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Eye creams, maybe just as much as serums, attract a certain kind of mystique. Plenty of questions surround this skincare category—what they do, why you can’t use face moisturizers instead and if they’re even necessary. At the most basic level, eye creams protect and hydrate the skin around your eyes with concentrated ingredients like Vitamin A, peptides, Vitamin C, and even caffeine. Products that aren’t formulated for the eye area, like face moisturizers, can be too heavy for the delicate tissue and cause small, rigid bumps called milia if used under the eyes.
On top of that, different eye cream formulas will target specific concerns like minimizing wrinkles or even preventing them—though, if your eye bags and circlesare a hand-me-down from your parents, the effectiveness of and success you have with topical products may vary.
But eye creams aren’t just for anti-aging. They can also brighten, de-puff, and stimulate the circulation around the eye to wake up your face. They even act as a primer for concealer. With each product, a little goes a long way. When applying, use about the size of a Q-tip point for both eyes. Apply your cream with your ring finger, the weakest one, to avoid tugging on the skin, and use a soft and rapid tapping motion to help the eye cream skin into your under eye skin. Here, the best eye creams you can buy now.
Best Overall: Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Cream
Just like the popular banana powder referenced in its name, this lightweight Danish eye cream brightens dark circles under the eyes. As you smooth it on, yellow pigments color-correct circles for immediate results.
Meanwhile, glow-boosting Vitamin C evens out skin tone and collagen brings back elasticity and firms the skin. This eye cream doubles as a primer for concealer and even helps cut back on how much concealer you need, according to reviewers. Pack this cream in your gym makeup bag or your flight carry-on while traveling to reduce the number of products you have to lug around.
Best for Puffiness: The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG
Housed in an apothecary-style dropper like many of Deciem’s other products, this solution’s watery consistency leans closer to a serum than a true eye cream. Nevertheless, the high concentration of caffeine and epigallocatechin gallate (or EGCG), an antioxidant which comes from green tea leaves, do an impressive job of depuffing your eyes.
The dropper-style applicator makes it easier to dispense the right amount of solution. Use a drop at most for both eyes (one reviewer said she rubs the excess along her jawline), and be careful to wash your hands before touching your eyes (as in eyeballs) to avoid irritation.
Best for Dark Circles: Origins Ginzing Refreshing Eye Cream
Whether you woke up late, slept facedown all night, or barely made it to bed before sunrise, two key ingredients in this eye cream will help you cover up the evidence: coffee beans and skin-brightening ginseng, all in a cheerful orange jar. Reviewers said they looked more well-rested, thanks to the caffeine reducing undereye bags and overall puffiness. The fragrance is minimal, and the product absorbs quickly. The peach-colored cream also leaves a slight, pretty shimmer underneath the eyes for extra luminosity that isn’t glaringly obvious. On no makeup days, use this refreshing cream instead of concealer and pair with a tinted moisturizer or BB cream to let your skin breath.
Best for Wrinkles: Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream
Perfect for existing signs of aging like sallowness and wrinkles, this affordable find comes in an unassuming blue tube. Despite the humble packaging, it contains noteworthy ingredients like retinol and hyaluronic acid, which stimulate collagen production and hydrate for plumper skin. This, in turn, minimizes the appearance of fine lines and even crow’s feet, according to reviewers who saw improvement in as little as a few days. Like with any other retinol product, exercise caution when starting out and let your skin adjust before adding higher amounts to your skincare routine.
Best Drugstore: RoC Retinol Correxion Eye Cream
Whether you’re venturing into eye care for the first time or want an effective product without dropping too much cash, this popular cream delivers. With the help of retinol, a smoothing Vitamin A derivative, this affordable product plumps up the surrounding skin and evens out dark circles. Reviewers said it even wears well under makeup, so no pilling occurs if you layer concealer on top. If you’ve never used retinols or retinoids before, the low amount of retinol in this cream serves as a good introduction. Still, start out with a tiny amount once every other day to test your tolerance. If you don’t experience irritation, build up to using this cream daily, both morning and night.
Best Korean: Belif Peat Revital Eye Cream
K-Beauty fans may already be familiar with another offering from this brand—the cult favorite, super-moisturizing Aqua Bomb eye cream. This product, however, focuses more on fighting signs of aging and fatigue. Peat extract, the main ingredient, is rich in antioxidants and hydrates, plumps, and aids in skin turnover, while the anti-inflammatory properties soothe and nourish the eye area. Reviewers were pleased with how quickly the cream absorbed into the skin with a light tap. Plus, you get a generous amount of product in the jar. Luckily, the product also pairs well with concealer, making it appropriate for your morning routine, no matter how rushed.
Best Natural: 100% Pure Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream
For fans of natural cosmetics, this option from 100% Pure is a great one. The inclusion of coffee bean and green tea in this cream’s ingredient list are promising if your concerns are mostly swelling and signs of fatigue, but what’s equally interesting is what it leaves out: fragrances, dyes, and chemicals that aren’t derived from plants. It’s also vegan. Even with a pared-down ingredient list, this caffeine-heavy eye cream brings reliable results. It depuffs, brightens, and comforts tired eyes. The light cappuccino scent, housed in a compact tube, is a bonus, especially for coffee lovers.
Best for 20-Somethings: Garnier SkinActive Clearly Brightener Eye Roller
When you’re in your twenties, skincare is all about prevention. That being said, you don’t want to pick up an eye cream that’s too rich as it could be too much too soon. The best option for you? This de-puffing rollerball under eye serum from Garnier. This gel-meets-serum formula is made with brightening vitamin C, refreshing mint, and de-puffing caffeine to immediately cool and refresh your under-eye area.
The micro-stimulating roll-on applicator is made with a cooling metal which helps de-puff and reduce the appearance of under eye bags. If you want even more of a cooling-sensation, pop the eye cream in the fridge before use. You’ll look bright-eyed and bushy-tailed even if you were out late the night before and are running on just a few hours of sleep. Both morning and night, gently roll the product under the eye from the inner corner to the outer corner, then pat in excess.
Best for Men: Brickell Men’s Restoring Eye Cream for Men
Eye cream is an essential part of anyone’s grooming routine. It can help keep the eye area hydrated and assist with other issues like puffiness, dark circles, and fine lines. If you’re looking for an eye cream to add to your skincare regimen, then it’s time to call on this restorative eye cream that’s formulated just for men. This do-it-all balm-like cream is made with 70 percent organic ingredients including caffeine, vitamin A, vitamin C, and hyaluronic acid.
It also features skincare star iMatrixyl 3000, an ingredient that can boost collagen and therefore decrease the appearance of your fine lines over time. The eye cream is also free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates, petrochemicals, silicones, PEG’s, sulfates, synthetic fragrances, and gluten.
Another plus? It won’t sit on top of your skin. Thankfully, the lightweight cream absorbs quickly leaving your eye area looking brighter and less puffy upon immediate contact. Dab a pea-sized amount under your eyes both morning and night.
Best for Dryness: CeraVe Repair Eye Cream
If you’re plagued with dry under eyes, then you know how much of a pain it is to keep the area hydrated. Not only do you suffer from pesky flakes and uncomfortable dry patches but applying makeup over the area can be a total pain. If this sounds unfortunately familiar, then this classic drugstore eye cream from CeraVe will be your saving grace.
Featuring an uber-hydrating blend of antioxidants, ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and jojoba oil, this creamy formula sinks into the skin leaving the area feeling moisturized, not parched. This is also a great option if you have sensitive skin as it’s hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and non-comedogenic (meaning it won’t clog your pores).
If you also suffer from dark circles and puffiness you’re in luck. On top of all the mega-hydrators inside the eye cream, there’s also a marine & botanical complex which helps reduce the look of dark circles and puffiness.