Caffeine + Green Tea: Can This Antioxidant Combo Reduce Puffy Eyes, Too?

by Gio
the ordinary caffeine solution egcg

I’m a skincare minimalist.

I like to strip down my skincare routine to the essentials. That’s why I don’t usually bother with eye care. Why pay twice when my face moisturizer does the job just as well?

But when I found out The Ordinary had an eye serum, I just had to try it. Because, why not?

  1. It’s cheap
  2. The Ordinary products are packed with actives that work
  3. I’m a The Ordinary fan girl

If someone can do eye care right, it’s them. But, then, how many eye products do you know that can really reduce eye puffiness? The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG may be the dud in the line after all (they must have one, surely?).

I put it to the test. Here’s what happened:

What’s In The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG?


Let’s do a quiz! Are your eye puffiness and dark circles due to:

A. Fat deposits under the eye contour

B. Hollowness in the eye contour

C. Leaky blood vessels (vasodilation)

If you’ve answered A or B, hard luck. Caffeine (or any other skincare products, for that matter) won’t do anything for you.

Answered C? Let’s talk:

Caffeine is a vasoconstrictor, so putting it on your skin may reduce the appearance of dark circles and puffy eyes – when they are caused by leaky blood vessels.

Then, again, it may not. Science doesn’t have a clear answer yet. For example, this study showed that a gel with caffeine did reduce puffy eyes. BUT, the scientists weren’t sure if it was caffeine or the cooling effects of the hydrophilic gel that did the trick.

There’s a much better reason to use caffeine. It has powerful antioxidant properties. It fights free radicals, protects skin from UV damage and prevents premature wrinkles.

The catch? High concentrations of caffeine can be irritating. The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG is loaded with it. 5% instead of the 3% found in most eye creams. I didn’t have a problem with it, but if your eye area is super sensitive, it may not like so much caffeine.

Related: The Complete Guide To Caffeine In Skincare

Confused about The Ordinary? Click on the image below to subscribe to my newsletter and get “The Ordinary Products Guide” Cheatsheet. It’ll help your choose the right Vitamin C serum, the right retinoid serum, and more from this affordable brand:


EGCG is a cute acronym for the unpronounceable Epigallocatechin Gallatyl Glucoside (cos who would remember that?).

If you’re a skincare nerd, you’ve probably noticed its similarity to Epigallocatechin-3-gallate, the key antioxidant in green tea. This one is a godsend for your skin:

Epigallocatechin Gallatyl Glucoside does the same thing. The only difference is that this one is upgraded with a glucoside group to make it more stable (and last long).

Related: What Does Green Tea Do In Skincare?


If your eye area feels a little dry, it’s probably begging for hyaluronic acid. This humectant draws water from the environment into the skin and binds it in.

It works so well, it can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water! You’re basically bathing your skin in moisture.

You know what else this moisture does? It plumps up your crow’s feet so they don’t look so noticeable anymore.

Related: Why You Should Use Hyaluronic Acid, No Matter Your Skin Type


Lightweight and fast-absorbing.


It’s fragrance-free.

How To Use It

Pat it on with your ring finger, after serum but before moisturiser.

Performance & Personal Opinion

The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG has a lightweight texture that absorbs fairly quickly into my skin (unless I apply too much… ahem…).

Here’s what I noticed:

  • It helps depuff my eyes a little bit
  • It does nothing for my dark circles
  • It’s fairly hydrating, but if your eye area is dry, you still need a moisturizer on top

For an eye serum, it’s not too bad. I didn’t expect it to help with dark circles, but I was positively surprised it does something for puffiness. And, it’s a serum, so you expect to have to use it with a moisturizer (i just use my face cream).

I’m more impressed by its antioxidant content. Antioxidants are preventative, so it takes a LOT longer than a month to see some noticeable improvement. But, the science here is solid.

If you want to up your anti-aging eye game and kick puffiness away, I think you will like it. Unless you have sensitive skin. This may  be caffeine overdose for you.

the ordinary caffeine solution 5% + EGCG

Who Is This For?

  • Puffy eyes

Who Is This NOT For?

  • Dark circles


A small, dark bottle with a dropper applicator. Not the most practical, but it gets the job done.

Does The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG Live Up To Its Claims?

Independent studies have shown that topical use of each of caffeine and EGCG can help reduce looks of puffiness and of dark circles in the eye contour. True, but it works only for certain types of dark circles.
Additional studies have shown that caffeine can also reduce the appearance of cellulite. True, but I’m not sure why they would say this about an eye serum?

Price & Availability

£5.80 at Asos, Beauty Bay, Cult Beauty, Feel Unique, Sephora, and Ulta

Do You Need It?

Not really. It helps with puffiness, but it doesn’t live up to the hype.

Dupes & Alternatives


Aqua (Water), Caffeine, Maltodextrin, Glycerin, Propanediol, Epigallocatechin Gallatyl Glucoside, Gallyl Glucoside, Hyaluronic Acid, Oxidized Glutathione, Melanin, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Urea, Pentylene Glycol, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6, Xanthan gum, Lactic Acid, Dehydroacetic Acid, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Propyl Gallate, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Ethoxydiglycol, Benzyl Alcohol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol.



Geo55 February 22, 2019 - 3:09 pm

Gio, Is there any product that helps with dark circles? I’ve heard of Vitamin K being effective but don’t know if it really helps. Still might try this one from The Ordinary for it’s antioxidant value. Thnx.

Gio February 28, 2019 - 5:42 pm

Geo55, it depends what’s causing your dark circles. Is it blood pooling or hyperpigmentation? If the latter, you need a skin-lightener. For the former, there’s very little that can help. There’s a little research vitamin K can help, but the evidence doesn’t convince me much yet. You can check my article on it here:

Maria April 13, 2019 - 5:18 am

Hi Gio, great post. How can I figure out if I have puffy eyes because of fat deposit or hollowness under the eye area? I also have some dark circles underneath my eyes, but that can be corrected with a bit of concealer. But the puffyness will still be there, making the “sad eyes look” I hate. (Plus my pale-yellow skintone doesn’t help either – If I don’t wear some blush everyone asks me if I’m sick!) ¬¬
Please help !

Gio April 20, 2019 - 3:45 pm

Maria, usually this is something that happens with age. Did you see this change during the years?

Giang August 3, 2019 - 11:53 am

Hi Jio, I have a question ,can this product be used on face? Thanks

Gio August 8, 2019 - 4:08 pm

Giang, I guess you could do, but you don’t really need caffeine all over your face.

Comments are closed.