Adding a gentle eye cream—packed with the right ingredients—to your daily skincare regime can reduce the appearance of dark circles, fine lines, and sagging we experience as we age. It takes a special blend of quality and natural elements mixed to perfection by dermatological experts to help reverse signs of aging around your eyes (and anywhere else). With all of today’s marketing ploys, how can you know which products work? We’re here to guide you to the safest, most effective eye creams and gels that will leave you feeling younger, brighter, and more confident.
Why add an eye cream to your skin routine?
The thin, delicate skin around our eyes requires extra-gentle care, especially in our 30s and 40s, as it’s one of the first body parts to expose signs of aging, like puffiness and dark circles. When you let this sensitive area dry out, it can also lead to lines and wrinkles, adding years to your appearance before your skin is even ready (Are we ever truly ready?). Plus, under-eye skin is susceptible to constant micromovements, like squinting and smiling, that deplete skin of moisture, collagen, and elasticity, causing premature issues, like crow’s feet. A reputable, high-quality eye cream or gel can help brighten and soften your under-eye area and leave your skin feeling and looking younger.
What should you consider when shopping for eye cream?
It’s not so much the brand as it is the ingredients that determine how effective eye cream can be for your skin. The first rule of eye cream is to avoid products with alcohol, which can be tricky if you don’t pay careful attention to ingredients. If a skincare product contains “ethanol” or “isopropyl,” which are other identifiers of alcohol, avoid it at all costs. While we can’t stop the aging process, we can help slow its effects with creams and gels that contain the following ingredients:
- Hyaluronic acid
- Vitamins A & C
Check with your doctor or dermatologist if you’re concerned about any of these ingredients.
Why are eye creams so popular?
They’re a simple, gentle way to fight our age-old fear of—well—old age. And today, there’s science to back it up! Many dermatologists encourage users to moisturize and hydrate eye skin twice daily to help support supple, youthful skin. Investing in products with the above ingredients can help you boost your confidence and live your best life in your best skin, so why wouldn’t we invest in a potentially magic potion to help fight bothersome signs of early aging?
Cetaphil Hydrating Non-Abrasive Eye Gel-Cream
A dermatologist-tested and proven non-irritating eye cream.
Pros: Dermatologist-recommended Cetaphil is widely known for its gentle, non-irritating lotions; you’ll find them on most retailers’ shelves. This heavier, deep-hydrating Cetaphil eye gel is specially formulated to moisturize the sensitive areas around your eyes, even if your skin is already touchy or temperamental. With the addition of hyaluronic acid, licorice extract, seed oils, and vitamins, this cream can gently help mask signs of aging, like laugh lines, crow’s feet, and dark circles around your eyes. It’s a great solution if you’re looking for a nonabrasive road to more balanced, supple under-eyes.
Cons: If you have blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids) or any other diagnosed condition, check with your doctor or dermatologist before using Cetaphil eye gel cream; it can cause burning or tingling in the sensitive eye area.
Bottom Line: Sensitive skin is tough to work around. Going with a clinically trusted brand like Cetaphil and its reputation for safe, high-quality hydration will raise your purchase confidence. Its ingredients are non-irritating and blended with touchy skin in mind, making it a safe first choice if you’re just starting out on your skincare journey.
RoC Retinol Correxion Eye Cream for Dark Circles & Puffiness
This cream includes retinol and vitamin A to minimize fine lines.
Pros: This 2020 Allure Best of Beauty award winner is a safe, popular way to smooth fine lines and other signs of aging around your eyes. According to a study by KGL Skin Study Center, a dose of pure retinol in this RoC line-smoothing eye cream can reduce fine lines by 50%, eye puffiness, and dark circles when added to your daily skincare routine. It’s also ophthalmologist- and dermatologist-tested and reported non-irritable by 100% of testers—talk about a promising product. The ingredients are hypoallergenic, rich in minerals, and protected by packaging that limits exposure to light and air, helping preserve the integrity of the retinol.
Cons: Signs of aging take time to show up, and they’ll take their time leaving, too. This RoC under-eye cream can take up to six months to form the results you’re looking for, so patience and routine are key.
Bottom Line: Retinol is a leading way to help fade fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots in skin; plus, it encourages the production of new blood vessels, which can lighten and improve the color under your eyes. Couple that with the hydrating, healing powers of vitamin A in a non-irritable cream, and you’re on your way to calmer, brighter skin with the RoC Correxion under-eye cream.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Eye Gel with Hyaluronic Acid
This unique water-gel formula gives long-lasting moisture.
Pros: Hyaluronic acid is our skin’s best friend, and this oil-free Neutrogena eye cream gel is full of it. The gel’s lightweight, water-gel consistency helps with fast absorption and is non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog your pores; a two-in-one solution for your sensitive eye area. Its ingredients are also hypoallergenic, soap-free, paraben-free, and clinically proven to lock in hydration for softer, brighter, more supple skin—one reason why Neutrogena’s eye cream is so highly recommended for mature faces, combination skin, and conditions like acne.
Cons: Extra-sensitive skin may not be an ideal match for the Neutrogena eye gel, depending on your condition and what your doctor recommends. Diagnosed skin conditions, like psoriasis, may require gentler lotions, so make an appointment if you have doubts about whether your skin will respond well.
Bottom Line: Neutrogena has been around for more than 90 years, and there’s a reason why it’s world-renowned. Its products are tested and generally natural and non-irritable, so if you have tolerant skin, you may have a solid solution in this under-eye cream with hyaluronic acid.
EltaMD Renew Hydrating Eye Cream with Peptides
This eye cream is clinically proven to help fight dark circles and puffiness.
Pros: This dermatologist-approved, oil- and paraben-free eye gel from EltaMD can help reduce the appearance of aging around your eyes and brighten your complexion. Gentle enough for daily use, it features one of the most important ingredients in anti-aging skincare: peptides—amino acids that sink into your skin and signal cells to produce more collagen, which aids in smoother, more youthful skin. This, and other natural ingredients, including hyaluronic acid, antioxidants, and vitamin C, are leading solutions for fine lines, puffiness, and dark circles, making clinically-proven EltaMD eye gel a worthwhile attempt at younger-looking skin.
Cons: The pump might not always work well. If it’s a struggle pumping the product from the get-go, you can return it and try another. Hopefully, the second time’s the charm!
Bottom Line: You have a promising, proven solution in this EltaMD hydrating eye cream. It’s a premium choice because it’s a premium product, and the price reflects that. It can be difficult to bite the bullet on some purchases, but this eye cream is worth pulling the trigger if you’re ready to discover brighter, younger-looking skin.
LilyAna Eye Cream with Rosehip and Hibiscus Botanicals
No parabens, phthalates, artificial fragrances, or colors are in this eye cream.
Pros: They call this twice-a-day elixir “Beauty in a Bottle,” and we can’t argue with that (and neither can beauty editors at Cosmopolitan, People, or InStyle). Not only does LilyAna Naturals eye cream come in cool, artsy packaging, but it’s also all-natural, cruelty-free, and full of innately healing ingredients, like rosehip seed and organic hibiscus extract, which aid in skin cell and tissue regeneration. Its botanical formula is designed for delicate under-eye skin but powerful enough to help diminish dryness, dark circles, sagging skin, and crow’s feet.
Cons: This might sound strange, but depending on where you live (particularly in hot climates), your LilyAna eye cream might come with an unpleasant smell. Apparently, this can happen in higher temperatures, so keep this in mind. Like any skincare product, especially under-eye formulas, it may irritate extra-sensitive skin, so be sure to test it before adding it to your daily routine.
Bottom Line: It’s a renowned, viral anti-aging potion—we think it’s worth a shot. Not every brand is as well-thought-out with the addition of proven anti-aging ingredients like hibiscus and rosehip.
With so many eye masks, creams, and gels on the market, especially within the anti-aging realm, it can be difficult to know which are actually designed with your unique skin demands in mind. Sticking to dermatologist-trusted brands with gentle, natural ingredients (like any of these quality products) will help you narrow down the best under-eye solution for you.