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Let’s get the bad news out of the way first. The skin around your eyes is the thinnest on the body, making it the most susceptible to signs of aging and where these signs tend to show up first. (Hence why you may notice pesky wrinkles around your peepers before you spot them elsewhere on your face.) Now, moving onto the good news. Because this skin is so thin, it’s also where you can start to see the anti-aging effects of topical products—in this case, eye cream—show up the fastest.
The bottom line: Finding and using a good eye cream is definitely worth your time. There’s obviously no shortage of options out there, made to treat everything from dark circles to sagging. But if crows’ feet are your primary complaint, you’ll want to seek out a formula that targets fine lines and wrinkles specifically.
Ahead, the best anti-wrinkle eye creams that actually work.
While this may not be the right fit for the budget-conscious beauty shopper, the effects of this eye cream (a top choice for Byrdie Editorial Director Faith Xue) truly do justify the price. Credit triple the amount of the brand’s signature Miracle Broth, a hand-harvested blend of youth-boosting nutrients and minerals that helps to minimize the look of lines in just 21 days. It also contains a powerful antioxidant to prevent future damage before it sets in, and comes with an applicator to massage it in with.
When it comes to finding an affordable, effective eye cream, dermatologists recommend this formula time and time again. It boasts retinol, and address not only lines but dark circles and puffiness as well, giving you plenty of bang for your buck. Plus, it’s lightweight, non-comedogenic, and hypoallergenic.
Byrdie Senior Editor Lindsey Metrus is a fan of this formula, which uses arguably the best wrinkle-fighting ingredient of all-time: retinol. The vitamin A derivative is well-known for effectively stimulating collagen production to smooth out wrinkles. Here, it’s paired with ferulic acid, a standout antioxidant to help prevent environmental damage, plus brightening licorice root extract. Also noteworthy: The gel formula is lightweight enough that you can use it around the entire eye area, even on lids.
This line was created by a cosmetic chemist, so you can feel confident knowing that the products contain only the highest quality, most efficacious ingredients and pairings. In particular, vitamin C is the star of the show. The ingredient earns major props in the skincare world, but is especially choice for using around the eyes; it can help stimulate collagen production to diminish the look of fine lines, even out skin tone, and offers antioxidant protection. This formula uses a 5% concentration of a pure, patented, and extra-stable version of vitamin C, along with CBD to help tamp down inflammation or redness.
As is the case with any type of skincare in general, you can’t talk about anti-aging without talking about SPF. Daily sun protection is essential, particularly for the delicate skin around your eyes. So sport those sunnies whenever you’re outside and use this eye cream every morning. Along with that daily dose of oh-so-important SPF, it also contains natural oat peptides that reduce fine lines. It’s lightweight and silky, absorbing quickly so that you can easily layer makeup on top if you need to.
Another good retinol pick, this is formulated to be effective yet gentle enough that you can use nightly without the irritation that often comes with retinoids. (FYI, saving any retinol product for bedtime is a good move since the sun can inactivate the ingredient.) Further minimizing the risk of irritation is the fact that this is fragrance- and dye-free.
Great eye creams come at all price points, though if you’re seeking a budget-friendly pick you can nab at the drugstore, this is the one for you. It uses the brand’s unique blend of amino acids, calcium, and ceramides to address not only wrinkles but puffiness too. And we love the targeted applicator, which makes it easy to dispense just the right amount.
If you want to target both lines and discoloration, reach for this cream. True to the name it has a pale orange hue, inspired by the yellow ‘banana powder’ makeup artists use to help counteract dark circles. It’s loaded with vitamin C to both brighten and boost collagen production. So much so that in an independent clinical study of 37 women, 94% of users saw an average of 40% improvement in liens and wrinkles in just four weeks.
If you really want to treat yourself, try this indulgence, a top pick for Byrdie Senior Editor Hallie Gould. At work is a caviar extract that not only address lines and wrinkles, but also lifts and firms, all while imparting a hefty dose of hydration. It’s ultra-silky and absorbs lightning-fast, ideal for using both morning and night. We also appreciate the included silver spatula, which means you’ll never have to dip your grimy fingers into the jar.
For those wary of using products with potentially questionable chemicals around their eyes, this clean cream is choice. It uses a litany of different plant-based extracts to impart everything from hydration to antioxidant protection to, of course, wrinkle-fighting effects. And because it is a bit of a richer balm, it’s a great pick for those with very dry skin or who simply want to use a thicker product around their eyes.
The thin skin in the eye area is already more prone to irritation, and that’s even more so the case if your skin is sensitive to begin with. Enter this multi-tasker. It gets big points for being fragrance-free, as well as including specific soothing ingredients such as bisabolol and niacinamide. Still, it’s super effective, thanks to line-smoothing peptides plus a long list of other ingredients that work to hydrate and knock out dark circles, too.
On the flip side, if you don’t love the feeling of heavy eye cream, try this lightweight gel. It contains two different youth-boosting peptides, plus squalane, a top ingredient for delivering weightless moisture. There’s also caffeine to reduce dark circles, never a bad thing.
Our go-to move with any gel product is to stash it in the fridge to make it feel extra refreshing when it goes on, so be sure to do that here, and this gel is no exception.
As a general skincare rule of thumb, serums always give you a better bang for your buck when it comes to getting a higher concentration of active ingredients since they’re more lightweight than creams. This one touts a litany of them, including bamboo silk, niacinamide, and licorice extract to target wrinkles, as well as puffiness and tone. Plus, you can use it not only around your eyes but on your lids, too.
Eye cream works, but it will take some time to see results. If you don’t have the luxury of time, try these patches. Wear them for a few hours or overnight; made of medical-grade silicone, they lock in skin’s natural moisture to intensify hydration and smooth out the look of lines, stat. Results are temporary but do get better and last longer the more you use the patches.
For those days when you're short on your beauty rest, this eye mask gets the job done quick. Apply it for twenty minutes while you primp (or binge-watch videos) and let the all natural formula do the work for you. Not only will the cute shooting star design give you a gram-worthy glam moment, but it's packed with retinol to diminish fine lines and wrinkles for hydrated, de-puffed eyes.