One of the first TO products that I purchased was The Ordinary Caffeine Solution.

It had a seductive promise: to get rid of the dark under eyes that I’ve been battling with for the last several years.

The serum gradually became an active part of my skincare routine. It worked for some of my eye problems and didn’t for others.

I’d love to share my experience and feedback with you and also back it up with some facts and useful information that I’ve discovered while doing my research.

In this article, you’ll find:

  • More about The Ordinary Caffeine Solution;
  • How and when to use it for the best results;
  • What can you pair it with and what to skip;
  • In which order to apply caffeine serum and other skincare;
  • The Ordinary Caffeine Solution before and after, and more.

Let’s take a deep dive and find out more!

What is The Ordinary Caffeine Solution?

For those of you who’ve never tried The Ordinary Caffeine Solution, it’s an eye serum marketed for the treatment of dark circles, puffy eyes, and fine lines around the eyes.

Yes, all three.

Originally designed to brighten dark circles and refresh the zone around the eyes, it also softens eye contour pigmentation, tightens the skin, and makes your eyes look less puffy.

In short, it’s recommended to anyone who has had a sleepless night, has signs of stress and tiredness on their face, or simply wants to revive and refresh the look of their face.

The Ordinary is famous for creating clean and harmless products and the Caffeine solution is no exception.

It’s paraben-free, fragrance-free, essential-oil-free, sulfate-free, and silicone-free. It doesn’t contain any allergens and is also environmentally pollutant-free.

Where the product truly separates from the rest is in the fact that it contains 5% of caffeine rather than 3% as most other eye creams (and I’ll explain what caffeine can do for your skin in a bit).

Active ingredients

The Ordinary Caffeine Solution active ingredients

Several notable ingredients help achieve what’s said in the product’s marketing message:

  • Caffeine – it’s an antioxidant that protects the skin from damage that causes wrinkles and fine lines, brightens the skin, decreases puffiness, and eliminates inflammation. In addition, because caffeine is a vasoconstrictor, it plays an important role in constricting blood vessels. This can dramatically help with the reduction of dark circles and puffiness in some.
  • Epigallocatechin Gallatyl Glucoside – EGCG provides powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, it tackles free radicals, protects from sun damage, and helps with avoiding premature aging. EGCG decreases the production and secretion of melanin in melanoma cells. The substance has a positive effect on hydration, moisture retention, and the formation of fine lines and wrinkles on aging skin.
  • Glycine Soja Seed extract – soybean provides the skin with a soothing and softening effect and also inhibits skin pigmentation.
    Polypodium Vulgare Rhizome Extract – helps with skin repair, stimulates keratinocyte production, and can slow down oxidative stress and skin damage.
  • Cetraria Islandica Thallus Extract – creates a soothing and moisturizing film, eliminating dryness and irritation.
  • Lactic acid – hydrates the skin and can remove dead skin cells, revealing new, fresh, and smooth skin underneath. Also works towards better skin firmness, and thickness, and eliminates wrinkles.
  • Glycerin – is a natural hydration agent that is found in the skin. Keeps the skin’s lipids healthy and prevents irritation.
  • Hyaluronic acid – collects water from the surrounding environment and locks it into the skin.
  • Urea – a natural moisturizing factor, a component that supports the skin in retaining its water, making it look plump, elastic, hydrated, and young.

Texture and application

The serum has a nice medium to a thick consistency and an interesting color that looks like pale amber.

I’ve noticed that some batches arrive with an almost jelly-like consistency, while others are more liquidy.

At first, I was surprised to see such a consistency, to be honest, as the product is fairly affordable, so I was expecting a more runny texture.

It’s easily absorbed by the skin and becomes more watery as you apply it.

I also noticed that it leaves a bit of a tacky feeling after application. In some cases, this could be a feeling of dryness in the zone under the eyes.

It’s also worth mentioning that it can be a challenge to apply concealer on top of the product, which is why I’d highly recommend applying it before your moisturizer or using it in the evening.

You can slightly smell the ingredients in the product but the fragrance is nothing disturbing or unpleasant.

How long does The Ordinary Caffeine Solution take to work?

On average, The Ordinary Caffeine eye serum takes about three weeks to start showing results. This is the time it will take if you’re consistent with your routine and apply the serum daily, ideally twice a day.

However, as with any other skincare product, seeing the first results will depend on a lot of factors. For instance, skin type, the condition of your skin before use, how you use the product, how often you apply it, and other external factors will all play a role.

The Ordinary Caffeine Solution before and after

The Ordinary Caffeine Serum Before and After

Two-week results of using TO caffeine twice daily

From the before and after of The Ordinary Caffeine Solution, you can clearly see that the serum showed effectiveness and has overall lightened the undereye area.

However, it didn’t completely diminish dark circles and larger capillaries, nor did it act on any puffiness there.

When to use The Ordinary Caffeine Solution in a routine?

It’s best to use The Ordinary Caffeine Solution after cleaning the face, and before your moisturizer, also before you’ve toned, and applied other serums to your face.

I would say use it after your other serums, but this depends on what your skincare routine looks like as a whole. If you’re in doubt, do leave a comment in the comment box below.

When to use The Ordinary Caffeine Solution – before or after a moisturizer?

To ensure that the caffeine serum will penetrate where it needs to in the skin, it’s best to apply it before moisturizer and other heavily occlusive products such as overnight face masks, oils, oil-based serums, and more.

How to use The Ordinary Caffeine Solution

The Ordinary Caffeine Solution how to use

This is what my routine would look like when using the product:

  1. Cleanser
  2. Toner
  3. Serum
  4. The Ordinary Caffeine Solution
  5. Moisturizer
  6. Sunscreen (only in the AM)

I personally use a hyaluronic acid serum as part of my skincare routine and will always apply The Ordinary Caffeine Solution right after it.

By the way, I do store my Caffeine serum in the fridge to get the extra tightening benefits of the cold.

Make sure that you gently apply it with patting movements. You can use a cold spoon, if you want, to gently massage the undereye area and push out any excess liquid.

The eye zone is extremely sensitive. Pressing too hard or being aggressive in your application could cause puffing and even pain.

The eye zone is extremely important and sensitive. Pressing too hard or being aggressive in your application could cause puffing and even pain.

You can rely on small amounts to get the results. For me, I only use a drop of the product, which is enough to cover both my eyes.

Can I use The Ordinary Caffeine Solution daily?

Yes, you can use the product as part of your daily skincare routine with nothing to worry about.

In fact, this will show results quicker.

Can I use TOs Caffeine Solution with other actives?

One of the biggest questions when it comes to skincare routines and new products is what you can mix and match and what combos you should definitely stay away from.

Here’s what I’ve discovered from my experience with The Ordinary Caffeine Solution.

Can I use The Ordinary Caffeine Solution with niacinamide?

Niacinamide is safe to use together with The Ordinary Caffeine solution. In fact, The Ordinary Niacinamide is a popular option for those who love the brand.

If you use niacinamide in the same routine, you can apply it either before, or after The Ordinary Caffeine Solution depending on the type of product you have. If it’s a serum, both ways are fine. If it’s a cream, apply it after the caffeine serum.

Frankly speaking, I don’t like The Ordinary Niacinamide serum, nor the powder version. I find them too unpleasant to use. I get my niacinamide fix from the NeoGen Real Ferment Micro Essence as I don’t like to have a dedicated niacinamide product that doesn’t offer anything else and this essence is chock full of skin-loving goodies. I use the essence before applying The Ordinary Caffeine Serum.

Can I mix The Ordinary Caffeine Solution with vitamin C?

It’s safe to use other eye creams or skincare products that contain vitamin C together with The Ordinary Caffeine solution. There are no major risks or side effects that you should worry about as a result of this combo.

Vitamin C should be applied before The Ordinary Caffeine Solution as you want to have as few skincare layers before your vitamin C as possible. Vitamin C is tricky when it comes to stability and penetration, which is why it’s best to apply it first on a clean face.

When it comes to effective and stable vitamin C serum, I love the Melano CC Anti-spot Vitamin C Essence because of its air-tight package that dispenses just the right amount of product. It’s non-irritating and it truly helps with fading any spots and under-eye darkness.

However, if you’re looking for a more well-rounded eye product, Glow Recipe’s Guava Vitamin C Bright-Eye Gel Cream combines niacinamide, encapsulated vitamin C, peptides, and caffeine to effectively brighten the under-eye area. It’s on the pricier end but definitely worth it considering the amount of product and how much you need for the eye area.

Can I use The Ordinary Caffeine Solution with retinol?

Unless formulated to work together in a product, caffeine and retinoids (including retinol) should not be layered in the same skincare routine. The combo can lead to side effects such as redness, tightness, and discomfort.

Can I use The Ordinary Caffeine Solution with hyaluronic acid?

Yes, it’s completely safe to use caffeine-based products with hyaluronic acid. In fact, the combo is beneficial as caffeine tends to dry out the area of application while hyaluronic acid helps to return some of the needed moisture back into the skin.

In terms of the order, you need to apply The Ordinary Caffeine Solution before your hyaluronic acid product of choice.

When it comes to recommended hyaluronic acids suitable to use with the caffeine serum, I like The Ordinary Marine Hyaluronics because of its consistency and superior hydration.

Are there any side effects to The Ordinary Caffeine Solution?

Although there are no official side effects that the brand warns about and the product is safe to use even by pregnant women, some users have shared some negative experiences.

In some cases of consistent use, the product has caused eye twitching, which is an effect of the concentration of caffeine in The Ordinary Caffeine Solution.

If you have a similar experience with the TO caffeine serum, you can either decrease the number of times you’re applying it to your eye area or swipe it for a product with less caffeine percentage in it.

Does The Ordinary Caffeine Solution really work?

With one word – yes, The Ordinary Caffeine Solution works and achieves what it’s designed to do – reduce dark spots under the eyes, brighten the skin tone in the area, and overall result in a nice and refreshed look.

I didn’t see any instant results after the first week when I started using it, but from the second week onwards you’ll definitely be able to notice changes related to the color of the undereye zone.

However, there’s one thing that the product doesn’t always work well for – puffiness.

And this isn’t because the product is of poor quality. It’s rather because puffiness under the eyes is sometimes impossible to tackle with eye creams. The puffy bags could be fatty deposits that require surgery rather than a skincare product.

So what’s that puffiness under the eye?

We all have an orbital area with muscles in our eyes. The fat that is stored there and that we see in the form of puffiness is called suborbicular oculi fat. It’s more of a genetic issue that we inherit instead of a skincare routine problem.

During our young years, the orbital septum, which is made of connective tissue, successfully holds everything together. However, as we age, the septum gradually starts losing its ability to hold as tight as it originally did. As a result, some of the fat that is natural starts becoming more visible.

The Ordinary – Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG Eye Serum  is Available at Yes Style, SkinStore and Amazon

Alternatives to The Ordinary Caffeine Solution for the eyes

Nowadays, there are many similar products to The Ordinary Caffeine Solution on the market, however, personally, I’m not one to go for them. I prefer more well-rounded products that give me additional benefits for the money I pay.

There are two eye serums with caffeine that I’d like to draw your attention to. Both are better formulated, more pleasant to use, and give even more benefits to the gentle skin around the eyes.

The Eye Reboot Serum by QRxLabs Store contains 6% caffeine and the formula is boosted with retinol (it’s safe to use retinol with caffeine if they’re formulated to work together), niacinamide, and rosehip oil. The price point is good for what you’re getting but it is more costly than The Ordinary’s serum.

Another one is the Shifakou’s Caffeine Eye Serum enriched with vitamin C, collagen and hyaluronic acid – a very pleasant and hydrating experience at a lower price point if you’re more budget conscious.

Wrap up

I’m only happy that I discovered The Ordinary Caffeine Solution when I most needed it. It may not have solved all my undereye problems but it was an invaluable companion on the way there.

My sleepless nights have been gone for a while but the puffiness is still something that all of us tackle from time to time.

I hope I’ve managed to help you get more valuable information about this product by The Ordinary. If you’ve used it yourself and have some feedback or experiences, I’m inviting you to leave a comment in the comment section below and share it with my readers.

Until next time!