There's something undoubtedly enticing about cosmetics formulated to improve the eye area. But if you're like lots of folks, you might not know what to make of this skincare category. Do you need to use eye cream, and if so, why can't you just use your regular moisturizer?
Byrdie Researched & Approved
We caught up with a few dermatologists to answer these very valid questions. "People use eye creams to help with crepey skin, wrinkles, dark circles, and 'bags' under their eyes," says Diane Madfes, MD, FAAD.
NYC-based dermatologist Hadley King, MD, explains that it's best to use products formulated specifically for the eye area because it's thin and delicate compared to the rest of your face. Besides hydrating the skin, Dr. King explains, eye creams "can have multiple additional benefits, depending on their ingredients."
Some of these all-star ingredients include retinol, caffeine, peptides, ceramides, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, aloe, green tea, and vitamins C and E—to name a few. So, what are the best eye creams out there today? We rounded up several suggestions from derms and tried a handful of these products ourselves, our testers rating each product’s texture and feel, ingredient list, and overall performance. While they come at a range of price points, many of their recommendations are priced pretty steep, so bear with us.
Without further ado, these are the best eye creams, according to dermatologists.
Best Overall: Revision Skincare D.E.J Eye Cream
Minimizes fine lines
Who else recommends it? Self and The Strategist both picked the Revision Skincare D.E.J Eye Cream.
What do buyers say? 84% of 100+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.
When it comes to eye cream, most dermatologists can agree on D.E.J. "It includes moisturizing ingredients to plump and support the skin barrier, as well as antioxidants to help protect the skin from free radicals and peptides to help stimulate collagen production," Dr. King explains.
"Revision eye cream is one of my favorites," says Dr. Madfes, who appreciates that the ultra-hydrating formula offers flexibility for day or night application.
According to Paul Jarrod Frank, MD, Revision D.E.J. "helps with lifting and overall tightening of the upper and lower lids." Not only that, but the results are long-term, and there's a good chance you'll see a noticeable improvement in as little as four weeks.
Active Ingredients: Alpha-glucan oligosaccharide, peptides, amino acids, goji fruit extract | Benefits: Smoothing, firming, hydrating | Size: 0.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Budget: Pond’s Rejuveness Lifting & Brightening Eye Cream
May sting eyes
"This may surprise your readers, but I don't recommend spending a lot of money on an eye cream," says Sheilagh Maguiness, MD.
You don't have to tell us twice! Dr. King is a fan of Pond's Rejuveness, a budget-friendly pick full of "moisturizing ingredients, as well as niacinamide (vitamin B3) to help improve tone and texture, and retinol to help stimulate collagen."
Active Ingredients: Niacinamide, glycerin, retinol | Benefits: Firming, smoothing, boosting radiance| Size: 1 ounce | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Drugstore: Olay Regenerist Retinol24 MAX Night Eye Cream
Can cause sensitivity
While Dr. Frank isn't a fan of Olay skincare products containing fragrance, he tells Byrdie, "Their Retinol24 fragrance-free is a good anti-aging choice that can help reduce fine lines and wrinkles."
Active Ingredients: Retinol, vitamin B3 | Benefits: Smoothing, boosting radiance | Size: 0.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Splurge: Chanel Sublimage La Crème Yeux Ultimate Regeneration Eye Cream
Evens skin tone
Chanel Sublimage is a favorite of Dr. Frank's. If you're willing to shell out the big bucks for noticeable results, this velvety-smooth eye cream won't let you down. The secret to the sauce is vanilla planifolia, which boasts a firming, evening effect with healing properties to boot.
Active Ingredients: Enriched vanilla planifolia | Benefits: Firming, hydrating, smoothing | Size: 0.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Gel: Baebody Eye Gel
Doubles as a facial moisturizer
Not for very dry skin
"Baebody is a cult-classic eye cream with phenomenal reviews for its cooling and hydrating effect," says Dr. Frank. The lightweight, ultra-hydrating gel formula is packed with skin-loving peptides, soothing organic aloe, and protective plant stem cells.
Active Ingredients: Organic aloe, peptides, plant stem cells | Benefits: Depuffing, soothing, hydrating | Size: 1.7 ounces | 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 for Sensitive Skin: Priori R-Spinasome Ultimate Eye Crème Moisturizer
According to Dr. Madfes, sensitive skin can always benefit from fewer ingredients. "The eye area is extremely sensitive. It's important to use products that have been specifically tested for tolerability and use in the eye area. I like a clean formula, such as Priori R-Spinasome Ultimate Eye Crème, as it uses green plant technology that is non-irritating and also boosts collagen."
Active Ingredients: Organic spinach | Benefits: Plumping, smoothing, hydrating | Size: 0.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Serum: Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum
Easy to apply
According to Dennis Gross MD, "Serums tend to be a thinner consistency than creams." This makes them a little easier to apply and spread around the delicate eye area.
Your best bet is this 1970s-esque brown tincture from Dr. Gross, a fast-absorbing, skin-smoothing retinol blend. Serums are typically followed by a moisturizer, but this one happens to be highly effective when used alone.
Active Ingredients: Retinol, bakuchiol, ferulic acid | Benefits: Smoothing, hydrating, toning | Size: 0.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best With SPF: Supergoop Bright-Eyed 100% Mineral Eye Cream SPF 40
Boosts radiance in eye area
May sting eyes
Eye creams can help smooth out crepiness and deliver a more even skin tone, but as Dr. King points out, "The best prevention is sun protection." With this in mind, we're loving this SPF 40 option from Supergoop! In addition to safeguarding your delicate skin from UV damage, it leaves a radiant under-eye in its wake.
Active Ingredients: Zinc oxide | Benefits: Sun protection | Size: 0.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Retinol: RoC Retinol Correxion Line Smoothing Eye Cream
Minimizes fine lines
May sting eyes
In addition to applying SPF every morning, Dr. King recommends "a nightly retinoid or retinol cream like Roc Retinol Correxion EyeCream to increase collagen." The vitamin A derivative addresses the most common concerns about the eye area, including puffiness, fine lines, uneven skin tone, and dark circles.
Active Ingredients: Retinol, vitamin E, glycerin | Benefits: Smoothing, toning, depuffing | Size: 0.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best for Fine Lines and Wrinkles: Shani Darden Skin Care Intensive Eye Renewal Cream
Rich, luxurious feel
Contains nine potent actives
Has clinical studies to back up efficacy
Whether you’re looking to prevent crow’s feet and wrinkles or are hoping to fade the appearance of existing ones, this powerhouse of an eye cream is for you. Powered by nine different actives (see: peptides, silk tree extract, squalane, and niacinamide), this luxuriously potent formula helps to soften lines, fade dark circles, and leave the eyes visibly firmer and brighter. Not to mention, it has the clinical studies to back these claims up.
Active Ingredients: Peptides, silk tree extract, squalane, niacinamide | Benefits: Fading lines and dark circles, firming, smoothing | Size: 0.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Daytime: First Aid Beauty Eye Duty Triple Remedy A.M. Gel Cream
Formulated for daytime use
Works well under makeup
Results aren't dramatic
If you tend to wake up with puffy eyes, you might want to add a caffeine-infused eye cream to your morning skincare roster. "Caffeine constricts blood vessels and can therefore reduce the amount of fluid accumulating," explains Dr. King. "One I like is First Aid Beauty Eye Duty Triple Remedy."
Active Ingredients: Petrolatum, caffeine, peptides, seaweed extract, squalane | Benefits: Hydrating, smoothing, depuffing | Size: 0.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Nighttime: Paula's Choice Resist Anti-Aging Eye Cream
Minimizes fine lines
Travel size available
Not for sensitive skin
"I love this product because it contains a blend of antioxidants, which improve the appearance of dark circles and minimize the appearance of wrinkles," says cosmetic injector Kristina Kitsos. "It helps hydrate the delicate skin around the eyes."
Active Ingredients: Shea butter, glycerin, vitamin C | Benefits: Hydrating, softening | Size: 0.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best for Dark Circles: Revision Skincare Teamine Eye Complex
Clinically proven results
Boosts radiance in eye area
According to Dr. King, Revision Teamine Eye Complex is one of the only clinically proven topical products that diminishes the look of wrinkles. "This serum contains seven different anti-aging peptides," she tells Byrdie. "It softens the appearance of seven types of expression lines: forehead lines, glabellar frown lines, crow's feet, bunny nose lines, nasolabial laugh lines, lip lines, and marionette lines."
Active Ingredients: Peptides, grape seed oil, vitamins C and E | Benefits: Smoothing, hydrating, softening | Size: 0.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Hydrating: Neocutis Lumière Illuminating Eye Cream
Plumps under-eye area
Saggy or crepey skin might just be thirsty. Dr. King recommends ultra-rich and super-moisturizing Neocutis Lumière, which "contains hyaluronic acid to hydrate and caffeine to help diminish puffiness." Dr. Madfes appreciates that the formula calls on vitamin C to boost skin's radiance.
Active Ingredients: Caffeine, vitamin C, matrix proteins | Benefits: Depuffing, boosting radiance, hydrating | Size: 0.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Brightening: REN Clean Skincare Brightening Dark Circle Eye Cream
Minimizes dark circles
Good for sensitive skin
Results aren't drastic
"Sensitive skin responds well to Ren Radiance Brightening Dark Circle Eye Cream," says Kitsos. "It has a special formula that is designed to limit irritation, and it includes bio-actives that work to brighten, hydrate, and plump the look of the entire eye area."
Active Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, glycerin, elderberry flower, vitamin C | Benefits: Boosting radiance, hydrating, plumping | Size: 0.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Depuffing: Fenty Skin Flash Nap Instant Revival Priming Eye Gel-Cream
Cooling and soothing formula
Works well under makeup
Long-term and short-term benefits
Puffy under-eye bags got you down? Looking (and feeling) like you need a serious nap? Look no further than this cooling and priming gel-cream from Fenty Skin. Infused with hyaluronic acid, horse chestnut, and green tea, this guy will visibly brighten and firm the skin around the eyes over time while providing an instant pick-me-up by reducing puffiness. Did we mention it makes the best base for concealer to mask those dark circles? This eye cream won’t give you more energy, but it’ll certainly make it look more alive—would you expect any less from Rihanna?
Active Ingredients: Horse chestnut, hyaluronic acid, green tea | Benefits: Hydrating, depuffing, soothing | Size: 0.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best With Vitamin C: SkinCeuticals AOX+ Eye Gel
Evens skin tone
Minimizes dark circles
Protects from free radicals
"Eye products containing antioxidants may also be helpful, such as SkinCeuticals AOX+, a potent vitamin C gel," offers Dr. King. "The antioxidant interferes with the production of pigment and will therefore brighten dark circles, improve pigmentation, and also prevent free-radical damage from UV light exposure."
Active Ingredients: Vitamin C, ferulic acid, caffeine | Benefits: Smoothing, toning, boosting radiance, depuffing | Size: 0.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Runner-Up, Best with Vitamin C: BeautyStat Universal C Eye Perfector
Brightens and depuffs
Improves skin texture
Another great (and slightly less expensive) vitamin C option is this cream from BeautyStat. With 5% vitamin C, it contains just the right amount of the powerhouse antioxidant to not irritate the delicate eye area, while hemp oil, hyaluronic acid, and EGCG help to further hydrate, smooth, and increase collagen production.
Active Ingredients: Vitamin c, hemp oil, hyaluronic acid, EGCG | Benefits: Brightening, smoothing, depuffing | Size: 0.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Clean: Biossance Squalane + Marine Algae Eye Cream
Improves skin texture
If you're partial to clean formulas, you'll appreciate this award-winning eye cream from Biossance. Dr. King likes that the lightweight, fast-absorbing formula "contains squalane, a helpful emollient, as well as niacinamide to help with tone and texture."
Active Ingredients: Squalane, algae, niacinamide | Benefits: Smoothing, firming, hydrating | Size: 0.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Tightening: Peter Thomas Roth Instant FIRMx Eye Temporary Eye Tightener
Works well under makeup
Results are temporary
Need a pick-me-up before heading to work or hitting the town? You might consider a tightening eye cream. "Eye creams work by two modalities: extreme hydration and tensor to tighten. My favorite for tightening is Peter Thomas Roth FIRMx Eye," says Dr. Madfes. If it's smoother, firmer skin you're after, this quick-fix potion will deliver instant (albeit temporary) results.
Active Ingredients: Silicates, seaweed extract, alfalfa, peptides | Benefits: Tightening, depuffing, smoothing | Size: 1 ounce | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Our best overall pick is Revision Skincare's D.E.J Eye Cream. It is well-loved for its effectiveness in brightening, moisturizing, reducing the appearance of fine lines, and more. For a more affordable option, try Pond’s Lifting & Brightening Eye Cream.
Meet the Expert
- Diane Madfes, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist specializing in dermatology and dermatologic surgery.
- Hadley King, MD, an NYC-based, board-certified dermatologist and Clinical Instructor of Dermatology at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University.
- Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist and founder and director of Capital Laser and Skincare in Washington, D.C.
- Paul Jarrod Frank, MD, a celebrity cosmetic dermatologist, the founder of PFRANKMD, and the author of "The Pro-Aging Playbook."
- Sheilagh Maguiness, MD, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School Department of Dermatology and the co-founder of Stryke Club.
- Dennis Gross MD, a board-certified dermatologist and the co-founder of Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare.
- Kristina Kitsos, a cosmetic injector and leading expert in medical facial aesthetics.
What to Look For
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 to remain smooth and youthful. Look for ingredients like fast-absorbing hyaluronic acid, nourishing plant butters and oils, and barrier-repairing ceramides.
Dr. Tanzi recommends also looking for eye creams that contain radiance-boosting 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 fade discoloration, 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 radiant, more even appearance.
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.
Is eye cream necessary?
According to Dr. Tanzi, when it comes to taking care of the delicate skin surrounding your eyes, eye creams are 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 [radiance-boosting] 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.
How We Researched & Tested
To compile this list, our team of editors and contributors spent hours researching the best products on the market in this category, evaluating their key features—like ingredients, shade range, or design—in addition to reviews from customers and other trusted sources. Our team also incorporated their own personal experiences testing products in their own lives. We then used these insights from our research and testing to assign a star rating from one to five (five being the best; one being the worst) to certain products on the list.
Why Trust Byrdie
Theresa Holland is a freelance commerce writer and skincare enthusiast specializing in self-care and cosmetics. For this article, she interviewed five dermatologists and a cosmetic injector, compiled their recommendations, referenced peer-reviewed studies, and researched the various formulations and active ingredients of dozens of products before ranking the top picks and sorting them into categories. Theresa has been contributing to Byrdie since 2020, where she covers makeup, skincare, haircare, and fitness gear.
The 28 best eye creams for every skin type, according to dermatologists in 2022. Self. https://www.self.com/gallery/best-eye-creams-dermatologists
The 13 very best eye creams. The Strategist. https://nymag.com/strategist/article/best-eye-creams.html
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