Hydrating for up to 24 hours
Contains brightening ingredients
Very lightweight and fast-absorbing
Affordable price point
Cetaphil Hydrating Eye Gel Cream
We put Cetaphil's Hydrating Eye Gel Cream to the test after receiving a complimentary sample from the brand. Keep reading for our full product review.
As a beauty writer who’s had the opportunity to play with a fair share of fancy eye creams, I’ve learned that sometimes a simple, no-frills formula is actually what’s best for the skin. Enter Cetaphil’s Hydrating Eye Gel-Cream, a hyaluronic acid-powered treatment that promises the lightweight, fast-absorbing texture of a gel with the deep hydration of a cream. A team Byrdie favorite, this small but mighty eye cream offers 24 hours of intense hydration—something I’m very much in need of during the colder months of the year.
I put this dermatologist-tested and ophthalmologist-tested formula to the test over the course of a week to see if it lived up to the hype. Spoiler: It did.
Best For: All skin types
Uses: Deep hydration, improved appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
Potential Allergens: Fragrance
Active Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, licorice extract, and a vitamin complex
Byrdie Clean?: Yes
Price: About $15
About the Brand: Trusted and recommended by dermatologists for over 70 years, Cetaphil offers a wide range of skincare products that work for all skin types with tried-and-true formulas for sensitive complexions.
About My Skin: Super dry during the winter
I think most will agree that winter is not the kindest to our skin. Every year when outdoor temperatures drop and indoor heating becomes unavoidable, my skin becomes dry, dull, and sad, something I do my best to combat with heavier moisturizers, gentle exfoliation, and radiance-boosting ingredients like vitamin C.
While my cheeks tend to be the hardest hit in terms of dry patches, this year I’m making sure to focus on the delicate skin around my eyes, too. Having turned 30 over the summer, I’m beginning to notice fine lines forming under my eyes, and I’m doing all that I can to prevent them from becoming more noticeable. Plus, I’m prone to dark circles and puffiness, which I’d like to address as well. Cue eye creams!
In my effort to use eye creams more consistently, I’ve promised myself that I'll start using them at least once a day. Because the Hydrating Eye Gel-Cream’s formula is non-greasy and non-irritating, I used it the recommended twice a day over the course of a week, applying it after cleansing and before the rest of my regimen (serum, moisturizer, and SPF) to ensure maximum ingredient penetration.
Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid provides deep, lasting hydration
The key ingredient in Cetaphil's Hydrating Eye Gel Cream is hyaluronic acid, a powerful hydrating ingredient that draws moisture into the skin, keeping the skin supple and plump for 24 hours. It also contains brightening and anti-inflammatory licorice extract, which is great for fading dark spots, as well as a vitamin complex that helps to smooth out the skin. Both hyaluronic acid and licorice extract appear towards the top of the ingredient list, indicating they’re present in effective concentrations. While it’s not clear what ingredients make up the vitamin complex, I can attest to the product’s smoothing benefits.
It’s both dermatologist- and ophthalmologist-tested and is clinically proven to be non-irritating, making this a great choice for those with sensitive skin. It’s also considered clean by Byrdie’s standards.
The Feel & Scent: Lightweight and refreshing, never greasy
While it does contain PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, a slightly controversial ingredient, Cetaphil confirmed over email that this product is considered safe with the following statement: “While contaminants cannot often be removed during manufacturing processes, Galderma’s supplier of PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone does test for the presence of 1,4-dioxane as part of their release practices and reports it as undetectable by analytical methods at a limit of less than 1ppm.”
In terms of hydration, this eye cream truly delivers.
I’m pretty obsessed with the texture of this product. The unique gel-cream formula looks thick and heavy when it’s squeezed out of the tube, but as soon as you press it into the skin, it melts and absorbs instantly like magic. It’s also super refreshing with a subtle cooling sensation, which my dry skin craves this time of year. It leaves behind virtually no residue, creating a smooth texture that’s great as a base for makeup.
The formula does contain a very small amount of added fragrance, giving it a fresh, slightly citrus scent that isn’t overpowering and fades quickly. Considering that Cetaphil is recommended for sensitive skin and this particular product is ophthalmologist-tested, I wasn’t concerned about the fragrance irritating my skin or my eyes. As expected, it didn’t.
The Results: Deeply hydrating
As soon as I patted this eye cream all over my eye area, my skin instantly felt refreshed, smooth, and moisturized—it didn’t visibly look plumper or more awake, but it felt amazing. The product never felt heavy or greasy.
By the end of the day—when it was time to apply a second dose—my skin was still supple and soft to the touch.
At the end of the week, the skin surrounding my eyes was noticeably smoother and more hydrated than it was before starting this review (again, more of a feeling rather than a visible difference). I don’t really have an issue with spots or hyperpigmentation around my eyes, so I didn’t notice much of a brightening effect.
The Value: A great wallet-friendly option
The price point of Cetaphil's Hydrating Eye Gel Cream is typically between $12 and $19 per 0.5-ounce tube, making it a great budget-friendly option. Its no-frills formula doesn’t contain any fancy anti-aging ingredients, but it is deeply hydrating and refreshing, and because a little goes a long way, the tiny tube should last you quite a while.
Similar Products: You’ve got options
Glossier Bubblewrap ($26): Another hyaluronic acid-fueled moisturizer is Glossier’s Bubblewrap, a hydrating and smoothing treatment formulated for the eyes and the lips. Slightly more expensive than the Hydrating Eye Gel Cream but still falling into that affordable sweet spot, this water-in-oil emulsion offers lightweight moisture with the added benefits of squalane, avocado oil, and antioxidant-rich blueberry extract. While I personally didn’t find that plumped my eye zone as it claims to, I do think it’s a great everyday eye cream.
Tatcha The Pearl Tinted Eye Illuminating Treatment ($48): If dark spots and dark circles are what you’re looking to address, consider this luxe eye treatment from Tatcha. It comes with a heftier price tag than the Hydrating Eye Gel-Cream but is packed with potent skin-improving ingredients and features a subtle tint. Formulated with Akoya pearl extract, it addresses the three causes of darkened under-eyes: thinning skin, blue undertones, and pigmentation. It also contains brightening niacinamide, smoothing silk powder, hydrating hyaluronic acid, and the brand’s famed hadasei-3, a trio of Japanese anti-aging superfoods.
Overall, I think Cetaphil’s Hydrating Eye Gel Cream is a solid moisturizing eye cream, especially for the price. Its lightweight and fast-absorbing formula hydrates deeply, instantly leaving my eye area soothed, smoothed, and refreshed. I’ll be using this one all winter long—and beyond.
- Product Name Hydrating Eye Gel Cream
- Product Brand Cetaphil
- UPC 302993889168
- Price $15
- Weight 0.5 oz.
- Ingredients Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Glycerin, HDI/Trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, Butylene Glycol, Octyldodecanol, Dihydroxyisopropyl Capryloylcaprylamide, Niacinamide, Polysorbate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Polyacrylate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Crithmum Maritimum Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Poria Cocos Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Camellia Sinensis Seed Oil, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Sorbitan Olivate, Sucrose Cocoate, Caprylyl Glycol, Bisabolol, Dimethicone, Cetyl Palmitate, Sorbitan Palmitate, Serine, Phytosterols, Alanine, Glycine, Trideceth-6, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Sodium Carboxymethyl Beta-Glucan, Myristoyl/Palmitoyl Oxostearamide/Arachamide MEA, Biotinoyl Hexapeptide-2 Amide, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, Xanthan Gum, Silica, Glyceryl Stearate, Sorbitan Stearate, Phenoxyethanol, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Stearic Acid, Citric Acid, Fragrance