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, we 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. Take a look at the best eye creams on the market, according to top dermatologists below.
"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."
"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."
"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.
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.
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."
Dermatologist Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, founder and director of Capital Laser and Skincare, says this 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."
While it's a bit more of a color corrector than your typical eye cream, 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.
"This eye cream has growth factors and caffeine, which reduces under-eye puffiness by constricting blood vessels to reduce fluid buildup," explains Tanzi.
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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's science is always impressive."
"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."
While we know these eye creams are a bit more on the expensive end of the spectrum, here are some top-performing drugstore eye creams.
This post was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated by Erin Jahns.