The best eye cream smooths fine lines and lessens wrinkles, reversing the appearance of aging. We found six formulas with the peptides, retinoids, antioxidants, and moisturizers necessary to get the job done. You’ll need to wear any cream daily for months to see effects on eye wrinkles and elasticity, but, in the meantime, their silky skin-feel and pleasant scent make them a joy to apply.
Top 5 Under Eye Cream For Dark Circles
- ANTI AGING EYE CREAM – Packed with proven ingredients Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin C & E, Aloe and...
- BRIGHTEN & PROTECT – EyeBright, Caffeine and Vitamin C promote antioxidants and increase collagen...
- Deeply Hydrates;Cetaphil Hydrating Eye Gel Cream with Hyaluronic Acid instantly & intensely hydrates...
- Brightens & Smooths: Features Hyaluronic Acid, Licorice Extract and a Vitamin Complex; Specifically...
- L'OREAL PARIS DERMO-EXPERTISE EYE CREAM: this light, non-greasy gel eye cream for under-eye circles...
- UNDER EYE CREAM with Caffeine and Hyaluronic Acid is formulated to defend against signs of...
- 0 5-fluid ounce tube of hydrating Neutrogena Hydro Boost Eye Gel-Cream with hyaluronic acid,...
- Moisturizing eye cream contains hyaluronic acid, a hydrator found naturally in the skin that...
- 0 5-fluid ounce tube of Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Anti-Wrinkle Retinol Eye Cream to visibly...
- Specially formulated for the eye area, this fast-acting retinol eye cream is clinically proven to...
How We Chose the Best Eye Cream
Lots of options
We started by compiling a list of every eye cream we could find — 404 of them. We pulled from popular online beauty retailers like Ulta and Sephora plus retailers like Walgreens and Target, then we added in recommendations by established beauty brands like Cosmopolitan, Vogue, and Refinery29. Next, we reached out to dermatologists and cosmetic chemists for help deciphering ingredients and bold marketing claims.
No drying or irritating ingredients
“The skin around the eye is very thin and sensitive,” Dr. Tsippora Shainhouse told us, a board-certified dermatologist in Beverly Hills and clinical instructor at USC. “It won’t always tolerate the same products that your cheeks and forehead can tolerate.”
To ensure a safe and soothing formula, we avoided fragrances and other known skin sensitizers: ingredients like lemon or mint to which your skin may develop an allergic reaction over time. We also ditched products with drying alcohols — denatured alcohol, methanol, benzyl alcohol, ethyl alcohol. These can eventually hurt the skin’s ability to retain moisture.
Moisturizing sodium hyaluronate
As we get older, our skin’s regeneration slows down by as much as 30% to 50%, losing elasticity and fullness. To combat this trend, you need moisture to repair and regenerate and collagen to build new, healthy skin.
The one moisturizing ingredient that our experts unanimously champion: hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid (HA) is most effective when it can reach the deeper layers of the skin (which is why it is a common ingredient for fillers and injections). Because it has a hard time getting past the outer layer of skin, HA’s salt derivative — sodium hyaluronate — is the best version for topical treatment.
Wrinkle-fighting peptides or retinoids
For collagen production, you need peptides or retinoids. Retinoids, related to Vitamin A, work more quickly than peptides to help the skin slough off old cells and produce new ones. At high concentrations, you’re likely to see improvements in undereye wrinkles, skin thickness, and skin elasticity within four months. But the stronger and more effective the retinoid, the harsher it is. Peptides, newer to the field and less documented, has less risk of irritating the delicate skin around the eye area. A product with peptides or retinoids is the closest you can come to true anti-aging eye cream.
Apart from time itself, the main culprit behind skin damage is the sun. That’s why faces and hands tend to look more aged than chests or backs. Sunscreen is your biggest ally here, but antioxidants are also key in preventing skin cell damage. We ensured all of our finalists contained effective antioxidants.
How to find the right eye cream for you
Decide when you want to apply eye cream
Do you prefer a morning routine to get you going or a night time routine to calm you down? That’s one consideration, the other is whether or not you want to use retinoids. These are present in night creams exclusively, and they remain the most fast-acting and well-researched anti-wrinkle agent on the market.
Choose between light, medium, and heavy consistencies
Next, decide whether you prefer a lightweight lotion that absorbs quickly — like Youth to the People (retinoid) and Botanics All Bright (peptide) — or a richer cream that lingers on the skin, like Skin Laundry (retinoid) or SkinMedica (peptide). If you’re not sure where to start, we’d suggest the medium-weight coverage offered by Kate Somerville’s Line Release retinoid cream or Mizon’s peptide cream.
Avoid pots or jars
The less contact your eye cream has with air and sunlight, the better. Retinoids degrade when exposed to light and oxygen, becoming less effective, and peptides may also be susceptible to oxidation. Pumps and tubes are better at protecting their contents than open pots, and also make portioning out a small dab of the product easier. Lack of portion control is an annoyance, but also a waste, particularly if you plump for a luxury favorite.
Whether you choose a retinoid- or peptide-based product, take your time adding new ingredients to your skin care routine, particularly if you have sensitive skin. Starting by applying the cream once or twice a week, and give your skin time to adjust to the new routine. This is an easy way to check whether your skin is sensitive to the ingredients in your new eye cream — irritated skin will feel itchy and look red. If you’re using a retinoid-based night cream, irritation or redness may be a sign to switch to a peptide-based day cream instead.