The 12 Best Eye Creams to Combat Under Eye Puffiness

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The 9 Best Eye Creams for Puffiness of 2022

Byrdie / Sabrina Jiang

We’ve all been there: You wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, and are baffled as to how on Earth your eyes got so puffy. The point is, under-eye puffiness is normal—no matter whether it’s transient or persistent—though the causes behind both are a bit different. If you’re constantly dealing with major undereye bags, a prominent fat pad could be to blame, says New York City board-certified dermatologist Dr. Hadley King. 

Meet the Expert

Dr. Hadley King is a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. She is also a Clinical Instructor of Dermatology at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University and specializes in both medical and cosmetic dermatology.

We all have a fat pad under our eye, but, thanks to good ol’ genetics, some of us have larger, more noticeable ones than others. On the flip side, if your puffiness comes and goes or is worse in the morning and dissipates by evening, it’s likely due to excess fluid retention, she says. Several lifestyle factors can exacerbate this, including things such as eating too much salty food, not getting enough sleep, and even allergies and sinus problems, adds Dr. Alan Parks, a board-certified dermatologist in Columbus, Ohio.

Meet the Expert

Dr. Alan Parks is a board-certified dermatologist in Columbus, Ohio. He is the founder of Eastside Dermatology & Skin Care Center, as well as the founder of DermWarehouse.com, and has been practicing dermatology for over 30 years.

The bad news? There’s no easy way to address a prominent fat pad. The good news? There are ways to combat the other type of puffiness. Lifestyle tweaks—think laying off the chips and dirty martinis before bed, sleeping with your head elevated on an extra pillow, actually getting eight hours of sleep—can help mitigate things greatly, as can the right eye cream. Both dermatologists we spoke with say formulas that contain caffeine are a good choice; it constricts the blood vessels and can reduce the amount of accumulating fluid, explains King. Anything cold also helps, be that your eye cream, cold spoons, even cucumber slices, she adds.

Meet the Expert

Dr. Ronald Moy is a cosmetic surgeon, lecturer, and author. Dr. Moy is also a fellow of the American College of Mohs Surgery and the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, a member of the American Academy of Facial Plastic Surgery, and has published more than 200 scholarly articles on cosmetics and dermatologic surgery.

Here, are the best eye creams to reach for when you wake up with seriously puffy peepers.

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

First Aid Beauty Eye Duty Triple Remedy AM Gel Cream

 Courtesy of Ulta

What We Like
  • Multi-tasking formula

  • Can reapply any time to refresh eyes

  • Can use on lower and upper eyelids

What We Don’t Like
  • Expensive

What do buyers say? 76% of 200+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

One of King’s top picks, she likes that it contains that oh-so-important caffeine to help constrict blood vessels. But the benefits don’t stop there. This formula also hydrates and firms and even feels innately cooling—an awesome pick-me-up on sleepy mornings. Along with caffeine, it also contains a tripeptide blend to help fight fine lines and wrinkles, too.

Active Ingredients: Caffeine, tripeptide blend | Benefits: De-puffs, hydrates, firms | Size: 0.5 fl. oz. | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Budget: The INKEY List Caffeine Eye Cream

The Inkey List Caffeine Eye Cream

Sephora

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Layers nicely under makeup

What We Don’t Like
  • Could be more hydrating

Don’t want to spend a ton of money on eye cream? Pick up this guy. For less than the cost of your lunchtime salad, you get an effective formula that combines caffeine and a line-smoothing peptide, all in a lightweight texture that layers beautifully under makeup. (Because we’re willing to bet you’re going to want to apply a little concealer under those eyes, right?) Up the ante by keeping it in the fridge.

Active Ingredients: Caffeine, tripeptide blend | Benefits: De-puffs, smooths lines | Size: 0.5 fl. oz. | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Firming: Peter Thomas Roth Instant FIRMx Eye Temporary Eye Tightener

Peter Thomas Roth Instant FIRMx Eye Temporary Eye Tightener

Sephora

What We Like
  • Great for a fast fix

  • A little goes a long way

What We Don’t Like
  • Can leave a white residue

Yes, this is the product that went viral on social media, but the hype is warranted. Several proprietary combos of ingredients, including one made of silicates and seaweed, form a film over the skin, instantly tightening it and drastically minimizing the look of bags. The results are temporary for sure, but, for a fast fix it’s worth a try. (FYI, you only need a teeny-tiny amount under each eye to get the job done.)

Active Ingredients: Firm-aTite, Eyeliss | Benefits: De-puffs, tightens | Size: 1 fl. oz. | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Gel Formula: Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Hyaluronic Marine Dew It Right Eye Gel

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Hyaluronic Marine Dew It Right Eye Gel
What We Like
  • Non-irritating formula

  • Lightweight

  • Hygienic bottle

What We Don’t Like
  • Could be more hydrating

By definition, gel-based formulas contain more water than lotions or creams. It’s why they’re more lightweight and also have an innately cooling feel, as is the case for this de-puffer. At work is hyaluronic acid to help attract water to the skin for plumpness and hydration, plus caffeine for de-puffing purposes. This is another great pick to keep in the fridge, as it will feel all the more cooling if you do.

Active Ingredients: Sodium hyaluronate, sea whip extract, caffeine | Benefits: Smooths fine lines and wrinkles, reduces puffiness, hydrates | Size: 0.5 fl. oz. | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best With SPF: Colorescience Total Eye 3-in-1 Renewal Therapy SPF 35

3
Colorescience Total Eye 3-in-1 Renewal Therapy
What We Like
  • Multi-tasking formula

  • Metal applicator tip

  • Comes in four tints

What We Don’t Like
  • Can be hard to blend in

Parks says that this is a great de-puffing pick in its own right (and has a metal applicator tip that helps make it even more so), but that it’s also choice because it contains SPF. “It can prevent sun damage that decreases the production of collagen and elastin,” he says. It has protective antioxidants, too, and comes in four tints to help camouflage not only bags but dark circles as well.

Active Ingredients: Titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, peptides | Benefits: Sun protection, de-puffs, coverage | Size: 0.23 fl. oz. | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for A.M.: Origins Ginzing Vitamin C Eye Cream

Origins Ginzing Vitamin C Eye Cream

Ulta

What We Like
  • Multi-tasking formula

  • Comes in two pearlized tones

What We Don’t Like
  • Unhygienic container

Boosting radiance and de-puffing is the name of the game for this formula, both things you want in the morning. Vitamin C does the former (as does niacinamide), while ginseng and caffeine do the latter. Plus, it also comes in two pearlized tones—which don’t add tint or color, necessarily, but do help to make skin look a little more even and radiant, even before makeup.

Active Ingredients: Titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, peptides | Benefits: Boosts radiance, de-puffing | Size: 0.23 fl. oz. | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: No

Best for P.M.: Pond’s Rejuveness Lifting & Brightening Eye Cream

Pond’s Rejuveness Lifting & Brightening Eye Cream
What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Multi-tasking formula

What We Don’t Like
  • Leaves a residue behind

King says this is one of her most-recommended eye creams. While it’s not going to have the instant de-puffing effects as some of the others on this list, it does contain plenty of beneficial ingredients that are good long-term, think retinol to help stimulate collagen production, which can lead to thicker skin and make bags and puffiness less apparent. There’s also niacinamide (vitamin B3) to help improve tone and texture, she says. The point is, it’s good to use at night (when you don’t need the de-puffing right away) and can reap the long-term benefits with continued use.

Active Ingredients: Niacinamide, retinol complex | Benefits: Hydrates, improves tone, smooths fine lines | Size: 1 fl. oz. | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Moisturizing: Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Eye

4.2
kiehl's Midnight Recovery Eye

Ulta

What We Like
  • Absorbs quickly

  • Fragrance-free

  • Hygienic bottle

What We Don’t Like
  • Lavender scent can be polarizing for some

Another great nighttime pick, this oil-based formula is extra moisturizing, great for dry skin. Still, it also contains a plant-based extract that helps to fight puffiness; apply this and prop your head up on an extra pillow and you’ll be golden come morning.

Active Ingredients: Lavender essential oil, evening primrose oil, ruscus aculeatus root extract | Benefits: De-puffs, smooths, moisturizes | Size: 0.51 fl. oz. | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Anti-Aging: SkinMedica TNS Eye Repair

TNS Eye Repair

Courtesy of SkinMedica

What We Like
  • Multi-tasking formula

  • Layers nicely under makeup

What We Don’t Like
  • Expensive

“This contains hyaluronic acid, peptides, retinol, vitamin C, and other powerful actives that both de-puff and decrease signs of aging,” says Parks of one of his top choices. In short, it contains everything but the kitchen sink, a great all-around eye cream that really can do it all, especially if you’re trying to turn back the clock. (Which helps to combat the sticker shock over the price tag.)

Active Ingredients: Human fibroblast conditioned media, peptides, vitamin E | Benefits: Smooths fine lines and wrinkles, reduces puffiness, hydrates, fades dark circles | Size: 0.5 fl. oz. | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best With Antioxidants: Fresh Black Tea Firming and De-Puffing Eye Cream

Fresh Black Tea Firming and De-Puffing Eye Cream
What We Like
  • Feels cooling on skin

  • A little goes a long way

What We Don’t Like
  • Doesn't dramatically reduce puffiness

A proprietary black tea complex (hence the name) packs a powerful punch of antioxidant protection in this formula, whose whipped and luxurious texture we also appreciate. (As a quick reminder, antioxidants help prevent skin-damaging free radicals, super important anywhere on your face, but especially on the delicate skin around your eyes.) A little bit goes a long way, and it also works for all skin types.

Active Ingredients: Black tea complex, noni fruit juice | Benefits: Smooths fine lines and wrinkles, firms and boosts elasticity, hydrates, fades dark circles | Size: 0.5 fl. oz. | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Splurge: Neocutis Lumiere Firm Illuminating Tightening Eye Cream

Neocutis Lumiere Firm Illuminating Tightening Eye Cream

Amazon

What We Like
  • Multi-tasking formula

  • Pump-top bottle

What We Don’t Like
  • Expensive

Worth the splurge, Parks says that this formula—which relies on growth factors, caffeine, and peptides—is proven to tighten and boost radiance in the under-eye area, leaving it looking smooth and de-puffed. It feels nice and silky, and we also like that it comes in a pump-top bottle that disperses the ideal amount every time.

Active Ingredients: Growth factors, caffeine, peptides | Benefits: De-puffs, firms, smooths, boosts radiance | Size: 0.5 fl. oz. | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Serum: The Ordinary Caffeine 5% + ECGC Depuffing Eye Serum

3.7
The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG
What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Lightweight

  • Layers nicely under makeup

What We Don’t Like
  • Could be more hydrating

Don’t love the feeling of thick eye creams? Try a lightweight eye serum instead, or more specifically, this one. It’s packed with caffeine, both straight-up and from ECGC, derived from green tea leaves. Just a small amount—easy to dispense from the eyedropper top—helps to knock out dark circles and puffiness, and you can then easily add another eye cream on top if you need more moisture.

Active Ingredients: Caffeine, ECGC | Benefits: De-puffs, fades dark circles | Size: 1 fl. oz. | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Final Verdict

If your puffiness is chronic, a topical eye cream may not be able to do much. But if it’s temporary, then the right eye cream can help. The First Aid Beauty Eye Duty Triple Remedy AM Gel Cream gets our top vote, packed with caffeine that helps constrict blood vessels. The ingredient is also the star of the show in The Inkey List Caffeine Eye Cream and The Ordinary Caffeine 5% + ECGC Depuffing Eye Serum, both super affordable options, the latter of which is also very lightweight. And if you’re looking for a great multi-tasker to reach for in the morning, try the Colorescience Total Eye 3-in-1 Renewal Therapy SPF 35. Not only does it help de-puff (and has a metal applicator tip that feels extra cooling), it also contains protective SPF and has some tint to help conceal under-eye circles, too.

What to Look for in an Under-Eye Cream for Puffiness

Epidermal Growth Factor

"The best ingredient to help with eye puffiness is an epidermal growth factor,” he says. “Everyone has epidermal growth factor in their skin, but we make less of it as we age. Most other ingredients are just variations of moisturizers.”

Caffeine

“Any eye cream containing caffeine should help with puffiness, says King. “It constricts blood vessels and can therefore reduce the amount of fluid accumulating.”

Peptides

Not only are these a good anti-aging ingredient in general, but Parks says they’re good to seek out if you need de-puffing because they help to firm and tighten the skin.

FAQ
  • What factors into under-eye bags?

    Aside from the understandable factor of time—and a predisposition to eye puffiness from genetics—Moy says that some lifestyle choices may contribute. Potential causes include salt intake, seasonal allergies, lack of sleep, allergic reactions to makeup or medication, smoking, and excessive dryness, which causes inflammation.

  • Why do under-eye bags occur?

    “Imagine it like this: When a balloon deflates, loose material develops,” Moy says. “The same thing happens as we get older. We lose fat, which causes deflation, and that leads to puffiness.”

  • Can under-eye bags be avoided?

    Although Moy is clear that most of what has to do with eye puffiness comes as a result of aging or genetics, he does suggest that getting enough sleep and monitoring your salt intake can lessen bags’ appearance. If you suspect that the puffiness is a result of allergies, Moy recommends consulting a doctor about a prescription to help.

Why Trust Byrdie

Byrdie contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. She is well-known for waking up super puffy (especially after an evening of too many dirty martinis and/or salty snacks) and uses many of the eye creams featured on the list whenever that does happen.

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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  2. Gorouhi F, Maibach HI. Role of topical peptides in preventing or treating aged skinInt J Cosmet Sci. 2009;31(5):327-345. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2494.2009.00490.x

  3. Papakonstantinou E, Roth M, Karakiulakis G. Hyaluronic acid: A key molecule in skin agingDermatoendocrinol. 2012;4(3):253-258. doi:10.4161/derm.21923

  4. Al-Niaimi F, Chiang NYZ. Topical Vitamin C and the Skin: Mechanisms of Action and Clinical ApplicationsJ Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2017;10(7):14-17.

  5. Mukherjee S, Date A, Patravale V, Korting HC, Roeder A, Weindl G. Retinoids in the treatment of skin aging: an overview of clinical efficacy and safetyClin Interv Aging. 2006;1(4):327-348. doi:10.2147/ciia.2006.1.4.327

  6. Addor FAS. Antioxidants in dermatologyAn Bras Dermatol. 2017;92(3):356-362. doi:10.1590/abd1806-4841.20175697

  7. OyetakinWhite P, Tribout H, Baron E. Protective mechanisms of green tea polyphenols in skinOxid Med Cell Longev. 2012;2012:560682. doi:10.1155/2012/560682

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