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Can You Apply an Eye Cream to Dry Eyelids?

From your scalp to your feet, moisturizing is one of the most important rules in the big book of beauty advice. Doing so keeps your skin nourished, balanced, and beautiful. Plus, it also doubles as an opportunity for much-deserved “me time.” That said, while moisturizing is usually a pretty straightforward endeavor, sometimes it isn’t so black and white.

For instance, many people are curious about whether they can use eye cream on the dry skin on their eyelids and, if so, the best way to apply it. With some juicy pro-tips from the IT Cosmetics team, we’re revealing the answers to both those questions and also diving into some common dry eyelids causes so you can nip the issue at its source.

Is It Safe To Use Eye Cream on Your Eyelids?

Yes, applying a thin layer of eye cream to your eyelids is safe as long as the product explicitly states it’s OK to do so. Remember that not every product gives the green light on this. What some eye cream usage instructions advise, instead, is to apply the product around the eye.

To pull back the curtain, products formulated for usage around your eyes must follow specific protocols and undergo rigorous testing to ensure their safety. (It’s your eyes we’re talking about, after all!) To that end, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) specifically states that you should only use eye cosmetics—including eye cream—for their intended use.1 Straying from these rules can potentially put your eyes at risk of irritation, injury, or infection.

Pro Tip: You shouldn’t apply makeup to your eyes that’s meant for other areas of your face. For example, keep lip liner to your lips (using it on your eyes is a recipe for bacteria transfer) and be wary of color additives that aren’t approved for the eye area. Also, make sure you only use cosmetic-grade glitter for your eyelids—never the craft store variety.

The Best Way to Apply Eye Cream to Your Eyes

When applying moisturizing eye cream to your eyelids, less is always more. This is true whether you’re dealing with very dry eyelids or you simply want to maintain current hydration. Applying too much can lead to eye cream getting into your eyes, which is very uncomfortable.

“Eye cream will warm to your body temperature and [possibly shift], so it could be a potential irritant if it were to get into the eye throughout the day,” explains Kirsten Petersen, Senior Regional Education Manager for IT Cosmetics.

Instead, focus your application on the area around your eyes—AKA the orbital bone. Use your ring finger to lightly dab and smooth the moisturizer on, then lightly pat the remaining product left on your finger onto the middle and upper eyelid. As an alternative, use the dual-ended Heavenly Skin 2-in-1 Tap & Smooth Eye Cream Brush #706. The small brush allows for sanitary, extra precise application and the stone end soothes and cools.

Whatever method you choose, a careful, gentle touch is always best when applying any type of product to this sensitive area. Just make sure the eye cream doesn’t get too close to your lash line and accidentally get into your eyes.

Our Favorite Moisturizing Eye Creams

If you’re in the market for problem-solving eye creams, these are our two favorites. And did you know our eye creams are ophthalmologist and dermatologist tested and safe for sensitive skin.

  • For Dry Eyelids: Confidence in an Eye Cream Anti-Aging Peptide Eye Cream features a formula with a 2% super peptide concentrate to tackle the most common signs of eye fatigue, including dryness, crow's feet, and lack of firmness. Plus, it delivers 48 hours of hydration and has an instant brightening effect.
  • For Dark Circles: Bye Bye Under Eye Brightening Eye Cream is an intensely hydrating eye cream that helps visibly brighten dark circles and smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

How to Address Dry Skin on Your Eyelids

Applying a moisturizing eye cream to dry eyelids can help you find some relief, but you might be wondering what’s causing the dryness in the first place. Understanding common dry eyelids causes and incorporating some additional dry eyelids treatments and tricks can make a major difference.

Why Are My Eyelids Dry?

The skin around your eyes is very delicate, which makes it particularly sensitive and prone to dryness and irritation. Common causes of dry eyelids include:

  • Aging: As we get older, our skin naturally produces less moisture and becomes dryer. Also, the fat beneath the skin around your eyes starts depleting. Due to all the above, your eyes and eyelids are more susceptible to irritation, dryness, and flaking.
  • Poor Makeup Removal: Some makeup products can lead to irritation if not removed adequately at the end of the day. Certain products—like waterproof mascara and eyeliner—are also more difficult to remove which may make you more inclined to scrub. A high-quality, supremely gentle makeup remover, such as Bye Bye Makeup Cleansing Balm Makeup Remover, can make a world of difference.
  • Irritating Products: Along with certain eye cosmetics causing irritation and dryness, it’s possible for haircare, skincare, or even laundry detergents to irritate this delicate and sensitive area. Also avoid expired products, dirty makeup brushes, and sharing eye care products with others.
  • Skin Conditions: Some skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis, can cause dry eyelids, irritation, or even discomfort and pain. See your dermatologist if the issue is persistent.
  • Lifestyle: Day-to-day factors can also cause dry eyelids, including dry and cold climates, indoor heating, using very hot water, and sun exposure.

Are There Home Remedies for Dry Eyelids?

In addition to consistently using a moisturizing lower and upper eyelid cream, there are a few more ways you can keep your eyelids healthy and hydrated.

  • Incorporate Humidity: Adding a humidifier to your space is one of the best dry eyelids treatments out there, and it’s a simple enough fix. The extra moisture in the air can help keep all your skin hydrated, especially when the weather is very dry or you’re running indoor heating.
  • Avoid Long, Hot Showers: We know it feels great to step into a steamy shower, but hot water can rinse away important moisture from your skin, including your eyelids. Stick to lukewarm temperatures and make it quick.
  • Use a Warm Compress: If you’re battling itchy or dry eyes, avoid scratching or rubbing and instead apply a warm compress. This can help provide some instant relief.
  • Try Petroleum Jelly: A very thin layer of petroleum jelly is an effective dry eyelids treatment. Apply it directly to damp eyelids, or after a thin layer of your favorite moisturizing eye cream to seal in the moisture.
  • Practice Sun Safety: The sun’s powerful UV rays can take a toll on skin, making dry and irritated areas extra sensitive. Always wear sunscreen, choose to wear hats and sunglasses, and avoid spending time outdoors in the middle of the day when the sun’s strongest.

How to Apply Makeup on Dry Eyelids

Just because you’re dealing with a case of dry eyelids doesn’t mean you have to forego makeup. You just need to make sure you’re properly primed and reaching for makeup for dry skin.

Step One: Apply Moisturizing Eye Cream

After gently cleansing your face, apply a moisturizing eye cream to your upper and middle eyelids with a very light touch.

Step Two: Use Skin-Loving Concealer

A light application of creamy eye concealer can further moisturize dry eyelids. One dot is all you need of Bye Bye Under Eye Full Coverage Anti-Aging Waterproof Concealer, which visibly neutralizes discoloration and doubles as a primer to help your eyeshadow stay put.

Like many IT Cosmetics products, this eyelid-approved concealer is also formulated with a skincare-first mentality that nourishes your delicate eyelids (and, of course, under eye area). The formula features a powerful blend of anti-aging ingredients, including peptides, hyaluronic acid, hydrolyzed collagen, and vitamin E—that helps your eyes feel and look refreshed.

“When applying to my lids, I simply use whatever is left in my brush after concealing,” says Peterson. “I buff and blend the product under the eye, and then gently buff and blend onto my lids. I’m careful not to get too close to my lash line, and I take the product all the way up to my brow. I’ve never had the need to add additional product, as a sheer coat is all you need.”

Step Three: Apply Creamy Eyeshadow

If powder eyeshadows aren’t cutting it, try a creamy formula instead. Available in 12 gorgeous shades, Superhero No-Tug Waterproof Eyeshadow Sticks glide onto your lids without tugging at delicate, sensitive skin. Plus, it won't crease on you throughout the day.

Step Four: Set With Hydrating Mist

Yep, we’re going for one more layer of hydration here! Your Skin But Better Setting Spray+ locks your makeup into place for up to 16 hours while soothing, hydrating, and revitalizing.

For more insight on dealing with a parched complexion, check out these 6 pro tips for moisturizing dry skin. You might also want to read up on these signs it’s time to replace your makeup brushes.


  1. Food and Drug Administration. “Eye Cosmetic Safety.” FDA, June 2022.
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