Eye creams are the embodiment of “big things come in small packages." That tiny vessel or tube can significantly reduce and prevent things like dark circles, bags, crow’s feet, dullness, dryness, sagging skin and more.
It might feel silly to buy a half-ounce cream for $50 dollars or more, but you’ll only be using a pea-sized amount, at most. In that amount of product, there is an extremely high concentration of beneficial ingredients, which target that vulnerable, delicate skin around the eyes. This area is our most expressive on the face (wrinkling with each smile or each sun-facing squint), and the skin in the area is also much thinner than the rest of your face.
That thinness is why we get dark circles and bags. In the former’s case, you can see through the thin layers to the blood vessels underneath. And the puffy bags are caused by a loss of firmness and density in the skin as we age; the fat deposits under the eye sockets sink below the eyes into this thin area, since the skin is no longer firm enough to hold it all in place. (Fluid can also fill the area, adding to the bulk.)
That’s a lot of pressure on that tiny little tube of eye cream. But the best eye creams are up to the challenge.
- The Best Eye Cream for Everyday Upkeep: Aesop Exalted Eye Serum
- The Best Eye Cream for Puffy Eyes: Origins Ginzing Eye Cream
- The Best Eye Cream for Dark Circles: Cardon Dark Circle Eye Rescue
- The Best Eye Cream for Wrinkles: ZO Skin Health Intense Eye Crème
- The Best Concentrated Eye Cream: La Prairie Skin Caviar Luxe Eye Cream
- The Best Eye Cream for Dullness: Drunk Elephant C-Tango Vitamin C Eye Cream
- The Best Overnight Eye Cream: Clarins Double Serum Eye
- The Best Eye Cream for Hangovers: Hourglass Equilibrium Instant Plumping Eye Mask
- The Best Eye Cream for Dry Skin: Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Eye Cream
- The Best Eye Cream Mask: Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Retinol Eye Cream
Why You Need to Use Eye Cream
A concentrated eye cream will target the signs of aging by fortifying this skin against the toxins and UV rays that compromise the skin’s firmness and resilience in this area. Some eye creams play a long game and will only show results after weeks of continued use, or their results will show themselves when compared to peers who don’t use such a targeted treatment; you’ll have a much more youthful gaze. Other eye cream products shoot for instant results — to counter a poor night’s rest, a revelrous evening, a long flight or simply the aforementioned signs of aging. They give your puffy under eyes a quick lift, and stir up blood flow in the area to disappear dark circles.
Are Eye Serums and Eye Creams the Same?
Just like a serum and moisturizer are two different products, an eye serum and eye cream have different consistencies — the liquid serum is devised to seep further into the layers of the skin, while creams tend to target the outermost layer.
For the time being, however, eye serums and creams are more or less categorized together. That’s why it’s important to know what you want out of a product, and to understand what the key ingredients are doing for you. So, for the sake of simplicity, any mention of “eye cream” henceforth refers to both creams and serums.
If you do choose a more liquid option (a serum, that is), then be sure to apply it underneath any other layers (like, if you apply a facial moisturizer, layer over top of it). It’s difficult for some serums to absorb through layers of cream, so they should always come before any heavier layers.
How are Eye Creams Different from Moisturizer?
Eye creams are significantly more concentrated with proactive ingredients compared to moisturizers. The primary task of moisturizers is to nourish skin and protect it from moisture loss as well as pollutants and toxins. While eye creams do the same, the best ones promise additional (and usually aggressive) benefits. Think of eye creams as luxe moisturizers, packed with the best ingredients and scaled down to an affordable size (and one that still lasts a month or three, with continued daily use — after all, you need far less product to cover the area around the eyes).
How to Apply an Eye Cream
If your eye cream doesn’t have a roll-on applicator, then you’ll probably be using your pinky or ring finger to apply the product. Make sure your hands are clean, and apply the designated amount of product onto your fingertip.Check the product instructions to know how much product to apply; chances are it’s a sliver- or a pea-sized amount. Serums won’t easily nest themselves on your fingertips, but might settle across multiple fingertips — this is fine, too. (Luxe eye creams will likely come with a tiny spoon-like tool for gentle application.)
Pat the product into the skin, targeting the sides of the eyes (where your expression lines / crow’s feet are) and underneath the eyes (where the dark circles or puffiness occurs). You want to start under the lower inside edge of the eyes, at the bridge of the nose, and then end at the outermost edge (the crow’s feet). Try not to swipe or exert much force as you go.
Many people will store their eye creams in the refrigerator, too, especially to help deflate puffiness and counter dark circles. It’s totally optional, but worth a try.
Ingredients to Look for in an Eye Cream
The ingredients you seek in an eye cream are entirely dependent on what you need from that product. Even the most obvious ingredients (like hyaluronic acid for hydration or niacinamide for smoothing) might be overlooked for similarly promising ingredients. So, as long as you’re aware of any particular product’s ingredients (and their benefits), then you are good to go.
However, here are some of those most obvious ingredients and their most direct benefits, in no particular order. Many of them offer additional benefits, but these are their primary pros:
- Retinol: Smoothing, wrinkle reduction, anti-aging
- Vitamin C: Brightness, complexion-balancing
- Hyaluronic acid: Hydration
- Niacinamide: Texture smoothing, hydration, wrinkle reduction and prevention
- Peptides: Firmness, dark circle and puffiness repair
- Ceramides: Firmness, hydration, dark circle and puffiness prevention
- Caffeine: Circulation, alertness, firmness, dark circle and puffiness reduction
Again, you may find a product that offers you the benefits you need with entirely different ingredients. Or, one that has two or three of these ingredients, but none of the others. Don’t get too hung up on that. Just make sure the product does what you need it to do, and with which ingredients.
The 10 Best Eye Creams for Men
These eye creams (and serums, of course) are the best at what they do — it’s just that “what they do” differs from one to the next. Pick the one or two that best suits your need.
The Best Eye Cream for Everyday Upkeep
Rich in niacinamide, Vitamin C, antioxidants and panthenol, this serum keeps skin consistently hydrated, bright, fortified and smooth. This one promises ongoing, enduring youthfulness courtesy of the most well-rounded formula around.
The Best Eye Cream for Puffy Eyes
Ginseng and caffeine activate the area to counter droopy, puffy skin. These ingredients partner with Vitamin C and niacinamide to also brighten, hydrate and smooth your skin.
The Best Eye Cream for Dark Circles
Powered by a heap of peptides, alongside hyaluronic acid, niacinamide and soothing cactus extract, this serum quickly firms and fortifies skin. We recommend storing it in the fridge for an even more invigorating lift.
The Best Eye Cream for Wrinkles
Retinol leads the charge in this eye cream, which is best worn as you slumber (so that it can sync with your cellular rejuvenation cycle for maximum effect). Over time, it visibly reverses existing fine lines, discoloration and roughness.
The Best Concentrated Eye Cream
Swiss caviar — read that again, and weep — keeps the skin around your eyes in tip-top shape. And of course, there’s La Prairie’s signature Exclusive Cellular Complex that bolsters their top-shelf status. If cost isn’t of concern, this is your savior.
The Best Eye Cream for Dullness
Five types of Vitamin C — the hero ingredient in the battle against dullness — work alongside eight (!) peptides in this cream.
The Best Overnight Eye Cream
This serum combines numerous natural ingredients (from turmeric to caffeine to squalane) to soothe, stimulate and nourish the area. It also matches the skin’s own water-to-oil balance with a 2-to-1 ratio of water-soluble and oil-soluble ingredients.
The Best Eye Cream for Hangovers
This plumping eye mask can be worn for 15 minutes, or patted into skin like an eye cream. It delivers a hydrating and fortifying complex to the eye area, powered by barrier-boosting lipids.
The Best Eye Cream for Dry Skin
Ceramides and niacinamide promise firmness, brightness and smoothness, but above all, ultra hydration. Get instant alertness, alongside other long-term benefits with continued use.
The Best Eye Cream Mask
Apply this eye mask before bed to enjoy its line-smoothing retinol and stimulating coffeeberry, which together reinforce firmness and youthfulness while fending off dark circles, puffiness and dullness.