The Best Eye Cream
Keep the windows to your soul looking better, longer
We spent over 35 hours poring over articles in science and beauty publications, interviewing experts (such as an LA-based celebrity esthetician, and a cosmetic chemist behind skincare and makeup products), scouring user reviews on major beauty sites and blogs, and testing the finalists ourselves.
Overall, this eye cream won the crown for its uncanny ability to tackle every existing eye-related cosmetic issue: dark circles, puffiness, crepiness, fine lines, wrinkles, and bags. What's more, it's also suitable for all ages and all skin types (yep, even sensitive skin).
With hundreds of eye creams on the market making claims from outrageous (think: “age reversal") to essential (like moisturizing properties), the difficulty lies in understanding what eye creams can actually deliver, and then determining which one is worth your money.
To find out, I delved into the science behind high-powered ingredients proven to make a visible difference, and tapped a celebrity esthetician, a dermatologist, and a skincare-formulation chemist. I also scoured user reviews on major beauty sites, magazines, and reputable blogs, paying attention to award winners with top nods from “best of" lists.
The selection process went from 150 eye creams to a single best: the Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum. This eye cream is the ultimate all-around eye cream, delivering truly exceptional results for every eye concern, offering the best age-defying bang for its buck — from start to finish, from day one to day 365.
As someone who chronically suffers from eye-area dryness and dark circles, I was blown away by how hydrated, plump, and bright my eyes appeared after just one week of twice-daily, regular use. Formulated by its namesake dermatologist, Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum features the powerhouse ingredient retinol, indisputably the “queen of anti-aging," supported by antioxidants to protect the skin from further damage, along with caffeine and licorice-root extract to target eye-specific issues like puffiness and sagging.
Devotees relish its effortless application, lightweight feel, and perfectly well-timed absorption, leaving skin supple and moisturized in seconds. Plus, it's also vegan, cruelty-free, and amenable for even sensitive skin types. Hands down, Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum is the perfect eye cream to fake awake (and visually shed a few years)
The 8 Overall Best Eye Creams
- Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum
- Neocutis Lumière Bio-Restorative Eye Cream
- Kate Somerville Line Release Under Eye Repair Cream
- Olay Regenerist Eye Lifting Serum
- Philosophy Miracle Worker Retinoid Eye Repair Cream
- RoC Retinol Correxion Sensitive Eye Cream
- Clinique ‘Superdefense’ Age Defense Eye Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 20
- Andalou Naturals Luminous Eye Serum
How We Chose the Best Eye Cream
Much more goes into finding a truly effective eye cream than simply selecting a best-seller on Sephora or settling on a magazine's recommendation. There's an overwhelming selection, and typically, most eye creams have very similar benefits. Award-winning eye creams sometimes have terrible online reviews, and even then user ratings are not always reliable because of the highly individualized nature of skincare. This is why exploring other considerations as you choose an eye cream is so essential.
In the quest to find the best, we spent over 35 hours poring over articles in science and beauty publications, interviewing experts, and scouring user reviews on major beauty sites, as well as reputable blogs — paying attention to award winners with top nods from “best of" lists. It was a similar approach we took when reviewing the best eyeliner.
Kerry Benjamin, an LA-based celebrity esthetician, creator of Stacked Skincare, and owner of spa-oasis Kerry Benjamin Skincare; and Susan Raffy, rockstar cosmetic chemist behind skincare and makeup products for companies like Guthy-Renker (makers of Proactiv) and Physicians Formula, helped determine the important characteristics of eye creams and answer our questions.
Leveraging their expertise, I found out what eye creams can realistically accomplish — if they can truly “correct" signs of aging and get rid of dark circles, puffiness, and smooth sagging skin. I pinpointed the most important features of a great eye cream, including texture, absorption, and, of course, clearly visible results, and delved into the top recommended ingredients (hint: Standouts include retinol, vitamins C and E, peptides, and caffeine).
I looked at notable publications and blogs, such as Allure, InStyle, and Temptalia to discern the difference between a good and great eye cream, paying close attention to award winners — especially “readers' choice" awards, which consider thousands of actual users' preferences. Fan favorites with the highest ratings and most positive comments on top e-commerce and beauty-review sites such as Sephora and MakeupAlley, helped distill my list of 150 eye creams down to the top 10.
Finally, I tested the top picks myself to ensure I was amenable to the products and loved everything about them, including my skin's reaction, if the scent gave me a headache (I'm sensitive to chemicals, particularly strong odors), and how well the cream absorbed under makeup. I also made note of any visible improvements to my eye area. I used the eye creams both during the day and night, watching to see what happened after late-night snacks, very little sleep, and my bad tendency to snooze on my face.
Other Eye Creams to Consider
Best Eye Cream for Puffiness, Dark Circles, & Bags
Kate Somerville Line Release Under Eye Repair Cream Deemed “Hollywood's Hottest Facialist" by Allure, Kate Somerville created a luxury eye cream that boasts an expertly curated blend of potent peptides that offer a wow-worthy lifting effect, dramatically lessening the appearance of puffiness and wrinkles.
Best Drugstore Eye Cream
Olay Regenerist Eye Lifting Serum This eye cream glides on like velvet, and its heavily researched amino-peptide and vitamin B3 complex helps firm and brighten the entire eye area. Plus, Olay Regenerist Eye Lifting Serum is an incredible value for the budget-conscious, and won the 2014 Allure Readers' Choice Award for drugstore eye cream. Even Dr. Dennis Gross — the dermatologist behind our top pick — recommends it!
Best Eye Cream to Target Fine Lines & Wrinkles
Philosophy Miracle Worker Retinoid Eye Repair Cream A 2013 Shape beauty award winner for Best Eye Treatment, this non-irritating retinol cream expedites cell renewal and supports collagen health to reverse the look of wrinkles and expression lines. This eye cream is quite accessible, too, as you can find it anywhere from Sephora to Drugstore.com.
Best Anti-Aging Eye Cream
Neocutis Lumière Bio-Restorative Eye Cream With powerhouse anti-aging ingredients like caffeine and the company's proprietary Processed Skin Proteins, this eye cream is loved and recommended by a sea of dermatologists as the ultimate age-defying formula. Dermstore and Skincare Rx users gave it an incredible 5-star rating, while Amazon customers gave it 4.2 stars. Neocutis Lumière Bio-Restorative Eye Cream also won InStyle's 2014 Best Beauty Buy award for eye cream, and nabbed a coveted spot in Elle's Top Splurge-Worthy products article. This is the perfect eye cream for extraordinary results sans retinol, which some may be sensitive to.
Best Men's Eye Cream
RoC Retinol Correxion Sensitive Eye Cream This lightweight, Men's Journal-approved formula contains retinol and hyaluronic acid to nourish skin and fight wrinkles. The milder retinol formula is agreeable with even the most sensitive skin types, making this particularly ideal for men (and others who aren't accustomed to using eye creams). Plus, you can pick this right up with your toilet paper and toothpaste at most drugstores.
Best Eye Cream with SPF
Clinique ‘Superdefense’ Age Defense Eye Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 20 Perfect for daytime use, this UV fighter sinks in quickly and appears smooth under makeup and hydrates with potent ingredients to combat wrinkles and fatigued eyes. Add in SPF power to shield your eyes from the sun, and this department-store gem is a double-duty hero.
Best Natural & Organic Eye Cream
Andalou Naturals Luminous Eye Serum This super-effective antioxidant and anti-aging eye serum is 100 percent clear of GMOs, petrochemicals, phthalates, sulfates, and other controversial ingredients. It's also cruelty-free. Even Cosmetics Cop Paula Begoun rates it as Best. Find it at your local drugstore or health-food store.
A Full Review of the Best Eye Cream
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum covers absolutely everything your peepers need to look youthful and vibrant, even after a long night of imbibing dehydrating cocktails and clocking in three hours of sleep (guilty).
Overall, this eye cream won the crown for its uncanny ability to tackle every existing eye-related cosmetic issue: dark circles, puffiness, crepiness, fine lines, wrinkles, and bags. What's more, it's also suitable for all ages and all skin types (yep, even sensitive skin).
For the genetically blessed without any of these existing issues, Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum is a powerful preventative, slowing signs of aging to a crawl. Users in their 20s and in their 60s alike rave about its featherlight, gel-like texture, and the tangible difference they saw in their eyes throughout the duration of just one bottle. Plus, only a rice-sized drop is needed for this potent serum to perform its magic.
I'm going on 62; most people are very surprised to learn my age. However, my biggest eye concern was a puffiness and sagging of my upper eye. I am finishing up my first bottle and back now to order what I consider my go-to eye serum.
The truth of its power lies in the ingredients: Retinol is the top-recommended anti-aging product of all time, without question. It is a compound of vitamin A that converts to retinoic acid — the actual miracle worker — at the cellular level. In an Elle article, dermatologist Doris Day says, “Anybody who can tolerate retinoic acid should use it." Retinoic acid slows down the destruction of collagen and promotes elasticity, smooths skin, and helps with pigmentation. By synergizing with your skin's natural mechanisms, retinol encourages the outermost cells to renew more quickly allowing new, healthier cells to quickly surface.
The retinol in this formulation is boosted with a bouquet of supporting ingredients, namely ferulic acid, a plant-based antioxidant that shields from sun damage, brightens skin, and minimizes the appearance of wrinkles. Licorice-root extract fights inflammation; sodium hyaluronate delivers a punch of moisture; and a combo of friendly acids renews skin cells.
Considering that it was formulated by Dr. Gross, a reputable board-certified dermatologist and household name for the beauty set, I wasn't too shocked by its chic, opaque pump bottle. It not only looks stylish in your powder room, but also protects the active ingredients from oxidizing (e.g., weakening from too much contact with oxygen). The pump also makes dipping your fingers in the product obsolete, ultimately keeping it clear of bacteria.
I'm turning 25 and just beginning an anti-aging skincare routine; this was a phenomenal first-purchase for that purpose! My dark circles have vastly improved; it helps prime my eyes for concealer/shadow; and I have noticed my skin's firmness improved as well.
Who else loves this eye serum besides me? Sephora customers gave Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum a solid 4 out of 5 stars, and it garnered 4.4 out of 5 stars on MakeupAlley. Nicki Zevola, founder of the science-oriented blog FutureDerm and blogger Gio behind Beautiful With Brains, both recommend this hard-working serum. Beyond that, Paula Begoun of Paula's Choice, famed for her incredibly incisive evaluation of skincare products, asserts that “the formula is no slouch."
On top of what we already love, Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum is unique as an eye cream suitable for both day and night use. Although it contains retinol, which can be too harsh for sensitive skin, it cooperates well with the touchiest of skin types — including rosacea. If you're concerned about using retinol during the day for its reputation for making skin more prone to sunburn, fear not: Allure reports that “Clinical studies have shown pretty definitively that retinoids do not lower the MED — or minimal erythemal dos — of human skin, which is the amount of UV light you can take before the skin burns." But it's still important to use SPF during the day and to wear sunglasses — and even when it's cloudy or snowing. The UV rays will get you, no matter what.
What's more, this eye serum also makes a great eye-shadow primer, and is vegan and cruelty-free. This serum is just everything.
Who Is It Best For?
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum is best for everyone, regardless of age, lifestyle, or skin type. The gel-like texture is light enough for oily skin, but moisturizes thoroughly for dry skin. This retinol is amazing for both preventing and reducing the appearance of existing issues, particularly fine lines and wrinkles. The antioxidants work hand in hand to fight off damage-causing aggressors, which everyone should absolutely use around their eyes (and entire face for that matter).
Who Should Skip It?
Budget-conscious consumers might get scared off by the price tag, but it's well worth it if it you're looking for an eye cream that makes a visible difference. If you're seriously against retinols because you've had bad experiences with extreme dryness, you might want to start off with a retinol-free product.
However, dryness is a natural side effect of retinol, which is why retinol newbies start with just one to three applications per week until their skin adjusts, at which point they up the frequency. Do the same with this product. I, personally, experienced no sensitivities whatsoever using this product and my skin gets angry very, very easily. On top of that, this product is actually great for sensitive skin.
How to Best Use It?
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum can be used both day and night. In the morning, apply serum after cleansing and toning, but before moisturizing. All you need is a small drop for both eyes — about the size of a popcorn kernel or even less. Don't apply too close to the eye — you might wake up with even puffier eyes.
Eye cream warms up with your body temperature and moves down about an inch as it seeps into your skin. Because of this, apply eye cream a half-inch above your upper lashline and below your lower lashline. ... Use your ring finger to apply cream; it's your weakest finger so you won't pull too hard on the fragile skin.
Be sure to let this eye cream absorb fully before applying makeup. Depending on how quickly your skin drinks up moisturizers, wait about three to five minutes. Benjamin adds that using an eye cream in your skincare routine will make your concealer go on smoother. This serum works amazing as an eye primer for smooth application and isn't greasy like some other eye creams, enabling your eyeshadows to stay put during the daytime hustle and bustle.
Though not as common, there are some extra tools you can buy so the eye cream can better penetrate your skin. Benjamin recommends: “Use the Clarisonic Opal twice a day to help with lymph drainage. That will help reduce puffiness and increase product penetration and smooth out fine lines."
The Runners-Up for Best Eye Cream
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum earned the top spot mainly because of its unique retinol and antioxidant combo — on top of being a great makeup primer as well as being cruelty-free and environmentally friendly. Retinol, a form of vitamin A, is undoubtedly the number-one-recommended ingredient to maximize anti-aging efforts and should be included in the skincare arsenal of anyone concerned about aging gracefully. But if this pick is out of your price range or you prefer not to use retinol, these runners-up have received the stamp of approval from users and beauty publications. Each one also contains an impressively curated assortment of ingredients to target every issue with fantastic results.
Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Synchronized Recovery Complex II Serum With a perfect five stars on Nordstrom.com and a favorite of Allure editors, this serum is ultra-silky and truly feels like luxury worth every cent. The company touts its ChronoluxCB Technology, which addresses all eye-area concerns, including fine lines, wrinkles, puffiness, dark circles, dryness, and uneven skin tone. This serum, found at beauty speciality and department stores, is especially effective for mature skin, although it can be used by all ages and skin types. However, it's impossible to find a list of ingredients online, which might be a turn-off for those with allergies. Plus, it's branded for night-only use, which won't work for someone who's looking for one eye cream to use both day and night.
Caudalie Premier Cru Eye Cream A best-seller on Sephora with 4.2 out of 5 stars and approved by Elle, this luxury department-store eye cream is an anti-aging superstar. Caudalie boasts that “86 percent of women in a clinical study reported a visible reduction in puffiness and dark circles, 91 percent an immediate radiance effect, and 34 percent a reduction in deep wrinkles." Unfortunately, a few Sephora users did comment that the formula left an oily residue, making it less than ideal for daytime use under makeup. This cream is great for all skin types except oily.
Dermalogica Age Smart Multivitamin Power Firm This powerhouse brand created an eye cream with the three essential vitamins — A, C, and E — that wage a battle against wrinkles, while green-tea extract soothes skin and minimizes swelling. Great for all skin types, you can find this at beauty specialty and department stores. Amazon users gave it a solid 4.3 out of 5 stars, with 115 Dermstore users giving it an astonishing 5 stars. The only salient issue would be the twist-off cap, which some users consider inconvenient because you can easily misplace it (this has happened to me before!).
Sunday Riley Start Over Active Eye Cream Beautifully and elegantly packaged, this eye cream's photostable antioxidants encourage renewal and skin strength, instantly delivering a bright and well-rested look while diminishing the appearance of wrinkles, dark circles, and puffiness over several uses. Sephora users gave it 4 out of 5 stars, and Cosmetics Cop Paula Begoun gave it her Best rating. This is excellent for all skin types, especially dry and mature, and can be found in beauty specialty and department stores.
Olay ProX Eye Restoration Complex Chosen by Good Housekeeping testers as their favorite eye cream and rated over 4 stars on Amazon, Drugstore.com, and Ulta, this top-value drugstore cream contains niacinamide to bathe the eye area with a surge of moisture and ward off signs of aging while delivering caffeine to literally wake your skin up. This eye cream also contains a mild form of retinol (yay!). Although Olay ProX Eye Restoration Complex seems to be marketed for already-aging skin, you can use it as a preventative measure, too.
Murad Resurgence Renewing Eye Cream Top dermatologist Howard Murad created this eye cream to firm, hydrate, and brighten. Ingredients like Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-4 improve the look of crow's feet, and wild yam lends estrogen-like properties to increase resilience and firmness. This was rated above 4 stars on Sephora, Amazon, and Ulta, and is considered one of the best eye creams by The Fashion Spot. You can use it with any skin type and purchase at beauty specialty and department stores.
Choosing the Right Type of Eye Cream for You
The skin around your eyes is the first to show your age, making this area the most prone to fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging. It's thin, delicate, sensitive, and naturally lacking in moisture. Even smiling, blinking, squinting, and yawning causes creasing over time. So regardless of how great your genes are, we can all use a little help.
Being presented with shelves full of eye cream (which, by the way, are never in one place) might encourage you to simply grab the prettiest bottle and call it a day. Please don't do that — we're here to make it easy. Before buying an eye cream, consider the different types of formulations available based on your skin type, textural preference, and your specific concerns. Then determine the extra tools you might want to amplify application. Study up before you spend your hard-earned cash!
Your skin is so unique that even if you and your best friend both have oily skin, for example, you still might not jive with the same skincare product. Your friend might swear by thick, rich creams, while you would be better off with a gel-like serum. Get to know the different textures of creams and see which benefits appeal to you the most.
- Serum — These are great for all skin types, and are especially effective for combating signs of aging, as they carry a higher concentration of active ingredients and penetrate deeper than creams. On top of that, due to their lighter texture, you can apply these under makeup during the day without your eyeshadow gliding off.
- Cream — Creams are also excellent for all skin types, depending on the formulation. These can be light to very rich, and are typically formulated as a mixture of oil and water with added booster ingredients. Many people with mature skin love creams for both day and night.
- Gel — This formulation is best for oilier skin and those who prefer lighter texture. Gel-based formulas are comprised mainly of water, as opposed to a larger percentage of oil.
- Oil — Depending on the formula, oil-based eye creams work well for all skin types. Typically, they are made up of botanical oils extracted from the seeds and flowers. Oil-based eye treatments should be used only at night, especially if you wear makeup, as it might cause smudging if used during the day.
Packaging is a big deal. I'm not talking about who has the best logo — I'm talking about how your precious eye cream is housed. Is the formula secured so it's kept clean throughout the duration of use? Is bacteria from your hand getting into the product? Do the powerful ingredients stay just as powerful from the first to the last drop? Let's find out!
- Jars — Most eye creams come in jars, but there's ongoing discussion surrounding their inability to retain the integrity of active ingredients. Every time you open these jars, you expose the eye cream to air, causing the product to oxidize and weaken over time. Plus, there are concerns about hygiene. Two top beauty bloggers, Musings of a Muse and Beautiful With Brains, are opposed to jar packaging, as well as “Cosmetics Cop" Begoun because of the likelihood of perniciously transferring bacteria from your fingers into the cream.
- Pumps — Arguably the best kind of packaging for eye creams, a standard bottle with a pump allows you to dispense just the product you'll need onto your finger. Pumps are less messy and help conserve product while avoiding unnecessary oxidation or exposure to nasty bacteria.
- Roller — Tubes with built-in roller-ball applicators provide a luxurious, cooling effect without exposing the product to oxygen or bacteria.
What Makes a Good Eye Cream?
I set out to understand what eye creams are capable of and what you can realistically expect them to achieve with regular use. We spoke to esthetician Kerry Benjamin to explore the causes behind those pesky eye-area issues and how eye creams generally work.
Cosmetic Eye Issues & Their Causes
- Aging — Collagen, elastin, and fat decrease as you age, and the tissues and muscles around your eyes weaken, causing the skin to sag and wrinkle. You can't help some of this, but tugging at skin even as you remove makeup can expedite it.
- Dark circles — Typically, dark circles under the eyes are the result of lack of sleep, allergies, or poor blood circulation. Unfortunately, they're also a part of aging and genetics. They occur when you can see the blood vessels under the skin's thin surface.
- Puffiness — Puffiness simply occurs when fluid accumulates under the skin, causing what appears to be swelling. Any time you have a loss of water, say, from crying or eating too much ramen, your body will overcompensate by adding more water. This can also happen when you sleep on your stomach, as water inside your body is subject to gravity.
- Under-eye bags — This is easy to confuse with puffiness because they are related. The Mayo Clinic states, “With aging, the tissues around your eyes, including some of the muscles supporting your eyelids, weaken. Normal fat that helps support the eyes can then move into the lower eyelids, causing the lids to appear puffy. Fluid also may accumulate in the space below your eyes, adding to the swelling." Several factors, including changes in weather, hormone levels, eating salty foods, lack of sleep, allergies, and genetics, can all lead to under-eye bags.
How Eye Creams Work
Eye creams essentially work in three ways: by moisturizing, calming, and protecting the delicate skin surrounding the eyes. The best eye creams will also include ingredients that renew and regenerate cells, strengthening skin fibers such as collagen and elastin.
Eye creams deliver moisture a bit differently than their facial counterparts. Because the product is applied so close to the eyes, eye creams are usually much gentler and contain a higher concentration of emollients to infuse hydration. Proper, deep moisturization is arguably the most important way an eye cream works. Consistent moisturizing plumps up skin, warding off dryness and visible blood vessels. When the skin stays supple, it slows wrinkling and instantly creates a brighter, fresher look.
Certain ingredients also work to reduce inflammation and stimulate circulation to help decrease the swelling and fluid retention that causes puffiness, while antioxidants nourish and protect from free-radical damage caused by everyday environmental aggressors, like pollution and sun damage.
Setting Realistic Expectations
Ever read an eye cream label that claimed it could make dark circles “vanish" or “lift sagging skin"? If it were true, I'd be all over it, too. Unfortunately, eye creams can't make your eyes look like they did when you were 15 as much as a black dress can't make you look 50 pounds thinner. The good news is that eye creams still do a lot of good. Make sure you understand what you can and cannot anticipate after using eye cream so you're actually pleased with the results.
What You Can Expect From Eye Cream
Through major moisturizing action, you realistically can slow down the formation of wrinkles by keeping skin as plump as possible. For existing issues — like dark circles, wrinkles, and fine lines — eye creams help improve their appearance. For example, you can boost your skin's elasticity by adding emollience to cells, but it's impossible to directly increase elasticity. Eye creams can also help stimulate collagen production through ingredients like vitamin C and promote cell turnover with retinol.
What You Shouldn't Expect From Eye Cream
Eye creams comprise ingredients that offer cosmetic benefits, such as anti-inflammatory and brightening effects for puffiness and dark circles. Aside from the preventative benefits eye creams offer through consistent moisturizing, they generally improve the appearance of issues. There are no eye creams that can directly suck the fluid out from your eye skin to eliminate puffiness, nor can they get rid of the blood vessels that cause dark circles.
Important Features of an Eye Cream
As I conducted my research, I gathered intel on what qualities of an eye cream are most important to users. These are the features all great eye creams must offer to be considered the best:
- Boosts hydration and moisturizes: Moisturizing is key to the effectiveness of all eye creams.
- Contains the best ingredients: Your eye cream should contain ingredients that target eye issues, including nourishing antioxidants, anti-aging retinol, and more.
- Clinically proven: Products and ingredients that don't have scientific studies backing their efficacy should still be highly rated in clinical studies.
- Boasts effective preventative anti-aging benefits: If stated on the label, your eye cream should help to reduce the visible appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, under-eye bags, and dark circles while alleviating puffy eyes and promoting firmness and elasticity.
- Brightens and smoothes overall eye area: Whether you're 20 with baby-soft skin or 70 with deep wrinkles, your eye area should look more vibrant, feel softer and suppler, and look all-around more evenly textured with consistent use over a period of four to six weeks.
- Soothes: The eye cream should be anti-inflammatory, refreshing, and calming.
- Does not cause breakouts: This one is obvious — who wants a product to add more issues? An especially nefarious problem for oilier skin types, eye creams should not be pore-clogging or comedogenic.
- Contains non-irritating & fragrance-free agents: The product should not cause an itchy, watery-eyed reaction. According to Cosmetic Chemist Susan Raffy, all eye products should ideally be fragrance-free to avoid irritating delicate skin.
- Texture: While many people can use lighter-weight eye creams, there's a segment of people who want extra-rich formulations because they have very dry skin or prefer something thicker at night. It's important for eye cream to be true to its listed texture.
- Absorption: Eye cream should not leave a greasy residue or sit on top of the skin, but should absorb fully in three to five minutes at most.
- Packaging: Though this is still up in the air, the packaging must keep ingredients stable and prevent hygiene issues. Since jar packaging is still controversial, none of our top picks come in jars.
- Longevity of product: Whether you're comfortable with restocking your eye-cream supply every month or every year, the best product should not run out too quickly — or come in such huge quantities that it spoils prematurely.
- Availability: You should be able to purchase eye creams both online as well as in a brick-and-mortar shop without having to withstand lengthy wait lists for sold-out products.
- Tinted: Though not a deal breaker, tinted eye creams can be very effective to help conceal dark circles, and imperfections.
- Free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and mineral oil: Though the preference is still split, many consumers prefer to steer clear of products containing these controversial ingredients.
- Natural, organic, and cruelty-free: For those concerned with using products that are environmentally sound and free of animal cruelty, make sure to check the label for ingredients, the “leaping bunny" symbol, and labels specifying the product's organic makeup.
Since eye creams are used on the sensitive and delicate skin surrounding the eye, it is especially important that the formula is non-irritating. Also, ideally, eye products should be fragrance-free since most allergic reactions are caused by fragrance.
Taking ingredients into consideration, I found that many were added to formulas over and over again — and for good reason. Each of the top picks contain at least one of these superstar ingredients:
- Retinol: Vitamin A, which works on skin by stimulating cell renewal. It is by and large the most prevalently recommended ingredient for anti-aging, especially for wrinkles, evening out skin texture, and combating acne.
- Peptides: These helpful parts of amino acids boost collagen creation, lending a plump, youthful quality to aging and sun-damaged skin.
- Ceramides: Skin lipids that “hold" skin cells together to help maintain structure.
- Niacinamide: Vitamin B3 helps improve skin's elasticity, diminish discolorations, and restore tone and texture.
- Hyaluronic acid: This substance found naturally in skin can hold 1,000 times its own weight in water, which means it delivers constant moisture for extra plumping action.
- Caffeine: This popular ingredient literally wakes up and temporarily tightens skin, and is commonly used to combat the look of dark circles and puffiness.
- Vitamin C: A top ingredient to produce a brightening effect, vitamin C helps stimulate collagen production and protects from free-radical damage that causes aging.
- Vitamin E: A popular antioxidant to help repair and create soft and supple skin.
- Vitamin K: The most popular agent used to combat dark circles.
- Antioxidants: Protective agents that fight off metabolic and environmental damage that cause premature aging and hyperpigmentation.
- Licorice and kojic acid: Botanical ingredients that help alleviate the appearance of brown spots.
Your eyes are front-and-center of your physical being, yet they're the first to get older. While wrinkles and expression lines are inevitable, adding an eye cream to your skincare arsenal will help you age as gracefully as you can. At the end of the day, remember these words from good ol' Mark Twain: “Wrinkles merely mark where smiles have been."
So, help yourself to the eye cream you jive with! We think you'll love Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum, or any of our other top picks.
Do you have an eye cream you swear by that's not on this list? Let me know in the comments!