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The 15 Very Best Eye Creams

“I would swim in this product if I could.”

Photo: Marcus McDonald
Photo: Marcus McDonald

In this article

As someone with relatively normal under-eyes, I’ve never had much use for eye creams, even though they’ve always been touted as a must-have for anyone who was serious about their multistep skin-care routine. But as a longtime beauty writer, I’ve swatched and tested more than my fair share and have come to a conclusion about the very best eye creams: They’re incredibly helpful if you want to use a particular active under your eyes but not all over your face. Say, for example, you have lax or crepey under-eyes (a common concern given that the skin underneath the eye is so thin and more prone to skin issues than the rest of the face) but the rest of your skin does just fine with your standard CeraVe. This is an instance where an eye cream could be incredibly helpful if not game-changing. That’s why I’ve chosen and organized picks based on concern rather than skin type.

To find the best eye creams that will actually offers results, I tested the best-overall pick for a few weeks, tapping it on at the end of my routine in the mornings, to see if it actually made a difference. I also consulted nine dermatologists and an aesthetician. The world of eye creams is vast, so I looked to them for a sense of what they like and use as well as what’s working well for their patients. They were also helpful for deciphering labels and offering eye-area-specific context for ingredients like hyaluronic acid and niacinamide. Below, find the picks for the best eye creams to fade dark circles, reduce puffiness, and even brighten and moisturize.

What we’re looking for

Active ingredients

Eye creams are one of those skin-care products that are tailored to treat specific concerns, and the ingredients should reflect that. An eye cream designed to brighten might have ingredients like vitamin C and niacinamide, while an eye cream aimed at reducing puffiness will likely be packed with caffeine. With that said, some eye creams (like our top pick) include a host of actives that target different concerns simultaneously and help with everything from wrinkles to puffiness to dark circles.


The word cream is used loosely here, as our picks include a range of thick creams, lightweight lotions, and serums. Texture is important depending on your skin type and needs. A drier under-eye area would benefit from a thicker consistency, while an oilier skin type would do well with a gel cream or serum.

Size (and cost per ounce)

Eye creams are available at just about every price point, ranging from under $20 to over $100 per jar or tube. But it’s important to pay attention to how much product you’re getting for the price you’re paying, so we’ve noted the size, as well as the cost per ounce, to help you decide what works best with your budget.

Best eye cream overall

Active ingredients: Peptides, goji fruit extract | Texture: Lightweight cream | Size: 0.5 ounce (Approx. $218 per ounce)

For people who want to generally improve the look and feel of their under-eye area, I like this eye cream from Revision Skincare. The brand as a whole is known for its highly efficacious products (I’ve previously recommend its night cream for mature skin), and this eye cream is no different. It threads the needle of being nourishing but still lightweight and quickly absorbs into skin. I felt a slight tingle upon application, which quickly dissipates but makes me feel like it’s working. I’m scrupulous about packaging, and this one has one of the best designs. It’s airtight, which always bodes well for keeping actives fresh (key, considering it contains notoriously finicky vitamin C). I’m also a fan of the the flat metal spatula tip, which I used to tap in the product. That ensures you don’t contaminate the product with unwashed fingers and hopefully encourages gentle application.

Dermatologists also love this stuff. Five of the people I spoke with had high praise for Revision Skincare’s D.E.J. Eye Cream because of its ability to treat a variety of under-eye concerns. “This is a favorite in my office,” says Dr. Melissa Doft, founder of Doft Plastic Surgery, who recommends it for patients dealing with wrinkles, sagging skin, puffiness, and dark circles. According to Dr. Hadley King, clinical instructor of dermatology at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University, “This cream contains dipalmitoyl hydroxyproline and sunflower-seed oil for moisturizing, vitamin C for brightening, and peptides for reducing fine lines and wrinkles.” It also contains goji fruit, which provides additional antioxidant benefits, and cucumber-fruit water, which calms the skin, she explains. While it is on the expensive side, it’s a multitasking product that will treat just about any skin problem you may be experiencing in your eye area. Case in point: Doyle says it can also be used on the upper eyelids “to strengthen the thin skin and help with crepey-ness, premature aging, and even hooding.” Board-certified dermatologist and founder of RVL Skincare Dr. Rita Linkner is also a fan and has been using it twice a day for years. She uses it all over her eye area, including her upper-eyelid skin, and says she has seen “a big improvement in crepe-ing.”

Using Revision Skincare’s unique under-eye applicator. Photo: Tembe Denton-Hurst

Best less-expensive eye cream

Active ingredients: Retinol, hyaluronic acid | Texture: Lightweight cream | Size: 0.5 ounce (Approx. $36 per ounce)

If you don’t want to splurge on Revision’s eye cream, this one from RoC is a great option at a more affordable price. It helps with a host of under-eye concerns, including crow’s-feet, fine lines, wrinkles, dark circles, uneven texture, and puffiness. Its hero ingredient is retinol, a derivative of vitamin A that works by stimulating collagen production to strengthen the skin’s foundation and minimize the appearance of lines. If you’re familiar with the ingredient, then you know it has a reputation for being sensitizing and irritating — but since this cream uses a vitamin-A derivative that is less strong than prescription-strength retinol, you’re less likely to experience irritation. Even though this one doesn’t have antioxidants and peptides like the Revision Skincare option, there’s still lots of benefits given the pricepoint. It’s especially good if you want to address the area generally and don’t want to spend lots of money to do it. Dermatologist Joshua Zeichner and Doft are both fans, with Doft noting the inclusion of hyaluronic acid, which attracts water and locks in moisture. This is essential because the dryer the under eye is, the more wrinkled it will look. Because this eye cream contains retinol, it’s best to use it at night and follow up with sunscreen in the morning, because retinol makes skin more sensitive to the sun.

Best eye cream for dark circles

Active ingredients: Vitamin C, ferulic acid, phloretin, caffeine | Texture: Gel cream | Size: 0.5 ounce (Approx. $190 per ounce)

After years of interviewing dermatologists, I’ve learned there are lots of reasons for dark circles under the eyes. Genetics, dehydration, lack of sleep, allergies, nasal congestion, smoking, and anemia can all play a part. If it’s genetics, an eye cream won’t do much, but environmental or topical issues can be addressed with a good antioxidant-rich eye cream. SkinCeuticals AOX+ Eye Gel is good for this. The brand is best known for their excellent vitamin-C serum (it’s my best vitamin-C-serum pick) but the rest of their products are also highly efficacious. The eye cream contains potent vitamin C, which King says “interferes with the production of pigment and will therefore brighten dark circles, improve pigmentation, and prevent free-radical damage from UV-light exposure.” She also has a few lifestyle recommendations: “Make sure you are getting enough sleep and that you are well hydrated. Treat allergies with oral antihistamines. Eat a well-balanced diet and make sure you are not anemic. Stop smoking!”

Best less-expensive eye cream for dark circles

Active ingredients: Niacinamide, pumpkin-seed extract, sodium hyaluronate, caffeine | Texture: Lightweight cream | Size: 0.5 ounce (Approx. $64 per ounce)

Dermatologist Caroline Robinson of Tone Dermatology uses this eye cream from First Aid Beauty, which she says instantly illuminates the under-eye area using peach micro-pearls, while working to lighten dark circles over time. “It blends niacinamide, caffeine, and sodium hyaluronate in a beautiful brightening formula,” she says. Note that if you have a deeper skin tone, you may want to test this one out before committing to a full-size jar, as reviewers have mentioned it may show up pale on dark skin.

Best eye cream for dark circles and deeper skin tones

Active ingredients: Niacinamide, plankton extract, ash-tree bark | Texture: Lightweight serum | Size: 0.5 ounce (Approx. $294 per ounce)

I’ve previously recommended Epara in my stories about skin care for deeper skin tones. The brand, which launched in 2017, is one of a few that’s specifically for melanated skin. The eye serum is no different and addresses common skin concerns like hyperpigmentation head on. The serum’s active ingredients are niacinamide and plankton extract, along with ash-tree bark, a natural anti-inflammatory ingredient that helps with bags and dark circles. It’s mostly made up of hydrating oils like apricot and ylang-ylang, which work together to hydrate without feeling greasy. It also comes recommended by Robinson, who likes that it was crafted with darker skin tones in mind.

Best eye cream for sagging skin

Active ingredients: Vitamin A, lactic acid / Texture: Gel / Size: 0.5 (Approx: $108 per ounce)

As skin ages, it loses laxity, so a firming eye cream can be helpful for tightening the area. While a cream won’t give you the same results as filler, with consistent use the skin can improve over time. This one is a favorite of Akram’s. “It helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes,” she says. One of its main ingredients is vitamin A or retinol. Because it’s meant for the thin skin around the eyes, it contains a low concentration of retinol, but it’s still effective and delivers the same benefits. Retinol, particularly when used under the eyes, increases cell turnover, reduces fine lines, and thickens the delicate under-eye skin by boosting collagen production, which makes the area appear more plump and lifted. Akram likes that it contains lactic acid, which she says also helps with cell turnover and exfoliating the skin. Even with all the actives, Akram says it’s very moisturizing, which is key to making sure the under-eye doesn’t look more wrinkled than it is.

Best eye cream for sensitive skin

Active ingredients: PSP growth factors, hyaluronic acid, antioxidants | Texture: Cream | Size: 0.5 ounce (Approx. $194 per ounce)

Many Neocutis products were developed out of wound-healing research, and Liotta says the brand’s Lumière eye cream works to build collagen and smooth fine lines and wrinkles while hydrating the delicate eye skin. “I’ve found that regular use of this product around the eyes prevents the fine lines that trap makeup and make the eye skin look crepey and dry.” It is also fragrance-free, making it suitable for sensitive skin types. “I would swim in this product if I could,” says facial plastic surgeon Dara Liotta.

Best eye cream for under-eye bags

Active ingredients: Green coffee, algae, and sodium hyaluronate | Texture: Gel | Size: 0.5 ounce (Approx. $190 per ounce)

If you notice that the puffiness is worse in the morning and better by evening, then your eye bags are most likely the result of fluid buildup — and in that case lifestyle changes like drinking more water, eating less salt, and sleep propped up on a couple of pillows can help so fluid does not collect in the under-eye area. You can also try out an eye cream with caffeine, since it constricts blood vessels and can prevent fluid from accumulating. Several of the dermatologists we spoke to were in agreement that caffeine is the No. 1 ingredient to look for if you want to tighten bags and reduce puffiness. Doyle likes this one from SkinBetter, which contains green coffee, algae, and sodium hyaluronate, an extraction of hyaluronic acid. “This is a caffeine-based eye serum that is used to instantly tighten the delicate skin around the eyes, reducing bags and puffiness,” says Doyle.

Eye bags are also generally caused by the skin losing elasticity over time and sagging. “Cold tea-bag compresses can also be helpful because both the caffeine and the cold can constrict blood vessels,” Doyle says. However, she notes that if your eye bags are pretty much constant, it is more likely the result of the fat pads under the eyes drooping as you age. If that is the case, the only permanent solution is surgery.

Best less-expensive eye cream for under-eye bags

Photo: Reid, Hilary

Active ingredients: Caffeine, epigallocatechin gallatyl glucosid | Texture: Serum | Size: 1 ounce (Approx. $8 per ounce)

For a more affordable eye cream with caffeine, this one from the Ordinary is made with highly soluble caffeine and EGCG, an ingredient that’s made from green-tea leaves. It’s both calming and anti-aging. And Someck likes its lightweight consistency, which he says makes application effortless. It also dries quickly, so other products, like foundation and concealer, can be applied over it.

Best eye cream for fine lines

Active ingredients: Peptides, hyaluronic acid, inluin, and arnica | Texture: Serum | Size: 0.68 ounces (Approx. $154 per ounce)

For fine lines, this eye cream from Revision — the same brand that makes our best-overall pick — would work well. It contains a host of hydrating and skin-fortifying ingredients like hyaluronic acid and peptides, which improve the look of fine lines by adding hydration to the area and plumping up the skin. There’s also arnica in the formula, an ingredient that’s been used for bruises and discoloration since the 1500s. “It helps with the brownish discoloration from leaky blood vessels underneath the eye,” says Dr. Karan Lal. Like the D.E.J. Cream, it has a pointed metal tip that makes for easy application. It also cools the skin and tingles a bit, which adds to the overall experience.

Best eye cream for wrinkles

Active ingredients: Retinoid, AHA complex, botanical antioxidants| Texture: Thick cream | Size: 0.5 ounces (Approx. $240 per ounce)

If you’ve started to notice a bit of creasing in the under-eye area, an eye cream that targets wrinkles could be a good fit. This one from SkinBetter is a favorite of Bare Aesthetic medspa founder Vanessa Coppola, who uses it nightly. “It is a really rich, thick cream that has both a retinoid and an alpha hydroxy acid, plus a soothing botanical extract blend,” she says, adding that it helps to “build up the under-eye area and reduce puffiness.” Because of the retinoid content, Coppola says you could experience some peeling or flaking, and says people with sensitive skin might want to opt for something with less potent active ingredients.

Best eye cream for puffiness

Active ingredients: Caffeine, ginseng root, horse chestnut extract, acmella oleracea extract, black cumin–seed oil | Texture: Lightweight cream | Size: 0.5 ounce (Approx. $130 per ounce)

Unlike under-eye bags — which can be caused by a combination of fluid, drooping fat pads, and loss of skin elasticity — puffiness is usually from fluid retention alone. After quick read of the ingredients list, I found this eye cream is chock-full of caffeine and ginseng, which will reduce puffiness and make eyes look less tired. It also contains lutein, a powerful antioxidant, which adds a glow, as well as cocoa and shea butter to smooth and plump the skin.

Best night eye cream

Active ingredients: Peptide, sodium hyaluronate | Texture: Lightweight gel | Size: 0.5 ounce (Approx. $122 per ounce)

Skin does the bulk of its healing and regenerating while you sleep, so the right nighttime eye cream can do wonders for your under-eye skin. This one from Estée Lauder is favored by Lal, who likes that it contains both hyaluronic acid and peptides: “They hydrate the skin and help to reduce crepey-ness, which is due to a lack of structural support and loss of those proteins that need to be rebuilt. These ingredients help with that.”

Best eye cream that also works as makeup primer

Active ingredients: Silk extract, Japanese white peony, hadasei-3 complex | Texture: Cream | Size: 0.5 ounce (Approx. $124 per ounce)

Tatcha’s Silk Peony eye cream contains silk and white peony extract to pump skin full of moisture. “Silk extract forms a protective seal over the skin to enhance barrier function, improve hydration, and protect the skin from the environment,” says Zeichner. I’ve also heard that because of the texture of the formula, it doubles as a primer and helps makeup apply more smoothly and stay put throughout the day.

Best illuminating eye cream

Active ingredients: Sea fennel, avocado, caffeine| Texture: Cream | Size: 0.5 ounce (Approx. $92 per ounce)

If you want something that creates a more illuminating base under makeup, I recommend Ilia’s eye cream. It contains sea fennel, a retinol alternative that brightens and firms, avocado extract for dark circles and puffiness, and caffeine and peptides to further depuff the under-eye. “The light reflection is the best I’ve ever tried,” says Davis, who likes to wear it during the day under makeup. “This is the only eye cream that really makes a difference hiding dark circles. Plus it absorbs fast and layers beautifully under concealer.”

Some more eye creams we’ve written about

Our experts

• Vanessa Coppola, founder of Bare Aesthetic Med Spa
• Dawn Davis, beauty expert
• Dr. Melissa Doft, founder of Doft Plastic Surgery
• Dr. Amanda Doyle, dermatologist at Russak Dermatology Clinic
• Dr. Corey L. Hartman, founder of Skin Wellness Dermatology
• Dr. Hadley King, clinical instructor of dermatology at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University
• Dr. Karan Lal, dermatologist
• Dr. Rita Linkner, dermatologist and founder of RVL Skincare
Dr. Dara Liotta, facial plastic surgeon
• Dr. Caroline Robinson, founder of Tone Dermatology
Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mt. Sinai

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The 15 Very Best Eye Creams