Eye creams are to your anti-aging skin care regimen what open bars are to weddings: a must. Getting longer in the tooth brings along with it wisdom and perspective, and a whole lot of glorious eye wrinkles and under-eye baggage. And that’s why eye creams are hailed as one of the must-haves to slow down the relentless march of Father Time.
“An eye cream is an important part of your daily skin care regimen, however, there is not one eye cream to solve every issue. It is important to choose an eye cream that addresses your specific need. Issues around the eye include puffiness, darkness, hollowness, wrinkles and skin laxity,” says Dr. Joshua Zeichner, the director of cosmetic and clinical research at the department of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital.
Point is, our peepers could use some help when they’re puffy, exhausted, and otherwise challenged. Some products out there cost more than a set of skis, or go on like Crisco. But the price of eye creams doesn’t always equal efficacy and vice versa. Plus, it depends what you’re looking for; if you’re into what’s called clean beauty, read the ingredients, because the term “natural” is actually unregulated and hence, means pretty much nothing.
Here are our picks for the best eye creams to counteract specific issues, based on our own testing, user reviews, and editor recommendations. They’re all unisex, so apply away and wind back the clock.
Best eye creams for puffy eyes:
“Caffeine helps constrict blood vessels to remove excess fluid and minimize the appearance of under-eye bags,” says Zeichner.
This is the best cream to get rid of puffy eyes. Why, you ask? Well, it's thanks to a combo of three types of caffeine. Just think of this as a latte for your peepers.
Pros: In addition to its jolt of skin care java, this cream is packed with rosehip oil and collagen-boosting Vitamin C to scare off wrinkles.
Cons: Some were turned off by the scent, which is in the vanilla family.
This superhero is a blend of caffeine, horse chestnut, kangaroo flower and mother-of-pearl to simultaneously tighten and brighten your orbs. For real. It’s the next best thing to getting your eight hours of REM sleep.
Pros: Fans swear that their eyes looks more luminous almost instantly.
Cons: The texture can be off-putting, and it doesn’t glide on as well as some other creams.
This is a go-to and beloved product because it combines caffeine and Vitamin B3. It’s lightweight, yet totally potent, and you should see results almost immediately.
Pros: It’s an ace at de-puffing eyes, just like it promises to do.
Cons: It can be a bit harsh if you have very sensitive eyes.
Best eye creams for dark circles:
“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 Zeichner.
Thanks to its VitaNiacin complex, this eye cream fights seven signs of aging and helps get rid of dark circles.
Pros: This eye cream is affordable, and effective. It visibly softens fine lines, and helps your eye baggage be much less noticeable.
Cons: It can feel heavy and oily.
Try this Drunk Elephant product, which is loaded with vitamins C and E and cucumber, and is stupidly effective, as is the rest of the line. This cream is packed with good stuff, and free of of essential oils and fragrance. It is vegan and made without gluten, silicone, and irritants.
Pros: A few little, tiny drops go a long, long way.
Cons: Some report that the product can be irritating so as with all skin care products, do a spot test first.
The gel texture is refreshing and cooling, and feels super-relaxing on exhausted eyes. Plus, the Vitamin C helps with dark circles.
Pros: The energizing gel goes on like velvet (really!). And it has caffeine in it, to help boost circulation and reduce puffiness.
Cons: If you’re not into gel creams, skip this one.
Think of this as a delicious dessert for your eyes. It’s a lightweight blend of Vitamin C, kakadu plum, potent antioxidants, caffeine and tripeptide technology to perk up your optics.
Pros: It’s free of all the things, including parabens, phthalate, fragrance and sulfates.
Cons: Some say that it can, in fact, be very drying.
Best eye creams for crow’s feet:
“With age, collagen in the skin becomes weak, leading to wrinkling. If you have under-eye lines and crepey skin, use a cream that contains retinol. Retinol stimulates collagen to strengthen the skin foundation and minimize the appearance of lines,” says Zeichner.
This non-greasy potion is crammed full of anti-aging retinol. It's an eye lift, without the actual lift.
Pros: Fans promise that you’ll see smoother skin before you know it.
Cons: The retinol can be irritating in rare cases, so tread with some caution.
This multi-tasking boss cream is a combo of two major anti-aging superpowers: NIA-114 and retinol. It works morning and night and wrinkles, you've been put on notice.
Pros: It really does bag your under-eye bags, and gives your orbs a smoother look and feel. Use a light touch when applying it.
Cons: You should use this consistently, morning and night, to see results. So, no slacking!
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. Plus, it's from a brand that consistently delivers some of the best skin care around, for a great price.
Pros: It’s ideal for sensitive skin.
Cons: It can still be irritating for some.
Best eye creams for tired eyes:
“If you noticed that skin starts to become droopy and weak, look for under eye creams that contain lifting ingredients that help restore the skin’s scaffold,” says Zeichner. “Botanical ingredients that have been shown to strengthen the skin.”
You know how you wake up with tired, puffy, irritated eyes? Yeah, us too. This cream has a lovely buttery texture and cools your eyes when you apply it, which is a welcome feeling especially during allergy season. And it leaves your skin feeling silky.
Pros: This helps your eyes look brighter, smoother and happier.
Cons: The aforementioned texture and coolness factor? Some folks aren’t fans.
La Mer is to skin care what Tesla is to cars. And this product could well be a game-changer because you see and feel the results. The secret sauce here is hematite, a magnetically charged mineral, to help dissolve the look of dark circles, discoloration and uneven skin tone. You can actually feel your skin suck this up. It doesn’t sit on the surface, but actually gets absorbed. And it works for every skin type.
Pros: It leaves your eye area softer, and somehow more energized.
Cons: The price. That’s a lot of dollars to blow on skin care. But converts swear by it.
You want pure, powerhouse retinol? Here you go. Not only is this luxe balm mad-effective, but it also goes on like velvet and is a makeup artist go-to. And you need to apply one dot, about the size of a grain of rice, so expect this to last and to wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to take on the day.
Pros: Skin care aficionados swear by this product, because it does exactly what it promises to do.
Cons: The price can be a bit steep, but this product doesn’t seem to run out, especially since you use this at night.
Best eye creams for brightening eyes:
“With age and genetics, the area under the eye may become hollow making you look tired. This is a volume issue creating a shadow under the eye. Look for an under eye gel that contains plumping ingredients like hyaluronic acid,” says Zeichner.
Yes, this is a total splurge. But the cream's hyaluronic acid helps hydrate your eye area, and it's got plankton extract and amino acids to help brighten them.
Pros: We love the metal applicator, and it absorbs instantly.
Cons: The price.
For a sweet drugstore price, you get a cream packed with ceramides 1, 3 & 6-II; hyaluronic acid, plus a patented marine complex, all of which work together to help light up your eye area.
Pros: This is a tried and true beauty buff favorite. It feels thick and rich when you apply it, so do so using small dabs of it that you gently rub in. And the price is right.
Cons: Can leave a slight tingling sensation. And as with many of these creams, there’s no overnight fix and you need to use them consistently to see results.
You can't beat the price, and it's a fast-acting retinol cream that will truly brighten your trouble zones thanks to its combo of glucose complex, and hyaluronic acid.
Pros: You should see results in just a week.
Cons: Can be irritating to some.
It has the perfect creamy-light texture and counts micro hyaluronic acid among its main ingredients. It’s packed with peptides that somehow magically make everything just that little bit brighter. If you can’t get enough shut-eye, just fake it with the natural pearlizers that give this cream the magical ability to brighten things up and blur anything unsightly.
Pros: There’s a simple reason to use and that’s because you skin sucks it up.
Cons: Some say it can rub off too easily.
Best SPF eye creams:
We love that this cream packs on the SPF. Plus, you apply it using a metal wand, which feels like you dipped your eyes in ice, in the best way possible.
Pros: The mineral sunscreen gives you immediate protection, which is a must-have, and it’s ideal for sensitive skin. The formula also addresses under-eye circles. Boom!
Cons: Some folks didn’t like the the texture.
This is a perfect daily grab and go eye cream because it’s got SPF, which we already know is a must, plus the price is totally reasonable. It absorbs quickly, leaves zero residue and can be used as a standalone eye cream, or over another product.
Pros: It’s not loaded with fancy ingredients, or the price tag to match, and it gets the job done.
Cons: It can be a little drying.
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