11 Best Eye Creams To Treat Dark Circles, Crow's Feet, And Puffiness
They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul. And, with face masks and facial coverings becoming a wardrobe staple during the COVID-19 pandemic, the eyes are also the most prominent part of the face. Whether you’re dealing with chronic dark circles like me, fine lines and wrinkles (also me), puffiness (me, again), or an overall tired appearance (you guessed it — me), it should come as no surprise that the skin around the eyes is among the most delicate on the body.
“The skin around the eyes is 10 times thinner than that of the face, and it has very few oil glands,” says celebrity aesthetician Renée Rouleau. To add insult to injury, facial expressions speed up the aging process. “We blink 10,000 times a day, squint, and smile, so this area is the first to show signs of aging,” she explains. All of this is to say that eye care products (i.e. eye creams and eye serums) should be a non-negotiable part of your skincare routine.
How to Choose an Eye Cream
“Eye creams really do work, and you should be using one morning and night,” Rouleau says. When choosing an eye care product, she says it’s important to find one that is well-formulated and doesn’t contain petrolatum or mineral oil. Instead, it should feature emollients or barrier-repairing oils (think: sunflower or jojoba) to keep the skin moist and supple. Additionally, Rouleau suggests selecting active ingredients based on your concern(s):
- For Firming: Use peptides, retinol, DMAE
- For Dark Circles: Use chrysin, caffeine, vitamin C
- For Puffiness: Use oat kernel extract, licorice extract, aloe barbadensis leaf extract
- For Dryness: Use ceramides, glycolic acid, hyaluronic acid (HA)
With these ingredient recommendations in mind, below are 11 eye creams and serums that treat the most common eye-related concerns:
The All-In-One: Saint Jane Beauty Bright Repair Eye Cream
This gel-like formula lightens, soothes, and smoothes the under-eye area thanks to a clean combination of brightening vitamin C, depuffing CBD, fine line-plumping resveratrol, and antioxidant-packed grapeseed and jojoba oils. It’s rich enough to satisfy a P.M. skincare routine, yet absorbent enough to be layered under makeup. $65, saintjanebeauty.com
The Reset: Renée Rouleau Overnight Eye Serum
Consider this resurfacing serum the under eye equivalent of your favorite facial exfoliator. Specifically formulated for the eye area, alpha hydroxy acids (glycolic and lactic), allantoin, and aloe vera combine to lift dead skin cells, repair the moisture barrier, and soothe sensitive skin. When used two or three nights a week, the gentle exfoliator helps ensure you reap the benefits of all your other eye care products. $49.50, reneerouleau.com
The Skin Smoother: RE:ERTH Smoothing Eye Cream
This lightweight cream features a water-soluble (and sensitive skin-friendly!) vitamin A derivative, while colostrum from Danish cows is packed with vitamins B and E. All together, the formula supports collagen production and improves moisture levels for firmer and smoother skin. Vitamin A products are usually reserved for nighttime, but this one is safe for day, too. $80, reerthus.com
The Concealer Replacement: Honest Beauty Honestly Bright Eyes Tinted Eye Cream
If you are looking to get ready in the morning with as few products as possible, this tinted formula (available in two sheer shades) can merge your eye care and concealer steps. Hyaluronic acid and squalane boost hydration levels for 24 hours, while light-reflecting pearls instantly brighten the under eye area. $24.99, honest.com
The Heavy Lifter: La Prairie Skin Caviar Eye Lift
It comes with a hefty price tag, but, if you are looking for a product to extend the time between visits to your plastic surgeon’s office, this is it. Safe for use above, below, and around the eye, the dual-sided serum employs the brand’s caviar extract to lift and firm the eyelids and brow (without going under the knife), in addition to reducing the appearance of dark circles and softening fine lines and crow’s feet (sans needles). Use alone or under the Skin Caviar Luxe Eye Lift Cream morning and night. $485, saks.com
The Sun Protectant: Supergoop Bright-Eyed 100% Mineral Eye Cream SPF 40
Needless to say, the delicate eye area is just as prone to sun damage as the rest of the face, and this zinc oxide-infused eye cream provides non-irritating, broad spectrum SPF 40 protection for day. Wild butterfly ginger flower fights the effects of blue light, while probiotics, pomegranate, and caffeine combine to revive tired eyes both immediately and long term. $36, sephora.com
The Brightening Primer: BeautyStat Universal C Eye Perfector
For firmer and brighter skin without irritation, look no further than this lightweight eye cream from cosmetic chemist Ron Robinson. The formula — which is a great base for makeup — features a patented delivery system that maximizes the benefits of vitamin C, CBD, hyaluronic acid, and green tea extract to treat dark circles, lines and wrinkles, and puffiness. $65, beautystat.com
The Fine Line Firmer: Fresh Black Tea Firming Eye Serum
Best described as delivering a corset-like effect to the eye area, this silky serum addresses skin laxity, fine lines and wrinkles, uneven texture, and dullness thanks to a lifting, firming, and illuminating blend of black tea, peptides, and goji fruit extract. Use twice a day alone or under the brand’s Black Tea Firming and De-Puffing Eye Cream. $72, sephora.com
The Sensitive Skin Savior: Alchimie Forever Rejuvenating Eye Balm
The Swiss skincare brand is known for its gentle-yet-effective formulas, and this lightweight eye cream — that can be used day and night — is no different. Suitable for all skin types, jojoba and cocoa butter combat crepiness; antioxidant-rich blueberries and resveratrol treat signs of aging (read: fine lines and wrinkles); and the vitamin K in alfalfa lightens under eyes. $45, alchimie-forever.com
The Spa Experience: Sisley Black Rose Eye Contour Fluid
A cool-tip ceramic applicator makes applying this rose-tone fluid a spa-like experience. Meant to be used on the eye contour area and eyelids, the gel-cream instantly brightens and tightens thanks to botanical and marine extracts (think: black rose, red vine, and chlorella), antioxidants, and caffeine. $150, nordstrom.com
The Multitasker: Goop GOOPGENES All-in-One Nourishing Eye Cream
If your goal is to look well-rested, this multitasking formula is the answer. Ceramides and botanicals (like schisandra fruit and arjuna) combine to smooth crow’s feet, decrease puffiness, and reduce the appearance of dark circles when applied morning and evening. $55, goop.com
How to Apply Eye Care Products
How you apply your eye cream or serum is just as important as the product you pick, for the wrong technique can do more harm than good. “You’ll want to use your ring finger to apply eye cream,” Rouleau shares. “It is the weakest and, therefore, the most gentle finger.” Since repeatedly pulling on the skin around the eyes can lead to wrinkles, you’ll want to tap — not rub — the formula into the skin.
Whether the product is only meant to be applied underneath the eyes or is safe for the entire eye area (read the directions or packaging to find out!), be sure to steer clear of the lash lines. “The goal is to avoid applying it too close to the lash line because every time you blink, your lashes will lift microscopic amounts of product that might eventually get deposited into your eyes,” Rouleau warns. In addition to causing irritation, it can actually speed up the aging process. “Anything that enters the eyes can be an irritant and cause unnecessary puffiness, which leads to premature weakening of the skin’s elasticity,” she says.
The takeaway: Be careful but consistent in your eye cream or serum application!