Seeing ourselves on Zoom and in face masks has made us more conscious of droopy eyelids, and has lead to a spike in search for treatments and tools. Here's what the pros recommend
With face coverings throwing all the focus onto our eyes at the moment, it's no surprise that aesthetic clinics have seen an uptake in interest in eye treatments, particularly when it comes to upper eyelids that droop and look heavy. Oculoplastic surgeon Dr. Sabrina Shah-Desai of London clinic Perfect Eyes tells us she's seen a "significant increase" in requests for help with hooded eyes, with people not afraid to consider surgery.
"I've seen almost double the numbers requesting hooded eye surgery compared to pre-lockdown," she says. The same is reported by the Cadogan Clinic in London, where they've seen blepharoplasty (the surgical removal excess skin on the eyelid) become their most requested treatment. "I have personally noticed a considerable increase in the number of consultations booked by patients who want to revitalise tired-looking eyes," says the clinic's aesthetic surgeon Dr. Olivier Amar who is also CMO of all-natural cosmetic injectable Uvence .
There are plenty of non-surgical was to tackle hooded eyes and not just in a clinic. At-home tools and makeup tricks can help too as our pros explain below.
What causes hooded eyes?
Hooded eyes or droopy eyelids (known as 'brow ptosis') happens when excess skin folds down from the brow bone to the lash line.
"Hooded eyes can appear due to a genetic predisposition or as ageing naturally changes our face," explains Dr. Sabrina. Skin loses its elasticity and scaffolding leading to a noticeable droop.
Why are more people looking to treat hooded eyes?
You probably start to notice it when your mascara or eyeliner leave a print on your brow bone or your carefully applied cut-crease eyeshadow disappears into the folds. Increasingly, staring ourselves in the face on Zoom and seeing how wearing a face mask throws the emphasis onto our eyes, has made us more aware, and possibly more critical, of what we see.
Upper lid blepharoplasty – surgery to improve the appearance of hooded eyes or saggy eyelids – is one of the most effective and straightforward surgical procedures and gives great natural-looking results. Sabrina has done hundreds of these and it can be particularly necessary when the droop starts to cover up your eye and affects your ability to see. Caroline Hirons shared the story of how in 2016 she had the procedure because her optician told her that she only had 75 per cent vision because of her hooded lids.
"Blepharoplasty gives the eyes a more youthful look by removing excess skin, bulging fat and lax muscle from the upper lids," Sabrina says. "This procedure, performed under local anaesthetic is best for moderate to severe excess skin and for patients looking for results that can last up to a decade. The downtime is around one to two weeks and most people leave the clinic on the same day they have the procedure." It costs from £2,500 .
Non-surgical treatments for hooded eyes
For younger people or those with people with less severe hooded eyes, a thread lift to lift the brow area above the eye is an option. "For younger patients, often the tail of the brow can be supported by a Silhouette Soft Thread Lift," says Dr. Sabrina. "It provides a natural-looking and immediate lift of the eye area and the brow."
Skin lifting with threads involves a unique two-stage process, she explains. First, there's an immediate lift and over time the area is stimulated to produce new collagen. "Think of [threads] as creating scaffolding for the eye area."
During a thread lift, which takes less than an hour under local anaesthetic, threads made of surgical, biocompatible material are inserted just under the top layer of the skin with a needle (no incisions) and pulled in two directions to lift the skin, like a drawstring "The results are impressive and less invasive than a blepharoplasty, " says Sabrina. Downtime is about two to three days and results last up to three years.
While there's no eye cream on the planet that will lift sagging eyelids, there are plenty of machines that can.
Radiofrequency treatment Acculite tightens and lifts loose skin for a more youthful appearance. A small metal cannula is inserted under the skin to deliver heat energy to the treatment area under local anaesthetic. The treatment takes between one and two hours and downtime is between one and two weeks – patients can expect to see eyelid swelling, redness and bruising during the first weeks after the procedure. The results can last up to five years. It costs from £2,500 .
If you have thick skin which is more difficult to treat, Dr Sabrina recommends one session of Acculite, combined with two to three sessions of Morpheus 8, a tightening radiofrequency treatment which heats the dermis of the skin, kick-starting collagen production. The treatment involves a handheld device (similar-looking to an at-home laser hair removal tool) being applied to the area for a few seconds. It costs £600 per session and swelling tends to go down within 48 hours.
Injectables for hooded eyes
"For younger patients with less pronounced [drooping], injectables are often the best option," says Dr. Olivier Amar. "Botox and fillers can be used to lift up the brow tail to tighten the skin around the upper eyelid, by adding volume in the brow or temple area – making a significant improvement in the appearance of hooded eyes."
Botox treats the area between the eyes, stopping you from frowning your lids down.
Hyaluronic acid-based fillers can be injected into hollows in the upper lids, brows and temples to add volume and therefore create a more youthful look, adds Dr. Sabrina. Downtime is one or two days for the swelling to go down. It costs £450 per ml.
Dr. Sabrina also recommends collagen-stimulating fillers such as Ellanse as it’s effective at providing volume around the temples to lift the whole area. It both immediately plumps the skin and helps stimulate collagen in the long term. It lasts between one and four years, depending on the patient and costs from £450.
At-home facial tools to lift hooded eyes
If you want to improve the look of hooded eyes from your sofa, at-home tools can be very effective, particularly radiofrequency and microcurrent and facial exercises.
Microcurrent for hooded eyes
Microcurrent devices are particularly popular because they are pain-free, easy to use in front of the TV (they come with conductivity gel so you'll need to clean your face first) and over time stimulate the muscles on the brow to tighten, which can lift the eyes.
The Ziip , £425, offers multiple treatments options for toning the face and tightens up the eye area.
The new Foreo's Bear , £279, a cute-looking yet powerful microcurrent device is app-connected and can be used on the brow too.
Radiofrequency for hooded eyes
The radiofrequency shrink-wapping effect is now also something you can do at home with a new raft of new at-home radiofrequency beaut gadgets, but as yet these can't be used hands-free like the microcurent tools, they need to be plugged in.
Sensilift from Sensica , £279, has a brilliant and highly relaxing brow pinching action as it delivers skin-tightening radiofrequency and a temperature cut-off to prevent it feeling too hot.
The Newa , £359, a radiofrequency device launched earlier this year and like the Sensilift is approved by the FDA, an American certification that's more rigorous than UK testing and is the reason why aesthetic doctor Dr Sophie Shotter told us she particularly rated it.
Face exercise for hooded eyes
For a tech-free tool, the Davisage Face X'cercise Visager, £220 is an effective option. It's Y-shaped device that acts rather like a resistance band for the face. Place the pads just above the brows and then work the muscles against the resistance to tighten lift and tone. You can definitely feel that you've worked the muscles but like any exercise, you need to keep it up a few times a week. It also has a titanium roller as part of the handle, which provides a small amount of solar-powered microcurrent which you can roll across the forehead.
Alternatively, you can place your fingers under your brows for resistance, a favourite trick of Trinny Woodall.
Makeup and lifestyle tricks to open up hooded eyes
There are many clever ways to apply makeup for hooded eyes , the quickest one, according to beauty editor Nadine Baggott (who picked up the tip from makeup artist Ruby Hammer) is to "get a matte taupe eyeshadow and simply run it along the crease of both upper eyes - instant definition, a wide-awake look and it takes seconds" she told The Times. Use a brush such as the Real techniques Instapop Eye Brush Duo, £10.99.
Dr. Olivier Amar adds that focusing your efforts on lifestyle changes can sometimes be just as effective as splashing put on a beauty tool. Getting more sleep, staying hydrated and generally improving your health are top of his list of recommendations.
It goes without saying that keeping your eyes away from collagen-degrading rays is a must. Wear sunglasses and invest in a good SPF eye cream .