Moisturizers, serums, retinoids, and sheet masks seem to get all the attention, and it’s easy for eye cream to feel like an unnecessary step. It doesn’t help that eye-centric products tend to be a bit pricey. Couldn’t you just slather regular old moisturizer around the periocular region and call it a day? The cold hard truth, however, is that the skin around our eyes is often the first to show signs of aging. The delicate area is, quite literally, more thin-skinned than the rest of your face. And though we’re all about embracing aging, you can still want to look your best even as you become more comfortable in your own skin. Fortunately, the best anti-aging eye creams are formulated to give the area the special, gentle attention it deserves.
“There is a lack of soft tissue to provide the eye area with support such as fat or muscle. That particular area is also excessively mobile: squinting, smiling, laughing—it’s the reason ‘resting bitch face’ was born,” says Roberta Moradfar, an advanced aesthetics nurse practitioner and founder of Effacè Aesthetics in Los Angeles. “We can also add compounding factors such as excessive sun exposure, stress, poor diet, and lack of sleep along to the appearance of aging skin around the eyes. It can also just be hereditary.”
So what gives eye creams their unique, anti-aging powers? There are a few key ingredients to look out for: hyaluronic acid (for a boost of moisture), peptides (for collagen production), and antioxidants like vitamin C, E, and ferulic acid (for inflammation and sun damage). Another advantage of eye creams is being able to target highly specific concerns like puffiness or dark circles. And though the bottles are small, a little goes a long way when it comes to the delicate (and more absorbent) skin around the eyes, so don’t let the cost deter you—plus, there are plenty of drugstore finds that come highly recommended.
To help you on the hunt for your perfect eye cream, we tapped Moradfar to share her favorites for every type of skin concern.
The Best Eye Creams for Mature Skin
This eye cream can make the most tired-looking eyes look more awake and rejuvenated thanks to an extensive cocktail of active ingredients.
This popular cream uses retinol and hyaluronic acid to pull off its firming magic. Glide the cooling applicator under the eyes then pat the product all around (upper brow area included).
The Best Eye Creams for Dark Circles
The cult-favorite eye cream deploys collagen and vitamin C for instant brightening. (The “banana” simply refers to its yellow tint.) Your dark circles won’t know what hit them—Allure agrees.
“I love how immediate the results are directly after application- the eyes appear firmer, brighter, and overall, more youthful. Puffiness is noticeably minimized.”
“In addition to niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin C, the eye gel also has glycosaminoglycans to increase collagen support to reduce and stop dark circles under the eyes. I love that people with oily skin can use this oil-free product and still receive hydration thanks to the hyaluronic acid.”
Best Drugstore Finds
This one contains hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and ceramides to help repair and restore the natural skin barrier. This is a great choice for those who are more prone to skin allergies and sensitivity. What I love about this product is that it’s one of the few eye creams on the market that can actually be used over the eyelids (ophthalmologist-tested for safety).
Priced, just under $20, this is one of the most highly-rated eye creams you can find at drugstores. With gentle retinol and hyaluronic acid, the product provides instant rejuvenation and can reduce signs of aging over time.
The derm-approved drugstore find features retinol and hyaluronic acid for powerful moisturizing.
For a Solid Sun Protectant
It’s not easy to find a great eye cream with SPF, but leave it to the innovators at Supergoop! to have you covered. With a neutral tint, zinc oxide, and caffeine to perk you right up, the product smooths lines and offers protection where you need it most.
This derm-favorite brand’s eye cream tops several lists of best anti-aging eye creams, and for good reason. From dark circles to puffiness, it can seemingly target any problem you might have. The cream goes especially hard on wrinkles but is gentle enough to be applied to your lids.