Fortunate is the person who has never complained about their under-eyes—and as it turns out, such people are few and far between. Case in point: Eye issues are always the topic du jour at Byrdie HQ, whether we’re discussing off-the-wall remedies for getting rid of under-eye bags or swapping favorite eye creams for battling fine lines and dark circles. Speaking on the latter, we pooled our collective beauty prowess together to present to you a guide to the best brightening eye creams out there that keep you from resembling a panda (well, your eyes at least). We’ve tried and tested many, and only a handful made the cut. Though we’re not touting these as miracle workers—sorry, one use won’t instantly get rid of your eye bags—they are certainly the best we’ve tried, and many of them currently grace our carefully curated bathroom counters. From super-luxe formulas to budget-friendly buys, these are our favorite brightening eye creams on the market right now.
This super-gentle eye cream is infused with vitamin C and maracuja fruit to hydrate and brighten your under-eyes. Antioxidant-rich rice bran, mango, and coconut extract fight off free radicals (and also sound like a delicious tropical breakfast).
Famed dermatologist Dr. Jean-Louis Sebagh created this eye cream to help combat puffiness and dark circles—and it’s risen to cult status among the Hollywood crowd overnight. Made with enzymes that supposedly shrink the capillaries that cause dark shadows, it’s a high-tech cream that promises results.
The hero product in this French eye cream is harungana, a tree from Africa that has been used for centuries for its soothing properties. Tap it under your eyes and watch fine lines and bluish tones fade over time.
Free of added color and fragrance and also cruelty-free, this clean formula refreshes and brightens the eye area with date seed extract and a patented peptide complex. It supports the skin’s natural regeneration process so you’re actively helping the delicate eye area resist aging by supporting collagen and elasticity.
Hylamide is one of CVS’s best-kept secrets for the simple fact that it delivers potent skincare ingredients at wallet-friendly prices. Our beauty director, Deven, recommends the eye serum, which contains a variety of peptides and plant saccharides to shrink dark circles and smooth fine lines.
This potent eye treatment from French brand Laboratoires Filorga is beloved by beauty editors for its dark circle– and puffiness-fighting abilities. Plus, the light formula sinks in instantly, making it perfect for daytime use.
Eco-chic brand Bottega Organica’s creamy eye treatment is made with cucumber and horse chestnut to soothe crêpe-y areas away, while arnica brightens and wild carrots help your skin repair and look more youthful over time.
There’s a reason this cult classic eye cream has over 1000 positive reviews on Sephora. Coffee bean extract tightens up sagging areas, while ginseng and magnolia extract instantly wake up tired eyes.
Byrdie senior editor Hallie loves this triple peptide-infused eye serum, which strengthens the under-eye area with nourishing vitamin B5 and hyaluronic acid. Meanwhile, licorice root extracts brightens shadows and dark circles.
The ultimate luxury treatment for your eyes, Charlotte Tilbury’s eye cream tightens and brightens crow’s feet and shadows with a blend of botanical actives, retinol, red algae, and more. Dab the formula in problem areas before bed, and wake up with looking bright-eyed—guaranteed.
This story was originally published June 1, 2016, and has since been updated.