The Best Eye Cream

Pair the right ingredients with the right issue
The 30-Second Review

The best eye cream comes down to using the right ingredients on the right issue. The most common: wrinkles, puffiness, and dark circles. We talked to multiple dermatologists, and pored over skincare research to find which ingredients were ideal for each issue and what ingredients to avoid overall. Then, we tested our finalists to see which ones left our skin feeling moisturized and ready to layer.

Best Eye Cream for Wrinkles

This eye cream has all the ingredients needed to combat fine lines and wrinkles: retinyl palmitate (a gentler retinol derivative), peptides, and hyaluronic acid, plus almond oil and shea butter for moisturizing.

Runners-Up for Wrinkles

The Best Eye Cream

Our top pick for addressing fine lines and wrinkles is Botanics Radiant Youth Hydrating Eye Cream. It has the right combination of ingredients: retinyl palmitate (a gentler form of retinol), multiple peptides for boosting collagen production, and hyaluronic acid for keeping skin hydrated. The lightweight cream comes in a 0.5-ounce opaque tube with a tip applicator, which will help keep the active ingredients active — retinoids and peptides are sensitive to light and air. This eye cream left our skin feeling moisturized without being heavy or greasy. It does have a light scent that reminded us of sunscreen, but it wasn’t off-putting and dissipated quickly.

When it comes to battling dark circles, our top pick is Vichy Idealia Eyes. Its ingredient list boasts an effective combo: caffeine to constrict blood vessels, and antioxidants and peptides to help combat the breakdown of collagen. It also includes sunscreen, niacinamide, and mica, which all work to help brighten the skin to make dark circles less noticeable. The cream soaks in quickly and is lightweight enough to layer over your daily makeup and the silicone applicator was one of the favorites we tested — gently massaging in the product without pulling or tugging.

If puffiness is your problem, Honest Beauty’s The Depuffed Eye is our top pick. It features anti-puff ingredients like caffeine (for tightening inflamed skin) and antioxidants green tea and chamomile (for reducing swelling). The opaque tube has a metal paddle applicator head that works to instantly cool the skin around the eye and the massaging action helps displace pooling liquid to immediately address puffiness.

Our Picks for the Best Eye Cream

Best for Wrinkles

Botanics Radiant Youth Hydrating Eye Cream With all the ingredients to fight wrinkles, plus added moisturizers like almond oil and shea butter.

When it comes to fighting wrinkles around the eyes, the combination of ingredients is the most important. Botanics Radiant Youth Hydrating Eye Cream includes retinyl palmitate, a retinoid with a lower level of vitamin A than retinol, so it’s less likely to cause irritation on the thin skin in the eye area. (As you may remember from our review on The Best Wrinkle Cream, retinoids are proven to reverse the signs of aging.) It also has more than one peptide, which provides more opportunity to boost collagen growth and smooth out wrinkles. And, lastly, it has the ultra-moisturizer hyaluronic acid.

The lightweight cream felt more like a serum, and we noticed immediately how moisturized our skin felt. Not surprising thanks to the sweet almond oil, shea butter, and fatty alcohols in addition to the hyaluronic acid. Wrinkle-fighting retinoids and peptides can be drying, so we appreciated these extra moisturizing ingredients. Despite all of these moisturizers, our skin didn’t feel heavy or greasy and the product soaked in quickly. There is a slight scent, reminiscent of sunscreen, but it wasn’t off-putting and dissipated quickly.

The Botanics’ Radiant Youth Hydrating Eye Cream comes in an opaque tube with a tip applicator. Not quite as foolproof as the airtight pump of our runner-up, but for $25, a little oxidization risk may be worth the value. Both Hydroxatone Hydrolyze Intensive Under Eye Treatment ($69) and First Aid Beauty Eye Duty Triple Remedy Overnight Balm ($38) come in jars — a much higher price tag for packaging that’s going to expose the eye cream to air, light, and potential bacteria.

Runner-Up for Wrinkles

Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Eye Swirl Gel Cream Includes gentle wrinkle fighting ingredients, plus some to combat dark circles too.

If you’re looking to combat wrinkles, plus dark circles, then Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Eye Swirl Gel Cream is worth a try. It doesn’t include retinol (or any derivatives), but it does include peptides and sodium hyaluronate — both great wrinkle fighters and gentler on the skin than retinol. Other standout ingredients: dill extract, which has been found to help firm skin and improve elasticity; panthenol (a pro-vitamin B5), known for attracting and holding moisture; and collagen, which is also known for its moisturizing abilities. For dark circles, it has niacinamide, a known skin lightener, and mica, a light-reflecting mineral for immediate undereye brightening.

You can see its signature swirl through the bottle — Olay calls it a swirl of cream with a swirl of gel — so, the consistency, unsurprisingly, is a little creamy and a little serum-like. It has a slightly greasier residue than Botanics that lingered longer. Though, once it fully absorbed, our skin felt smooth and moisturized. We’d recommend keeping your usage to nightly, and not layering on makeup. It has no noticeable scent unlike the slight sunscreen smell of Botanics and includes a pump for great portion control. One pump provided the perfect amount for both eyes.

And, while we liked the pump (no way to introduce bacteria inadvertently like with tubs), the transparent bottle isn’t ideal. But a risk of a little oxidation might be worth the price tag ($29) and availability — this well-known brand can be found on most drugstore shelves and through popular online retailers.

Runner-Up for Wrinkles

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream Super-moisturizing ingredients as well as retinol for targeting crow's feet and fine lines.

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream, another familiar drugstore name, is also worthy of a look — especially if your focus is fine lines and crow’s feet. It includes retinol, the powerhouse of wrinkle fighters, but keep in mind that not all skin can handle it. The package warns that “you may experience mild redness, a warm, tingling sensation or flaking (skin exfoliation). These are normal, temporary indications that the formula is working.” If the effects persist or cause too much discomfort, though, retinol may not be for you. Try an eye cream with gentler wrinkle fighters like either of our picks from Botanics or Olay.

It does include the ultra-moisturizing sodium hyaluronate, and two fatty alcohols, stearyl alcohol and cetearyl alcohol, also known for their moisturizing qualities. Another skin care standout, PTFE. Better known as Teflon, this ingredient works similarly as it does on pans — it creates a smooth surface. Exactly what you want in a wrinkle cream. It’s also known for filling in fine lines as well. (There is a toxicity concern with PTFE, but that occurs at 662 degrees Fahrenheit. Not a likely environment for your face.)

Its light, creamy lotion isn’t as heavy as Olay’s creamy, gel swirls and it absorbed quicker. Our skin was left feeling moisturized without the lingering greasiness of Olay. It does have a slight scent of alcohol with herbal afternotes, but it wasn’t overwhelming. The opaque tube has a tip applicator similar to Botanics’ and 0.5 ounce will cost you in between the prices of our Olay and Botanics picks.

Runner-Up for Wrinkles

Dr. Brandt Glow by Dr. Brandt Revitalizing Retinol Eye Cream An airtight pump for perfect portion control, but it includes retinol, which may be too much for some skin.

Dr. Brandt’s Glow by Dr. Brandt Revitalizing Retinol Eye Cream ($55) takes the prize for ideal packaging — it comes in an airtight pump. The pump was great for portion control, too. One full pump is the perfect amount for both eyes. In comparison with tip applicators, we often found ourselves with too much or not enough product. Or, like Vi Derm Revitalizing Eye Cream, the tip broke off in the cap with no way of keeping the cap on.

Dr. Brandt’s Glow by Dr. Brandt Revitalizing Retinol Eye Cream doesn’t include peptides, which is why it didn’t beat out Botanics as our top spot. The dermatologists we spoke with all said that a combination of retinoids and peptides is likely going to be most effective for most people. It also includes straight retinol (the most effective anti-aging ingredient), and not a gentler derivative like with Botanics Radiant Youth Hydrating Eye Cream. Not all skin can handle retinol, especially around the eyes.

“People prone to eczema may not be able to tolerate a retinoid as it can cause dryness, redness, or irritation,” says Klein. “Some people can only tolerate a vitamin A-based product a couple times a week.” If you have any skin sensitivity, Klein suggests trying retinol products just one night a week at first and increase the use if your skin doesn’t find it too irritating.

Runner-Up for Wrinkles

Kate Somerville +Retinol Firming Eye Cream Another retinol powerhouse with a metal applicator for gently massaging in the cream.

We really liked Kate Somerville +Retinol Firming Eye Cream ($85) too. Similar to Dr. Brandt’s, it favors retinol over peptides, and includes hyaluronic acid. It comes in a tube with a metal applicator tip to help rub the product in with no pulling or tugging. (This is important to not break down the elastin around the eye causing even more wrinkles.) The cooling sensation of the metal tip paired with the gentle massage left our skin feeling soft and moisturized. The product instantly absorbed. If it wasn’t for the retinol, we could see layering on top of this with our daily makeup.

When it comes to anti-aging secrets, Klein says it’s all about the combination of the retinoids and moisturizers. If you’re not acne-prone, she suggests pairing up your anti-aging eye cream with a thick petroleum-based balm to boost effects. “At night you do want something more moisturizing in combination with a retinoid. For some people, a thick layer of Vaseline or Aquaphor over retinol at night is one of the best secrets to anti-aging, because they’re so much more moisturizing than many of the creams alone,” she says.

Best for Dark Circles

Vichy Idealia Eyes Caffeine and antioxidants to combat dark circles, plus sunscreen, niacinamide, and mica to brighten skin instantly.

If dark circles are your biggest concern, then Vichy Idealia Eyes eye cream has the ingredients you want. It includes all the necessary stuff like caffeine, antioxidants, and sunscreen, and a couple of extras too. Mica, one of those minerals that naturally reflects light and helps cover up dark circles immediately, and niacinamide, an antioxidant that’s been shown to lighten skin.

Its subtle pink-hued serum is lightweight and slightly creamy in texture. It absorbed quickly into our skin, unlike Hada Labo Tokyo Age Correcting Eye Cream, which left our skin feeling too greasy. Our skin felt moisturized without feeling weighed down — definitely light enough to layer on your daily makeup. There was also no noticeable smell, which we appreciated.

We loved the silky glide of Vichy Idealia Eyes silicone paddle applicator (right), while La Roche-Posay’s metal applicator (left) provided a cooling touch.

The product comes in a shimmery pink, opaque tube with a silicone paddle applicator to help massage the product around your eyes. (Out of all the eye creams we tested, this applicator was one of our favorites.) This made application really easy — ensuring maximum absorption without pulling the skin. It costs $31 for 0.5 ounce. Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream to Brighten and Depuff costs about the same, but comes in a tub, leaving those sensitive ingredients unprotected against air exposure and bacteria.

Runner-Up for Dark Circles

La Roche-Posay Pigmentclar Eyes Includes the same ingredient as our top pick, but with a noticeable medicinal scent.

La Roche-Posay’s Pigmentclar Eyes ($43) is a close runner-up. It has all the great ingredients like the Vichy option — caffeine, antioxidants, and sunscreen, plus mica and niacinamide. Both are also made in France. Even the packaging is similar: an opaque, 0.5-ounce tube. Though, the La Roche-Posay comes with a metal applicator tip, which offers a cooling touch when rubbing, but we preferred the silky glide of the silicone. The light, creamy serum also has a noticeable medicinal scent that reminded us of a hospital. We weren’t fans. But, if you don’t mind it, then this eye cream offers similar benefits to Vichy’s Idealia Eyes.

Best for Puffy Eyes

Honest Beauty The Depuffed Eye Cream A cooling metal applicator, plus anti-inflammatory ingredients like green tea and chamomile.

What made Honest Beauty’s eye cream stand out was its packaging, and we don’t mean just that it came in a nice opaque tube that should help keep those antioxidants active for longer than a jar might. The Depuffed Eye came with a metal tip that immediately chilled down our skin, which made for a pleasant application that could also increase the eye cream’s effectiveness.

Metal paddles or roller applicators are ideal for combatting puffiness — they help cool down skin immediately and move accumulated liquid out of the under-eye area.

Klein says these kinds of metal or roller applicators are popular with her patients. Not only do they help immediately cool down the skin, but also the massage helps with lymphatic flow, thereby moving accumulated liquid out of that area, addressing puffiness right away. Jaliman even recommends keeping your eye cream for puffiness in the refrigerator. “The cooling effect will help take down some of the swelling,” she says.

The applicator definitely felt soothing and massaging when we applied it to our skin — without the added step of keeping your eye cream in the refrigerator. The cream itself came out as a light gel that felt creamy not sticky, and would be easy to layer on makeup.

Honest Beauty’s The Depuffed Eye has anti-inflammatory ingredients like caffeine, chamomile, and green tea, as well as sunscreen and mica, which means it’s a great option for your morning eye cream, offering sun protection and some brightening (if you happen to have dark circles and puffiness).

The great ingredient list combined with the applicator that immediately felt like a trip to the spa made it our top pick. And at $32 you’ll get to enjoy that spa-like feeling every morning for a fraction of the price.

Runner-Up for Puffiness

Origins No Puffery Cooling Roll-On for Puffy Eyes Citrus- and eucalyptus-scented with a metal roller applicator that instantly cools skin.

Origins No Puffery Cooling Roll-On For Puffy Eyes ($36) was one of our favorites too. Instead of a metal applicator tip, it has a metal roller ball that was instantly cooling and easy to apply. The roller ball also helped with portion control — it’s simple to roll on just what you need, unlike with The Depuffed Eye Cream where too hard a squeeze resulted in too much cream. The light gel soaked into our skin faster than the other picks, and the subtle citrus-y, eucalyptus scent was also a crowd pleaser.

It contains some additional standout ingredients that we didn’t find in any of our other contenders — yeast extract and Poria Cocos Sclerotium extract (aka mushrooms). Both are good antioxidants that are known for skin conditioning and skin soothing properties.

Runner-Up for Puffiness

MDSolarSciences Daily Eye Repair Emulsion Helps fight puffiness and dark circles in an airtight pump.

MDSolarSciences Daily Eye Repair Emulsion is a dermatologist-developed product that packs a punch of caffeine and antioxidants like green tea, chamomile, and aloe vera — especially good for reducing inflammation. This eye cream also contains several peptides, niacinamide to address dark circles, and natural oils like aloe and sunflower seed oil. A great ingredients list if you’re targeting dark circles as well as puffiness.

MDSolarSciences comes in a bright blue and orange bottle that reminded us of sport sunscreen with a pump. It lacked the “cooling” applicator that Honest Beauty and Origins have, which is important for addressing puffiness right away. The light yellow serum was a bit silkier than aloe vera gel and took a while to fully soak into the skin. But, once it did, our skin felt moisturized. If you’re looking for an eye cream that targets more than one issue, then MDSolarSciences Daily Eye Repair Emulsion ($82) might be the product for you.

Did You Know?

What’s the difference between morning and night eye creams?

At night, your skin is actually primed for soaking-up moisturizers, which is why it’s good to have a creamier, more moisturizing eye cream at night. Another reason? If you’re using an eye cream with a retinoid, those are broken down by sunlight, so they won’t work during the day anyway.

In the morning, you want your eye cream to do different things. “Most people in the morning want an eye cream that shields their skin from sun damage and constricts the blood vessels to address dark circles and puffiness,” says Klein. “That doesn’t really matter at night, though.”

Can you just use your face cream around your eyes?

The dermatologists we interviewed said no. The skin around your eyes is too different from the rest of your face.

Take wrinkle-fighting face creams, for example. A common combo includes retinoids and alpha-hydroxy acids. But, around the eyes? “Topical retinoids and AHAs can irritate the skin, actually making it look dry, red, and flaky. It can even trigger the formation of new fine lines,” says Shainhouse.

Even so, some brands put out eye creams that are suspiciously similar to their face creams, says Klein. Be sure to check the ingredient list, and if an eye cream does cause irritation, stop using it.

The Best Eye Creams: Summed Up

The Bottom Line

Best Eye Cream for Wrinkles

Botanics Radiant Youth Hydrating Eye Cream Effective ingredients for fighting wrinkles that are gentle enough for most skin types.

The best eye cream has the ingredients that address the issues that you care about most. If that’s wrinkles, look for retinoids, peptides, and hyaluronic acid. For dark circles, eye creams with caffeine, antioxidants, and sunscreen are best. And, if it’s puffiness you’re fighting, find an eye cream with caffeine and soothing antioxidants like chamomile or green tea. Added points if it has a cooling, massaging applicator.