Eye creams are to your anti-aging skin care regimen what open bars are to weddings: a must. Dark circles, eye bags and wrinkles may all be natural signs of aging, but the right products with the right ingredients can make a big difference in your appearance. There’s no reason to let Father Time, or exhaustion, walk all over you. In choosing an under-eye cream, it’s essential to find a product that meets your particular needs, so we’ve tailored our recommendations accordingly: the best eye cream for wrinkles and puffiness, the best eye creams for dark circles, and the best eye cream for bags, respectively.
“An eye cream is an important part of your daily skin care regimen, however, there is not one eye cream to solve every issue,” says Dr. Joshua Zeichner, the director of cosmetic and clinical research at the department of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital. “It’s important to choose an eye cream that addresses your specific need. Issues around the eye include puffiness, darkness, hollowness, wrinkles and skin laxity.”
Some eye creams cost more than a set of skis, but the best eye creams aren’t necessarily the most expensive, so we’ve focused our search on affordable products that work; use safe, proven ingredients recommended by dermatologists; and can stand by the claims they make about their ingredients. The skin around the eyes is thinner and more sensitive, so it’s also important to choose ingredients that won’t overwhelm fine pores or cause irritation; ingredients like propylene glycol, formaldehyde, MDMD hydantoin, and mineral oil are better avoided.
“Clean” and “natural” are not just buzzwords, says Dr. Nava Greenfield of Schweiger Dermatology Group. They signify that “a product is thoughtfully formulated to contain only ingredients that are healthy for your skin. Unfortunately, many companies may make the claim that they only use ‘clean’ ingredients, but don’t stay true to that promise.”
The Best Eye Cream for Dark Circles and Puffiness
Under-eye bags are a wonderful byproduct of aging. “Under eye bags are a combination of vasculature that is visible beneath the thin skin of the eyelid together with the swelling that occurs during times of body stressors, such as too little sleep,” says Dr. Greenfield. She suggests looking for products that contain retinols, vitamins C and B, and hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and oils. Several of these products also contain good old caffeine — “Caffeine helps constrict blood vessels to remove excess fluid and minimize the appearance of under-eye bags,” says Dr. Zeichner.
Sure, it carries an eye-watering price tag, but if you're looking for one product to run the gamut, then this is your cream. With a proprietary liquid crystal delivery system, it goes to town on dark circles, puffiness, crow’s feet, fine lines, and loss of firmness. About the only thing it doesn't do is give you all-new eyes.
They had us at the name alone. This under-eye cream relies on caffeine and quinoa seed extract to help stimulate circulation and also reduces the appearance of dark circles. Not only does this potion make you look more awake, but because it has hyaluronic acid in it, your eye area gets some much-needed moisture benefits. This is a small thing to nitpick about, but the pump doesn't work as well as it should.
Including most of the recommended ingredients on our list, including vitamins C and E, as well as hyaluronic acid and caffeine, there's a lot to like. We also appreciated its pump system, which differs from many of its peers' straw system, making it great for travel.
Serums, as opposed to creams, get absorbed into the skin faster. They don't retain moisture, and are not as thick, as creams, so they are often used first before another top layer. Thanks to its high concentration of caffeine, this ultra-light serum helps to depuff baggy, bleary eyes.
Made with mostly organic ingredients, this potent, vegan eye cream helps reduce both bags and discoloration. It's suited for all skin types, and helps plump up the under-eye area. It's loaded with vitamin C and rosehip oil, which is especially helpful in getting rid of heavy bags. In general, people rave about how effective it is.
This rich, creamy elixir from Kiehl's relies on the power of beta-carotene, avocado oil, and shea butter to keep the under-eye area moisturized all day, de-puffing bags (while also smoothing out fine lines and brightening the skin).
This eye gel, full of caffeine as well as green and white tea, minimizes puffiness and dark circles. If you prefer a cooler gel consistency, this is the product for you. Algae and plant extracts make your eyes look smoother, too.
This rich cream uses a mix of botanicals like cucumber, arnica, and wild yam extract — plus vitamins B5, A, C, and E — to help smooth over the look of dry lines and defend the delicate eye skin against environmental assault.
The Best Eye Creams for Dark Circles
Dark circles develop under the eyes when we haven’t gotten enough sleep, and more generally as we get older — shadows cast by puffy eyelids can give the appearance of dark circles, and the hollows under our eyes can become more pronounced as we age.
“If you have dark blotches under the skin, look for an under eye cream that contains vitamin C. This potent antioxidant blocks production of abnormal pigmentation and can help lighten dark under-eye circles,” says Dr. Zeichner.
Slurping up eye bags and lightening your sleep-deprived under-eyes, Lumin's cream combines Vitamin B3 as well as caffeine. It's non-greasy and has a subtle, pleasant aroma.
Kiehl's, famously, has been keeping skin healthy and men looking good since 1851. This elixir rejuvenates eyes with caffeine and vitamin B3, depuffing tired eyes and helping dark circles fade into history.
Cooling and calming, this vitamin C-loaded gel makes your eye area look firmer and less wrinkled. And it helps get rid of bags, of course.
This eye cream is loaded with caffeine, hyaluronic acid, Vitamin C, and green tea. We're talking a powerhouse ingredient mix to make your eyes brighter and those circles lighter. Use this eye cream day and night — it goes on light, absorbs fast, and won't leave you looking like you just rubbed Crisco on your under-eye area. It's made without sulfates, parabens, glycols, phthalates, petrochemicals, silicones, synthetic fragrances, or gluten. It's not cheap, but a pea-sized amount suffices when using it.
The vitamin C in this eye cream brightens your eyes, while vitamin E will help with hyperpigmentation and fine lines. This cult-favorite brand is beloved because it actually gets results.
This eye cream from Bliss brightens your eye area, and infuses it with vitamin C and niacinamide to reduce dark circles.This Bliss eye cream is vegan, it's heavy on the vitamin C, and helps moisturize the eye area with squalane and cucumber and pear extracts.
Juice Beauty's eye cream is full of organic grape and carrot juices blended with essential fatty acids and vitamins B5, C and P to help you get rid of all that under-eye baggage. This eye cream is formulated for those with normal, dry, or sensitive skins. In addition to vitamin C, it also contains organic jojoba, sunflower and avocado.
The Best Eye Creams for Wrinkles and Puffiness
If you don’t have any wrinkles yet, perhaps you won the genetic lottery. But if you do, you know wrinkles are the lines and creases that form in your skin and are especially noticeable in the area around your eyes and mouth. Some are hereditary. Others are the result of sun damage. Ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerin “can temporarily improve the appearance of the peri-ocular skin,” says Dr. Greenfield, though “you should use a retinol or retinoid to help stimulate collagen repair and synthesis.”
“With age, collagen in the skin becomes weak, leading to wrinkling. Retinol stimulates collagen to strengthen the skin foundation and minimize the appearance of lines,” says Dr. Zeichner. “And if you’ve noticed skin becoming droopy and weak, look for under eye creams that contain lifting ingredients that help restore the skin’s scaffold — botanical ingredients have been shown to strengthen the skin.”
Sure, this pen applicator goes to work on wrinkles and puffiness, but it's equally efficient in combating dark circles. Credit ingredients like rice peptides for wrinkles, white lily and cotton powder for dark circles, and a glacial flower extract for rejuvenation of child-tired skin.
This skin-energizing cream marshals the power of oat-kernel sugars, natural bamboo and pea peptides, and caffeine plus anti-oxidants from green tea. Rich organic Omega-3 fatty acids to keep skin moisturized, healthy and looking good.
Retinol helps to gently stimulate collagen production, which is what you want to make your eye area look more youthful, and hyaluronic acid helps hydrates the delicate area around your orbs.
This dauntless youth defender has both retinol and caffeine in it to keep things in check, and the blend is especially formulated to be less irritating, which we know retinols can be for some people. It's ideal for sensitive skin. Plus, it's from a brand that consistently delivers some of the best skin care around, for a great price.
Designed to give your eyes a gravity-fighting boost, this paraben-, phthalate-, and fragrance free cream hydrates the delicate skin around the eyes, giving it a plumper feel and brighter look.
This nongreasy moisturizing cream is loaded with retinol to help your eyes look younger. Dab on a few dots and use morning and night. High-impact retinol can be irritating, so do a patch test first.
An eye mask is a fancy name for an eye cream, and this one is packed with anti-aging wunderkids retinol and hyaluronic acid. It's also loaded with caffeine, so it depuffs while you sleep.
This eye cream, heavy on the retinol, means business. Not only do you get microencapsulated retinol, but there's also vitamin C to help smooth your skin. It's pricey, but little dots go a long way.
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