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They say your eyes are a window into your soul. Well, they can also be a billboard about your life. Dark circles might be a sign of sleepless nights. Fine lines can appear from years of smiling (or squinting). Enter your skin care routine to help you put your best face forward.

Whether you battle bags, wrestle with wrinkles, or are plagued by puffiness, don’t worry, there’s an eye cream for that. But with so many brands and products to choose from, it can be difficult to know which eye cream will be the apple of your eye.

Look no further. We talked to a couple dermatologists and scoured the skin care world to put together this list of the 13 best eye creams.

First and foremost, the products on our list are made specifically for eyes. Why? Because your eyes are ~special~.

“Skin around the eyes tends to be very vulnerable to irritation, signs of aging, and stress,” says Angela Lamb, MD, Director of the Westside Mount Sinai Dermatology Faculty Practice and Associate Professor of Dermatology at Mount Sinai in New York. “This happens because the skin in this area is rather thin which makes it more sensitive.” She explains it’s also more responsive to salt intake, changes in sleep, and allergies.

And it gets worse — the skin around your eyes doesn’t have as many natural defenses as the rest of your skin. “The area around the eye is more prone to wrinkles and dryness because that area does not have as much collagen or oil glands as the rest of the body and face,” says Stacy Chimento, MD, dermatologist at Riverchase Dermatology in Miami, Florida.

Ingredients

So, when putting together our list of the best eye creams, we looked for products with ingredients that are proven to do the work. All the eye creams on our list contain one or more of the following:

  • Niacinamide. A form of Vitamin B3 with tons of benefits — including reducing signs of aging.
  • Retinol or retinoids. Derived from vitamin A, “These ingredients stimulate collagen production and skin cell turnover,” says Chimento. “Collagen production improves elasticity, radiance, and assists with pigmentation, hydrating, and strengthening the skin.”
  • Vitamins A, C, E. Antioxidants shown to be anti-inflammatory, help with collagen synthesis, and brighten skin.
  • Hyaluronic acid. “Hyaluronic acids hydrate the skin, helping decrease dark circles, which exacerbate the look of sunken eyes,” says Chimento. Plus, she says it promotes the production of elastin which can make your eyes look more plump.
  • Peptides. Amino acids shown to help with hydration and reduce wrinkles.
  • Caffeine. “Helps reduce dark circles and eye bags because caffeine constricts the blood vessels under the skin, thus reducing puffiness,” says Chimento. “Topical caffeine also tightens the skin around the eye and improves circulation in the skin, which will leave your skin glowing and reduce inflammation associated with bags.”
  • Natural oils. Studies show seed and plant oils can help reduce signs of aging.

Price

When it comes to skin care, more dollars doesn’t mean more benefits. We included a variety of price points so you can find an eye-mazing cream that fits your budget.

Vetted products

After choosing products based on our expert’s tips, we put every product through a thorough vetting process to make sure brands aren’t making any unsupported health claims or engaging in shady business practices. Only brands that passed made our list.

Best hydrating eye cream

Saturday Skin Wide Awake Brightening Eye Cream

  • Price: $–$$
  • Active ingredients: hyaluronic acid, date seed extract, avocado protein extract
  • Use: morning and/or night
  • Size: 0.51 ounce (oz.), 1.01 oz.

Ever wake up, look in the mirror, and notice your eyes don’t look fully awake yet? Same.

Saturday Skin Wide Awake Brightening Eye Cream was formulated to make every morning — yes, even Mondays — look like a well-rested morning.

The company says the cream hydrates, brightens dark circles, and decreases puffiness so you appear bright-eyed on even the sleepiest mornings. The formula was developed in partnership with CHAUM, a wellness center in Seoul that’s pretty famous for all things health and beauty.

What’s in it?

What’s not in it?

  • parabens
  • sulfates
  • synthetic colors
  • synthetic fragrances

Cons: Attention avid review readers: there aren’t a ton of reviews on the website, and you can’t sort them by rating. So, if you like to read the good and the bad before committing to a product, you may struggle to get the info you need.

A word of caution: This product contains essential oils, which might cause irritation for some people.

Best eye cream for under-eye bags

Silk Therapeutics Eye Revive

  • Price: $$$
  • Active ingredients: activated silk, caffeine, Vitamin C, Vitamin E
  • Use: morning and night
  • Size: 0.5 oz.

Emotional baggage may be a part of life, but under-eye baggage doesn’t have to be part of your look. Silk Therapeutics Eye Revive is formulated to target fine lines, bags, and dark circles. Basically, it’s the next best thing to being able to turn back time.

Its secret weapon is in the name — silk. Activated silk is a promising compound for regenerating skin, and the company has some impressive before and after pics on its website after only 7 days of using the product.

What’s in it? In addition to activated silk, the eye cream has:

  • caffeine to firm your skin
  • vitamin C to reduce inflammation and improve elasticity
  • vitamin E to nourish and brighten your skin

And the silk comes with some added benefits for Mother Nature. The company says it’s ethically sourced and liquified using renewable energy that doesn’t release toxins into the environment.

What’s not in it?

  • parabens
  • phthalates
  • sulfates

Cons: Sorry Sephora shoppers and Amazon lovers. Looks like this product is only available through the company’s website.

Best drugstore eye cream

CeraVe Eye Repair Cream

  • Price: $
  • Active ingredients: ceramides, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide
  • Use: morning and/or night
  • Size: 0.5 oz.

With the onslaught of online retailers and fast and free shipping, your days of running out to the store may be few and far between. But when you need eye cream and you need it now, you still have options.

Thanks to CeraVe Eye Repair Cream, finding a good eye cream at a drugstore is totally doable. The eye cream is formulated to treat dark circles and puffiness, and it even comes dermatologist recommended.

According to Debra Jaliman, MD, Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and author of the book, Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist, CeraVe Eye Repair Cream is also great for fine lines and wrinkles. “It has antioxidants, ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and jojoba,” she explains. “All these ingredients have great moisturizing properties.”

CeraVe Eye Repair Cream wins best drugstore eye cream because you can basically find it anywhere:

  • Target
  • Walmart
  • Walgreens
  • CVS
  • Ulta
  • Costco
  • Kroger
  • Rite Aid

Cons: If you’re going for a clean skin care routine, you may want to dig into the ingredient label. There’s no alcohol or fragrance in the product but there are some preservatives and emulsifiers — though keep in mind the ingredients used in this formula are generally considered safe.

Best brightening eye cream

REN Radiance Brightening Dark Circle Eye Cream

  • Price: $$
  • Active ingredients: elderberry flower extract, glycogen
  • Use: morning and/or night
  • Size: 0.5 oz.

Bright, fresh eyes are about more than just the under eye. REN Radiance Brightening Dark Circle Eye cream is formulated to brighten, hydrate, and plump your entire eye area: under eye, eyelid, and even your brow bone.

The company uses 95 percent natural-origin ingredients in this eye cream. Elderberry flower extract to target dark circles and puffiness around the eye, and glycogen to hydrate and make skin appear smooth and plump.

What’s not in it?

  • synthetic fragrance
  • synthetic color
  • petrochemicals
  • silicone
  • sulphates
  • polyethylene glycols
  • diethanolamine (DEA)
  • triethanolamine (TEA)
  • parabens
  • urea
  • animal ingredients

And no plastic guilt with this brand. The company makes its bottles out of ocean plastic and tubes from post-consumer-recycled plastic.

Cons: While the company claims the eye cream doesn’t cause any irritation, not all customers agree. Some reviewers complain the product dried out their skin.

Best Vitamin C eye cream

MyCHELLE Perfect C Eye Cream

  • Price: $
  • Active ingredients: vitamin C as L-ascorbic acid, cucumber fruit extract
  • Use: morning and night
  • Size: 0.5 oz.

Not all antioxidants are created equal, including Vitamin C. The popular skin care ingredient comes in many forms, but L-ascorbic acid is the most effective at protecting skin from premature aging due to photodamage. And that’s exactly what you’ll find in MyCHELLE Perfect C Eye Cream — plus cucumber fruit extract, which is known for helping hydrate skin.

For that, it wins best Vitamin C eye cream, but that’s not the only award the brand has received for its top-notch Vitamin C. MyCHELLE also won the Antioxidant Superiority Award from the Clean Label Project, a nonprofit dedicated to truth and transparency in product labeling.

What’s not in it?

  • phthalates
  • parabens
  • petroleum
  • sulfates
  • urea
  • artificial fragrances
  • artificial colors

Cons: Limited availability. You can buy MyCHELLE sun care products at Ulta, but the eye cream is harder to find.

A word of caution: This product contains alcohol and essential oils, which can cause skin irritation for some people.

Best small business eye cream

Elevé EYE LUMINATE

  • Price: $$
  • Active ingredients: algae, indica leaf, hibiscus esculentus extract
  • Use: morning and night
  • Size: 0.5 oz.

You don’t have to give your beauty business to big brands. If you prefer to support the little guys (and gals), then Elevé EYE LUMINATE may be the eye cream for you.

Elevé was started by two sisters in Texas who wanted to create a clean beauty line that made people feel confident and beautiful in their own skin. The brand says the algae (known for its antioxidant and anti-aging properties) and indica leaf (which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties) target puffiness and dark circles, while the hibiscus esculentus extract increases skin firmness and diminishes fine lines and wrinkles.

What’s not in it?

  • animal products
  • GMOs
  • gluten
  • parabens
  • sulfates
  • phthalates

Cons: You can only buy this product online via Elevé’s website. The brand is available in some retailers in Texas, but not yet on any of the major online retailers.

A word of caution: This product contains alcohol and perfuming ingredients, which can cause skin irritation for some people.

Best eye cream patch

Patchology FlashPatch Restoring Night Eye Gels

  • Price: $$
  • Active ingredients: retinol, peptides, Cedrus atlantica bark
  • Use: night (for 5 minutes)
  • Size: 30 pairs

Skin care can also be self-care. With Patchology FlashPatch Restoring Night Eye Gels, you can treat your eyes to a mini mask every night.

The brand says that after only 5 minutes, the patches will restore a healthy glow to your skin. But no need to save them for special occasions. The gel under eye pads can be used as part of your nightly routine.

What’s in it?

  • retinol to speed up cell turnover
  • squalane to hydrate and soften your skin
  • Cedrus atlantica bark to brighten and target dark circles (Evidence of this is limited, but Cedrus atlantica is known for having anti-inflammatory properties.)
  • peptides to reduce fine lines, including crow’s feet

Cons: Watch your carbon footprint. You may want to opt for the jar instead of the single-use packets.

A word of caution: This product contains fragrance, which can cause skin irritation for some people. That also means it’s not safe for use during pregnancy.

Best eye cream for fine lines and wrinkles

Kate Somerville Retinol Firming Eye Cream

  • Price: $$$
  • Active ingredients: retinol, bio retinol, Bidens pilosa extract, palm oil, cotton oil, linseed oil, hyaluronic acid, Lime Pearl
  • Use: every other night
  • Size: 0.5 oz.

Whether it’s added years to your life or added stress to your years, the result is often fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes. Cue Kate Somerville Retinol Firming Eye Cream. The brand says you could see fewer lines after only one use.

This is prob an exaggeration, but the product also comes dermatologist recommended. “This cream rejuvenates puffy eyes and improves elasticity of the under-eye area,” says Chimento. “It also smooths the skin, reduces the appearance of dark spots, and improves the appearance of firmness.”

In addition to hyaluronic acid and retinol, the eye cream contains:

Cons: Slow your roll. Due to the some very active ingredients, the company recommends using this eye cream every other night and no more than 4 times per week. Monitor your skin’s reaction and adjust accordingly.

Best natural eye cream

Olive Eye Contour Cream

  • Price: $
  • Active ingredients: green coffee bean extract, kiwi seed oil, hyaluronic acid
  • Use: morning and/or night
  • Size: 0.7 oz.

Turns out, olives belong somewhere other than a dirty martini — they’re also great on your face. Olive Eye Contour Cream is one product in a line of natural skin care made from — you guessed it — olives.

The purely plant-based eye cream comes from an olive estate in New Zealand and is about as natural as an eye cream can get. It’s even NATRUE certified through The International Natural and Organic Cosmetics Association.

What’s in it?

What’s not in it?

  • toxins
  • allergens
  • petroleum
  • silicone oils and derivatives
  • GMO ingredients
  • synthetic colors
  • synthetic fragrances

Cons: Limited availability. :/

Best anti-aging eye cream

Baebody Eye Gel

  • Price: $
  • Active ingredients: peptide complex, vitamin E, Matrixyl 3000, Jojoba oil, amino acid blend
  • Use: morning and night
  • Size: 1.7 oz.

When it comes to eye skin, time is the ultimate enemy (OK, UV exposure is pretty bad too). So Baebody Eye Gel was developed to reduce all signs of aging: puffiness, dark circles, under-eye bags, and wrinkles. And it uses just about every tool in the ingredient box to do just that.

  • peptide complex to boost the skin’s amino acids
  • gotu kola to improve blood circulation
  • jojoba oil to hydrate and heal the skin
  • vitamin E to nourish and protect the skin
  • amino acid blend to strengthen and brighten skin
  • Matrixyl 3000 for a variety of anti-aging effects

This eye cream comes highly recommended by Dr. Jaliman. “This eye gel has propeptides and amino acids,” she explains. “These ingredients trigger cells in a way that ultimately aid in reversing the signs of aging.”

And that’s not all. Jaliman goes on to say the Matrixyl 3000 diminishes darkness and puffiness. “And the Vitamin E in this gel helps to reduce wrinkles and keep the skin looking youthful,” she says. “It protects against exposure to free radicals and reduces the appearance of aging by supporting collagen production and elasticity.”

What’s not in it?

  • parabens
  • GMOs
  • phthalates
  • sulfates
  • gluten
  • animal products

Cons: Amazon shoppers beware. Some Amazon customers think they got a knockoff product.

Best planet-friendly eye cream

One Ocean Eye Revival Marine Cream

  • Price: $$
  • Active ingredients: biofermented exopolysaccharide, hexapeptides, tetrapeptide
  • Use: morning and night
  • Size: 0.5 oz.

They say saltwater cures everything — and that could be true for the skin around your eyes too. Unsurprisingly, One Ocean uses marine-based ingredients to replenish the skin.

Biofermented exopolysaccharide (from kelp) helps to boost the skin’s natural production of hyaluronic acid. And hexapeptides and tetrapeptide target fine lines, wrinkles, and dark circles.

So, why does it win best planet-friendly eye cream? First, the company partners with Oceana, a global, science-based organization, to change policies to protect the oceans. One Ocean also uses a unique biotechnology that enables them to reproduce marine microorganisms in a lab rather than taking them from the environment and disrupting the biodiversity.

What’s not in it?

  • GMOs
  • parabens
  • sulfates
  • phthalates
  • PEGs
  • nanoparticles
  • mineral oil
  • synthetic fragrance

Cons: Not a lot of reviews. If you like to read what other customers thought before you purchase, you don’t have much to go off with this brand.

Best eye cream for puffy eyes

Sunday Riley Auto Correct Brightening and Depuffing Eye Contour Cream

  • Price: $$
  • Active ingredients: caffeine, lutein, horse chestnut, Brazilian ginseng root, cocoa butter, shea butter, watermelon rind extract, sodium PCA
  • Use: morning, night, and throughout the day
  • Size: 0.5 oz.

Maybe you didn’t get enough sleep, maybe you went to a very happy happy hour, or maybe it was one-too-many shakes of the saltshaker. Whatever the reason, you woke up with puffy eyes and you need to de-puff before you face the day.

Say hello to Sunday Riley’s Auto Correct Brightening and Depuffing Eye Contour Cream. The brand claims this cream will instantly give you a brighter, less puffy look.

What’s in it?

This eye cream wasn’t designed to live only in a morning or nighttime skin care routine. Nope. Keep this cream with you and use throughout the day whenever your eyes could use a little pick-me-up.

What’s not in it?

  • sulfates
  • parabens
  • gluten
  • soy
  • phthalates
  • fragrances

Cons: Questionable effectiveness. Some reviewers complain they aren’t seeing the results they hoped for.

A word of caution: This product contains essential oils, which can cause skin irritation in some people.

Best eye butter

Zum Face Under Eye Butter

  • Price: $
  • Active ingredients: shea butter, macadamia seed oil, evening primrose oil
  • Use: nighttime
  • Size: 0.5 oz.

When you really want to hydrate the skin around your eyes, sometimes a butter is just better.

This natural, plant-based eye butter is formulated to leave your skin feeling smooth and smelling great with its lavender and geranium scent. It’s best used at night or whenever you can give it time to soak in.

What’s in it?

Cons: Very few reviews. You’ll have to make a decision about this eye butter without feedback from other customers.

A word of caution: This product contains essential oils, which can cause skin irritation for some people.

Whether you’re walking down a skin care aisle or shopping for eye cream online, there can be a lot of options. Keep these expert tips in mind when choosing your eye cream.

Make sure what you put on your eyes is made for eyes

There’s (usually) no all-in-one when it comes to skin care so avoid products that claim to be. “I would be very careful about using products that are not designed to be used around the eyes and aren’t specifically labeled to be used around the eyes,” says Calvin Williams, MD, dermatologist with Essential Dermatology Group in Texas. “Eyelid skin is extremely sensitive, and even a product that is considered gentle for the overall face or body can be very irritating to the eyes.”

Choose an eye cream specific to your skin type

There’s also no one-size-fits-all eye cream, so know your skin type before making your decision. “If you have oily skin, you should look for an eye cream that does not contain oil, while those with dry skin should look for a moisturizing cream,” says Chimento.

Match eye cream ingredients with your goals

Pick an eye cream that has the ingredients designed to give you the results you want. Jaliman recommends the following:

  • If you’re tired of dark circles, look for an eye cream with licorice or niacinamide.
  • If you want to diminish wrinkles, look for an eye cream with retinol, Vitamin E, peptides, hyaluronic acid, or Vitamin C.
  • If you struggle with sunken eyes, look for an eye cream with Vitamin C, retinol, peptides, or hyaluronic acid.
  • If you’re concerned about bags under your eyes, look for an eye cream with caffeine, chamomile, peptides, green tea, or aloe.

Avoid harsh ingredients

Some active ingredients may be a little too active for the eyes. Because the eye area is so sensitive, Lamb says to avoid the following ingredients:

Don’t get caught up on price

No need to go into debt for fresh-looking eyes. “There can sometimes be a perception that expensive skin care is always better than ‘cheap’ skin care, and this is not true,” says Chimento. “Expensive does not always mean it will be better.”

As long as you do your research and choose products that use evidence-based ingredients, you’re good. It might take a little more effort to find cheaper products at lower price points, but they’re out there (like CeraVe’s eye cream!).

Know the different between serums and creams

So, should you be Team Serum or Team Cream? Well, let’s start with the difference between the two. “Eye creams are thicker, containing more oils, while serums are lighter in texture and more water-based,” says Jaliman.

Use this info + your skin type + your goals to determine which is best for you. “Eye serums are good for dark circles, reducing puffiness, improving skin firmness and wrinkles, while eye creams are mainly for moisture and may help with texture,” says Chimento.

We know what you’re thinking: Is it worth spending money on another skincare product just for your eyes? Well, there are studies showing certain ingredients can help with improving elasticity, reducing wrinkles, and protecting against UV damage. But according to Williams, identifying the cause of your eye issue is the key factor.

Take dark circles, for example. “Eyes that are dark because of thin skin that increases the visibility of underlying blood vessels can benefit from collagen building ingredients such as Vitamin C and retinoids,” explains Williams. “By building collagen, the skin becomes thicker which can ultimately better hide the underlying blood vessels.”

But it often comes down to a combination of eye cream and lifestyle. “For puffy eyes, restful sleep is key but using products that contain caffeine can help,” says Williams. “For all patients, I recommend good sleep hygiene and reducing stress, because these steps can play a role in improving eye appearance and overall health.”

The skin around your eyes is special. So too is the best process to treat it.

When to apply

According to Lamb, you should always apply eye cream as part of your nighttime routine. “A morning application or twice per day is great but morning can be challenging if you are also applying sunscreen,” she explains.

But the ingredients in some eye creams call for morning use. “Eye creams with caffeine or reflective particles should be used during the daytime since these eye creams offer a cosmetic brightening effect and are used more for immediate appearance versus long term skin changes,” says Chimento.

But at what point in your skin care routine should you be applying eye cream? Apply it before your moisturizer. “Eye cream is generally thinner and lighter than face moisturizer and needs to be clear of barriers,” explains Chimento.

How to apply

If you’re simply rubbing your eye cream under your eyes, you’re doing it wrong. Here’s how Chimento wants you to apply your eye cream:

  1. Squirt the cream on the back of your hand.
  2. Dip the pad of your finger into the cream.
  3. Dot the cream in semi-circles along the orbital bone around your eye and below your eyebrow.
  4. Tap — don’t rub — the cream into the skin.

A note on patch tests: A patch test is a simple way to ensure you won’t have a bad reaction to any of the ingredients in a new skin care product.

“Everyone should patch test products because even normal skin types can become irritated, and certain products can cause allergic reactions,” says Chimento. “It’s important to see if your skin is compatible with a new product to avoid a potential allergic reaction, and help you get the most out of your products.”

Dark circles and wrinkles and bags, oh my! It’s an unfortunate fact that the skin around your eyes comes with a lot of room for potential issues. Hence the need for an eye cream that actually works.

Here’s the good news: there are a lot of eye creams that work so finding one won’t be an issue. But the not so great news is there are a lot of eye creams that work: so picking one is gonna feel tough.

When shopping for an eye cream, it’s all about ingredients. Find a cream packed full of the stuff that will give you the results you want to reach your ultimate skincare goals.