can find an eye cream that has one of or several of these ingredients. All of those ingredients are tyrosinase inhibitors, meaning they hinder melanocytes from being able to produce pigment. 

Furthermore, retinoids can also be helpful too. If you’re concern is pigmentation, Cassandra would recommend vitamin C in the morning, and using a retinoid in the evening. This is a winning skincare routine for stubborn darkness and purpleness.

On the other hand, if you’re dealing with a lack of circulation, you’ll want to look for ingredients such as caffeine or retinoids. Caffeine can help with circulation and discoloration-causing fluid around the eye area. 


Use "the bed test" to find the cause of puffiness.

Now, let’s talk about the bed test. The bed test allow us to see why we have puffiness under our eyes? Is it just part of your natural anatomy, do you have fluid underneath your eyes, or is it simply shadows and lighting? 

Puffiness can be caused by our natural anatomy. We have adipose tissue or fat pads underneath. Some people have more prominent pads due to genetics or age. But, the term “eye bags” actually refers to fluid retention underneath the eyes. 

How to do the bed test

Take out a mirror or use the camera feature of your phone while you’re standing up. Then, lay down on a bed and hold the phone or mirror right above you face. When you do this, gravity will pull your face backwards. If your undereye bags are simply due to anatomy and little fat pockets, the puffiness should go away upon lying down on your back. However, if there’s still noticeable puffiness, that’s how you know there’s fluid retention. 

Fluid retention can happen naturally, or it could be because of allergies or crying. It’s very difficult to make an impact on the appearance of natural puffiness due to anatomy or age with OTC products and treatments, but there are a myriad of OTC products you can use for fluid retention


What are the best ingredients for fluid retention?

In reality, the focus is not ingredients. It’s actually more important to focus on mechanical pressure. This is why so many people use DIYs like cold tea bags or cucumbers on their eyes. These treatments provide a physical or mechanical pressure that pushes on the eye area.

When you apply pressure, you’re pushing the fluid bags out of the face. Cassandra’s favorite way to do this is with undereye patches, not under eye creams. Undereye patches push that fluid out of the way and help your body to reabsorb it. Undereye patches disperse it from the space it’s concentrated in. 

You can also use undereye patches with certain ingredients like caffeine and green tea that. Antioxidants are also very beneficial. 


Use "the spread test" to find the cause of fine lines.

When it comes to fine lines and wrinkles in the under-eye area, it’s totally normal to have them. Almost everyone has crow's feet upon making certain facial expressions. But, some times these fine lines stick around .

There are many things that cause fine lines. Dehydration can cause them, but collagen and elastin degrading over time can also cause them. And sometimes people have fine lines because of both. Dehydration intensifies the look of fine lines and wrinkles, and that’s where moisturizers come in. Hydrating moisturizers do not get rid of deep wrinkles, but they can definitely improve them.


How do you know if your fine lines can be improved by hydration?

You can use spread test. For this test, you put moisturizer all around your eye area, gently rub it all in. Place two fingers on the outer or “crow’s feat” area of the eyes. Your fingers should be facing inward. Then, use your fingers to spread the outer corners or “crows feet” area of your eyes.

Once you let go, does it look like those wrinkles or fine lines have temporarily disappeared, or do they fall back into place? If the wrinkles fall back into place or do not lessen once you are no longer spreading the skin, that’s probably damaged collagen and elastin that needs more than hydration. 

Damaged collagen is more difficult to treat, and you’ll probably need something a little more intense. 

What should you do if you have damaged collagen?


Retinoids are the gold standard of wrinkle care. There are so many eye-safe retinoids. Anytime you use a retinoid around your eye, you’ll want to make sure you're using an eye-safe retinoid.


When it comes to peptides, not all of them are the same. But, some of them can be good for fine lines and wrinkles. They may not treat very deep fine lines, but they can help.


If you want to prevent fine lines, get a sunscreen that doesn’t burn your eyes. Sunscreens prevent fine lines and wrinkles from happening as much in the first place. 


If those fine lines are really set in, you might want to consider getting a filler. However, fillers are not right for everyone. Also, you need to get them done professionally. But, if you’re sick of spending money on products, you can get professional stuff done.

So, these are the three tests that can help you better understand how to form a skincare routine for your eye area. Whether it’s an eye cream or a moisturizer (which are pretty much the same), remember to hydrate this area with a fragrance free product. You can also use a product with some of the ingredients we discussed.


Cover photo cred: Unsplash