Hydrating eye cream is an integral part of any comprehensive skincare routine. In fact, our senior editor, Lindsey, proved that fact when she thought she could skip it. "After consulting with a few skincare experts to fact-check myself, I've since had to put my foot in my mouth," Lindsey said after learning of the step's importance.
"The skin around the eyes is thin, and there are no oil glands in this area to help with keeping the area moisturized," explains Joyce Imahiyerobo-Ip, MD, director of cosmetic dermatology at South Shore Medical Center. "Collagen weakens easily in this area, which results in deep lines and wrinkles." Because of this, the eye area tends to show signs of aging before any other area on the face, she adds.
So what to do? Rather than preaching any further about how much you need an eye cream, we're going to collect the best hydrating options and explain why they're particularly effective. Then you can take action yourself and purchase the one best suited for you. Without further ado, see our most treasured formulas.
Best Overall: Renée Rouleau Total Eye Repair Creme
"Finding the right eye cream to hydrate dry skin lies in the ingredients used in the formula," says celebrity esthetician Renée Rouleau. "You need ones that actually repair the lipid moisture barrier in the skin and prevent transepidermal water loss. There have been many breakthroughs in the science of moisture retention."
The ingredients used in her Total Eye Repair Creme, including shea butter, soybean sterols, ceramides, phospholipids, linoleic acid, and vitamin E, correct both the lack of oil and hydration deep within your skin. "They work to repair the skin's lipid moisture barrier to make your skin moist, supple, and smooth," Rouleau explains.
Best for Fine Lines: BioEffect EGF Eye Serum
"Bioeffect isn't just any anti-aging line, though: It's engineered with Nobel Prize-winning science and 10 years of biotechnology that helps you practically age in reverse," says our managing editor, Lindsey, a huge devotee of the brand's face serum.
"EGF is a naturally occurring skin protein known for its ability to help stimulate the skin's own renewal process," notes Kristinn Grétarsson, CEO of Bioeffect. "The results actually tell us that instead of layering moisture on top of the skin, as is the case with your typical cream or lotion, EGF actually works to hydrate the skin from within."
Such is the case with the eye serum as well. It contains a potent dose of EGF to naturally activate cell regeneration, as the formula's gel texture rebalances your moisture levels.
Best for De-Puffing: Sunday Riley Auto Correct Brightening and Depuffing Eye Contour Cream
"Even though I'm late to the game with Sunday Riley's Autocorrect, I've been applying it like some people apply lip balm—addictively and probably more often than is actually necessary," gushes our assistant editor Erin. "It's supremely hydrating but somehow surprisingly lightweight in texture. It instantly diffused the look of my dark circles, and best of all, it never irritates my eyes."
Best Drugstore: RoC Retinol Correxion Line Smoothing Anti-Aging Wrinkle Cream for Dark Circles and Puffy Eyes
RoC is known for its powerful retinol formulas at an affordable price point, and this eye cream is no different. The lightweight cream doesn't pill or ball up under makeup and it doesn't irritate skin when applied. For luxury-level results at a bargain price point, try this one out.
Best Brightening: Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Crème
Like most eye creams, this one vows to target fine lines, reduce the look of dark circles, and support natural collagen production—only, it actually does what it says and instantly brightens and deeply hydrates your under-eyes. The formula is inspired by banana powder, a product used to color-correct dark under-eyes, and it contains yellow pigments that actually do that. Only it's not makeup: It's a blend of vitamin C, collagen, and superior hydration.
Best Splurge: La Mer The Eye Concentrate
La Mer's rich and deeply emollient formula hydrates around your eyes using a mix of hematite, a magnetically charged, iron-rich mineral, and the brand's signature Miracle Broth (a blend of sea kelp; calcium; magnesium; potassium; lecithin; iron; vitamins C, E, and B12; plus oils of citrus, eucalyptus, wheat germ, alfalfa, and sunflower).
Best Budget: CeraVe Eye Repair Cream
This drugstore option contains three essential ceramides to repair and restore your protective skin barrier, as well as hyaluronic acid to help retain moisture.
The best part? It was developed in conjunction with dermatologists for science-backed safety and effectiveness. "It decreases transepidermal water loss, a term that means it decreases how much water the environment draws out of your skin," says Rachel Nazarian, MD, of Schweiger Dermatology Group.
Best Thick Texture: Kiehl's Creamy Eye Treatment With Avocado
A celebrity favorite and longtime mainstay of the brand, Kiehl's Creamy Eye Treatment is ridiculously thick and insanely hydrating. It uses a blend of shea butter, cocoa butter, and avocado oil to moisturize, soften, and keep your under-eyes properly lubricated.
Best for Wrinkles: Philosophy Ultimate Miracle Worker Fix Eye Power-Treatment
I don't usually believe all the hype when it comes to beauty products, but this eye treatment's clinical trial results were too positive to ignore. According to the website, after a four-week independent clinical and self-assessment study with 31 women ages 45 to 65, 97 percent of women saw a creaseless eye area that looked ironed flat in as little as 12 days, and 100 percent saw a less-crinkled eye area in just 31 days. I tried the creamy, light-feeling formula a few months ago and haven't looked back.
Best Applicator: Fenty Skin Flash Nap Instant Revival Priming Eye Gel-Cream With Green Tea + Persian Silk Tree
Marketed as a "flash nap," this cream is the next best thing to a full eight hours of sleep. Hyaluronic acid plumps up skin (see ya bags), horse chestnut diminishes puffiness, and green tea extract is full of protective antioxidants. On top of that, this cool-to-the-touch rolling tool makes applying eye cream feel like a treat.
Best for All Skin Types: Dr. Barbara Sturm Eye Cream
Dr. Barbara Sturm uses her background in medicine to create products centered on cell hydration and anti-aging. Her eye cream was specially developed with purslane, skullcap, and active omega fatty acids for an intensely hydrating result.
Best Gel Texture: Valmont Moisturizing Eye-C Gel Moisturizing Eye Gel
This lightweight gel plumps and deeply moisturizes your skin as its cooling effect instantly soothes your under-eyes. It helps rid your face of fatigue, puffiness, and sagginess in one fell swoop.
Best Fragrance-Free: Olay Hyaluronic Acid + Peptide 24 Fragrance-Free Gel Eye Cream
Hyaluronic acid and peptides team up to cool and hydrate the under-eyes. This fragrance-free formula is safe for sensitive skin. Gently tap on to de-puff and smooth. Use morning and night.
Best Multi-Tasker: Kiehl's Super Multi-Corrective Anti-Aging Eye Cream
Some eye creams target lines, some target dryness, some target puffiness, but this eye cream targets everything. Formulated for all skin types, this lightweight treatment uses the power of niacinamide to brighten and fill in fine lines and collagen peptides to plump and hydrate.
Best for Sensitive Skin: Drunk Elephant Ceramighty AF Eye Cream With Ceramides
For a long time, ceramides have been the unsung hero of skincare. Not anymore. Ceramides help support the skin barrier, so irritation and redness are a thing of the past. This gentle formula has a powerful impact. Safe for even the most sensitive skin, the lightweight gel delivers much-needed hydration to even the driest patches.
Best for Under Makeup: Youth to the People Superfood Hydrate + Firm Peptide Eye Cream
Packed with firming peptides, soothing aloe, and hydrating hyaluronic acid, this plumping and hydrating cream fights against dry spots and fine lines. Dab some on before applying makeup for a more refreshed look.
Best for Mature Skin: QMS Intensive Eye Care Day and Night Eye Cream
This eye cream nourishes the delicate under-eye area with the help of jojoba oil, avocado oil, and of course, hyaluronic acid. This hydrating blend fights fine lines and reduces puffiness. Apply a pea-sized amount morning and night.
What helps hydrate under eyes?
There are multiple ways to keep the skin under your eyes hydrated. First, make sure you are physically hydrated, so your skin stays moisturized. For an extra boost in hydration, apply an eye serum before using your eye cream. Then, look for hydrating ingredients in your eye cream like hyaluronic acid, peptides, squalane, glycerin, fatty acids, ceramides. etc.
Esquirol Caussa J, Herrero Vila E. Factor de crecimiento epidérmico, innovación y seguridad [Epidermal growth factor, innovation and safety]. Med Clin (Barc). 2015;145(7):305‐312. doi:10.1016/j.medcli.2014.09.012
Spada F, Barnes TM, Greive KA. Skin hydration is significantly increased by a cream formulated to mimic the skin's own natural moisturizing systems. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2018;11:491‐497. doi:10.2147/CCID.S177697
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