Lightweight, fast-absorbing formula
Hydrates while fighting signs of aging
Affordable price point
Slightly irritating for the first few uses
Didn’t work as fast as promised
Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream
We put Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream to the test after receiving a complimentary sample from the brand. Keep reading for our full product review.
When it comes to anti-aging skincare, retinol is by far one of the most powerful ingredients out there. Proven to help fade wrinkles and scars, smooth out the skin’s texture, clear up acne and blemishes, and reduce the appearance of sun damage, it’s no wonder that it’s a popular pick for anti-aging eye creams. As someone who doesn’t yet have deep lines or wrinkles to worry about, I turn to retinol to help keep the faint lines around my eyes under control, which is why I was especially excited to take Neutrogena’s Rapid Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream for a spin.
This Byrdie pick is a derm-recommended solution for visibly reducing fine lines and wrinkles, promising powerful results in just one week. Would Amazon’s best-selling eye treatment (impressive!) magically age me backward from 30 to 20? Read on to find out.
Best for: Most skin types, especially mature. Sensitive skin types should patch test first.
Uses: Fades the look of crows feet and dark under-eye circles, brightens and evens skin in the under-eye area, smooths fine lines and texture, hydrates, and rejuvenates.
Potential Allergens: Retinol
Active Ingredients: Accelerated Retinol SA, glucose complex, hyaluronic acid
Byrdie Clean?: No, contains BHT
Price: About $20
About the Brand: Founded in the 1950s as a simple bar of non-alkaline soap that was gentle enough to cleanse the face, Neutrogena has grown to become a drugstore beauty favorite, known for its dermatologist-recommended formulas and its philosophy that “healthy skin is the key to beautiful skin.” Now under the Johnson & Johnson umbrella of beauty brands, it offers a full range of skin care, hair care, and cosmetics.
About My Eyes: Starting to notice signs of aging
I like to think I have pretty good skin, but over the past year, I’ve started to notice faint fine lines forming around my under-eye zone, and I will do everything in my power to stop them. I also have a lot of trouble falling and staying asleep (hello, stress!), leaving my under eyes perpetually puffy and often plagued with dark circles. That said, I tend to reach for products that not only have anti-aging benefits but also contain brightening and depuffing ingredients like vitamin C and caffeine. I only recently started using retinol, but since I worry about the irritation it’s known to cause, I’ve been using a granactive retinoid, a much gentler form.
I love eye creams, but I tend to keep my skincare routine as simple as possible. I reach for serums and moisturizers I can apply all over my face, saving eye creams for when I think my eye zone needs some extra love, though this is something I’m trying to change. The idea that the Rapid Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream would not only fade fine lines but also improve my dark circles—and do so quickly—was a major selling point, and I was excited to make it part of my daily routine.
Over the course of two weeks, I applied it every evening after cleansing and before applying my PM moisturizer, gently patting it all around my eyes until it was fully absorbed. I usually apply an AHA or PHA exfoliator after cleansing most nights of the week, but because this cream contains retinol, I made sure to not apply any acids or other chemical exfoliants close to my eye area to avoid any irritation or reactions.
Ingredients: Retinol, a glucose complex, and hyaluronic acid reverse signs of aging
The key ingredient in the Rapid Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream is the brand’s Accelerated Retinol SA, a unique combination of retinol, a glucose complex, and hyaluronic acid. Retinol is an anti-aging hero, an exfoliant that’s proven to reduce the signs of lines and wrinkles, fade dark spots and circles, and retexturize the skin. The glucose complex is meant to act as a booster to the retinol, accelerating the skin’s surface activity for faster results, while hyaluronic acid hydrates, plumps, and rejuvenates the delicate skin surrounding the eyes.
Retinol is the second to last ingredient listed while the glucose complex (myrtus communis leaf extract) and hyaluronic acid also appear towards the end of the ingredient list. However, retinol is potent and usually doesn’t need to be present in high concentrations to be effective. In terms of being clean, this formula doesn’t pass Byrdie’s standards due to the inclusion of BHT, but it is free of sulfates, phthalates, parabens, dyes, and aluminum.
The Feel & Scent: Lightweight and fresh
I’ve tried out tons of eye creams throughout my career, and I find that most are formulated to be super moisturizing and nourishing, which means they usually have a heavier, oilier feel. That said, I was surprised at how lightweight the Rapid Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream was. It squeezes out of the tube as a white cream but instantly melts away as it’s patted into the skin before completely vanishing without a trace. It doesn’t leave behind any residue once it fully absorbs, making it great for layering under makeup or other skincare products. The formula doesn’t contain any added fragrance, but it does have a faint “fresh” scent from its ingredients.
Drying & Irritation: Subtly irritating at first
The box warns that mild redness, tingling, and flaking are common amongst users at first, but explains that these effects are temporary and indicators that the product is working. If the product causes too much discomfort, Neutrogena recommends using the eye cream once every other day until the skin adjusts.
Being pretty new to retinol myself (and only using granactive retinoid), my skin did need a few days to adjust.
I didn’t have any extreme reactions, but the skin around my eye area was slightly red and irritated after applying the first few times.
However, this subsided in just a few days. I imagine that someone with sensitive skin could react badly and would want to be cautious trying it, slowly working up to daily use.
Interactions: Avoid other exfoliants, vitamin C, and astringents
Because this eye cream contains retinol, an exfoliant, you might want to avoid using it in combination with vitamin C, other exfoliants such as glycolic acid and AHAs, and astringents, as it might irritate the skin. As someone who uses vitamin C daily and acid exfoliators most nights during the week, I avoided applying them too close to where I would also be applying the eye cream to avoid any sort of reaction.
The Results: Not as dramatic as I expected
When I used this cream for the first time, my skin immediately felt softer and more hydrated, albeit slightly irritated after a couple of minutes. As I explained above, slight irritation is expected when you first start using retinol, but this was hardly uncomfortable. The irritation dissipated after 30 minutes or so, and it lessened with each use until stopping altogether a few days later.
Despite some initial redness and stinging, my eyes felt super soft the next morning.
Neutrogena claims that its Rapid Wrinkle Repair products deliver powerful results in just one week, but I didn’t notice much one week later. My skin was definitely softer and smoother, but I didn’t see much of an improvement in my very fine lines or dark circles. Maybe if I had mature skin with deep wrinkles, I would be able to see more tangible changes?
By the end of the two weeks, I did notice that some of the fainter lines under my eyes—the ones so fine that my phone camera can’t pick up on, but I know are there—had very slightly improved. It wasn’t much, but hey, it’s something! Being familiar with how retinol works, I know that it typically takes at least two months to really start working, so I’m still hopeful I’ll see more dramatic results down the road. According to a lot of the online reviews I’ve come across, it seems that this cream does the trick, but results aren’t visible until at least a few months of use.
The Value: Affordable for a retinol eye cream
Typically ranging between $18 to $27, I think the Rapid Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream is a steal for a retinol product, considering they usually come with a higher price tag. Was it magic? Not really, but it did soften and hydrate the skin around my eyes and ever-so-slightly improved lines in two weeks, and I imagine I’ll see better results over time. The brand claims users will see visible results in only one week—which I did not—but, again, knowing that retinol typically takes longer for results to appear, I trust that this cream somewhat works.
Similar Products: You’ve got options
Glossier Bubblewrap ($26): Similar to the Rapid Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream, this light-as-air, fast-absorbing eye (and lip!) cream counts on hyaluronic acid meant to draw in moisture and keep the eye area looking soft, hydrated, and radiant. For a similar price, Bubblewrap’s ingredient list doesn’t include wrinkle-fighting retinol, but it is a great option for anyone looking for a great moisturizer and isn’t as concerned with anti-aging benefits—especially for those with sensitive skin.
The INKEY List Retinol Eye Cream ($10): Even more budget-friendly than Neutrogena is The INKEY List’s Retinol Eye Cream. Ringing up at just ten bucks, this simple cream formula uses Vitalease—a stabilized, slow-release retinoid compound—to help fight lines and wrinkles and brighten the skin with less irritation than your typical retinol product, according to the brand. However, keep in mind that it doesn’t include a glucose complex or hyaluronic acid like Neutrogena’s, so it likely won’t offer the same hydration benefits and sped-up results.
Overall, Neutrogena’s Rapid Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream wasn’t my favorite eye cream in the world, but I still think it’s a pretty good product. After two weeks, my skin was softer, smoother, and a few lines slightly faded—I’ll take it! I’m hopeful that it’s a best-seller for a reason and that I’ll see more dramatic results in time.
- Product Name Rapid Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream
- Product Brand Neutrogena
- UPC 070501021231
- Price $20
- Weight 0.5 oz.
- Product Dimensions 5 x 2.25 x 1.25 in.
- Ingredients Water, pentaerythrityl tetraethylhexanoate, dimethicone, glycerin, PPG-15 stearyl ether, cetearyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, butylene glycol, ceteareth-20, isohexadecane, trisiloxane, dimethicone crosspolymer, phenoxyethanol, caprylyl glycol, ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP copolymer, polyacrylamide, polyethylene, chlorphenesin, C13-14 isoparaffin, PTFE, hydrolyzed myrtus communis leaf extract, BHT, sodium hyaluronate, disodium EDTA, laureth-7, ascorbic acid, polysorbate 20, retinol, sodium hydroxide