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We get it, an eye cream may seem like an unnecessary product (why not just use your regular moisturizer?), but it’s actually an important part of any good skincare routine. The skin around your eyes is different than the rest of your face; it’s the thinnest skin anywhere on the body and, as such, deserves some special consideration and a product uniquely formulated for it.
Let’s also not forget to mention that the eye area is where signs of aging show up first and using a dedicated eye cream is one of the best ways to both prevent and reverse unwanted wrinkles, sagging, and more. If you’re still not sold on the idea, consider the fact that you don’t have to spend big bucks to find a great eye cream. The drugstore is rife with formulas that deliver impressive results on the cheap and our picks below are proof positive. Now, are you convinced?
Read on for the best drugstore eye creams.
No matter your particular peeper problem (say that three times fast), this multi-tasker is the solution. It targets wrinkles, puffiness, and dark circles and works both instantly and over time. The color-correcting technology immediately brightens and makes you look well-rested (even when you’re not), while a peptide and mineral blend minimizes lines as you keep you using it.
This formula is the product of over 20 years of research on skin cell biology, specially created to renew and regenerate the delicate area around your eyes. Plus, it can be used not only under and around the eye, but also on the lid to address crepey skin. We’re big fans of the pump applicator, which dispenses the perfect amount every time and means you don’t have to worry about dipping germy fingers into a jar.
There’s a good reason why dermatologists sing the praises of this fan favorite time and time again. It relies on retinol, the be-all-end-all anti-aging ingredient that effectively fights fine lines and wrinkles. Still, it’s hypoallergenic and gentle enough to use around the eyes, so you don’t have to worry about the potential for irritation.
If you’re looking to tighten loose skin, this cream will come to the rescue. Vitamin A and pro-vitamin B5 both plump and firm, and this formula also touts an alpha-hydroxy acid for gentle exfoliation to make skin appear smoother and brighter. It even contains optical diffusers that help to immediately boost radiance.
We know what you’re thinking—why is a lightweight serum a better option for dryness than a thicker cream? Well, it’s because this serum is unlike any others we’ve tried. It may sound counterintuitive—despite this product's light texture, it’s still insanely moisturizing and delivers hydration deep into the skin for up to 48 hours. Credit hyaluronic acid and vitamin E, among other ingredients, all in a fragrance-free and ophthalmologist-tested formula that’s also great for sensitive skin.
Here’s the bad news: There’s no magical cream that will completely eliminate dark circles. The good news is that there are options that can help, including this one. First and foremost, its subtle tint instantly camouflages and brightens discoloration, while the metal-tipped applicator gently massages the skin to boost circulation and further helps minimize dark circles. But it works even more over time, with brightening and pigment-fighting ingredients that can make a big difference after just a few weeks.
If you don’t love the feeling of thick and rich cream around the eyes, consider a serum—namely, this one. The featherweight, non-greasy formula soaks in quickly, simultaneously delivering an amino-peptide complex to smooth wrinkles and plenty of hydration. Bonus points for the subtle brightening effect.
This brand is beloved for offering all kinds of products especially for sensitive skin, and this eye cream is no exception. Because the skin around the eyes is so thin, it can be even more susceptible to irritation than the rest of your face, making gentle formulas like this a must. Non-comedogenic and fragrance-free, it won’t clog pores or stress out this fragile area, though it does offer plenty of hydration, thanks to the addition of ceramides and hyaluronic acid.
Finding a good eye cream to use in the morning can prove to be trickier than expected. One that’s too oily can be a recipe for concealer meltdown and mascara smudges—no thank you. Enter this alternative, which uses fragmented hyaluronic acid to deeply hydrate yet still absorbs into the skin quickly without any residue. It also contains caffeine to fight dark circles and has a gel texture that feels innately cooling and refreshing, making it perfect for sleepy mornings when you need a little boost.
Make this newbie a staple of your bedtime routine and thank us later. Another retinoid-based option, it uses retinyl propionate, a slightly more potent (and effective) version than the retinoids typically found in other drugstore products. It’s paired with niacinamide, a top-notch brightener, and is also insanely affordable, especially considering the highly effective results.
If your eye area is feeling red and irritated—be it due to late-night festivities, allergies, or a sob-fest—try this skin-saver. Milk thistle hydrates and calms, and there are also hydrating probiotics in the mix, along with antioxidant-rich matcha green tea extract. It also has a barely-there, color-correcting green tint to further help tamp down redness, and a cooling metal applicator that makes it feel extra lovely as it goes on.
The star of the show here is vitamin C, an overall standout ingredient in the skincare world, but even more so when talking about eye creams. Not only is it a potent, protective antioxidant (and obviously you want extra protection for this delicate skin), it also stimulates collagen production and helps combat spots and even out skin tone. In other words, it’s a triple threat that’s ideal for use around the eyes. As if that weren’t enough, anti-aging peptides and collagen round out the ingredient list in this luscious yet non-greasy cream.