The 15 Best Eye Creams Dermatologists Actually Use on Themselves

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Best Eye Creams

Byrdie / Chloe Jeong

When on the hunt for the very best eye creams, you kind of have to play Goldilocks. It can't be too thick or too subtle—it has to be just right. Eye creams that are too emollient wreak havoc on thin, impressionable under-eye skin, which can lead to milia (tiny cysts underneath the skin), and creams that aren't moisturizing enough are just kind of… there. But because there's seemingly a new "best" eye cream (or serum or gel) popping up every day, it's hard to test every single formula to find the ones that truly work.

Instead of sifting through endless piles of bottles and tubes, I went straight to a few dermatologists (they know a thing or two about skincare, after all) to find out which products they use on themselves for bright, taut under eyes. As it turns out, many of their tried-and-true formulas are fairly under the radar.

And while each dermatologist has their own personal favorite product, they mention a few common ingredients to look for: peptides, which stimulate collagen production, hyaluronic acid to hydrate, and other skin soothers like aloe vera and green tea extract. Depending on your eye area concerns, you might want to look for a product that depuffs and diminishes dark circles or reduces crow's feet.

Take a look at the best eye creams on the market, according to top dermatologists below.

Our Top Picks
This eye gel contains peptides to help stimulate collagen production.
This budget-friendly product contains a blend of retinol and vitamin B3 to address both fine lines and dullness.
This eye balm is powered by a patent combining vine resveratrol with hyaluronic acid for an age-reversing effect.
Vitamins K, E, and C work together with green tea extract to brighten dark under-eye circles.
Filled with peptides, goji fruit, and vitamin C, this cream targets fine lines, dark circles, and puffiness.
This product contains soothing ingredients like aloe vera and smoothing ingredients like green tea, kombucha, and shea butter.
This hydrating lotion will cost you a pretty penny, but it really works, targeting dark circles and puffiness.
This luxe serum contains niacinamide and plankton extract to address under-eye hyperpigmentation.
While it's a more of a color-corrector than your typical eye cream, it's a good formula for camouflaging dark circles.
This product contains time-released retinol, which helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles over time.
In This Article

Best Overall: Baebody Eye Gel

baebody eye gel
What We Like
  • Good value

  • Smooths & firms

  • Doubles as a facial moisturizer

What We Don't Like
  • Not for very dry skin

Dermatologist Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, founder and director of Capital Laser and Skincare, says this is the best of the best eye cream. It's ideal for thinning skin, which increases the visibility of underlying blood vessels, causing dark circles. "It contains peptides to help stimulate a bit of collagen but isn't too drying."

Active Ingredients: Organic aloe, peptides, plant stem cells | Benefits: Reduces puffiness and dark circles | Size: 1.7 fl. oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

What Our Testers Say

"The Baebody Eye Gel’s effective results, quantity, and price point simply can’t be matched." — Ashley Rubell, Product Tester

Best Drugstore: Olay Regenerist Retinol24 Night Face Moisturizer

Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Face Moisturizer
What We Like
  • Inexpensive

  • Contains retinol

  • Smooths lines

What We Don't Like
  • Can cause sensitivity

Dr. Caroline Robinson, MD, FAAD, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Tone Dermatology, recommends this cream because it "contains a blend of retinol and vitamin B3 in a creamy formula to address both the fine lines and dullness that we see with aging."

For those who might not be able to tolerate the retinol ingredient due to some dryness or irritation, she also says, "I like Olay Eyes Ultimate Eye Cream which has amino peptides instead of retinol in a similar formula."

Active Ingredients: Dimethicone, tapioca starch, retinol | Benefits: Reduces fine lines and wrinkles | Size: 1.7 fl. oz | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Wrinkles: Caudalie Resveratrol Lift Hyaluronic Acid Eye Lifting Balm

Caudalie Resveratrol Lift Eye Lifting Balm
What We Like
  • Depuffs eyes

  • Contains a powerful antioxidant

  • Smooths lines & lifts

What We Don't Like
  • Not the best value

Key Ingredients

Resveratrol is a naturally occurring antioxidant that can be found in the skin of grapes, peanuts, all berries, and even dark chocolate. It's part of a group of compounds called polyphenols which act as key antioxidants, serving on the front lines to protect the cells against damage that leads to cellular aging.

"This natural eye balm is powered by a patent combining vine resveratrol with hyaluronic acid for an age-reversing effect," explains dermatologist Karen Hammerman, MD, of Schweiger Dermatology Group. "Formulated with advanced peptides and an anti-puffiness plant complex, this eye balm helps lift the skin of the eyelids, reduce puffiness and dark circles, and smooth the appearance of wrinkles. The texture is silky and melts into skin without the use of synthetic emulsifiers, and it works especially well under makeup."

Active Ingredients: Resveratrol, hyaluronic acid | Benefits: Depuffs and reduces fine lines and wrinkles | Size: 0.5 fl. oz | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for Under-Eye Circles: Revision Skincare Teamine Eye Complex

Revision Teamine Eye Complex
What We Like
  • Blend of antioxidants

  • Smooths fine lines & wrinkles

  • Illuminates eye area

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

Key Ingredients

Vitamin E is an antioxidant vitamin and an oil often found in anti-oxidant blend topicals or moisturizers. It also help soothe the skin and protects the lipid barrier.

"This is one of the best eye creams because it works through multiple pathways to visibly diminish the look of dark under-eye circles, reduce the appearance of puffiness and smooth the look of fine lines and wrinkles," says Hammerman. "Vitamin K, vitamin E, vitamin C, and green tea extract in this anti-aging cream work together to brighten dark circles and minimize under-eye puffiness. Sodium hyaluronate deeply hydrates and calms irritation, while peptides smooth stubborn fine lines and wrinkles. It also contains additional antioxidants for more anti-aging benefits."

Active Ingredients: Palmitoyl pentapeptide-4, grape seed oil, vitamin C | Benefits: Reduces dark circles | Size: 0.5 fl. oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Puffiness: Revision Skincare D.E.J Eye Cream

Revision DEJ
What We Like
  • Plumping, nourishing ingredients

  • Moisturizes

  • Soothing formula

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

"Filled with peptides, goji fruit, and vitamin C, I find this is great for fine lines, dark circles, and puffiness," says Melissa Doft, MD, of Doft Plastic Surgery.

Active Ingredients: Alpha-Glucan Oligosaccharide, peptides | Benefits: Reduces fine lines | Size: 0.5 fl. oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Cooling: Sircuit Skin I. Cee. U.+

Sircuit I. Cee. U
What We Like
  • Soothing formula

  • Contains antioxidants

  • Cooling feel

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

Doft explains that this offering has a "full gel feel" with a cooling prowess: "It contains soothing ingredients like aloe vera and butcher's broom extract and smoothing ingredients like green tea, kombucha, and shea butter." Say it with us now: ahhh.

Active Ingredients: Jojoba oil, green tea, shea butter, proline | Benefits: Firms and moisturizes | Size: 0.5 fl. oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Splurge: RéVive Intensité Les Yeux Firming Moisture

RéVive Intensité Les Yeux Firming Moisture
What We Like
  • Fades dark circles

  • Hydrates & firms

  • Contains peptides

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

Put simply, Doft says this is a "hydrating lotion that decreases dark circles and puffiness." It'll cost you a pretty penny, but one customer swears it's worth the price tag: "I am always looking for the 'fountain of youth' in a cream—this is the closest to that I have found."

Active Ingredients: Olive oil, peptides, hydrolyzed wheat protein | Benefits: Firms and hydrates, reduces dark circles | Size: 0.5 fl. oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Luxury: Epara Skincare Eye Serum

Epara Skincare
What We Like
  • Firming ingredients

  • Helps fade hyperpigmentation

  • Byrdie Clean

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

Dr. Robinson also recommends this serum, praising it for its effective ingredients. She says, "[this serum] contains niacinamide and plankton extract to address under eye hyperpigmentation. Epara means 'to cocoon oneself' in the Nigerian dialect of Ebira, and this line of luxury science-based products is something that is needed now more than ever. As a Nigerian-American and dermatologist, I was delighted when I recently discovered this product."

Active Ingredients: Bamboo silk powder, niacinamide, licorice root extract | Benefits: Firms and reduces puffiness | Dosage: 1 drop | Size: 0.5 fl. oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Color Correcting: Clinique Even Better Eyes Dark Circle Corrector

Clinique Even Better Eyes
What We Like
  • Conceals & fades dark circles

  • Multitasking formula

  • Cooling feel

What We Don't Like
  • Contains silicone

While it's a bit more of a color corrector than your typical eye cream, Dr. Tanzi says this is a good staple formula for camouflaging dark circles. While one of its main functions is to conceal, it's a hybrid treatment that's clinically proven to visibly lighten dark circles by 30% in 12 weeks.

Active Ingredients: Green tea, whey protein, palmitoyl ogliopeptide | Benefits: Brightens and cools skin | Size: 0.3 fl. oz | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Retinol: Dr. Brandt Skincare 24/7 Retinol Eye Cream

dr-brandt-eye-cream
What We Like
  • Reduces fine lines

  • Time-released retinol

  • Good value

What We Don't Like
  • Low concentration of retinol

"This is a personal favorite because of the time-released retinol, which has been proven to help build up your own collagen and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles over time," says dermatologist Shereene Idriss, MD. "This is ideal for someone who struggles when applying makeup under their eyes due to it caking within the fine lines."

Active Ingredients: Ruby powder, retinol | Benefits: Reduces fine lines and wrinkles | Size: 0.5 fl. oz | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Triple Duty: First Aid Beauty Eye Duty Triple Remedy A.M. Gel Cream

First Aid Beauty Eye Duty Triple Remedy AM Gel Cream
What We Like
  • Hydrates

  • Good value

  • Firms

What We Don't Like
  • Contains silicone

"This is one of the best eye creams for those seeking instant gratification," says Idriss. "It's a potent combination of peptides, seaweed, and red algae extract that helps soften imperfections while hydrating your skin."

Best for Repair: Nia 24 Eye Repair Complex

Nia24 Eye Repair Complex
What We Like
  • Intensive treatment

  • Illuminates eye area

  • Hydrates

What We Don't Like
  • Not the best for eye bags

"This Nia24 eye cream is a great treatment, especially after a long night out," says Idriss. "It's caffeine content helps to de-puff the under eyes, while the combination of vitamin C, licorice, and white birch help to brighten up the dark circles. I personally apply this first before any primers or concealers, as it offers an opaque luminescent sheen that instantly lightens you up."

Active Ingredients: Licorice root extract, peptides | Benefits: Firms and reduces puffiness | Size: 0.5 fl. oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Crow's Feet: SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Eye Complex

SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Eye Complex
What We Like
  • Contains antioxidants & peptides

  • Moisturizes

  • No alcohol

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

"It's one of my longtime favorites," beams dermatologist Julie Russak, MD. "This is a silky formulation that comes in a balm texture, perfect for the delicate eye area. Not only does this eye cream reduce the appearance of crow's feet and wrinkles, but it also helps to combat advanced glycation end products, a major factor in the aging process. SkinCeuticals' science is always impressive."

Active Ingredients: Blueberry extract, Proxilane, peptides | Benefits: Reduces fine lines and wrinkles | Size: 0.5 fl. oz | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Sensitive Skin: Tatcha Ageless Revitalizing Eye Cream

Tatcha Ageless Revitalizing Eye Cream
What We Like
  • Velvety feel

  • Nourishing formula

  • Ideal for sensitive skin

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

"Known for its honeysuckle and peony extracts, Tatcha's eye cream will give your skin that extra boost of energy that it needs," says Russak. "Ideal for all skin types, this eye cream will visibly diminish lines along with offering powerful anti-aging benefits. It's great for sensitive skin, as it's nonirritating."

Active Ingredients: Squalane, camellia japonica seed oil, hyaluronic acid | Benefits: Improves elasticity, reduces fine lines | Size: 0.1 / 0.5 fl. oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Hyaluronic Acid: Specific Beauty Lighten & Brighten Eye Cream

Lightening and Brightening Eye Cream
What We Like
  • Fades dark circles

  • Illuminating formula

  • Good value

What We Don't Like
  • Contains mineral oil

Key Ingredients

Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring polysaccharide found in the human body. It acts as a cushioning and lubrication agent for our joints, nerves, hair, skin, and eyes. When used in skincare, it acts as a moisture binder, which means that it will attach itself to the water in the cells (while also attracting and holding water from the air) making them plump.

Dr. Heather Woolery-Lloyd formulated this eye cream with melanin-rich skin in mind, expressing, "I created Specific Beauty to restore the beautiful, radiant, glowing skin that you were born with," making it an ideal choice for anyone looking to safely and effectively even their complexion. This eye cream uses hyaluronic acid and green tea extract to target dark circles, fine lines, and wrinkles, with results that deliver. Users say it noticeably lightens under-eye circles.

Active Ingredients: Vitamin E, niacinamide, ubiquinone | Benefits: Reduces dark circles and fine lines | Size: 0.5 fl. oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Final Verdict

When it comes to the best of the best in eye creams, our top choice is the Baebody Eye Gel, which zaps away dark circles and de-puffs eye bags like a pro. Plus, it contains peptides that help to stimulate collagen production. For targeting crow’s feet, we’re looking to the SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Eye Complex. This silky balm not only helps to reduce the appearance of existing lines and wrinkles, but it works great as a preventative measure against impending signs of aging thanks to blueberry extract. And finally, we’re reaching for the Nia 24 Eye Repair Complex whenever our eyes need a pick-me-up, especially after a long night. It offers instant de-puffing benefits thanks to caffeine, while vitamin C, licorice, and white birch brighten up dark circles.

What to Look for in an Eye Cream

Hydrating Benefits

First and foremost, Dr. Tanzi says to look for eye creams that offer hydrating benefits. Even if puffiness and dark circles are your main concerns, the skin surrounding the eye area is extra delicate and needs ample hydration in order to remain smooth and youthful. Look for ingredients like fast-absorbing hyaluronic acid, nourishing plant butters and oils, and barrier-repairing ceramides.

Brightening Benefits

Dr. Tanzi recommends also looking for eye creams that contain brightening ingredients, which can help improve the appearance of dark circles and, overall, make you look more awake and alert than you actually are. Antioxidants like vitamin C are good options since they help to brighten the skin, while caffeine can offer quick relief to both dark circles and puffiness since it helps to constrict blood vessels. Light-reflecting particles are also helpful, as they can help temporarily fake a brighter, more even appearance. 

Non-Irritating Formula

Finally, Dr. Tanzi says that eye creams should be non-irritating. The skin surrounding the eyes is extra thin and delicate, and something with too many active ingredients could cause an unpleasant reaction. Plus, because you’re applying these creams so close to your actual eye, you wouldn't want to use anything that would burn should it accidentally get into your lash line. It’s best to avoid anything heavily scented, but also look for formulas that specifically state that they’re eye-safe. 

FAQ
  • Is eye cream necessary?

    According to Dr. Tanzi, when it comes to taking care of the delicate skin surrounding your eyes, eye creams are definitely a necessity. “The skin surrounding your eyes is very different from the rest of the face, and it has its own special needs,” she says. Eye creams are formulated specifically for this part of the face, meaning they typically contain a lower concentration of actives and are formulated to be much more nourishing than your average moisturizer—especially nighttime formulas.

  • Can eye creams actually eliminate dark circles?

    Eye creams can be quite effective at combating dark circles; however, Dr. Tanzi says it’s important to use a cream with ingredients that target their specific cause. “If your dark circles are from puffiness, then an eye cream with caffeine is helpful,” she says. “If the dark circles are related to darkened skin, then you'll want to use an eye cream with a skin-lightening ingredient.”

  • How should you apply eye cream?

    Dr. Tanzi says to apply eye cream twice daily, immediately after washing your face and before you apply any other serums, creams, or other treatments to allow for the best possible penetration.

  • Should you put eye cream on eyelids?

    Dr. Tanzi only recommends applying eye serums to the upper eyelids, as cream formulations can be too thick for this area.

Meet the Expert

Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist and founder and director of Capital Laser and Skincare in Washington, D.C.


Dr. Caroline Robinson, MD, FAAD, is a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Tone Dermatology in Chicago.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
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