Twenty years ago I was convinced that eye creme products were a sham. When Grateful Body first started, I refused to make one. But gradually, the more I understood the physiology of the eye and the nature of the skin around the eye, I became convinced that a good eye creme was a most important part of a healthy skin care regimen. In fact, Grateful Body has created an Eye Creme that is very effective and this is one of the reasons we call it Essential.
Our Sense Organs
I’ll start this discussion about eye cremes in an odd way . . . talking about our sense organs. The subject is fascinating but also very relevant because the ramifications of how the sense organs work will influence the creation of a truly effective eye creme. The basic thing to understand is that our sense organs don’t really experience anything directly. They instead receive information which is then secondarily deciphered or decoded in some fashion by our brain. This means our senses perceive indirectly. This is especially true of our eyes, our sense of sight. We don’t actually, in reality, see what it is we are looking at. We instead, perceive, almost instantaneously, an interpretation of what we are looking at. The mechanism of this interpretation is provided by exquisite teamwork between the brain, the eyes, the nerves. And since the ’seeing’ activity, being an interpretation, is subjective, the interpretation also involves our emotional center. In other words, we don’t see what actually is there to be seen, we only see what it is that we are able to see, subtly distorting what we see by our own personal, genetic and cultural conditioning. Humbling, isn’t it?
So, why is this pertinent to a discussion of eye creme? Because these processes are behind the formation and appearance of our own individual array of lines around our eyes. Let’s go deeper . . .
Three Types of Wrinkles
On this planet, our bodies are utterly and constantly bathed in a pervasive soup of diverse energy that is flowing all around and through us from many, many sources. Scientists refer to this known group of energies mainly as the electromagnetic spectrum. Whether it is waves or particles, light or photons, we maneuver through this thick soup . . . using our eyes to parse and filter all into a subset of the spectrum that we can gratefully call the ‘visible’ (which is less than 5% of what is actually there!). This enables us to grasp our surroundings and move through our lives. This process of refining all-pervasive energies into something that we can actually see is the work of a most marvelously sensitive, delicate and gifted instrument – our eyes. Because of this activity, our eyes are constantly vibrating at a very fine, very rapid, almost imperceptible tempo. This vibration and subtle calibration never ceases, apparently even in sleep. This is the first reason you will develop lines around your eyes.
So here we are. Our bodies are carefully navigating through the intense and varied experiences that we call life. We encounter different types of pollution, we face differing climates, weather patterns, dietary influences and on and on – many pressures, many strains. In other words, our bodies (and by extension, our eyes) are constantly dealing with and working through a wide variety of stressors of all kinds. This is the third reason you will develop lines around your eyes. Depending on your own body type, it could be that more than half of the wrinkles around your eyes are caused by stress.
There is no eye creme, no topical product, no food or medicine that will prevent or eliminate the lines around your eyes that develop from the first two forces discussed above, you might as well try to develop a lotion that stops the moon in its orbit. But here’s the good news; a properly formulated eye creme can and will remove the wrinkles and fine lines around the eye that are caused by the third force – stress. In a bit, I’ll explain why the Grateful Body Eye Creme works so well for this purpose. But first, let’s consider a few things.
A Richness of Character
Although there has been some level of concern with the wrinkles around our eyes for literally thousands of years, it is my opinion that this concern has mutated, in the last decade or so, into an unreasonable desire for there to be NO lines around the eyes. Indeed, many eye products and dermatological procedures are promising this. But I can remember a time when there was a cultural narrative that the lines around our eyes indicated some quality or attribute of one’s character. When someone had ‘laugh’ lines around their eyes, one could almost feel the light-hearted, bubbly quality of this person’s temperament. About 30 years ago, I recall an acquaintance commenting about someone, (regarding the lines around their eyes) saying they had a lot of sexual energy. I distinctly remember this because I immediately went to look at my eyes in the mirror to see if I was one of those who had the mark of ‘lots of sexual energy’! My mom tells me that when she was young, people would remark on a person’s ‘wisdom lines’ around their eyes. Personally, I have always considered that certain lines on a person’s face added a richness of character, a bit of individuality, but it seems those who feel the way this way are a shrinking minority. Here are some fun lyrics from a recent Lucinda Williams song:
But there’s a little thing that drives me wild
Something that happens every time you smile
I can’t get over the lines around your eyes
Lines around your eyes every time you smile
The Successful Formula
- The first aim is to load the formula with a healthy percentage of the high-vibration, deep blue extract called azulene found within the essential oils of Blue Tansy (Tanacetum annum) and Blue Chamomile (Matricaria recutita). The skin around the eye is very, very thin and because of this, needs to be supported in the most therapeutic way. Azulene, within the context of the other phytochemicals within the ‘blue oils’ is perfect for this.
- The skin around the eyes also has very few oil glands so it is important to use ingredients that can nurture this tissue without being too heavy, oily or clogging. This is mainly accomplished by using ingredients high in natural essential fatty acids. Millet Seeds (Panicum miliceum) serve this purpose well as does Borage or Bee Flower (Borago officinalis).
- The Kokum Butter (Garcinia indica) comes from the nuts of the wild mangosten tree and has become one of my favorite butters, especially in an eye creme. It has a certain triglyceride composition that makes it perfectly non-greasy but also able to absorb very easily. The paper-thin skin around the finely vibrating eyes will always need a certain elasticity and flexibility and small, constant doses of this butter will support that activity.
- The oils used are very light and etheric and include Rosehip Seed oil (Rosa canine) and Jojoba oil (Simmondsia chinensis). It is incorrect that eye cremes should not contain oil; it’s just that the oils must be of a certain quality and not be of a heavy, viscous nature.
- I also use lots of oats; in this case the Milky Oats extract (Avena sativa), because they are highly nourishing & restorative and supply certain minerals helpful for sustaining the delicate eye tissue.
- The Cucumber hydrosol (Cucumis sativus), by nature cooling, contains certain polyphenols and a class of triterpenoids called cucurbitacins that calm inflammatory tissue. For these reasons Cucumber works extremely well to diminish eye area puffiness.
- Because of its mucilaginous content, Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis) has traditionally been used topically for inflamed or irritated skin. This suggest a calming influence which is perfect for an area that is subject to so many (inner and outer) taxing forces.
- The Essential Eye Creme has a mild, grounding scent to it, thanks to the Tansy, Cucumber and Chamomile, but of course the scent profile must be light and gentle because it’s important not to bother or irritate the sensitive eye area. (even though Bulgarian Rose and Helichrysum are included, the scent is not overly flowery but heads in a slightly fresh, warm direction)
- And it goes without saying, as part of our formulating principles, that we do not and will not include any sunscreens, hyaluronic acid, ceramides, stem cells, synthetic peptides or retinol. These ingredients owe their survival more to relentless marketing than to an actual beneficial effect.