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Chances are if you're already waking up wondering if you need eye cream, the answer is probably yes. The skin around your eyes is incredibly thin and delicate and starts to age much faster than the rest of your face, which in turns shows signs of aging much faster than your body. There are plenty of eye creams gentle enough for younger skin that isn’t yet wrinkled, and all the extra moisture will help prevent signs of aging in the long run. Think of this purchase as a gift to your future self.
Best Overall: Clinique Pep-Start Eye Cream
Clinique introduced a generation of young women to skincare with their wildly-popular three-step method, and now, they're ready to do the same with eye cream. The brand has created the perfect entry-level product: a lightweight cooling cream packaged in an airtight tube to minimize oxidation and contamination. The cream utilizes a roller-ball applicator which helps fight puffiness, while the formulation is fine for use morning or night. Pep-Start has a slight cooling sensation, and it dries slightly tacky, making it easy to apply concealer and makeup on top. While it’s not heavy on specialized ingredients, the inclusion of peptides help support collagen production in your undereye area, and it’s allergy and ophthalmologist tested, and free of oil and fragrance. All in all, it's a great foray into eye creams.
Best Budget: e.l.f. Illuminating Eye Cream
One of our favorite bargain finds is this e.l.f. Cosmetics Illuminating Eye Cream, a surprisingly rich and nourishing formula that helps hydrate your undereye area and minimize dark circles and puffiness. The cream is infused with jojoba and vitamin E oil and uses cucumber to help soothe and protect your skin. Antioxidants like Shea butter and green tea help to improve your overall skin quality, and the paraben-, phthalate- and sulfate-free formula is gentle on your skin. After applying your serum and moisturizer, gently apply around the undereye, out to the temples, and along the brow bone.
Best for Treating Wrinkles: Kate Somerville Dermal Quench Liquid Lift™ + Retinol
Thanks to the addition of retinol, this powerful product can reverse signs of aging by relaxing fine lines and wrinkles, building collagen, and beating back sun damage and skin texture. Kate Somerville's Dermal Quench Liquid Lift is a relatively mild cream, perfect for someone in their 20s who is still getting used to retinoids. This formula also uses Kate Somerville’s Rare Botanical Extracts, which are derived from plants that have two types of natural bioretinols, and soybean extract to accelerate absorption. If you’re concerned about how your skin will react to retinol, start by using it every other night or mixing it with a neutral moisturizer to help dilute the effects of the active ingredients.
Best for Preventing Wrinkles: Charlotte Tilbury Magic Eye Rescue Cream
Charlotte Tilbury spent twenty years working with beauty labs to create this cult favorite eye cream that seems to firm, smooth, and brighten from the first application. An active botanical complex reduces puffiness and dark circles, and plant stem cell extract encourages your skin to regenerate and improve firmness and bounce. The cream also contains a mild retinol for an anti-aging boost, as well as a bionymph peptide to help fight free radicals that cause wrinkles. It feels incredibly luxurious going on, thanks to a coconut oil and shea butter base mixed with vitamins A, C, and E, and those rich moisturizers lock in the generous amount of active ingredients to let them go to work. And as befits a product designed by a beauty guru, it’s simply gorgeous—the rose-gold packaging is an eye-catching addition to any 20-somethings bathroom #shelfie.
Best for Brightening: Tatcha The Pearl Tinted Eye Illuminating Treatment
Apply Tatcha’s Pearl Tinted Eye Illuminating Treatment in the morning and you'll be looking refreshed and ready to meet the day. The formula is designed to deliver both moisture and coverage that incorporates light-refracting pearl pigments from Akoya pearl extract to counter under-eye darkness. The Pearl’s treatment uses their hadasei-3 anti-aging superfoods, and hyaluronic acid to help nourish and plump skin while supporting collagen production and inhibiting hyperpigmentation with niacinamide to brighten and firm. Dark circles aren’t just caused by lack of sleep or a bad hangover—they’re really due to thin skin, blue undertones, and pigmentation—so the cosmetic aspects of the product are equally as important as skincare. Silk powder smooths out fine lines, and botanical extracts protect from makeup and pollution.
Best for Depuffing: Dr. Jart Water Fuse Hydro Soothe Eye Gel
We absolutely love Korean skincare line Dr. Jart for how their products feel on the skin, and this ultra-hydrating gel-cream is no exception. It harnesses ingredients like pumpkin extract, arnica, and bromelain to help fight puffiness, and Dr. Jart’s signature AquaMinerals help maintain moisture levels all day long. Natural ingredients like Himalayan pink salt (to support natural cell regeneration) and Belgian hot spring water remove impurities from pores, while Aquaicia and oligo-HA hydrate all day long. It’s great for sensitive skin as it’s free of common irritants, and manages to keep your delicate eye skin adequately hydrated without feeling oily or heavy around your eyes. Gel formulas are fun to keep in the fridge for an even more cooling effect, and it’s safe to use in the morning before sun exposure—just don’t skip the sunscreen!
Best for Dark Circles: Shiseido White Lucent Anti-Dark Circles Eye Cream
The Japanese skincare gurus at Shiseido specially developed a breakthrough ingredient for this powerful nighttime eye cream that doesn’t just cover up dark circles, it actually treats the underlying causes. The eye cream mounts a two-pronged attack on the major causes of dark circles: it fights pigmented melanin (which causes brown circles) by supporting natural melanin production and improves poor micro-circulation in the undereye area (which causes blue circles) to give long-lasting benefits to your skin. It actually fades existing pigmentation too, so you’ll instantly notice a difference in your appearance. If you’re using it during the day, you’ll definitely see the brightening effect of the luminizing powder that diffuses light away from the problem area, so if you’re going for that “flawless” look, make sure this is in your arsenal.
Our writers spent 4 hours researching the most popular eye creams on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 30 different creams overall, screened options from 20 different brands and manufacturers, read over 20 user reviews (both positive and negative), and tested 3 of the creams themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.