Skin

The Best Eye Creams for Wrinkles, Puffiness and Dark Circles

Finally! 12 eye creams that actually work

Derms agree: Neocutis Lumiere is the best eye cream for wrinkles, dark circles, and puffiness

If there is one question I get asked by every single person who knows me (and my nerd-like compulsion to drill down on the science behind beauty products) it is this: What is the best eye cream? And do any of them really work? As a longtime beauty editor, I have tried dozens of eye creams. For many years, I didn’t find anything that made a noticeable difference. But as I’ve gotten older and my quest for the perfect eye cream became more personal, I took my search to a whole new level. The bottomline: I can finally say with confidence that a few of them actually work.

Now when I say “work” you should know what this really means. When it comes to OTC eye creams, there is no such thing as a magic bullet. None of these products are going to work as well as Botox or a filler. In fact, not even close. What can you expect? If used religiously (twice a day for 6-8 weeks) you should see a small but noticeable softening of wrinkles and brightening of the skin around the eyes (sorry, those hereditary dark circles you’ve had since you were a baby aren’t going anywhere). Used consistently, some of them even rival the effects you can get with the prescription retinoid, the current gold standard in anti-aging.

To compile the list below, I slathered on dozens of eye creams and serums—both old and new—to find the best possible solutions to every single problem. I looked at ingredients, delivery systems, and subjective factors like cosmetic elegance. I also looked at the science: if clinical studies were available, I found them. After testing each product myself, I then cross checked my own experience with hundreds of other unbiased reviewers on Amazon, Sephora and Ulta. As you’ll see, this list is not simply “what’s new in 2017” but rather a distilled edit of the very best in every category and across every price point, regardless of launch date.

Best overall eye creams (wrinkles, depuffing, dark circles)

Splurge: Neocutis Lumiere eye cream, $47, amazon.com

Formulated with a proprietary complex called PSP (processed skin proteins), this fragrance-free cream also includes growth factors, antioxidants, caffeine, bisabolol and sodium hyaluronate to immediately depuff and hydrate skin.

This lightweight eye cream from Olay provides a subtle lifting effect Save: Olay Regenerist Eye Lifting Eye Serum, $24, amazon.com 

This fragrance-free, fast absorbing serum contains niacinamide ( vitamin B3) to gently rejuvenate the delicate skin around the eyes. Micronized mica and various invisible polymers also provide an immediate brightening and smoothing effect.

Best eye creams for dark circles

Splurge: Peter Thomas Roth Power K Eye Rescue, $53, amazon.com

Contains a potent cocktail of darkness banishing actives: blood-vessel supporting Vitamin K, Coenzyme Q 10, glycosaminoglycans and kojic acid, a natural brightener.

Save: Neovonia Eye Cream, $17, amazon.com 

This popular cream contains just about every active ingredient you want to find in an eye cream: tightening caffeine,  muscle-freezing hexapeptides, rejuvenating niacinamide, and vitamin K, which helps strength blood vessels (to reduce darkness).

Best Eye Creams for Puffiness

Splurge:  Instantly Ageless Antiaging Eye Cream, I Box ($50 sachets) $28, amazon.com
Don’t let the informercial vibe of this brand deter you: If you really care about your bags, this temporary treatment may be just the ticket (watch a live, insanely convincing before and after here). The product needs to be very carefully applied (and there are hundreds of videos showing you just how to do this on youtube) but it really does dramatically shrink under eye bags within just three minutes of applying it. The product contains Argereline, a hexapeptide believed to work in a similar way to Botox. A few important caveats: The effect is temporary, and the product can leave a visible residue if incorrectly applied. Also, it feels tight—imagine wearing Spanx under your eyes—so you may not find it very comfortable.
Save: Olay Depuffing Eye Roller, $24, amazon.com 

If you don’t like the idea of wearing Spanx under your eyes, this drugstore favorite is a good choice. Like many of the products in the Olay line, this serum contains niacinamide (B3) to gently rejuvenate skin around the eyes. It also contains caffeine to tighten and a cool, roller ball tip that helps manually massage fluid out of the under-eye area. TBN tip: Keep it in the fridge. The cold constrict blood vessels, enhancing the de-puffing effect of the caffeine.

Best Eye Creams for Sagging

Dr. Dennis Gross's new eye serum brightens dark circles and minimizes wrinkles around the eyesSplurge: Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic & Retinol Eye Cream, $100, amazon.com
This relative new comer combines classic ingredients like retinol with ferulic acid and the amino acid GABA. Like argireline, the active ingredient in Instantly Ageless, GABA is believed to work on the neurotransmitters that control muscle movement, temporary freezing wrinkles in a way similar to Botox (the effect, however, is much more subtle).
Save: Sudden Change Eye Serum, amazon.com, $8, amazon.com 
Yup, this humble drugstore serum may seem random but it works—in the most old school way possible. It contains albumin, which is egg whites. Like the Instantly Ageless product, it’s temporary and needs to be very carefully applied or it can crust (see how to video here). But if you’re desperate, it’s a good quick fix.

Best Eye Creams for Sensitive Skin

Polyphenols and other antioxidants in this Caudalie eye cream protect the delicate skin of the eye from environmental stressors like sun and pollutionSplurge: Caudalie Vine Active Energizing and Soothing Eye Cream, $37 , amazon.com

Paraben, fragrance and dye-free, this gentle eye cream is loaded with polyphenols and other antioxidants that protect the delicate skin of the eyes while reducing inflammation.

Save: Roc Retinol Correxion for Sensitive Eye Cream, $12, amazon.com
This cream contains a milder form of retinol to gentle treat fine lines around the eye.

Best Eye Creams for Hydration

La Mer's rich balm contains the same miracle broth found in all of their products. Splurge: La Mer The Eye Balm Intense, $191, amazon.com 

Formulated with the same miracle broth found in all of La Mer products, this super hydrating formula is a celeb favorite—and for good reason. It lifts, firms and smooths skin and feels incredibly luxurious going on.

Save: Cerave Eye Repair cream, $10, amazon.com 

Great hydration with a lot less bells and whistles, this no nonsense eye cream is hypoallergenic, fragrance free and non-comedogenic. A derm favorite, it smoothes and plumps skin with niacinamide and hyaluronic acid.

 

Best Eye Creams for Day/Night

This dual-chambered cream offers a formula with SPF for day and a night time version that doesn't contain sunscreen

Splurge: Talika Quintessence, $69, amazon.com

Finally, a beauty brand has solved the issue of SPF! This dual-chambered serum contains one side formulated with sunscreen (for day) and the other side without (for night). Both serums have a light, gel-like texture that instantly absorbs into skin, hydrating and softening skin around the eyes instantly.

Save: This is one innovation I have yet to see at the drugstore. Let me know if anyone finds one!

 

 

 

Amy Synnott

Amy Synnott

Founding Editor
Amy Synnott is the founder of The Beautiful Edit. A graduate of the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, Amy spent most of her career at InStyle magazine, where she worked as a the Beauty Director from 2000-2013 and the Executive Editor from 2013-2016. Originally from Boston, Amy currently lives in NYC with her husband, two children, and Labrador, Lucy.