Review The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG

Clique aqui para português.

This review is gonna be a bit different.

Fortunately, I haven’t got any dark circles or eye bags. When I first saw this product the person that I remembered was my husband. He does have dark eyes but not puffiness. So I decided to buy this product and give it to him. I asked him to use it twice a day, morning and night, and he’s been doing it since the end of July.

Since this is a product that I haven’t used, this review won’t be too long. I’m gonna explain about the product (and ingredients), show the texture, and the results.


This light-textured formula contains an extremely high 5% concentration of caffeine, supplemented with highly-purified Epigallocatechin Gallatyl Glucoside (EGCG) from green tea leaves. 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. Additional studies have shown that caffeine can also reduce the appearance of cellulite.


  1. Hollowness in the eye contour as a result of the structure of sub-dermal tissues like fat and bone can result in visible shadows under the eyes. This shadow, which is not to be mistaken for dark circles, cannot be addressed with topical skincare including this formula.
  2. Fat deposits under the eye contour can create permanent puffiness in this area. This type of deposit cannot be improved with topical skincare, including this formula.
  3. Supplied in UV-protective packaging as EGCG is sensitive to light.

Ingredient list

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.

  • Vegan;
  • Alcohol-free;
  • Oil-free;
  • Silicone-free;
  • Nut-free;
  • Cruelty-free;
  • Fragrance-free.


Analysis of some ingredients

Caffeine (5%): This alkaloid stimulates the degradation of fats during lipolysis through inhibition of the phosphodiesterase activity. Caffeine has potent antioxidant properties. It helps protect cells against the UV radiation and slows down the process of photoaging of the skin. Moreover, caffeine contained in cosmetics increases the microcirculation of blood in the skin and also stimulates the growth of hair through inhibition of the 5-alpha-reductase activity.  Caffeine can effectively reduce swelling of the tissue around the eyes.

Maltodextrin: Functions as a moisturizer;

Epigallocatechin Gallatyl Glucoside (EGCG), Gallyl Glucoside, and Propyl Gallate: This is a technology used in some products from NIOD such as FECC, and Re: Pigment. These three ingredients might decrease dark circles. They are also antioxidants. EGCG, that has been reported to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticarcinogenic properties, has also shown that to decrease sunburn in cells when applied on rats before UV exposure.

Effects of polyphenols on skin damage due to ultraviolet A rays: an experimental study on rats;

Hyaluronic Acid: It offers water hydration and pro-repair support;

Oxidized Glutathione: Glutathione is a tripeptide that consists of cysteine, glycine, and glutamate and it functions as a major antioxidant that protects thiol protein groups from oxidation. It is involved in cellular detoxification. An in-vivo study using 30 subjects showed that a lotion containing oxidized glutathione applied to the face for 10 weeks whitened the skin and also increased skin moisturedecreased wrinkles formation, and improved skin smoothness. No adverse effects were found.

P.S.: Human dermis and epidermis have an enzyme called glutathione reductase that readily reduces a fraction of oxidized glutathione to reduced glutathione. Reduced glutathione has skin-whitening effect by inhibiting tyrosinase activity (and more). The mechanism by which topical oxidized glutathione whitens skin effectively still has to be revealed by further studies.

Skin-whitening and skin-condition-improving effects of topical oxidized glutathione: a double-blind and placebo-controlled clinical trial in healthy women;

Glycine soja (Soybean) Seed Extract: Soybean is one of the major crops containing antioxidant components such as phenolic acids, tocopherols, phytic acids, trypsin inhibitor, amino acid and isoflavones containing daidzein, genistein, daidzin, and genistin;

Urea: A moisturizer agent.

Acne triggers according to CosDNA


Irritants according to CosDNA


Safety according to CosDNA

Most are green flagged except Urea and Propyl Gallate which are both yellow flagged and strike 3 out of 9. Lactic Acid and Phenoxyethanol strike 4 out of 9. Benzyl Alcohol strikes 5 out of 9.

CosDNA analysis: The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG.


Like most of The Ordinary’s bottle. It’s a 30 mL dropper container.


EGCG is sensitive to light so this is a UV-protective packaging. Same bottle as Alpha Lipoic Acid 5%. We keep it inside the paper package just to give it more protection.

Texture and scent

The texture is liquid but still a bit jelly due to some thickening agents. It has a yellowish color. I used it a few times and I find it not to be sticky, greasy or uncomfortable to wear.

It’s free of scent.

How to use

Massage a small amount onto the eye contour AM and PM.


He’s been using this product since the end of July, twice a day as suggested. I took some pictures and they can be found below.

July 29th.
October 29th.

I find it to be a nice improvement. Especially if you consider that this was the only eye-product he’s been using. I feel like the results can be even better if a depigmenting product is added because this one targets mainly faulty microcirculation.

Final thoughts

This product cost less than 10 Canadian dollars and it totally worth it. I couldn’t find something similar with the same price tag and the same high concentration of caffeine (most formulas use 3%). It comes with 30 mL of product that will last the eternity since it requires only a few drops around the eye contour. By the way, considering this product will last a long time, I told my husband to use it as a face serum too because there’s a study saying that caffeine is good for men skin.

If your dark circles are hereditary, this product might not work as you expect. If you have shadows under the eyes this product (or any) won’t help you. If the puffiness is due to fat deposits, there isn’t a topical product that will help you.

Rate: 3.5/5

Click here for more Serum/Essence reviews.

Click here for more The Ordinary product reviews.


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