The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG for dark circles

Dark under eyes can be one of the hardest (and most expensive) skin issues to treat. As Valentina Todoroska well knows. But thanks to this low-cost solution from The Ordinary, it doesn’t have to be. 

If you were working from home during self-isolation, I’d bet the contents of my bathroom cabinet that you were looking at your face far more than usual. Why wouldn’t you be? Swapping in person meetings for video calls meant we were gifted with a nice new view of ourselves while chatting to our work colleagues.

Aside from looking at our faces more, an increase in video conferencing had another side-effect for some called ‘Zoom face envy’. A phenomenon that had us comparing our faces to those of our co-workers because it became so easy to do with a side by side view.

This led to a spike in Botox use to help us freshen up our faces even during lockdown with many seeking treatment from their dentists while regular beauty clinics were closed, according to director of the Australasian Academy of Dento-Facial Aesthetics Dr Myles Holt. And there’s no signs of this slowing down with the beauty industry now back in action.

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But for me, the problem that became more obvious than ever were the dark circles under my eyes. While my under-eyes had always been a concern of mine, a change in routine coupled with a lack of sleep during the coronavirus pandemic meant they were even more pronounced.

I also hadn’t worn a scrap of makeup while working from home which meant my panda eyes were staring back at me far more than usual. So I went on a mission to fix them and quickly went into a spiral researching exactly what I could use to do it. Of course, the range in cost for eye creams and serums can vary a lot and I didn’t want to break the bank in the process either.

While ordering some acetone online to remove my very sad looking gel nail polish I added The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG to my basket. It was only $12.70 for 30ML of product which seemed like a steal. The reviews of the products varied, some raved about it while others were less than impressed. But at that price point, I deemed it was worth a shot.

The product contains an extremely high concentration of caffeine that is supplemented with highly-purified epigallocatechin gallatyl glucoside (EGCG) from green tea leaves. Independent studies have shown that the topical use of caffeine can help reduce the dark circles in the eye contour as well as help with puffiness.

But it’s important to know exactly what you’re treating before you give it a go. Hollowness in the eye contour can cause visible shadows under the eyes which shouldn’t be mistaken for dark circles. This can’t be addressed with topical skincare and wouldn’t be improved with the use of this product.

While I have hollowness too, I was looking to specifically fix my dark circles. I started applying it on my under eyes morning and night after cleansing my face but before applying any other creams to give it the best shot at penetrating the thin layers of skin around my eyes.

I did this by applying three tiny drops directly to my face using the built-in dropper, starting from near the inside corner and working my way out. I then used my middle finger to dab it into my skin.

The consistency of the solution is more like a serum than a cream. It’s a liquid and can run but also isn’t too thin so it feels nice when applying it. It also has a lovely cooling feeling just after you’ve put it on.

I used it consistently for two months of isolation and I’m really impressed with the results. It hasn’t helped with the shadows in my under-eyes caused by hollowness which I knew would be the case. But it definitely improved the dark circles under my eyes, and is a product I will now continue to use.

Before using this product my dark under-eye circles were usually still visible even through the best concealers. Now, I don’t have this problem at all and my under eyes look the brightest they’ve ever been. So for all the downfalls of self-isolation, this for me was well and truly a small win.

Valentina Todoroska is a freelance writer, editor and former primary school teacher. You can follow her on Instagram.